- Nintendo once canceled a Portal-style game by Retro Studios in its prototype stage.
- The prototype was presented to the Nintendo higher up who rejected it, given his unfamiliarity with Portal.
- Nintendo has dropped several other Retro projects to keep its focus on the Metroid Prime series.
In a recent reveal by a YouTube channel, DidYouKnowGaming, Nintendo once canned a Portal-style puzzle game by Retro Studios, the team behind the popular Metroid Prime series. The project called Adept was presented to a Nintendo higher-up, in its prototype state, but he wasn’t convinced with it. The YouTube channel also disclosed several other Retro projects that were canceled by Nintendo to focus on Metroid Prime.
As revealed by DidYouKnowGaming, Retro Studios had prepared a playable prototype of Adept after the completion of Metroid Prime 3 in 2007. It was built on the Metroid Prime engine and its concept was very similar to Valve’s Portal which was impressing the masses at that time. While Portal had players use a special weapon to manipulate space around them, Adept used cylinders, that allowed a lot of activities such as pushing and pulling force, teleportation, solving puzzles, and so on.
Adept’s early footage never made its way online until recently when DidYouKnowGaming uploaded a video about the Retro projects that couldn’t have the privilege of the development stage at Nintendo.
We learn in the video that the Adept prototype was singlehandedly created by Paul Tozour, who has worked as a programmer on Metroid Prime 2 and 3. The prototype was presented to Kensuke Tanabe who was the producer on the Metroid Prime series at that time. Tozour’s work did not click with him and so the project was rejected. According to Tozour, the cancellation was due to Kensuke’s unfamiliarity with Portal.
Nintendo Japan is very insular, and there is very much a ‘not invented here’ syndrome,” says Paul Tozour.
Tozour further reveals that at one point he even offered a copy of the prototype to Kensuke for him to try to understand his pitch but he was politely put down by saying that it was against the company’s policy to accept gifts. Tozour blamed himself for the rejection and thought it could make the way if it just had a simpler UI. But, in my opinion, since it was only a prototype, advancing the project might have allowed for simplification or any modifications Nintendo wanted.
The only offer Nintendo made to Tozour was that he could continue working on Adept if he could move it to Nintendo DS. Tozour says he was not sure about the game’s functionality on the handheld and decided to let go of it. Further in the video, we learn that Nintendo has dropped two promising titles in favor of the Metroid Prime project.
The first project Raven Blade, which even had a trailer, was canceled due to its seven to eight-year development timeline and the GameCube’s limitations. Metaforce, the second project, underwent multiple revisions before getting canned. Developer John Whitmore says the original project had some of his finest design work but it was dropped to focus on the Nintendo’s IP.
In any case, Retro Studios has proven its capabilities with the popularity of the Metroid Prime series. The studio’s recent release Metroid Prime remastered was topping retail charts despite stock shortages. Currently, the studio is working on the long-awaited Metroid Prime 4 which was announced in 2017 and was originally under Bandai Namco until the development restarted at Retro Studios in 2019.
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