Retro Studios

Metroid Prime 1.5 [GameCube – Cancelled Pitch]

Metroid 1.5 was an undeveloped new game in the Metroid Prime series, internally pitched at Retro Studios between the development of Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. This lost project was found in 2011 thanks to online research by Mama Robotnik on the NeoGAF forum, who unveiled the Metroid 1.5 design document written by former Metroid Prime designer:

“This adventure would take place immediately after Samus takes off from the surface of Talon IV. Upon exiting the planets surface, Samus decides to take a long rest in her Cryo chamber as her ship autopilots home. However, something goes wrong and Samus’’s ship computer hones in on a distress signal. The distress signal is coming from a huge alien vessel (huge, like the size of several Star Destroyers) that is drifting out in space. As Samus’s ship approaches the alien craft, a tractor beam activates and the Ship is pulled into one of the gigantic docking bays. As the ships doors close, the gigantic vessel folds and enters a parallel dimension, thus begins Samus’’ new adventure…

Upon awakening, the ship appears to be abandoned, there is no power except for auxiliary lights and telemetry from computers. It is up to Samus to unravel this mystery. The mystery being that the ship’s AI has gone mad and the ship is actually a war vessel that is on a collision course with a peaceful planet. It’s goal? The entire enslavement of the race of beings on said planet as well as natural resource stripping as its (the planets) destruction. So in essence, the ship AI has split into several different personalities, and is playing a deadly game with Samus. The Alien inhabitants of the ship are also in a state of suspended animation because as the ship travels through the parallel dimension, the alien inhabitants are being created and refined for warfare until the ship arrives at its destination and assaults the planet…. However, the robotic and automated entities are not, these will be the primary enemies that Samus must deal with. In addition, Samus must also deal with the ships cunning AI, who will all the while be taunting her and trying to trick her at every opportunity.”

“The Main reason Samus and possibly other Bounty Hunters are being pulled into this ship is to assimilate their best and most deadly abilities into the personality construct of not only the ships AI, but also into the actual Alien Inhabitants in order to further their quest for perfection. As the ship reaches its target, it will unfold into this dimension and begin its attack. This has what the ship and Alien race who created it has have been doing for past thousand or so years, going from planet to planet, assimilating the most violent parts of a culture and asserting it into its own being.

The main goal for Samus is to disable the engines of the ship, destroy the AI, and eradicate all life forms on the ship. The catch is that even though Samus is all powerful from her previous item acquisition on Talon IV, she will be limited to use them in certain areas of the ship due to the containment matrix that the Rogue AI has set up all over the ship. This will force the player to handle situations differently than expected, and once the containment matrix is disabled, Samus will be free to use all of her abilities. Due to being in a parallel dimension, there are areas within the ship where floors may become ceiling due to gravity being reversed, Time may run backwards, (illustrated by creatures and machines moving in reverse, water moving up into a faucet) and other sorts of environmental weirdness, that Samus as well as other Bounty hunters will have to learn to adjust to in order to survive.”

“Mad AI, the central computer of the ship has gone crazy, it sees inviting Samus onto the ship as a game for its amusement. Will taunt and try to trip Samus up at every move. The Mad AI has four distinct personalities…: The Child, The Killer, the Martyr, and the Fool… each one is deadly and utilizes different tactics and techniques.”

This cancelled project was meant to have a short development time, to release it shortly after the first Metroid Prime while the main team would take their time to develop the true sequel:

“So this is pretty much what I think we could crank out in a year, A Smaller Adventure with expanded mechanics and a few new ones thrown in. The beauty of spaceship design is that a lot of corridors and hub rooms can be reused over and over again, with minor variation; it also lends itself well to our room/door/hall layout. Plus, we can make the world denser by exploiting the super structure of the ship using morphball mechanics. Even though the idea of an AI gone mad has been used before in games as well as films, I feel that we could put a unique twist on it. And by allowing Samus to use only certain abilities in certain parts of the game, we can get a fair amount of replay value by offering the player different solutions to a single problem. This I feel would satisfy gamers who completed Prime and are hungry for something more with a few new mechanics and ideas thrown in.

With the addition of the co-op multiplayer components I have noted in the previous paragraphs, I feel that we would still have a game that feels like Metroid, albeit the feeling of Isolation would no longer be there, at the expense of the multi-player experience. However, I think the by unlocking the additional multi-player modes, after the actual game is completed, it won’t detract from the experience. Unlike TimeSplitters 1 and 2, we can keep the player focused on the main portion or adventure of the game which is what Metroid is all about.”

Concept art was also found in the design doc and on the websites of other former Retro Studios developers. You can find a deep-dive into the document’s details on Wikitroid.

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Donkey Kong Country Returns [Wii – Beta / Unused Stuff]

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game developed by Retro Studios and released by Nintendo for the Wii console on November 21, 2010, in North America, December 3, 2010, in Europe, and on December 9, 2010, in Japan. It is the series’s first traditional home console installment since Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and also the first Donkey Kong Country entry not to involve Rare during the development. (Info from Wikipedia)

Development on Donkey Kong Country Returns started in 2008, but it wasn’t until E3 2010 that it was revealed to the public.

