• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Opinion Game Dev Hardware Metroid Prime Engineer Was Disappointed With Nintendo Wii Specs

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
31,211
39,078
1,415
ibiza

Former technical lead engineer on all 3 Metroid Prime games, Jack Matthews, recently spoke with podcaster Reece Reilly (a.k.a. Kiwi Talkz) about his experience developing the trilogy and that by the time the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption rolled around, he was becoming burned-out on the Nintendo Wii's specs.

For Matthews, the Wii's underpowered hardware made him feel like he was confined to "staying a bit in a box" while developing the Metroid Prime games and that working for Nintendo made him feel as if he was " a bit behind" the times. Being a young and bright-eyed developer in the games industry Matthews wanted to work on the coolest titles he could and the hardware of the Wii didn't exactly allow for that.

Matthews made it clear that being confined to that " box" wasn't a deal-breaker for him as he found it easy enough, but rather the repetiveness of working in that same space over and over again is what eventually got to him. By the time Retro Studios got around to the third entry in the Prime trilogy, Matthews was excited to work on new hardware but was disappointed to realize that "the Wii [was] fundamentally very similar hardware to the GameCube."

Matthews pushed on through to the end of Prime 3's development, specializing in work on Samus' visors, but very quickly left the Wii hardware far behind when everything had wrapped up. Feeling the need to really branch out and make something his own, Matthews would then go on to found Armature studios where he would work on the likes of ReCore and Batman Arkham Origins: Black Gate.

 

PrimeTime

Member
Nov 28, 2014
156
94
475
I remember playing Prime 3 and feeling like the experience kinda lacked something (despite the new controls and different direction). Perhaps the lack of inspiration was enmeshed in the development of the game.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Jan 30, 2010
15,865
5,688
1,410
https://twitter.com/Agnates
metacouncil.com
This is what you distill over an hour of discussion to? Your wording misrepresents his points and makes it sound like all 3 games were behind when 1 & 2 were on competitive tech and he enjoyed working on all 3 but wanted to move on after that. It wasn't this one technically outdated game (in largely the same engine, just a year into Wii's life, thus likely started as a GC game) that burned him out. His "new" (10yo) studio's best work is the VR port of Resident Evil 4. 15 years after Prime 3 doing GC level stuff with new motion controls, as Nintendo ambitiously slays all with BOTW etc. :rolleyes:
Edit: wops, outside limited contract work for prototypes that didn't move forward and some Bluepoint remasters he actually doesn't work in games & with Armature any more and instead he now works with his wife on her cooking blog Love & Lemons, did those nodding in agreement see this?💀
 
Last edited:

Cutty Flam

Member
Dec 3, 2019
4,258
5,676
720
The Wii is what killed Nintendo for me. It's when they stopped trying altogether and just accepted that they'd fill the role of the mobile games tier console market. Rest in peace Nintendo gaming 1984-2007.
I wasn't very enthused with it either. The fun factor and overall quality of games tanked imo because developers had to focus around the motion gimmick. It was kind of interesting for a year or two, but quickly lost it's appeal. Without VC, the system would have nearly been a complete bust for me. Best games were Mario Party 8 and Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy
 

ckaneo

Member
Oct 10, 2016
1,868
220
400
I remember playing Prime 3 and feeling like the experience kinda lacked something (despite the new controls and different direction). Perhaps the lack of inspiration was enmeshed in the development of the game.
Wasnt a lack of inspiration moreso when they were making it they realized the wii specs didnt match the vision. Game was suppose have a much bigger open world
 
Last edited:

H4ze

Member
Aug 20, 2019
824
800
350
Germany
It's like someone told us that snow is cold.. who would have thought that any dev would prefer a more capable console to program on?
 

Heimdall_Xtreme

Jim Ryan Fanclub's #1 Member
Jan 14, 2018
5,691
7,269
945
Without a doubt, Nintendo Wii is the worst Nintendo console I have ever owned and the worst I have ever played, second is N64.

And I agree that I use a different form of control, but that doesn't take away from the fact that they offered quality games in little quantity and a lot of garbage game.

For that reason I was not interested in Nintendo Wii U. Nintendo Switch was a 180° turn for me, one of the best on Nintendo.
 
Last edited:

elliot5

Member
Apr 22, 2021
3,804
8,591
550
Wii was dope. I played the shit outta COD: WaW multiplayer on it as a kid lol. Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, SB Brawl, The Conduit, Mario Kart, Twilight Princess, World of Goo, Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3...

As a kid I didn't care about the graphics at all (y) Though I eventually did migrate over onto a PS3 and PC as I became more interested in multiplayer stuff like TF2 and Black Ops
 

Holammer

Member
Jan 3, 2019
1,925
2,662
470
Remember all the shit Chris Hecker got for the "two GameCubes stuck together with duct tap" bit from GDC 2007.
I couldn't find the clip, but I remember raucous laughter from the audience.
 

ManaByte

Gold Member
Jun 10, 2004
43,946
79,260
2,525
California
manabyte.com
Remember all the shit Chris Hecker got for the "two GameCubes stuck together with duct tap" bit from GDC 2007.
I couldn't find the clip, but I remember raucous laughter from the audience.
 

skit_data

Member
Nov 3, 2020
3,099
7,450
490
Sweden
I can understand that. Wii was my dividing point with Nintendo personally. They have somehow made up for it by merging their handhelds and home consoles in the form of Switch but they are still ”a gen behind” in terms of technological progress in the home console context.
 
Last edited:

amigastar

Member
May 14, 2018
1,458
1,384
415
39
Not only the console was weak, it had one of the worst names in console history. The Wii. The Wii U was even a worse name.
 
