Retro Studios is hard at work on Metroid Prime 4 and over the last few months, we’ve had several announcements of new developers joining the company. Yesterday, news broke that two more game designers have been recruited: Mark Capers, formerly of Playful Studios (New Super Lucky’s Tale) and James Beech (Crysis 3, DC Universe Online). Capers comes to Retro after significant layoffs at Playful Studios along with the returning Stephen Dupree, who was the lead designer of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze before working at Playful for two years. Capers and Beech will both be environment designers. We can’t wait to see the worlds they produce in Samus’s next adventure!
We have published a brand new feature to the website! This time around, we highlight the history of Metroid amiibo, the toys-to-life platform created by Nintendo which first released in 2014. Our feature highlights the history of each Metroid themed amiibo, its functions and a short review of the quality of each figure. At the time of writing, there have been six Metroid amiibo released, the latest being Dark Samus in the Super Smash Bros. series. Will we ever see more? Only the future will tell..
Development of Metroid Prime 4 is well underway at Retro Studios, and a new addition to the team has just been confirmed. Jhony Ljungstedt, who is credited for his work on the Battlefield and Medal of Honor franchises as an Art Director, has confirmed via his LinkedIN profile recently that he will be leaving his role at EA Dice for a position at Retro Studios.
Today was my last day at DICE and it’s with mixed feelings I’m leaving something that’s been part of my life for such a long time. It’s been great journey and I feel privileged to have got the chance to work with all the talented people at DICE, you will all be missed… Now I’m ready for a new chapter in my life, and looking forward to my new journey at Retro Studios.
While his specific role isn’t confirmed, it can be presumed that he has taken the Art Director position that Retro Studios first advertised for in November 2018. Back in September, we reported on the roles Retro Studios were advertising at the time. Since then, more job opportunities have been made available. Here’s an updated list:
Positions still available
Lead Graphics Engineer (April 26, 2019)
Senior Designer (August 09, 2019)
Lead Engineer (August 20, 2019)
Lead, IT Engineer (Updated role from previously advertised IT Manager) (August 29, 2019)
Lead Animator (November 6th, 2019)
Lead VFX Artist (November 6th 2019)
CONTRACT – Product Tester (November 26th 2019)
CONTRACT – Concept Artist (November 26th 2019)
CONTRACT – Environment Outsourcing Review Artist (December 16th 2019)
Technical Animator (January 7th 2020)
Environment Terrain Artist (January 29th 2020)
Positions no longer listed
Art Director (November 12, 2018)
Lead Cinematics Artist (April 26, 2019)
Senior Material Artist (August 09, 2019)
Environment Designer (August 09, 2019)
Director of Development (August 12, 2019)
Our first Community Spotlight of 2020 is now available! Our latest Spotlight marks the twenty-eighth feature in this series, and we are delighted to have shared some talented individuals and groups with Metroid focused projects or skills, and aim to continue doing so into the future!
Today, we are pleased to be highlighting the great work of an animator called Superstupidy, who has created some impressive Metroid focused animations. He has been inspired by stop motion from a young age, and his introduction to Metroid Fusion and the Metroid Prime trilogy of games led him to bring two passions together. We felt his work was really brilliant, and deserved some further recognition. So I hope you will take the time to check out his work, and support him on the links contained within his Community Spotlight feature.
Last year, an officially licensed Metroid Calendar was released, featuring artwork from across the whole series. For a series that doesn’t often see lots of merchandise, it was great to see. Just recently, a 2021 calendar has been made available for pre-order on Amazon, and published by Abrams Books, who published the 2020 calendar. A shot from the back of the calendar features on the website, which seems to focus on artwork from the Metroid Prime trilogy of games, and a few others.
The calendar is currently available for $14.99 for US Amazon customers, and £12.99 on Amazon’s UK website, with many more retailers out there offering similar prices.
Update: Shortly after this news post was being written, the image was pulled from Amazon’s public listings. However, we have managed to grab some further images and upload them here
Our first feature of the year is focused on the development team of the original Famicom Disk System (and NES release) of Metroid. The year 2020 marks thirty four years since Samus Aran first blasted onto our television screens, and this feature asks where that development team currently reside. Many of them have gone on to create other memorable titles within Nintendo, and some have been promoted within the company to more senior levels. We also remember the Producer and father of Metroid, Mr. Yokoi.
We have reached the end of 2019, and while it has been another quiet year for Metroid, we are proud of the content we have been able to put together for you over the past twelve months. As the person responsible for Shinesparkers, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year gone by, and highlight the hard work of the team and all involved in making this community possible.
In total, we have published thirteen new additions to our Community Spotlight page, thirteen Features and an awesome interview with the legendary Idzuki Kouji, the illustrator and author of the Samus & Joey and Metroid EX manga. We are proud to have highlighted some incredibly talented individuals who have showcased some great Metroid fan projects, and to promote the work of our team with their own written pieces.
I do not take our team for granted. Whether they’re a writer, creating graphics for our headers, or doing their bit to ensure everything runs smoothly in my absence, I massively appreciate it and I value them greatly. To the team, I want to say thank you for putting up with my tasks, my deadlines and tolerating my crazy ideas for the community. It means an awful lot!
Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of Shinesparkers. We aim to put together some special content to celebrate this milestone. One thing I am happy to announce, is the Shinesparkers Podcast! Each month (or as often as we can) we will be getting the team together to discuss topics on the Metroid franchise. We are even hoping to bring together some special guests to join us! Please keep your eyes on the website for more information in the very near future..
Our End of Year feature this year is a fun little quiz, which involve members of the team answering various questions relating to Metroid and the website. It was quite entertaining, and we hope you will enjoy what we put together! You can check out the feature below.
All that is left to say is Happy New Year to our readers. We hope you enjoyed what we put together for you, and we hope you will join us in 2020 for more exciting content!
For our final Community Spotlight of 2019, we are highlighting the work of Son of Fire Cosplay, who has created some impressive Metroid themed costumes that you may not ordinarily see in the cosplay scene. His creations include a Phazon Suit, Federation Trooper, and he is currently working on a Fusion Suit cosplay! We encourage you to check out his work by clicking the link below!