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Creator / Retro Studios

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Retro Studios is an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas.

The company was founded by Jeff Spangenberg in 1998, after he left Acclaim and was given funding by Nintendo to create four new games for their upcoming Nintendo GameCube system, targeting older audiences. Due to incredibly poor management, which included Spangenberg rarely appearing at the studio, Shigeru Miyamoto eventually stepped in to assess the damage. While disappointed in most of their work, Miyamoto was impressed by the work done for an action/adventure game called Metaforce and urged the team to create a new Metroid title instead, set to be the first one since the genre-defining SNES installment. Every other project would soon end up cancelled in favor of the studio focusing all their efforts on what would become Metroid Prime, which was released in November 2002 and, despite the aforementioned struggles, became one of the most beloved titles for the system and the start of a critically-acclaimed sub-series of First Person Shooters. In the months before Prime's release, Nintendo would hastily acquire Spangenberg's controlling shares due to his terrible leadership and ousted him from the company (probably didn't help that he was hosting a softcore porn site on their servers), turning Retro Studios into a first-party developer for the Japanese gaming giant just as Rare was about to leave Nintendo for Microsoft. For his part, Spangenberg would go on to make The Guy Game. Make of that what you will.

Following the completion of the Metroid Prime Trilogy and the departure of key talent from the studionote , Retro Studios once again found themselves experimenting with a number of ideas until they were tasked with revitalizing another dormant franchise. Miyamoto desired to make a new entry in the Donkey Kong Country series, with Retro Studios being chosen as the development team due to CEO Michael Kelbaugh having past experience with the series as a Q&A tester. Donkey Kong Country Returns would be revealed during E3 2010 and released that holiday season to great reception from fans and critics alike. Retro would remain tied to the franchise for the next several years, being responsible for the Donkey Kong-related aspects and "retro" tracks of Mario Kart 7, as well as creating a sequel in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which would later be considered one of the best games in the franchise.

The remainder of the decade saw Retro Studios primarily focused on an unknown project that unfortunately got stuck in Development Hell, and unless the occasional picture of barbecued chicken was some sort of clue, we may never know what that project was. But in an eerie mirror to the studio's beginnings, this project was ultimately scrapped to make way for their return to the Metroid Prime series, with them becoming the new developers for Metroid Prime 4 following that game's initial troubled production at a different company.

Games developed/co-developed by Retro Studios