On the Gameplay and E3 trailers, we can notify some small things:

  • -Health Icon is a sightly different.
  • -Game general Font is much different.
  • -0:32 = When Donkey Kong bounces on the three enemies consecutively, he does not preform a spin followed by a somersault, like he does in the final version.
  • -0:47 = Diddy and Donkey Kong team Icon is Cyan, on the Final Version, the color is Blue.
  • -1:00 = The bombs on this stage is much more faster them the Final Version.
  • -1:06 = It’s possible to see again the Cyan color, but on the 2-Player Mode.
  • -1:13 = On the final version of this stage, it doesn’t have “automatic” barrels.
  • -1:20 = The stage don’t have storm and darkness.
  • -1:36 = Different scene.
  • An another gameplay video (which was playable after the E3 event), shows other miscellaneous stuff:

  • -Font, Health Icon and other lighten stuff is a little different.
  • -At the end, the background is Yellow, on the Final version, it shows as Green.
  • On an ANOTHER video, it shows a MUCH different title screen, and other stuff (which was already shown on the other videos)

  • -Different Title Screen (the Buttons, the Logo, the Font and specially the Background)
  • An Show at the Television did show DKCR gameplay (at before releases)… It shows again the other stuff, but we can also see other stuff:

  • -The Instructions appears from no where, at the Final Version, the Tutorial Pig appears in the background and explains the controls
  • The video below shows some animations of Donkey Kong Country Returns:

    Progressing into the Beta related stuff, when you progress in the game, you unlock some concept arts… They are separated into enemies, characters, levels and others…
    Some interesting stuff of those concept arts, are the Levels… Much levels have been changed in the development, such as Golden Temple… Some characters did changed too, such as Rambi, which was to be much more Realistic…

    It was also found on the Game Disc, that DKCR was to have 4-Player modes, still is unknown about it, but probably other Kongs could be in, similar to New Super Mario Bros. mechanism.
    Maybe was scrapped because of Copyrights of RARE:

    Click to zoom-in, it will open in another tab

    Images:

    Those images shows the stuff from previous videos, like the different icons, fonts and etc.

     

    Metroid Prime 3: Corruption [Wii – Beta]

    Retro Studios intended to give Metroid Prime 3: Corruption larger environments than Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and enable the game to run at 60 frames per second. The developers were also interested in using the WiiConnect24 feature to provide additional content for the game that would be accessible from the Internet. A small Metroid Prime 3 Tech Demo was shown at E3 2005, created with the MP2 3D Engine. Nintendo then demonstrated how Metroid Prime 3 would take advantage of the controller’s special abilities with a version of Echoes modified for the Wii and shown at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005. The title Corruption and some of the first gameplay footage were revealed at Nintendo’s Media Release at the E3 2006 trade show.

    From early screenshots we can notice that the Ridley fight in the beta did not have Meta-Ridley as in the final, different HUD, graphic details and thanks to some concept arts we can see various early character designs that were created before the final ones.

    Also, thanks to a model viewer created by Interdpth and Revel8n, it is possible to find various unused models hidden in the game’s data. You can download the Metroid Prime model viewer (mpxviewer) in here. If you are able to find more unused models, please do let us know.

    In January 2012, thanks to fundraising organized by user over on Assembler Games, a 2006 demo, which documented a beta version of the second planet of Metroid Prime 3, was dumped and released to the community. The proto was developed to run on Gamecube hardware with 128 mb of ram, so it’s playable only on a custom version of the Wii emulator Dolphin. Using the debug menu it is possible to active/deactivate the various power-up and to try the third-person  camera.  The map is still incomplete, so only a few areas are accessible. Apart from minor differences, the general layout of the location is remarkably similar to the final version. Cutscenes are unfinished, and of course  the interface is still based on the gamecube controller.

    Thanks to Dark_ViVi for the contribution!

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    Metroid Prime 2: Echoes [GameCube – Beta]

    Metroid Prime 2 for the GCN was a bit of a change from the metroid standard, as it featured for the first time, ammo for the beam weapons, and the ability to explore a dark world version of the main world. A bonus disk with a demo of the game on it was released as a gift from nintendo for a limited time, and a pack in bonus with copies of the first Metroid Prime. The demo takes several short cuts, jumping you straight to a mining facility that comes along a little later in the game. However, there are differences outside of that, that can’t quite be chalked up as cut backs for a demo release.

    Video 1

    3:40 Luminoth Webbing. scan is not in final game

    3:53 “Mechanisms” is missing from log directory

    3:56 it says that the statue’s motivator unit is broken, and won’t move. inthe final, instead of an eye, it has a dark crystal that when shot with the right beam, DOES move.

    4:28 warns of a terminal fall ahead. not in the final game. Also, Luminoth Lore piece is missing from side of wall.

    Video 2

    2:04 Dark Webbing. scan is not in final game.

    Video 3

    This cut-scene is not in the final game.

    Also, in one room in the final game, you can see a large number of flying enemies, but since you can only see it in morph ball form through normal play, you can’t scan it. However, if you enter the room by other means, such as going through or over walls with a glitch or Action Replay, you can scan it. The scan is as follows (as wrote on Wikitroid):

    “Mechanism: Airthorns. Rogue airborne mechanoids. Targets are small and travel in packs for safety. Avoid contact.”

    “The Luminoth made the Airthorn to patrol local airspace. The small, speedy machines were a boon to the war effort until their programming failed. Now rogue, they serve the Ing as fiercely as they served their creators.”

    More information about unused enemies can be found at The Cutting Room Floor.

    There are also enemies that were planned to be in the game at one point, but appear to have not even made it off of the concept art, which can be viewed at the Metroid Database

    Retro Studios decided against recycling the features of the first game, and instead used new sound models, weapon effects, and art designs. They also implemented the Screw Attack and wall jumping features seen in previous Metroid games, which were not incorporated in the first Prime due to time constraints. [Infos from Wikipedia]

    In some Pre-Release screenshots we can notice that the Hud, Dark Samus colors, the score counter in the Multiplayer mode and the visor hud while in morph ball are different. Also, there are other little changes in the scenarios.

    Also, thanks to a model viewer created by Interdpth and Revel8n it’s possible to find various unused models hidden in the game’s code. You can download the Metroid Prime model viewer (mpxviewer) in here. If you are able to find more unused models, please let us know!

    Images: