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John "Jack" Herman Mathews, Jr.[1] is an American video game engineer, who worked as the tech lead on all three games in the Metroid Prime series. He left Retro Studios after the completion of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and founded Armature Studio with Mark Pacini and Todd Keller. He then left Armature and the games industry in 2017 to support his wife, Jeanine Donofrio, with her food blog Love and Lemons, and has become the blog's photographer and taste-tester.

In November 2015, he revealed some facts about the development of Metroid Prime in a livestream of several games, including Prime. Mathews created the distortion effect when Charge Beam shots are fired.[2]

Jack Mathews copy of MSR

Mathews' copy of Metroid: Samus Returns.[3]

Interview with ShinesparkersEdit

In a January 2018 interview with the fansite Shinesparkers, Mathews revealed additional development facts and unused elements. He briefly touched on Kraid's scrapped appearance in Metroid Prime and the original concept for Corruption of a Bounty Hunter mission-based game.[4] On the reasons for Retro's other projects being cancelled, he said Raven Blade was too ambitious for its time, and that Nintendo did not care for the concept of Car Combat/Thunder Rally. This was in spite of it being further along than the other projects combined by the time it was canceled. Nintendo deemed NFL Retro Football unnecessary, especially as it both missed its launch and would be overshadowed by Electronic Arts' NHL franchise. Employees on these games that were not laid off joined the Prime team, and according to Mathews they "ended up with the most talented engineering team I've ever worked with".

Mathews and the Retro team wanted to expand on Dark Aether in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, but had to scale it down for technical and gameplay reasons, whereas for Corruption the focus was on using a more modern lighting model, having larger environments, and pushing the game's new Wii Remote and Nunchuk control scheme. According to Mathews, Retro was "cut in half, then cut in half again" with regard to layoffs, during the development of Prime. The developers took on a "fuck the haters" mentality to show fans and critics that despite layoffs and leaks, they could make a good game. He felt that the presentation at E3 2002 redeemed them when the original game was met with positive reaction.

Jack Mathews smashed MP2 frame

Mathews' Echoes boxart insert with autographs from the development team. The frame fell and smashed in 2018.[5]


  • He felt most of the criticism toward Corruption was leveled against the long opening area for resembling more of a Halo game than Metroid, and that the game doesn't become a Metroid Prime game until the player lands on Bryyo. He disagreed with criticism of the motion controls, and said that his "hands pretty much seize up" when he attempts to play Prime with a Nintendo GameCube controller.[4]
  • Mathews also stated that the hardest element of programming the Prime series, for him, was to maintain 60 frames per second as it meant striking a constant balance between keeping the games running well and still looking breathtaking. When the concept of SkyTown, Elysia was shown to him, he attempted to have the area scrapped, feeling it would not run well. However, looking at the area now, he is "still awestruck" and "super proud" at what Retro accomplished.[4]
  • Mathews famously stated that the Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Multiplayer should not have happened. He felt that the effort it took to implement the mode would have been better spent on the story, and he believes the IP should remain single player. Mathews alluded to Metroid 1.5, the multiplayer-focused original pitch for Echoes, and revealed scrapped abilities such as a playable Space Pirate and wall grabs. He stated that Metroid Prime Hunters handled its multiplayer components much better.[4]
  • Mathews was initially unhappy when Metroid Prime 4 was confirmed to not be in development by Retro, but he later came around. He felt that the new development team was in the same position as Retro at the beginning, and expressed cautious optimism for their efforts. He later responded positively to the announcement that development was restarting with Retro Studios.[6]
  • On November 17, 2017, 15 years to the day Metroid Prime was released in 2002, he tweeted: "Happy 15th birthday to Metroid Prime - the best game I'll ever make." [1]

External linksEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Mathews, Jack (jack_mathews). "I'll need to figure out something to do on my 12 hour flight... #MetroidSamusReturns" 15 Sep 2017 12:44 p.m. Tweet.
  4. ^ a b c d "Interview: Jack Mathews", Shinesparkers, 2018-01-20. Retrieved on 2018-01-20. 
  5. ^ Mathews, Jack (jack_mathews). “Oh crap, one of my signed frames fell down!” 10 seconds later: “Oh whew, it was just Echoes.” 12 Apr 2018 10:59 a.m. Tweet.
  6. ^ Mathews, Jack (jack_mathews). "Happy Retro has it back. I’m fine with a dev reboot." 25 Jan 2019 12:01 p.m. Tweet.
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