Kiwi Talkz has published an extensive interview with former Retro Studios director of development and producer Bryan Walker, who shared some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits about his work on Metroid Prime and other projects.
One of the more interesting revelations shared by Walker relates to scrapped ideas for Metroid Prime 3. According to Walker, Metroid Prime’s series director Mark Pacini drafted up some “ambitious” plans for a more open-world Metroid experience for the third entry in the Prime series, which would have had Samus exploring a “less-linear” world in her gunship. However, this idea for an open-world proved to be a little too big to make it into the final game.
Mark came forward with an interesting twist in the vision and some of the formulas for Metroid Prime 3, compared to Metroid Prime 2, we wanted to a great degree leverage the ship as a playable asset, and we had that to some degree in Prime 3 but Mark was thinking much more ambitiously.”
There was also an open world that was much less linear that he was proposing and the team was excited about. We weren’t able to prototype a lot of those because they were really big. We did have some ship prototypes, but the open-world one was much bigger.
In fact, Mark printed out as one of his visual aids this origami Samus ship. He had taken the mesh of the Samus ship and used a program that basically unfolded it into what he could then turn into a paper model. So we had this cardboard Samus ship that he had coloured in and it looked great! I think we could sell it today.
Aside from the scope, Walker also cited the Wii’s lower specs as one of the reasons for the change in direction. Even so, the team is still quite proud of the final version of Metroid Prime 3, although Walker cannot help but wonder what could have been:
We knew what the Xbox 360 was going to have, when knew what the PS3 was going to have and the initial specs we were looking at [for Wii] were not competitive from a hardware and memory standpoint… there were all these disadvantages.
We were a little concerned, to be blunt, and then they rolled out the Wii Remote and kind of in unison the team went, ‘ah! Ok.’
We may have fallen short of our goals with Prime 3 in not being able to expand the formula a bit. We’re still very, very proud of Prime 3, it turned out to be a fantastic game, but I would be very interested to see what the response would be, especially the fan community, to the expanded ship and the non-linear experience that we were touching upon
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can watch the full interview from Kiwi Talkz below:
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