Home » Developers » Retro Studios

Retro Studios

Retro Studios was founded in 1998 by Jeff Spangenberg as an alliance between Iguana Entertainment and Nintendo. Spangenberg, founder of Iguana Entertainment was looking to create exclusive titles for the upcoming GameCube aiming at an older demographic. Spangenberg opened an office in Austin, Texas in early 1999, staffing 25 people.

The company began working on four different games for the upcoming GameCube, an untitled Action-Adventure game, a vehicular combat game called Car Combat, an American football simulator called NFL Retro Football, and a role-playing game called Raven Blade. In 2000, Nintendo sent producer Shigeru Miyamoto to Retro Studios office in Austin, TX to demo the games. Miyamoto was disappointed with all of the titles with the exception of the Action-Adventure game engine. Miyamoto seen potential in the game engine and suggested that it could be used to develop a new title in the Metroid series.

Nintendo granted Retro Studios the license to create Metroid Prime resulting in the cancellation of all four games to focus their resources on the creation of Metroid Prime, the first Metroid title to be developed outside of Japan. On May 2, 2002, Nintendo secured $1 million worth of Retro Studio stocks from Spangenberg and reclassified the company as a first party developer and division of Nintendo. The development team completed the game and released it on November 17, 2002 in North America to universal critical acclaim. The game became a commercial success selling over two million units worldwide.

The success of Metroid Prime led Retro Studios to work on two sequels, and later to become involved with reviving the Donkey Kong series with Donkey Kong Country Returns. In 2008, Shigeru Miyamoto asked fellow producer Kensuke Tanabe to recommend a studio that could develop a new Donkey Kong game, and Tanabe recommended Retro Studios. They accepted the task and started development of Donkey Kong Country Returns. Retro Studios has been very successful with all the games they have released and after Nintendo was not pleased with the progress of Metroid Prime 4 which was in production by another developer, they asked Retro Studios to step in. It was announced on January 25, 2019 that development of Metroid Prime 4 was being restarted, and that Retro Studios would now be developing it with Tanabe once again.

Retro Studios
Type Subsidiary
Parent Company Nintendo (2002-Present)
Location Austin, TX
United States
Developer Retro Studios
Founded September 21, 1998
Number of Employees Approximately 150
Founders Jeff Spangenberg
President Michael Kelbaugh
Website Retro Studios

Known For:

Interviews that provide an inside look at game development at Retro Studios

2002Metroid Prime BoxMetroid PrimeGameCubeNintendoAction-Adventure
2004Metroid Prime 2 BoxMetroid Prime 2: EchoesGameCubeNintendoAction-Adventure
2007Metroid Prime 3 BoxMetroid Prime 3: CorruptionWiiNintendoAction-Adventure
2009Metroid Prime TrilogyMetroid Prime: TrilogyWiiNintendoAction-Adventure
2010Donkey Kong Country Returns BoxDonkey Kong Country ReturnsWiiNintendoPlatformer
2011Mario Kart 7 BoxMario Kart 73DSNintendoRacing
2013Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D BoxDonkey Kong Country Returns 3D3DSNintendoPlatformer
2014Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Wii U BoxDonkey Kong Country: Tropical FreezeWii UNintendoPlatformer
2018Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Switch BoxDonkey Kong Country: Tropical FreezeSwitchNintendoPlatformer
TBDMetroid Prime 4 BoxMetroid Prime 4SwitchNintendoAction-Adventure

