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Retro Studios is the best friend of the hard core Nintendo enthusiastic.
A western developer owned by Nintendo, Retro is renowned for spicing up the
Japanese publisher's first party franchises. With the legendary Metroid Prime series
and a successful reboot of Donkey Kong Country under their belt, a
new release from the company is certainly something to look forward to. While
it has already been reported that Retro is working on a "fantastic project" for
the Wii U, there is almost no concrete information on what this game is. What
we do have is a healthy number of rumors floating around, and I have used these
as a basis to make some educated guesses on the game's identity.
A 2D Metroid game
Let's face it; Retro Studio making a new 2D Metroid game
would be a dream come true for many a Nintendo fan. Retro has already proven
their chops at making great 2D games with Donkey Kong Country: Returns, and great
Metroid games. All of this seems to point towards them being the perfect developer
to return Metroid to traditional 2D gameplay.
A 2D Metroid reboot is just what the series needs after the mixed
bag that was Metroid: Other M. Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn't yet dropped any
hints at being interested in making one. The 3D Prime games have dominated the
series identity for a decade, and Other M might have dampened Nintendo's
enthusiasm for Metroid.
Final Verdict: Possible, if Nintendo knows what their fans
Another Metroid Prime Game
Though Metroid Prime 3: Corruption brought to conclusion the
venerable Metroid Prime trilogy, it's highly unlikely that gamers' have seen
the last of the first-person adventure sub-series. As much as I'd like to see
Retro Studios try something new, I can't deny that a Wii U Metroid Prime would
make financial sense. A new Prime game announcement would ignite a blaze of
excitement; just what Nintendo needs to drive Wii U sales. It would further excite
hard core gamers, who are perhaps not currently wholly enthusiastic for
Nintendo's current lineup.
Final Verdict: Possible
A Star Fox Reboot
There really hasn't been much excitement surrounding Star
Fox for some time. The series has been relegated to handhelds since 2005 and the
last universally acclaimed game in the series was Star Fox 64. Retro already has
a track record for saving Nintendo's waning franchises, and if anyone can rescue
Star Fox, it's them. With that said, I don't think there's much chance of us seeing
a Retro made Star Fox game anytime soon.
When it comes to Nintendo's first party properties, Star Fox has always been a few tiers lower than Mario and
Zelda. Because of this, I can't help but feel Nintendo would want Retro tackling one of
their more popular properties for their first next-gen game. Nintendo needs
system sellers for the Wii U, and Star Fox, with its anthropomorphic characters
and mixed track record, doesn't seem like the kind of brand that would move
consoles in this day and age.
Final Verdict: Unlikely
Donkey Kong Country: Returns Sequel
With Donkey Kong Country: Returns, Retro rebooted a classic
series and made Donkey Kong relevant again for the first time in years. A
sequel to this critically reclaimed and financially successful game certainly
isn't a long shot. It might, however, be
a little too soon for one right now, and I have a feeling Nintendo would want Retro
working on something new and exciting for their Wii U debut.
Final Verdict: Somewhat Possible
A Legend of Zelda game
While still widely beloved by millions of gamers, there have
been some concerns recently that the esteemed Zelda series is losing some of
its legendary luster. Handing the series over to Retro Studios would go a long
way towards reinvigorating the series with fresh game design. Nintendo already
has a history of entrusting Zelda other companies; such as with Capcom's amazing
handheld Zelda games (and the Philips Cd-I's less than amazing take on the series).
While Zelda's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, has said
in the past that Zelda could be a good fit for Retro Studios, he has more
recently said that the developer is currently busy working on something else. Miyamoto
saying flat-out that Retro isn't working on Zelda, seems to kill the chances of
their next game being one.
Final Verdict: Unlikely, (For now at least).
Some sort of Mario game
After Retro Studio's success with other Nintendo series, it
isn't out of the question that the developer could one day make a Mario game.
However, I don't see Nintendo handing the reigns to their mascot series to a
third party developer just yet. Nintendo also already has a major Mario game
launching with the Wii U, making the chances of Retro working on one even more
Final Verdict: A very big "Maybe"
Now that you've read my musings, what do you think/hope
Retro is working on?
Email the author Parker Lemke, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.