Do you guys remember Armature? The three leads who split off from Retro, causing many to theorize that Retro's best days were behind them? Let's revisit that.
I think Donkey Kong Country Returns is the best game that Retro has made. It replaced scanning with blowing, and the motion is unfortunate, but everything else about the game is fan-freaking-tastic. No complaints. Could it be that the departure of those three staff members actually made the company stronger? It certainly made it less steampunk-y, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing.
With only one title released since the splintering, though, it's hard to say how different Retro's output will be. Will they be managed more closely by Nintendo? How do you guys feel about Retro's momentum, as of now?
Well... I kind of think that it's difficult to compare pre and post departure. I mean, you claim it "made them less steampunky" but we're talking a slick sci-fi franchise versus a hop and bop jungle platformer, so DKCR would probably naturally have been a lot less steampunk anyway.
I also think Metroid Prime is their best game AND MAYBE THE BEST GAME EVER MADE so I disagree there, but at the same time, DKCR is pretty friggen awesome and I'm not sure how much better it could reasonably have been (aside from removing shake to roll) so I may just prefer the type of game Prime is.
I do feel like the art and sound design in DKCR were not quite up to par with the best in the Prime series. But there could be a billion explanations for this.
Basically, it seems to me that the departure hasn't changed things significantly one way or the other.
As for Armature, I'm kind of intrigued But I also suspect that they left because they wanted to get away from doing Nintendo type properties, which probably means a more generic M-rated game or something. Working with Capcom seems more promising than working with EA, I suppose.
I've always been excited about Armature because I wanted to see what they can do with one of the HD consoles. It is taking too long though. So long that I've stopped caring as much about that particular reason for my being excited.
I have lots of respect for those guys and what they did with Prime 1, so I'm still very anxiously waiting to see what they come up with.
But of course, Retro remains one of my top developers, and because they've proven themselves time and time again already (with including DKCR), Retro is the one I'm paying more attention to.
I can't really say. I don't like Metroid Prime, but I haven't played Donkey Kong Country Returns yet. I never felt like those three guys leaving Retro would mean the end of Retro's glory days though. I always thought that idea was stupid, and apparently DKCR is incredible, so I thought right
I guess I should've gone into a bit more detail about Armature. They are structured like Wideload Games (and Sora Ltd., I guess?). Their plan is to have the senior staff and planning in-house, and then outsource all of the grunt work. I'm not sure how it's worked for Wideload, but Sora has been doing alright! (Aren't they a proper company now, though?)
@Zero I already made allowances for the one-game-to-go-on thing! But it does seem pretty clear to me that the art lead has clear steampunk-y sort of leanings (which aren't to my taste). Hence, my assumption.
Wasn't the sound in Prime mostly out-of-house? At least for the first game? Kenji Yamamoto and Tommy Tallarico, or something? I thought the art direction in DKCR was great, actually. Perhaps a biiiit generic, but super-effective. Like a Pokemon attack!!
As for the Capcom comment - > Dark Void, Bionic Commando Re:Dreadlocked, etc.
From what I remember in an interview, Tommy wound up doing a lot of the staple sounds in the game...Samus shooting, the charge beam, etc....and then the development of Metroid Prime went on a roller coaster, and by the time the game came out, he wasn't properly given credit for the sounds (I guess they had completely forgotten that he did it, and was just in their sound library or whatever). I'm pretty sure he's been given credit for those sounds in the other Prime games.
@anandxxx Yeah but that was Capcom dumping off properties on crappy Western developers, right? Maybe a good Western developer would do something better? Albeit Armature isn't really a developer, it's just 3 dudes. Hmm.
They seem to be on a different tack these days, but it also seems that Capcom isn't the company they once were. A lot of serious talent has left that company in the last 5-6 years. Soon, only the suits will be left. Well, the suits and Jun Takeuchi.