Profile PlaceholderAaron de OriveSenior Narrative Designer2005-2006
Aaron WalkerAaron WalkerLead Software Engineer2005-Present
Profile PlaceholderAkiko Furukawa-LabanCommunications Coordinator2003-Present
Akintunde OmitowojuAkintunde OmitowojuSoftware Engineer2002-Present
Al ArtusFacilities Manager1999-Present
Profile PlaceholderAlejandro RouraArtist2000-2007
Profile PlaceholderAlex QuinonesSenior Engineer2002-Present
Amanda RotellaEnvironment Artist2006-Present
Amanda RubrightGame and Level Designer2001-2003
Andrew JonesTools Engineer2014-Present
Andrew OrlandoSoftware Engineer Level 42012-Present
Profile PlaceholderAndy HansonEngineer2006-Present
Andy O'NeilAndy O'NeilPrincipal Engineer
Technical Lead
Andy SchwalenbergAndy SchwalenbergGame Designer2005-2013
Audrey PetersonProgrammer2000-2002
Profile PlaceholderBen JacksonLead 2 Engineer2015-Present
Ben JohnsonBen JohnsonTools Engineer2019-Present
Ben SproutBen SproutArtist2002-2008
Bernadette LaCarteBernadette LaCartePrincipal Artist1998-2000
Bill VandervoortBill VandervoortDesign Director2005-Present
Bobby ArlauskasBobby ArlauskasSound Designer2015-Present
Bobby PavlockBobby PavlockGame Designer2005-2007
Brandon SalinasBrandon SalinasGame Designer2005-Present
Brandon StrongBrandon StrongDesigner2013-Present
Brian KowalczykBrian KowalczykAnimator2006-2008
Bryan WalkerBryan WalkerProducer
Brynn MahsmanBrynn MahsmanSoftware Engineer2019-Present
Carlos MendietaCarlos MendietaAnimator2003-Present
Chip SbrognaChip SbrognaDesigner2004-2004
Chris VoellmannChris VoellmannSenior Technical Artist1999-2013
Profile PlaceholderChuck CristLead VFX Artist1999-Present
Clark WenClark WenAudio Director2001-2005
Clayton StubbsClayton StubbsIT Engineer2019-Present
Cliff YoungCliff YoungWorld Artist2005-2008
Cody McGinleyCody McGinleySenior Recruiter2019-Present
Conrad BuraniczConrad BuraniczLevel 2 Tech Artist2019-Present
Profile PlaceholderDan HigdonSoftware Engineer2008-Present
Profile PlaceholderDanny RichardsonSenior UI Artist2001-2012
David KirschDavid KirschSenior Engineer2000-2004
David SalaizSenior Character Artist2016-Present
Dax PalottaDax PalottaStaff Animator2000-Present
Derek BonikowskiDerek BonikowskiSenior Animator2000-2017
Don HoganDon HoganSenior CG Artist2000-2006
Profile PlaceholderElben SchafersSenior Artist2002-2014
Elizabeth BaxterElizabeth BaxterLighting Artist2014-Present
Elizabeth FosterSenior Environment Artist1999-2008
Eric DiCesareEric DiCesareHR Manager2019-Present
Eric RehmeyerEric RehmeyerSoftware Engineer2006-2014
Profile PlaceholderEthan R. McDonaldIT Network Engineer/Sys Admin2007-Present
Ethan SmithEthan SmithDesigner2013-Present
Faith CasperSenior Accountant2007-Present
Frank LafuenteFrank LafuenteEngineering Director2004-2008
Frank MaddinFrank MaddinSoftware Engineer2005-Present
Gary Scanlon JrGary Scanlon Jr.Software Engineer2015-Present
Gene KohlerGene KohlerCharacter Artist2001-2003
George ThomasGeorge ThomasIT Technical Lead & Manager1998-2014
Georgia NelsonGeorgia NelsonLevel IV Software Engineer2016-Present
Profile PlaceholderGreg FrizzellLead Environment Artist2018-Present
Greg LuzniakSenior Artist2001-2002
Ian OlsenIan OlsenCharacter Artist2005-2006
Ilya NazarovIlya NazarovArtist2004-2008
Profile PlaceholderIrving MahSoftware Engineer2002-2007
Jack MathewsJack MathewsTechnical Lead2002-2007
Jake JohnsonJake JohnsonWorld Artist2006-2006
Profile PlaceholderJames DargieSenior Artist2001-2002
Profile PlaceholderJames KrutTools Engineer2014-Present
Profile PlaceholderJames Reed KetchamEnvironment Artist2008-Present
Jason BehrJason BehrSenior Designer2001-2005
Jay FullerJay FullerDesigner2005-Present
Jeff SpangenbergJeff SpangenbergFounder1998-2001
Jesse SpearsJesse SpearsComputer Games Professional2005-Present
Jessica SpenceUI Lead2012-Present
Profile PlaceholderJim GageSoftware Engineer2001-Present
Profile PlaceholderJon WoffordLevel 4 UI Artist2018-Present
Profile PlaceholderJonathan DeLangeDesginer2005-2007
Johnny OwensJohnny OwensTools Engineer2015-Present
Justin LittleJustin LittleAnimator2016-Present
Profile PlaceholderKai MartinSoftware Engineer2000-2006
Karen Welford SegarsKaren Welford SegarsEnvironment Artist2005-2006
Karl DeckardKarl DeckardSenior Game Designer1999-2005
Karl HolbertKarl HolbertEnvironment Artist2000-2001
Kellie Prinz JohnsonKellie Prinz JohnsonDirector of Operations2003-Present
