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Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Developer Explains Why It Left Nintendo


The developer behind upcoming Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, Armature, consists of former Retro Studios employees Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Jack Matthews. In an interview with Game Informer, Pacini revealed why he and his colleagues left the Nintendo subsidiary. Pacini said that while he thinks Nintendo is an “awesome company,” he didn’t like how working for the video game giant meant he was obliged to work solely on games for its hardware.

Stepping away from the game for a minute, why did you leave Retro? Do you want to talk about that story a little bit?

Armature’s Mark Pacini: I was there for eight years. When you work for Nintendo, Nintendo’s an awesome company. They’re great to work for. It’s hard, challenging work, but it’s rewarding at the same time. But given that regard, there’s a limited amount of things you can do in Nintendo. You can’t work on other platforms. You kind of work on games that they would like you to work on, so after doing three of the same games in a row, we were kind of like, we’d really like the flexibility to do other things.

And that’s really what it came down to was we didn’t have anything against Nintendo or Retro or anything – they’re all great people, we still talk to them all the time, and we still have a great relationship – but having an independent studio, one day you’re working on Batman, the other day you’re working on something else, and that’s kind of what we wanted to do. We would have never been able to work on Vita, or 3DS – it wasn’t something that Retro was gunning for. And Armature as a studio, we’re hopefully able to make some announcements later this year on what we’re working on next, and those are, again, forward thinking on consoles, and things we weren’t able to do before.

Starting Armature when we did was a very difficult time in the game industry. And the game industry continues to be difficult. Right now as a studio we’re in a really good position and there are a lot of opportunities that we’re going to be able to pursue that we wanted to five years ago.

97 thoughts on “Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Developer Explains Why It Left Nintendo”

    1. No?
      They said they were limited to Nintendo consoles at Retro. Their new game is 3DS and Vita…where’s the Nintendo Only limit?

      1. at the end of the day it is probably the same, the features of Vita and 3DS are quite different, then both version will be unique in their own way, we don’t know if he was talking about a “multiplataform” games or “exclusive games”, i doubt he was talking about “exclusive”, being an indie studio, they probably cannot “spread” their development teams on multiple platforms and multiple games, to conclude, what he said gives the impresion that being exclusive to nintendo was restricting their creativity, BUT if the only thing they want is a multiplatform game, then thats bullshit

        1. No, that’s not the only thing they want.

          He clearly says:
          “You kind of work on games that they would like you to work on, so after doing three of the same games in a row, we were kind of like, we’d really like the flexibility to do other things.”

          He had to make three Metroid Prime games, which I can understand to become a little boring.
          Now he has the freedom to work on other games, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make anything for Nintendo anymore – just not exclusively.

          1. the majority of developers works on a single franchise for long periods of time >_>, Bungie worked on halo for 10 years, Epic has been working on Gears of war for like 6 years, i don’t think that’s the real reason why they left, when you have an amazing game with amazing story and gameplay you want to make it the best it can be, even if it takes you years, or i dont know maybe that what i would do, make a game and say, THIS IS IT, so maybe there is something else that is not been told,

              1. The real reason may be more humble than what people think like a more creative freedom or better food… nah they just needed to make his own company to make there own games. People what to have there own things .

            1. And how exactly do you know that they aren’t bored with their jobs? Halo and GoW are such cash cows, that they would be crazy to leave. They’ve got a pretty reliable job, and they need/want more money, so they continue. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to work on something else. Besides: I’m pretty sure a fair amount of employees of the companies you named in fact HAVE left.

            2. I think you just want there to be more. HE said Nintendo is a great company and they wanted to try something something different. That should not warrant any conspiracy theories.

              1. Nintendo doesn’t respect Retro that much, or any western developer, that’s the real problem. There’s only so high an outsider can get on a japanese company, no matter his skills, they prefer tradition.

                1. I think the fact that Miyamoto said he would like to work with Retro on a Zelda game one day shows he has a ton of respect for them.

  1. Too bad, Retro is doing fine without them. Fuck the other platforms. You’re being a whore developer team like EA, who put their disks in other consoles. That is a damn shame. Stupid whore developers. Ain’t happy with putting your games in one console, huh? Need multiple consoles to satisfy your needs? Need to release your gigabytes into them? Then get payed more?

