Former EA art director Jhony Ljungstedt joins Metroid Prime 4 developer Retro Studios

Jhony Ljungstedt has joined Retro Studios.

The former DICE art director – who has previously worked on triple-A titles like Battlefield 5, Medal of Honor 2010, and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst – has not confirmed what project they’ll be assigned to, but it’s thought they’ll be joining the team to work on the upcoming Metroid Prime sequel, Metroid Prime 4. 

Ljungstedt joins several other recent senior appointments, including former Halo lead character artist Kyle Helfey, and Stephen Dupree, the lead designer of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, who’s returned to the Austin-based studio two years after leaving (thanks, VGC).

It’s taken the studio eight months to fill the air director vacancy, intimating that it’s unlikely we’ll see Metroid Prime 4 released any time soon. 

Metroid Prime 4 was initially revealed in June 2017, but issues with development prompted Nintendo’s Shinya Takahashi to say the company was forced to switch studios to the original developer after the work had “not reached the standard we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series”.

“The current development status is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team,” Takahashi said when the decision was announced. “We have decided to re-examine the development structure itself and change it.”

In related Nintendo news, Nintendo has sold 52.48m Nintendo Switch units worldwide since it was released in March 2017. As the Japanese megacorp moves into the final quarter of the financial year, it revealed Switch sales in the nine months ending 31st December 2019 now stand at 17.7m, an increase of 22.5 per cent year-over-year. The boost is chiefly attributed to a “strong holiday period” and the newer, undockable Switch Lite version.

Nintendo’s six mobile games have generated $1 billion (£768m) in total lifetime revenue, with a whopping 61 per cent of that income – $656 million (£504m) – generated by strategy RPG Fire Emblem Heroes. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, was the second highest-grossing Nintendo title with 12 per cent of all user spending, whilst Dragalia Lost came in close on Animal Camp’s heels with an 11 per cent share. Whilst Super Mario Run remains Nintendo’s most-downloadable mobile game, it contributed a much smaller share of overall revenue at just 7 per cent. Mario Kart Tour took 8 per cent of the revenue, and Dr. Mario World generated less than 1 per cent.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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