The Nintendo Wii is arguably one of the innovative video game consoles ever released, but when it comes to raw power – at the time, it was well behind the competition. This led to some third-party developers completely skipping the generation, and even certain Nintendo teams were forced to rethink their approach to next-generation games after being caught off guard by the hardware’s technical limitations.
In an interview with podcaster Reece Reilly – AKA: Kiwi Talkz
“Like honestly, when the Wii came out, on a technical side of things, I was a little disappointed in it and that might have also led to some of that fatigue, I really wanted to work on really cool things and I think Bryan Walker mentioned it…but part of that really did stick with me, that technically staying with Nintendo was going to mean staying a bit in a box and a bit behind, and so creatively as an engineer, that was a creative problem for me. It was hard to justify that.”
While Matthews didn’t necessarily have a problem working within certain constraints, it was the fact it was going to be essentially working within the “same box” again – with the Wii sharing a close resemblance to the GameCube hardware. This also made Nintendo’s next-generation far less appealing to him:
“It’s easy to work in a box but when it’s that same box – and again, the Wii is fundamentally very similar hardware to the GameCube. Now the controller stuff was really cool and innovative, but I am not a gameplay programmer, I don’t really do all that much in terms of gameplay, the closest I get to gameplay is working on the visors. And so for me creatively it really did kind of sting a little bit that on Prime 3… I personally was very excited – and I know some other people were – to work on what would have been next-generation hardware, and then when that was sort of pulled out, I didn’t have that much of a desire to keep working on the Wii after that for very long, so there’s one of the reasons I left.”
Matthews went on to found Armature Studios – working on games like ReCore and Batman Arkham Origins: Black Gate. What are your thoughts about him leaving Retro Studios and the Metroid Prime series behind because of the technical limitations of the Nintendo Wii? Leave a comment down below.