Last edited:
Jan 20, 2018
896
966
370
BTW, Metroid Prime, especially 3 looks amazing in VR. It took me way longer than it should to realize that very best VR games for my Quest 2 are GameCube and Wii games.
 
  • Fire
Reactions: Closer

K' Dash

Member
Sep 7, 2006
9,903
1,702
1,640
That's what every young engineer feels like when working in the real world.

You're not going to work on bleeding edge tech, you're not going to do innovative stuff, you're definitely not going to work on the latest and greatest of anything.

What you do is what the company tells you to do, build upon what the others engineers before you have been working on and play it safe.
 

TheDuskwalker

Member
Feb 1, 2018
1,953
2,541
510
Understand his point, but it's ironic his studios first game was then a 3DS game (Batman Blackgate) after he felt that way at Retro.
 

Azelover

Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.
Dec 3, 2004
4,327
1,896
1,755
I really enjoyed the Wii, for what it was.

And I thought Prime 3 looked really good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Closer

LordOfChaos

Member
Mar 31, 2014
12,269
7,963
985
This is another thing about the specs don't matter for Nintendo crowd. Their own first party studios wanted more, and could do more given the hardware. They work creatively within the bounds they have, but it's like giving an artist more paints to work with, there's just more you can do.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

Member
Nov 1, 2020
1,213
2,654
425
Anybody who gave a shit about technology was disappointed with Wii specs. It was a time when GPUs and CPUs were rapidly advancing, and Nintendo went with an overclocked GameCube.

“but I still had fun” “it made a lot of money” “art style is more important” “some people didn’t have HDTV yet”

OK yeah. But the specs sucked
 

Captain Toad

I advertise for PlayStation. For free.
Dec 1, 2020
5,424
15,180
660
No shit.
The Wii was just a GC with 50% over clock and a bit more ram.
Similar story to Switch and Wii U.

It's funny. Nintendo releases a console that is a commercial bomb. Then, they release a new console, which is basically the same as their failed console, now even more dated tech, but now with some sort of new gimmick (motion controls or hybrid) and it goes on to be a massive success.
 

Flabagast

Member
Feb 24, 2021
553
1,190
335
Of course he was, I dont know anyone who was satisfied with it (except little liers N-fanboys of course)
 

Banjo64

Member
Dec 8, 2020
4,093
13,129
645
Game was a massive disappointment.
Theres a reason why nobody talks about this game lol
Reaction to the DE was good.

 

LordOfChaos

Member
Mar 31, 2014
12,269
7,963
985
Similar story to Switch and Wii U.

It's funny. Nintendo releases a console that is a commercial bomb. Then, they release a new console, which is basically the same as their failed console, now even more dated tech, but now with some sort of new gimmick (motion controls or hybrid) and it goes on to be a massive success.

I think the Switch gets a pass for being mobile, but yeah, it's not a massive step up over the Wii U and few seem to recognize that. It gets much more development because of its success. But undocked it's only a little better GPU wise albeit more modern, a bit better CPU wise again albeit more modern, 3X the game usable RAM is decent though (BoTW seemed to have a high RAM mode exclusive to it that took more time to get to the menu , using more than the Wii U's 1GB game RAM allocation - I wonder why they could never offer that to other devs). Docked it may be 2-300% better GPU wise but still not quite a generational bound.

In terms of what it can do for a game it's not that fundamentally different than the Wii U.

Success can do a lot for development regardless of the specs, but as mentioned above, success != talking about specs

I’m sure the Metroid prime 4 team is disappointed with switch specs

Unless they're going to be the show off title for the Switch Pro...A man can dream, can't he...A man can dream.
 
Last edited:

DonkeyPunchJr

Member
Nov 1, 2020
1,213
2,654
425
Similar story to Switch and Wii U.

It's funny. Nintendo releases a console that is a commercial bomb. Then, they release a new console, which is basically the same as their failed console, now even more dated tech, but now with some sort of new gimmick (motion controls or hybrid) and it goes on to be a massive success.
There’s just no rhyme or reason to Nintendo history. Wii U was very dated and the most gimmicky and it tanked massively. DS introduced a new gimmick and started off slowly, but eventually became so successful they canceled the Gameboy successor. Switch is almost literally an old Nvidia Shield tablet with some controller attachments and might just be their most successful product yet.

Hindsight is 20/20 but I feel like anybody who thinks they can predict it beforehand or knows what “Nintendo should do” is full of shit. Not even Nintendo knows that lol.
 
Jan 20, 2018
896
966
370
How do you play Metroid Prime on quest 2?
Dolphin VR for full headtracking but it lacks shader cache so it stuttery. Personally I use normal Dolphin with something that have stereoscopic view (Virtual Desktop or similiar) Dolphin natively support stereoscopic mode (choose in graphics options)
 

PJX

Member
May 23, 2007
1,752
401
1,440
Game was a massive disappointment.
Theres a reason why nobody talks about this game lol
There are a lot of games that nobody talk about it. Does that make them shit? No it doesn't. Hilariously pathetic logic.
 
  • Fire
Reactions: Closer

ReBurn

Member
Dec 6, 2008
14,066
5,981
1,405
SC USA
ReCore DE is 5 bucks for the Black Friday sale. The res and FPS boost on Series X make it an excellent bargain. In my opinion if you like 3rd person action and platforming it's a good time. Especially at the current price.
 

Razvedka

Member
Oct 20, 2018
779
1,044
445
Yeah Nintendo hardware has been overpriced and underperforming since the GCN, per what this engineer was saying. It's only acceptable because fans don't hold Nintendo to account.

It's so weird because Nintendo could put in a bit more effort and their first party titles would shine all the more *and* they'd get more quality ports of third party titles.