Metroid Prime Engineer Was Disappointed With Nintendo Wii Specs


A former Retro Studios engineer who worked on the Metroid Prime Trilogy admits that he was disappointed in the hardware specs of the Nintendo Wii.

The Nintendo Wii is one of the gaming industry’s biggest success stories, turning people of all ages into gamers overnight just with a little white motion controller. However, it is no secret that the Wii’s direct competitors at the time, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, had a big leg up on pure hardware capability, leading many hardcore gamers to dismiss Nintendo’s petite white box. Former technical lead engineer on all 3 Metroid Prime games, Jack Matthews, recently spoke with podcaster Reece Reilly (a.k.a. Kiwi Talkz) about his experience developing the trilogy and that by the time the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption rolled around, he was becoming burned-out on the Nintendo Wii’s specs.

For Matthews, the Wii’s underpowered hardware made him feel like he was confined to “staying a bit in a box” while developing the Metroid Prime games and that working for Nintendo made him feel as if he was ” a bit behind” the times. Being a young and bright-eyed developer in the games industry Matthews wanted to work on the coolest titles he could and the hardware of the Wii didn’t exactly allow for that.

Matthews made it clear that being confined to that ” box” wasn’t a deal-breaker for him as he found it easy enough, but rather the repetitiveness of working in that same space over and over again is what eventually got to him. By the time Retro Studios got around to the third entry in the Prime trilogy, Matthews was excited to work on new hardware but was disappointed to realize that “the Wii [was] fundamentally very similar hardware to the GameCube.”

Matthews pushed on through to the end of Prime 3‘s development, specializing in work on Samus’ visors, but very quickly left the Wii hardware far behind when everything had wrapped up. Feeling the need to really branch out and make something his own, Matthews would then go on to found Armature studios where he would work on the likes of ReCore and Batman Arkham Origins: Black Gate.

No one can blame Matthews for wanting to take on new challenges, and while ReCore and Batman Arkham Origins: Black Gate didn’t exactly light the gaming world on fire, the Metroid Prime trilogy remains one of the most lauded trilogies in gaming. Unfortunately, the only way to play the collected trilogy of games remains with finding an actual copy of the Wii title or buying it digitally through the Wii U’s eShop. Not exactly ideal circumstances but currently, it is rumored that Nintendo has been holding on to the trilogy for release at a later date so hopefully that means the game will be in players’ hands by the end of 2022.