Kenneth KozanKenneth KozanEnvironment Artist2012-Present
Kerry Ann OdemKerry Ann OdemAccounting Manager
HR Manager
Kiko BuyoKiko BuyoAnimator2015-Present
Kim SanchezKim SanchezAnimator2003-2004
Kip CarboneKip CarboneEnvironment Artist2005-2007
Kyle HefleyKyle HefleyLead Character Artist2019-Present
Kynan PearsonKynan PearsonSenior Designer2003-2010
LeRoy StraussLeRoy StraussSenior 3D Artist2000-2004
Ludovic TexierLudovic TexierSenior Artist1999-2001
Profile PlaceholderLuis RamirezSenior Artist2000-Present
Marco ThrushMarco ThrushSenior Software Engineer2001-2008
Mark Haigh-HutchinsonMark Haigh-HutchinsonSenior Software Engineer1999-2008
Mark JohnstonMark JohnstonLead Engineer2001-2003
Mark PaciniMark PaciniGame Director2000-2008
Martin L'HeureuxMartin L'HeureuxLead Animator2000-2001
Maruchy FernandezMaruchy FernandezSenior Environment Artist2016-Present
Matt ManchesterMatt ManchesterArtist2005-Present
Matt PiersallMatt PiersallContract Audio Services2004-2004
Profile PlaceholderMichael ChengLevel Designer2003-2005
Michael KelbaughMichael KelbaughPresident
Michael MannMichael MannExecutive Producer2000-2003
Profile PlaceholderMike BehrmanSound Designer2006-2007
Mike SneathMike SneathSenior Character Modeler2000-2003
Mike WikanMike WikanSenior Game Designer2000-2011
Mookie WeisbrodMookie WeisbrodSenior Lead Animator2012-Present
Profile PlaceholderNathan PurkeypileWorld Artist2005-2007
Nestor HernandezNestor HernandezGame Designer 32011-Present
Nicholas ShawNicholas ShawTechnical Producer
Production Coodinator
Omar AmadorOmar AmadorTechnical Animator2016-Present
Profile PlaceholderPaul ReedSenior Designer2002-Present
Paul SchwanzPaul SchwanzGame Designer2011-Present
Profile PlaceholderPaul TozourSoftware Engineer2004-2007
Paul WuPaul WuArt Outsource Manager2019-Present
Profile PlaceholderPatrick KreftingTechnical Designer2013-Present
Quinn SmithQuinn SmithCharacter Artist2004-2012
Profile PlaceholderRaphael PerkinsAnimator2008-Present
Rebecca FlanneryTechnical Artist2013-Present
Rhys LewisRhys LewisSenior Software Engineer2007-2013
Rick BlankenshipRick BlankenshipAnimator2015-Present
Profile PlaceholderRick KohlerSenior Artist2000-2003
Robert K.Robert K.Staff Technical Artist2018-Present
Robert WalkerRobert WalkerGameplay Engineer2016-Present
Profile PlaceholderRussell LingoEnvironment Artist2010-Present
Profile PlaceholderRussell O'HenlySenior Game Designer2005-Present
Ryan CorneliusRyan CorneliusSoftware Engineer
Lead Gameplay Engineer
Profile PlaceholderRyan HarrisDirector of Production
Production Manager
Assistant Producer
Ryan KirschmanRyan KirschmanGameplay Engineer2019-Present
Ryan PowellRyan PowellSenior Staff Artist2000-Present
Sammy HallSammy HallArtist2007-2013
Sasha NodiaSasha NodiaLead External Environment Artist2019-Present
Scott CarpenterScott CarpenterDesigner2005-2006
Scott JohnsonScott JohnsonSoftware Engineer2000-2001
Scott PetersenScott PetersenAudio Supervisor2004-Present
Sean HortonSean HortonSenior Environment Artist2004-Present
Sean HowardSean HowardIT Engineer2018-Present
Shane LewisShane LewisQA Design Analyst2008-2019
Shawn MelchorShawn MelchorConcept Artist2014-Present
Shawn WinglerShawn WinglerTechnical Designer2014-Present
Sonny Santa MariaSonny Santa MariaSenior Animator2005-2006
Profile PlaceholderStephen DupreePrincipal Game Designer2019-Present
Profile PlaceholderStephen ZafrosSenior Animator2002-Present
Steve BarciaSteve BarciaPresident
Executive Producer
Profile PlaceholderSteve McCreaSenior Engineer2001-2007
Sylvia RowlandSylvia RowlandArtist2011-Present
Taylor YustTaylor YustGame Software Engineer2017-Present
Teague SchultzTeague SchultzSenior Environment Artist2003-Present
Profile PlaceholderTed ChauviereSoftware Engineer
Profile PlaceholderThomas RobinsGame Artist2006-Present
Tiffany G.Tiffany G.Level 1 Environment Artist2017-Present
Tim CowanTim CowanSoftware Engineer2005-2006
Tim LittleTim LittleVP of Engineering & Technology2008-Present
Todd KellerTodd KellerArt Director2000-2008
Todd SimmonsTodd SimmonsSound Designer2000-2009
Tom IveyTom IveyLead Designer2004-2013
Tom PapadatosTom PapadatosSenior Artist2000-2002
Tony GiovanniniTony GiovanniniLevel Designer2002-2003
Profile PlaceholderVictor van't HekLead External Environment Artist2019-Present
Profile PlaceholderVince JolyCreative Director
Art Director
Lead Animator
Profile PlaceholderWill BateSenior Animator
Technical Art Manager