Retro Studios discuss their “symbiotic relationship” with Nintendo


In a lengthier interview discussing Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Retro Studios president and CEO Michael Kelbaugh has discussed the company’s “symbiotic relationship” with Nintendo.

Even Nintendo’s Software Planning & Development Division (SPD) producer Kensuke Tanabe shared that they may one day work directly under Shigeru Miyamoto’s leadership for a project, believing them to be “a very capable game development studio.”

“Tanabe-san and his team at SPD are our primary contacts at Nintendo,” Kelbaugh explained in Official Nintendo Magazine‘s latest issue. “Please let me be clear: games developed at Retro Studios are a collaboration between members from Retro Studios, SPD and other entities throughout the Nintendo family. It’s a symbiotic relationship that consists of members from all over the world; we are very honoured to be working with such a talented team.

“When we worked on Mario Kart 7, we were working on Tropical Freeze at the same time. Part of the team was working on creating assets for Hideki Konno’s group, the Mario Kart team, and part of our team continued making progress on Tropical Freeze in conjunction with Tanabe-san and SPD.”

Tanabe continued, “We consider Retro as part of the Nintendo family and a very capable game development studio. As a Nintendo development team, they will keep working not only with SPD, but also with the teams in Kyoto. They might even work on a title that Miyamoto-san leads directly in the future.

“However, the SPD team assigned to Retro is working together with them as a single team and I hope that will continue this way- on Mario Kart 7, for example, SPD staff were involved as co-ordinators. I am saying this because a very interesting and stimulating chemical reaction occurs when the two parties from different languages and cultures are united under Nintendo’s game production philosophy, and that chemical reaction results in extraordinary ideas.”

Nintendo have previously spoken about how they looking to “leverage” Retro Studios further, with Kelbaugh hinting that they would like to return to Metroid in future.

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