Concept

Retro Studios

Summary
Retro Studios, Inc. is an American video game developer and subsidiary of Nintendo based in Austin, Texas. The studio is best known for its work on the Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country series, and has contributed to several other Nintendo-developed projects, such as Mario Kart 7. Retro was founded on September 21, 1998, as an alliance between Nintendo and Iguana Entertainment founder Jeff Spangenberg, hoping to create games for the upcoming GameCube aiming at an older demographic. The company began work on four games, all of which were canceled once Retro focused their resources on Metroid Prime, the first Metroid game developed outside Japan. The success of Metroid Prime led Retro to work on three sequels, and later to become involved with reviving the Donkey Kong series with Donkey Kong Country Returns. Retro Studios was founded on September 21, 1998, as an alliance between Nintendo and industry veteran Jeff Spangenberg. Spangenberg subsequently launched the company from his home on October 1, using funds he generated with his previous ventures, including Iguana Entertainment. Nintendo saw an opportunity for the new studio to create games for the upcoming GameCube targeting an older demographic, in the same vein as Iguana Entertainment's successful Turok series for the Nintendo 64. Retro began with 4 key people in late 1998 and opened an office in Austin, Texas in early 1999 with a staff of 25 people, including several former Iguana employees. Despite not having access to GameCube development kits, the studio immediately began work on four projects for the GameCube: an action adventure game named MetaForce, a vehicular combat game with the working title Car Combat (also known as Thunder Rally), an American football simulator named NFL Retro Football, and role-playing game Raven Blade. By the time development began, the studio had already grown in size to 120 employees. The company continued to grow during production, eventually peaking at over 200 employees.
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