It’s not long until we discover just what the beautiful people at Retro Studios have spent the last three years preparing for us as Nintendo’s E3 Wii U direct is almost upon us. That said there is still a little bit of time in which to rev the ol’ speculation engines and throw down our most probably guesses as to what Retro is going to wow us with this afternoon.
Get ready, ‘cos this train is going straight to ‘what if’ valley. One way, no returns.
Metroid Prime 4
Nintendo fans are clamouring for a new Metroid game. Other M was a compelling spin on the franchise that was dogged by bad storytelling and lukewarm mechanics so how do you make the series relevant again? By giving it to the people that engineered its rebirth on the Gamecube, of course.
Metroid is a series that works well to round out Nintendo’s portfolio with its mature themes and setting and Retro have already proven, three times, that they are good for it.
This is a likely project, a logical project even, but we feel that it’s too safe. Nintendo have remained candid about Retro’s movements for years and if they came out now and said it was a new Metroid we feel that – in the absence of a Wind Waker-like shocking rebirth – it would be anticlimactic. Pleasantly so, but still a little ho hum. Like receiving a …
Donkey Kong Country Returns 2
Donkey Kong Country Returns sold surprisingly well on the Wii, 5 million units last we checked, so Donkey Kong Country Returns 2 would be good business (certainly more so than Metroid as Samus’ adventures rarely sell even half of Kong’s figures). What’s more it would allow Retro to continue flexing their rather impressive 2D design muscles, something we certainly wouldn’t dissuade them from doing.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say no, but that’s a no in regards to Retro. We’re saying that for similar reasons to Metroid – too much quiet for a franchise the studio is already au fait with – and we’re also saying no due to the recent release of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (we can see Retro’s game being released this year). We think DKCR 2 is in development due to the sales potential and also due to the likes of Dixie Kong receiving redesigns in the Returns artstyle and appearing in Nintendo’s toy-lines, but it’s more likely in development at another studio. Possibly at Monster Games, the chaps responsible for the 3DS port of the original, as conducting the port would be a good lesson for creating the sequel.
Because the fans want it. Despite the Starfox series having one of the worst quality to game ratios of any of Nintendo’s core franchises, the players continue to demand a game of Starfox 64/Lylat Wars’ quality.
With Metroid and Donkey Kong Retro Studios have become the team that ‘resurrects’ franchises and does them modern justice. As a sci-fi franchise Starfox has some similarities to Metroid, and perhaps Retro could bring some genuine jazz to Fox’s game, perhaps even realising the third person gameplay that was attempted in Assault.
Do we want this? Not entirely. Not because we don’t want a new Starfox, but just because we’d rather see a studio like Treasure or Platinum tackling a new Starfox. We also don’t think Fox has the sale-ability that a Retro Studios game deserves. They’re a big studio now for Nintendo and, unless they have a huge idea, Fox is always a harder sell outside of Japan and probably less worthy of their time.
Eternal Darkness 2
Because it’s something different that serves the Metroid-like purpose of rounding out Nintendo’s portfolio, but also because it’s a perfect fit for the distracting and beguiling features of the Gamepad.
Better than you might think. Eternal Darkness’ trademark was last renewed in 2010, a month after Luigi’s Mansion 2 (another Gamecube revival also developed in the states) and the same year Retro finished its last project, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Retro has also started hiring artists that specialise in creature designs, such as ex-Vigil Games (Darksiders) staff and this lady who’s Deviant Art is full of weird and wonderful mutations. What’s more this Naughty Dog artist said on his deviant art page that he was looking forward to working on ‘stylistic projects‘ at his new Retro Studios job.
Add to this last month’s reveal of Shadow of the Eternals, a crowdfunded ‘spiritual sequel’ to Eternal Darkness. It looked the part and many were confused why it wasn’t Eternal Darkness 2. Well, it was meant to be, that was the original pitch. The pitch failed, however, so the team tried to raise the cash for it a month before E3 through a crowdfunding scheme that would have ended right before Nintendo’s conference, guaranteeing them the raised money. Did their pitch fail because Nintendo already has an Eternal Darkness 2 in development? Did they feel a need to raise the money as soon as possible, before Nintendo gazumps any impact that a ‘spiritual sequel’ could have in announcing a real sequel?
The maths adds up and while it could be a fever dream born from too much late night coffee, it’s one that has a ring of truth about it. We’ve waited long enough, time to release us from the insanity of waiting…
What do you think? Think the Startropics rumours could come to fruition or are you of the persuasion that Retro might be given the freedom to create their own franchise? We’ll know very soon, but our minds are still racing…