Nintendo dropped a bombshell at the start of this year when it revealed the development of Metroid Prime 4 had been entirely restarted. At the time, the company's senior managing executive officer, Shinya Takahashi, explained how development had not reached a required standard for a Metroid Prime sequel and as a result, series producer Kensuke Tanabe was calling on Retro Studios for assistance with the new entry.
Despite the delay, there was a collective sigh of relief when it was revealed the Texas-based studio would once again be involved with the series. Still, it's been quite a while since Retro worked on a Metroid game. In fact, its last release was the third entry in 2007. Are the same people who even worked on the original trilogy series still about?
According to VGC, "half of the full-time" developers who worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption are still at the studio more than a decade later. There was reportedly around 50 people working full-time on the Wii title and to do this day, about 27 of those individuals remain. This supposedly includes a total of four contractors who signed on permanently with the studio. As for the staff who worked on the original title on GameCube, there is believed to be "less than ten of the 40-plus team" still present. VGC further explains how "virtually all of the lead creators" have now left the studio.
Perhaps the most notable departure was Mark Pacini - the lead designer for all three Prime games, who eventually joined Armature (ReCore) in 2008. The series' lead artist, Todd Keller, followed him and so did five other developers. Seven others moved to Bluepoint Studios (responsible for the HD remaster of Shadow of the Colossus) and various other team members took up positions at companies like Bethesda.
In more recent months, Retro Studios has posted multiple job listings on its official careers page. This project obviously has a long way to go, so it's now a matter of waiting patiently for the game and hoping Nintendo can get it right the second time around (with the assistance of Retro Studios, of course).