    1. Grow up. Ever consider doing what you enjoy for a living rather than settling? He outright stated that he loved working for Nintendo and Retro, but simply wanting to work on a larger variety of games and couldn’t under the circumstances. If you had an ounce of imagination and determination of what they have, you’d understand it’s a good thing and people like this drive the world.

      Also, sometimes asking for more money doesn’t necessarily equate to greed. As one who works in healthcare, you get paid peanuts for countless hours of hard work and it is incredibly stressful and difficult to make ends meet. We have to ask for better wages and/or benefits, or then you’re just letting the employer take advantage of you.

    2. People like you are exactly what is wrong with this site’s community.
      Think of it this way. You are a painter. You wish to broaden your horizons and paint in a different style, or on something that isn’t a plain old canvas. You try to paint on the sidewalk or on a wall, or something to make your idea pop, but the guy who pays you for your work is constantly demanding you use one style and one style only? If I were that painter, I’d say “Screw you” to that and paint wherever I damn well please! His reasons for leaving Retro Studios are completely justified and I commend him for that.

    3. I’m pretty sure this is sarcasm, as it sounds very much like a little segment that Family Guy did with Peter getting a prostate exam.

  2. I kind of had a feeling this was reason. Glad they are doing relatively well. I cannot wait to see how Blackgate turns out.

    1. That was a fair argument with the Wii. It’s worked out for the best for gamers really. They’ve gone off to make another talented studio working on a variety of things, while nintendo still ensures Retro Studios is of top quality, which it still appears to have been since they left (although working on different game types)

  3. That’s a fair reason.

    Although if i go to make a METROID GAME, i wouldn’t give a fuck about other platforms xD

  4. @Nintenforward He didn´t leave Retro because he wasn´t able to work on different plattforms. He left because he had to make the same game over and over again. What he was talking about was Metroid Prime 1 to 3.

    In his eight years he did only Metroid Prime games. He was not allowed to work on new ips.
    And that is for sure extremly boring. Developers are creative people and they want variety.

    Unfortunately for him, his decision was to rashly. Literally, a day after he left, Nintendo decided that Retro shell work next on Mario Kart 7 and Donkey Kong Country Retruns xD

  5. That makes sense. If I was a game developer I would get sick of working on the same platform or series for too long. Making me work on a sports sim or CoD game every year would be a form of torture.

  6. The current Retro Studios isn’t the same as the one the developed the Metroid Prime games. A lot of key members had left for other things. I wonder how the next Metroid game would be if this new Retro is in charge.

    1. If you are sugesting that the change will be has bad has in rare? I lol at you. Now seriusly whos to say that are making just another metroid? In the last few months retro has contracted varius persons from other companys .

      1. He is not saying it will be bad. He saying it is very interesting to see what kind of games they are developing. It could be bad or good. All the developers have strength and weakness. Perhaps they are really good with Metroid due to the fact they good at developing 2D Metroid or FPS genre. Or they are not good with Metroid due o the fact they don’t have any experiences but regardless it will be a good experiences for developers either way.

  7. You mean a company that is owned by Nintendo and was a 1st Party Company for Nintendo had to actually develop for Nintendo’s console only?…. No :O

    Kind of a weak ass accuse to be honest but I’m glad Batman: Arkham Origins is coming to Nintendo consoles anyway :)

  8. Wii U is trash, why would anyone want that crap when you can get a SUPERIOR PS4? Fucking nintendrones only bought the dogshit excuse for a system , nintendo is only playing catching up on ps3/360 while ps4 is true next gen. Seriously you wiitards need to get with the times. remember nintenfags … NO NEXT GEN GAMES FOR YOU!! :) … they left cause nintendo hardware is complete bullshit!

      1. … hey! i just watched ZerdaALttP2 and it’s the SAME SHIT!!! since NES era… ohh sorry this one IS on 3D effect wow!! NOT!!!

        1. I agree, Nova. The new Zelda for N3DS did look very stale & boring. Hopefully the Zelda on Wii U will be more exciting.

            1. Lol guys, are we not thinking straigh this days? Lets ditch a game cause it has a view from the top cráter than from behind? Lolololol.

        2. I’m not lying, I thought that looks… Sucks. No offend, I love Zelda, but 3DS is capable of handing 3D model like OoT3D, so why don’t Nintendo do that? I guess they’re trying to keep it old school, though. I’ll buy this one and see how it turns out.

