I thought about doing a fun short (not super serious) speculation article about Retro Studios. I thought it would be fun to at least look at some existing (newer and older) information for the sake of discussion. Perhaps we could try to piece together information and paint a bigger picture of what Retro might be up to lately. Some people enjoy seeing every tidbit of information on one page, so I am willing to update this article as we find new information on Retro’s game.
The information in this article is a combination of new and old information that has been circling the internet. Please treat this article as fun speculation, and not facts set in stone.
How soon is Retro’s game coming?
The other day I came across this YouTube video from Monty Goulet, who works as a contract sound scripter. Monty Goulet had worked on Donkey Kong Country Returns. The video has no comments on it and very little views. So obviously nobody even looked at the video. The other problem is you had to click the tab to actually see the video’s full description which I’m not sure anyone did.
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgkLtUgFZFk
According to the video’s description on the YouTube video, it says: “Worked at Retro Studios from May 2010 to August 2012 as a Contract Sound Scripter”. The word, “worked” means he is no longer working there, and I find the date “August 2012″ to be a very interesting month to choose. His Linkedin page doesn’t say much about his time at Retro other than the dates he spent working on Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Click on pic to enlarge:
Update: Monty Goulet has updated the video’s description from August 2012 to August 2010.
What are they working on?
Looking at the resume of Crystel Land on her website, it says “Working as a character artist on a Nintendo IP”. Now it is very possible that this game could be a brand new IP from Nintendo, or it could be based on an existing IP. Another thing to point out is Crystel has only been working on the game since May 2012. For now, let’s move on to the next thing to get a better idea of what this game might be.
I found a great thread over at kyoto-report.wikidot.com forum where MetalLord2 spotted something interesting on a Retro artist’s DeviantArt page.
Eric Kolozwisk worked at Naughty Dog on the Uncharted games, and is now working at Retro Studios. Here is what Eric had to say to other users on his Deviant Art gallery:
“I work at ND for 9 months ( as an environment artist) and left basically because I found I did not enjoy working on realistic projects. As you can see from my work I favor stylized stuff. Also the studio culture at ND favor lots and lots of crunch. Definitely not conducive to family and married life. It’s not terrible at all, but just not for everyone. As for characters, man at ND you have to be first class. Take a look at the work of Hanno Hagedorn to see how good you need to be.”
In his response to another person on DeviantArt, he wrote:
“Thanks man! There were lot of reasons I left. They have a weird system of management at ND that I didn’t gel with. Also I wasn’t crazy about working on realistic games. I also left because I got an offer to be a Lead at Square Enix. Unfortunately soon after I started they canceled our project and laid our team off. I’m at Retro now, Retro is a much better fit for me. Hell who hasn’t grown up playing Nintendo games. Now I get to work on them.”
The poster on the kyoto-report forum also points out that Retro just hired the lead artist from Epic Mickey, Robert Kovach. A game that doesn’t focus big on realism.
Retro seeking people who can create high quality hand painted 2D textures with 3D geometry for environments.
• Modeling high quality 3D geometry for game environments
• Creating high quality hand painted 2D texture maps
This game will have bosses.
• Individual contributor that develops, writes and debugs code for video game software and tools with a specific focus on AI programming for enemies & bosses and various other game-play systems as required.
This job listing *might* eliminate any possibility of Retro making a racing game or non-action game.
If this job listing is true, then Retro’s game might not be related to F-Zero, Wave Race, PilotWings, Stunt Race, 1080 Snowboarding, Excitebike, Donkey Kong Racing, Mario Kart, etc).
This game will have different types of weather, particle effects, and cinematic cutscenes:
According to this January 25, 2012 job description for an FX artist at Retro Studios:
- Creating ambient, environmental and weather effects.
- Placing and scripting FX throughout levels and cinematics.
- Creating, designing and implementing real-time particle effects which use both static and animating 2D/3D elements.
Too Busy for Zelda?
Shigeru Miyamoto says: “In terms of them working on a Zelda, it’s not out of the question, certainly, for them to work on an entire Zelda game amongst themselves,” Miyamoto said. “Traditionally I think that the Zelda team has always had a close contact with anyone who’s working on a Zelda game. If you were going to have that happen in the US at Retro, that would be kind of difficult for them to be able to coordinate. Certainly they’re too busy for that sort of thing right now. It would probably require me to be involved to a great extent as well, so I would have to get over quite a bit too. I’d probably have to live in Texas… [laughs]”
On March 9th, 2011, Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe says no current plans for Donkey Kong Country Returns 2:
“I wouldn’t say we won’t do a sequel for Donkey Kong Country Returns, but we don’t have anything planned at this time.”
“I wasn’t even thinking about doing a sequel for Metroid Prime until Retro showed me the last scene in the game, which was near the end of development.”
Looking at this information (both newer and older information) it’s fun to look at each piece of information and trying to piece it together into a bigger picture. I have had thoughts about updating this article regularly whenever we get new information or leaks.
Based on the information so far, here is what we have gathered.
- Artist left Naughty Dog because he doesn’t enjoy working on realistic look games. Prefers stylized graphics. Says Retro is a better fit for him.
- The lead artist of Epic Mickey is involved on this project.
- The game will have high quality hand painted 2D texture maps
- High quality 3D geometry for game environments
- According to Monty Goulet’s YouTube video from his official YouTube channel, he finished working on Retro’s game on August 2012. (Update: Video description now updated to say August 2010.)
- A contract artist named Crystel Land started working on a Nintendo IP for Retro Studios on May 2012.
- The game will have ambient, environmental and weather effects.
- Not only will the game have enemies, but it will also have bosses.
- The game will have cinematics/cutscenes.
- Miyamoto says Retro is too busy for Zelda.
- On March 2011, Tanabe says they don’t currently have a DKC2 planned at the moment.
Another thing to consider are the large number of job openings at Retro in the last year. Is it possible that Retro might have more than one project going, or is this Wii U project really that big?
What do you think Retro’s game is, and when do you think Retro/Nintendo will reveal it/release it? We would love to hear your comments and predictions in the comments section of this article. Thanks!