Interview with LeRoy Strauss - Interview Questions
1. How far into development was Metroid Prime when you joined Retro Studios?
I started on Metroid Prime within several months of Retro Studios developing that title under Metroid franchise.
2. Could you explain to us what your day-to-day role during the development of Metroid Prime entailed?
On Metroid Prime I began building environments and textures. As the game progressed I did other little
artistic odds and ends that needed to be made like some picks up, minor scripting, and even a bit of
particle effects. Mainly it was just lots of world building and texture painting.
On Metroid Prime 2 Echoes, I moved on to Character modeling and textures.
3. Are there any particular moments during your time at Retro that particularly stands out to you?
There are many moments at my time at Retro that stood out for me that were most good, some bad. It was one
of the better places I have worked. Many of the developers there are great group of guys/gals that are very
talented. There were times at least in the art side it was like a little family. I guess one Particular
moment that stands out is I remember being at E3 and seeing people play Metroid Prime for the first time.
That was very exciting to see most people enjoying the game and its one moment I felt very proud to be part
of something that made a great game.
4. Which game in the Metroid series was the first one you experienced?
The first Metroid on the NES system was the first one I experienced. I remember sitting there with friends,
as we would take turns exploring and passing the controller back forth if one of us would die.
5. How much input did Nintendo of Japan/America actually have regarding the actual development of Metroid
Prime? Rumors suggest that they had much more input that was actually desired. Is there any truth to that
Well the Metroid franchise is one of Nintendo's babies. There were collaborations back and forth. As to
too much or too little, is up to each team member's own opinion. Nintendo likes to make sure they put out
quality, and I respect them for that.
6. What was the development team's reaction to all of the long-term negative-comments that was originally
thrown at the game before it was finally made playable at E3? Were they annoyed? Or did they take all of the
comments on board?
We weren't annoyed much. Everyone knew Retro had a very rocky start. I was hired on shortly before the shit
hit the fan. Who wouldn’t be skeptical of a new unproven developers ability to put out a great product. But
we did it, and everyone had there own moments of pride as the positive feedback started rolling in.
7. The team was obviously very proud of the final product as the hardcore and mainstream lapped up the game, with numerous
accolades being bestowed upon the company for their work (along with impressive sales figures). At which
point in development did the team realize that they were on their way to match and then exceed their fans
expectations? Or did the team not ever realize that they were on their way to creating such a playable
Yes and no. We all wanted to do our very best to be innovative and yet stay true to the franchise. We knew
we could not please everyone. But we had a goal and many tests were made and changed but in the end we did
it. Everyone played a huge part a Retro and Nintendo. The art was great, the sound, the design, the
engineering... etc. Everyone seemed happy as the positive reviews kept rolling in.
8. You mentioned that Retro studios had done a "very shameful, dishonorable deed". Would you be able
to elaborate at all into what this deed actually was? Was it this deed that lead to your decision to leave
Get ready for a Rant. No, just kidding that was actually said out of a moment of anger. Some people live
with honor and some don't. That's why I feel to honor my friends, I won't elaborate because Retro Studio's
is made up of the finest developers. I don't want to lump a whole awesome studio into a phrase like that
just because I disagree with the shameful deceptive actions of one or two people.
I actually learned a good life lesson, which is to be vigilantly strong and always be aware of vipers in the
roost because if not, you get struck with venom.
9. Some Metroid fans have taken the view that the game now no longer feels like a Metroid game. That the
elements of exploration and secret tunnels, the claustrophobic and the previously dark atmosphere that
surrounded the series have been lost. What would you say to those players who believe that this is the case?
I think it still feels like a Metroid game. Its will always be a bit more different in 3D compared to a 2D
game. I think though Nintendo is doing a good job in trying it's hardest to maintain the feel of the
franchise and yet still giving players new experiences. They also give you the ability too that if your
really dead set against a 3D Metroid just start jamming away on the GBA versions. :)