Rumour: Retro Studios Working On Donkey Kong



Love for Metroid in general is well-documented around these parts, so, naturally, when a site with rather strong ties to Nintendo claims that Texas-based Metroid Prime developers Retro Studios are working on a Donkey Kong revival, it makes one sit up and take notice.


Retro, originally founded by president of Iguana Entertainment (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter), Jeff Spangenberg, are a studio that has had its ups and downs. An outfit primarily accustomed to the first-person genre, at the time of their acquisition by Nintendo, Retro were, surprisingly, working on no less than five different Gamecube games — none of which were in first-person. It’s not surprise Only one of those — Metroid Prime — ever saw the light of day, as Nintendo shelved the other four to direct the entire studio’s efforts toward Prime.


Following the release of Prime, it was relatively smooth sailing for Retro until the period post the release of Metroid Prime 3, when studio design director Mark Pacini, art director Todd Keller, and principle technology engineer Jack Mathews parted ways with the company to found Electronic Arts’ Armature studio, which specializes in creating prototypes for new game ideas.


Then, last year, IGN staff mentioned a different, relatively low-profile rumour that Retro were once working on a Zelda spin-off, starring Sheik from Ocarina of Time, following the development of Metroid Prime 3, but that this project had been canceled as well. As of now, the possibility of a Donkey Kong revival — perhaps on 3DS? — remains our only hint as to the studio’s activity.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.