Metroid Prime turns 20 today, and you might have noticed we've marked the occasion with an in-depth chat with Andrew "Android" Jones, who worked as a concept artist on the game.
During the chat, Jones touched upon the aftermath of Prime's success – and, more specifically, the royalty bonus scheme at Retro Studios. According to Jones, everyone involved received a bonus to reflect the incredible success of the title – and he was all too happy to accept it until he and the rest of the team heard exactly how the cash was being distributed:
When the team found out how [large] the pot was of royalties and how management decided to divvy up those royalties amongst the team [compared] to themselves, it was anarchy. The difference between what the producers paid themselves versus what they allotted to the art directors was so insultingly asymmetrical that I don’t think that the core team ever recovered from that, honestly. You could never look the producers in the face again and feel any kind of dignity or respect for how asymmetrical they saw their [own] value versus how they valued the people on the team.
Jones feels that this episode is what accounts for the considerable visual difference between the bright and colourful visuals in Metroid Prime and the darker, grittier design of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
I think a lot of that is reflective of what was going on with me and my world and also the culture of Retro and what was going on [internally].