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The Texas studio’s latest hire is New Super Lucky’s Tale designer Mark Capers from nearby Playful.
Capers has previously acted as a designer for Epic Mickey and its sequel, so he will be familiar to a number of fellow Junction Point veterans already present in Retro’s design team.
Playful Studios recently announced it was “significantly” reducing its full-time staff as it transitions to a new production model.
The man Capers would’ve previously reported into, New Super Lucky’s Tale and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze lead designer Stephen Dupree, re-joined Retro in late 2019 after a two-year absence.
Retro’s second new design hire is James Beech, a designer who has worked on several titles including Crysis 3, DC Universe Online and Eternal Darkness 2, the canned sequel to Silicon Knights’ GameCube exclusive.
Both Capers and Beech will be environment designers in their new roles at Retro.
Dupree and Metroid Prime 3 designers Bill Vandervoort, Jay Fuller and Russell O’Henly are among the most experienced designers at Retro.
It’s currently unclear if Texas-based Retro is working on any projects in addition to Metroid.
Nintendo announced in early 2019 that it had decided to “restart development from the beginning” for Metroid Prime 4, with producer Kensuke Tanabe calling in series creator Retro to take over the project from its original, unannounced developer.
Retro has been hiring for Metroid Prime 4 ever since and its jobs page is still advertising for a lead animator and senior designer, among other roles.
One recent hire is Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Battlefield V art director Jhony Ljungstedt. Retro had been advertising for an art director role for more than a year before Ljungstedt’s hiring.
Veteran Halo creative Kyle Hefley, also joined as the studio’s new lead character artist in August. Hefley acted as senior character modeller for the Halo series and modelled many or the armoured super soldiers and alien warriors that appeared in Halo 4, Halo 5 and the upcoming Halo Infinite, including Halo 5’s Master Chief.
Around half of the full-time developers who worked on Metroid Prime 3 remain at Retro Studios, according to VGC analysis conducted in August 2019.
It found that a core team of around 50 people worked full-time on the 2007 Wii shooter and around 27 remained at the developer, including four contractors made permanent.
Crucially, five of Metroid Prime 3’s 11 designers were still at Retro and potentially working on the upcoming Metroid Prime 4.
However, from the original Metroid Prime – which released almost two decades ago – less than 10 of the 40-plus team members remained at Retro and virtually all of the lead creators had moved on.