What Is Retro Studios working on?
Aimless speculation? Possibly. Thoughtful look at what they might be working on? I hope so.
Editor's Note: g1 Digmbot realized that Retro Studios wasn't making a Zelda game from a Miyamoto interview with IGN. Some added insider information is that Retro Studios recently moved offices thanks to an anonymous source (Bryan's mom). Now Digmbot asks the hard questions like; why do hot dog buns come in different quantities than hot dogs, why does a 24 hour Laundromat have locks, and what is Retro Studios actually working on?
Retro Studios is one of Nintendo's most trusted developers. The Big N has no problem handing the keys to some of the oldest and most revered franchises in gaming to the Texas based developer. There’s good reason for this. Retro has a proven track record when taking over these franchises. They brought Metroid into the 3D age in spectacular fashion with the Metroid Prime series. They proven you can create a serious first person shooter on the original DS with Metroid Prime Hunters. Donkey Kong Country Returns was a visually stunning, amazingly fun return to the 2D roots of the series. Most recently, Nintendo turned to Retro for help completing Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS.
As you can see, Retro has quite the history with some big names in the gaming world. To top it all off, the team brings top notch execution to almost everything they do. The entire gaming world knows they are working on a new project, but the only people in the gaming world who know what that project is work for Retro and Nintendo. The only thing Retro has said is that the new project is "a project everyone wants us to do".
A quick check of Retro's careers page at Retrostudios.com doesn't reveal much.
The job descriptions themselves are written in typical corporate speak, revealing nothing about this new project. So, what are they working on?
Keep in mind that the following are my personal opinions. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section.
Given the history this company has with Nintendo speculation is running rampant. They could be working on a brand new Metroid game. Metroid Prime is a fantastic series and its almost certain Samus will get her chance to shine in the era of Nintendo in HD. However, this is probably the least likely entry in this article. The Prime series had a great run. But any new Prime style Metroid games would need a new setting. I'm not saying take out Space Pirates and Metroids. But the story of the Prime Trilogy has pretty thoroughly run its course. Another reason I feel a new Prime type game is unlikely is the (largely unjustified) fanboy angst still attached to Metroid Other M. While that game may not have been what we expected, it wasn't the festering pile of franchise destroying fecal matter some would have you believe either.
Ever since its debut Mario Kart's presence on any Nintendo system is a given. However, there is a key distinction between Retro's involvement in the Metroid series and its involvement with the Mario Kart series. Metroid was made in house by Retro, start to finish. With Mario Kart, Nintendo has simply gotten some help from Retro. More to the point, that has only happened once. Odds are the next Mario Kart is going to be made mostly by Nintendo.
A new, all flight version of StarFox is something that fans have been clamoring for since the Gamecube days. Obviously, the rumor that recently went around about a StarFox/Metroid crossover was complete garbage. However, there is an interesting possibility in this. Retro may be working on a new StarFox game. The studio is one of Nintendo's best second part development houses, so odds are they have had Wii U development kits for quite some time. The Wii U is going to require a fundamental shift in the way developers approach games and a franchises, which are something Retro showed us they can do quite effectively with Metroid Prime. They could easily be working to bring us a new StarFox that shows us just why the Wii U is so special.
A new Donkey Kong Country may be in the works as well. For some it might be a bit early for a sequel, but Wii U is a new console. However, I also find this unlikely. Historically, Donkey Kong isn't a franchise that Nintendo makes constant iterations of. The SNES and N64 may have had DK games, but his presence was toned back a bit on the Gamecube. Jungle Beat was great, but it was far from a traditional DKC game. This is probably a 50/50 chance.
In the minds of many gamers F-Zero has been out of the spotlight for far too long. The launch of a new system would be a great time to bring the series back. While nothing was announced at E3, keep in mind that Nintendo is one of the most secretive companies in the business. F-Zero was a gorgeous game on the Gamecube, which is no surprise as F-Zero has had a reputation for amazing graphics since the SNES days when it was used to show off Mode 7 graphics. With the Wii U making the jump to HD, using a new F-Zero to show us just how powerful the system really is seems like an obvious thing for the Big N to do.
Possibly the most beloved creation of one of the most beloved figures in our industry, The Legend of Zelda is certainly a possibility. Miyamoto has repeatedly said that he is very busy. He is working on a new IP with smaller teams of developers in addition to his other duties. He also once hinted at the fact that he wouldn't mind letting Retro work on an entry in the series. Having another studio work on a Zelda game isn't without precedent either. Two of the finest handheld Zelda games were made by Capcom. If Miyamoto is going to hand the development of a console Zelda game over to anyone, my money is on Retro.
The reality of it is, we have no way of knowing what Retro is up to until Nintendo or Retro decides its time. I have no doubt that the studio is going to blow us away yet again. I am getting a bit antsy though. My inner fanboy needs to know right now. So please Nintendo? Stop teasing us. Please?
What do you guys think they are up to?