In 2008, Mark Pacini, the director of every game in the Metroid Prime trilogy, left Retro Studios and started his own game development company, Armature Studio. He had been working at Retro for over seven years by that point, and for nearly an entire decade before then he had worked as a game developer at Iguana Entertainment.
In a recent interview with Game Informer, Mark Pacini described his experience with Nintendo and explained why he decided to leave Retro eight years ago. Essentially, Pacini had grown tired of the company and wanted to work on projects that Nintendo would likely never allow.
Although Pacini wanted to leave the company to work on his own games, it took him a long time to decide to go through with it, because he genuinely loved working with Nintendo and the company provided a “safety nest” for him. However, he had simply been working for the company for too long—even with Iguana Entertainment, he had been developing games for Nintendo consoles primarily—and he finally decided to leave Retro after the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, when Retro started to work on its next big project, which became Donkey Kong Country Returns.
“With anything, it’s kind of like my whole career even before Nintendo, when I was at Iguana, I had worked on only Nintendo hardware for over ten years, and I really felt that, ‘wow, I would like to try to do something different’. Not just hardware-wise, but there’s just other opportunities and other types of games and ideas that we had that I know would never be able to be done here. It just wouldn’t. And that’s not good or bad, it’s just that it wouldn’t be possible. So I always wanted to either have my own or be part of a company with that I owned and try it, and this was the time to do it. The Metroid series was over, we were looking at the next thing we were going to be doing, and it felt like a good time to leave because there were a lot of talented people who would be able to fill in. It wasn’t like necessarily leaving people in a lurch and I felt that at that point of my career, if I was going to do it, I was going to do it then. And because you always think you’re missing out on something. There was a certain degree of a safety nest there, but at the same time… like I was saying about being comfortable, I don’t like being comfortable and I feel there’s something you’re always going to learn from struggling a bit and trying something new…” — Mark Pacini
Armature Studio was the company responsible for Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. The studio released its first original title, a science-fiction shooter named Dead Star, earlier this year for PlayStation 4 and PC.
Source: Game Informer