Game news Metroid Prime: Developers celebrate 20 years by revealing more secrets
On November 19, 2002, Metroid Prime arrived in the United States after an epic journey. For the first time, the series falls into a subjective view and offers new perspectives thanks to its realization in 3D. This year, the work of the Gamecube celebrates its 20th anniversary and the developers decided to celebrate this anniversary by slipping some anecdotes about the creation of the game.
It’s crazy how history repeats itself sometimes. Announced in 2017, Metroid Prime 4 is missing and development looks complicated. Rare information from Retro Studios echoes the beginning of the franchise and brings back sad memories. To understand, we need to go back to 1999. At the time, the Austin studio was working on four projects, but the atmosphere was toxic and the employees were working in a dark and unattractive space. Intended for the Gamecube, the preparatory games are a racing game, a role-playing game, an American football game and an action-adventure game.
In 2000, Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata and an emissary from Nintendo of America came for a routine visit and it was a disaster! While Nintendo spent half a million dollars to equip Retro Studios with a research and development laboratory (recording studio + motion capture equipment), Miyamoto discovered that the employees were struggling. In fact, the president, Jeff Spangenberg, simply assembled people without giving them specific instructions and delegated his work to others. The result: employees left to their own devices saw Shigeru Miyamoto angry. Mark Pancini, an employee, recalled:
It was frustrating because we couldn’t present anything other than a few concepts and three-page documents – Nintendo required us to be able to explain our ideas in three pages. And everybody came and went saying, “He hates everybody!”
The rest of the story? Miyamoto leaves with his colleagues at the hotel and considers it a big mess because Retro Studios is made up of talented people. That’s when he launched: “And why not Metroid? “. He decided to manage the project with Kensuke Tanabe, a pillar of Nintendo passed by Mario, Zelda, Pokémon or even Kirby. The project would lead to the awesome Metroid Prime on the Gamecube.
Metroid Prime devs share their memories
Zoid Kirsch, who worked on the game, slipped in some interesting design trivia. So, to hide the loading times, the developers added doors because the console can only load two rooms at once. This explains why some doors take longer to open than others. Also, if the player is in a room with multiple exits, only one door can be opened at a time. Another trick and not least, when an enemy approaches the visor of Samus, an effect appears on the screen, simulating parasites on a TV in a bad shape. Due to the limited memory of the console, it was difficult to create a suitable texture, so they used… the game code! What we see are randomly generated bits and bytes of code.
The 20th anniversary of Metroid Prime’s release date is November 18. Every day until then I’ll be tweeting a little story about its development. Here’s the first one:
—Zoid Kirsch (@ZoidCTF) November 8, 2022
Finally, during the development of Metroid Prime, Nintendo informed the studio that the defective processors were part of the batch received by Retro Studios. The problem is that in order to detect defective processors, they must be completely cooled. So in order to find the culprits, Retro Studios employees put the processor in the development kit… which they put in the freezer! Then it is necessary to save the data for 15 minutes (to prevent the processor from overheating) and then repeat the operation with another processor. For a while, there was back and forth between the freezer and the development room.
Yes, sometimes video games can be too artisanal and ridiculous.