In an interview on the Kiwi Talkz podcast, ex-Retro Studios developer Jack Mathews talked about Nintendo’s approach to the Metroid Prime series, and how they understood that it was always more popular in the west than in Japan.
“Nintendo did not intend [Metroid Prime] to be a third-person shooter,” said Mathews. “When we did our first prototypes we did do them as third-person […] I believe [Nintendo] might have seen that, where we basically had a third-person Samus running around between doors, and then they immediately put the kibosh on it.”
According to Mathews, Nintendo then reiterated that when they asked for a first-person Metroid game, that is exactly what they meant and they intended to stick with it. Mathews went on to explain how and why it was Retro Studios that ended up with the development of Metroid Prime.
“100 per cent of the reason we got it is because essentially Metroid was not all that popular in Japan,” Mathews says, a viewpoint he says he heard throughout the studio at the time. “But everytime Miyamoto came to the west in the N64 era, people were just constantly barraging him with questions about when a Metroid was going to come out on the N64.”
This apparently led to Nintendo wanting to put the “western sensibility” of first-person shooters into the franchise. Initially Retro Studios were against it, but eventually the team came around on the idea.
Elsewhere in the interview, Mathews talks about how Nintendo allows developers to design game prototypes that can actually end up failing, which is something that most western developers don’t do, instead preferring to sign concrete contracts right from the beginning.
In other news, the president of CD Projekt Red has said that the studio plans to remain independent going forward, and that it also has things in place to prevent stocks from being bought to create a hostile takeover.