          1. zelda separated into 2 categories, on the N64 era, where the console games, where 3D, and the hanheld were top-down, so this being a HANDHELD title, it’s kinda obvious it would be top down, nevertheless, the minish cap was an excellent game so, i really want to play this one!

    1. the curious thing is that nintendo hardware is quite advanced, look at wii u, it is very small, you can easily pack 2 Wii Us in the same space of an original xbox360 and original playstation3(not the slim versions), and is more powerful than both consoles, so, technically speaking, Nintendo Hardware has the best engineering, im pretty sure if nintendo were to make a console as big as the xbox 360 and ps3 it would be at par with the horsepower

          1. Nostalgia has enabled them to sale over 20 million hard copy 3DS games. Unlike a company that decided to make their second handheld non backward compatible with it’s predecessor.

            1. Who the fuck cares about sales? Fucking nintenfags always use the sales argument IT’S POINTLESS. SALES ONLY BENIFIT THE COMPANY, DOES IT BENIFIT THE CONSUMER? NO!! THEN WHY DO THEY MATTER? Its about the quality of their products and sadly Nintendo ain’t delivering…

    2. Most gamers would’ve been happy with Wii-U level graphics, as most are still reasonably satisfied with (high end) PS3/360 ones, but the nintendo led games haven’t been there or even announced at the right time to even show off the Nintendo universe in HD for the first time. Leading even the nintendo fanbase to consider its not worth getting yet (unlike Wii with Zelda, GC with lots, N64 with first 3D games Mario 64 etc). This hasn’t created a good impression to the industry developers, who were already less enthusastic and convinced about the console, some thinking it could’ve been a bit more powerful. Halfway between the Wii U and PS4 would’ve been good ground for Nintendo to have. It can still change though, but E3 2013 is pretty much their 3rd and last shot to get it right. Remember it’s looking to be a Sony lead this gen, and what will most gamers pick for their 2nd console? Wii U has a strong *potential* to be that second console, and obviously 1st to a significant amount of gamers too.

      1. This. I still find alan wake beutiful to watch same has skyrim but they need bug fixses on skyrim and better open areas in alan wake better animation will help too.

  9. Good on them. They left in good standing because they wanted to branch out, and that’s an okay thing. Here’s hoping they bring many next-gen experiences to PS4 and Wii U.
    And Microsoft’s whatever-the-fuck-it’ll-be-called, I guess, if Micro can convince them.

  10. Does it come to this dude as a surprise that you do what your employer pays you to do?
    Dont see sony or ms making that many nintendo games either.

  11. Perhaps if they tried to pitch something instead of just sitting there waiting for Nintendo to tell them what to do they would have had a better experience.

  12. This is their first prohect since they left it was a stupid decision and after some porting they finally can make a game but i don’t expect much only three people from the old retro it’s not that they did metroid with the three of them

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  14. Do any of you consider that new talent arises? Particularly when under instruction of established talent. This is a good way forward as long as that high level of QC is maintained. I would prefer the industry to have 5-10 studios of great quality, with all the unremarkable talent being filtered and sectioned into particular developers, than 50-100 studios of mixed quality. This type of move gives growth to the number of top quality studios, if managed properly. It’s about setting the right conditions for the right type of growth. Say if they were all at Retro still, there would not be as much room for new talent to come in at both Retro and Armature, and be supervised by the established. I think its a win really, as we will be likely to get more games of good quality with two developers than with just the one.

    1. and then some of that incoming talent would inevitably end up being supervised and directed along the wrong path by some unremarkable developer they’d have to go and work for

  15. So that’s why there is no Metroid Prime 4? That’s awful. What have they done in the last five years? Nothing.

  16. And I wish them the best of luck. I just hope they don’t jump on the “we’re not developing for the Wii U” bandwagon when they make their first big console game.

  17. If I were in their position, I’d want to make games for everyone too. If I worked on a game that I thought highly of, I’d want as many as possible to be able to get their hands on it.
    Having freedom in your work makes a world of difference.

  18. Why is this even a story in the first place? How is an artist wanting to branch out from their parent company and do their own thing outside of the norm? It’s only something that has been going on since……….I don’t know…..more than a century?

  19. Absolutely nothing wrong with this guy wanting to expand his horizons and work on new things. Interestingly enough, seems that a lot of guys that are currently at Retro Studios have made it clear that they really want to try new things.

    Yet, almost every time they’re mentioned, there are people always saying “drop everything and make Metroid Prime 4”. I swear, it’s almost like a disease.

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