While you may not have guessed it, the Metroid Prime games and Donkey Kong Country Returns were both developed using the same engine, Nintendo have shared with GamesTM magazine (thanks, Nintendo Life).
Discussing the influence of Metroid Prime on the Donkey Kong games, Michael Kelbaugh, president of Retro Studios, revealed: “Specifically answering your question about 3D to 2D, what you may not realise is that we constructed the levels in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in very much the same manner as we did the levels in Metroid Prime.”
He added, “However, levels in Returns and Tropical Freeze are much, much larger and more detailed. And I’ll share this with you; we used the Metroid Prime engine and tools to develop Returns, so technically, the lessons learned on Metroid Prime were directly applied.”
Originally released for the Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns was later ported to the Nintendo 3DS by Monster Games, the developer behind Pilotwings Resort and Excitebots.