Development Studio MercurySteam Believes It Was Saved By Konami and Nintendo

Metroid Samus Returns

When a game studio closes down, it's the saddest thing in the world to see because you realize the potential of said studio, even if its latest project didn't save it. But when a studio is able to come by from the brink of closure with the right projects, it's a thing of beauty.

That appears to have happened with MercurySteam, the Spanish-based studio that worked on such games as Metroid: Samus Returns and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. It's big projects like these that managed to keep it from closing up shop.

While speaking with DualShockers, MercurySteam head Enric Alvarez explained how the studio was on the brink of collapse when a fortunate series of events saved it from shutting down.

"Back in 2005 when we were about to disappear, and we created a small demo, based on a moment from The Exorcist -- the movie. Back in the days, the Epic people were showing off their new Gears of War game and we saw a few pics from a monster and we thought, 'Hey, we can do that as well, let's do it' and we produced a quite impressive visual test."

That resulted in the studio landing a job with Codemasters to work on Clive Barker's Jericho. But it led to even better news down the road. "The result was so impressive, that I still remember, Codemasters told us, don't show it to anyone else, and come here, and come with a PC because we don't believe this is real. That very day we saved the studio. We also went [and] visited Konami, and that day we met with Dave Cox, and we felt an immediate connection between us. A few years later, Dave Cox himself called us and told us 'Hey, guys do you want to reboot Castlevania?' and that is how it all started.

"And then, this has been explained many times by Nintendo people ... how they got interested - we collaborated with them doing Metroid: Samus Returns. In short, it was because of Castlevania: Mirror of Fate. [Nintendo] liked it and they thought we were up to the task of doing what we did, and the rest is history."

Alvarez also added a side note when it came to noting the differences between Japanese and Western publishers. "Especially with Nintendo, the biggest difference is all they care about is quality. All they care about is polish. All they care about is giving satisfaction to their players. The rest is secondary. You can't find this working for a western publisher because there's always time constraints, there's always a lot of pressure. There's also pressure working in any environment, especially when we're talking about massive amounts of money - they're always somewhat very worried about that money, which is normal and fair.

"But I think that the biggest difference we've found is in our direction. It's not saying there's no pressure involved in both sides, but the pressure from a publisher, from a Japanese publisher comes from that aspect - quality. And the pressure in our experience, I can't talk any other experiences, just in our experience - the pressure coming from a western publisher comes from many other directions."


Currently, MercurySteam is hard at work on Spacelords, a reconfiguration of its previously released Raiders of the Broken Planet in free-to-play form. It's also looking at partnering up with other publishers for big projects, so we'll see what it announces soon.

Want to see its amazing work on Metroid: Samus Returns? You can play it now on Nintendo 3DS. Don't miss the Lords of Shadow games either!