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Kynan Pearson

Kynan Pearson is a video game designer and former employee of Retro Studios. Pearson was a level designer for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. He was also involved in event planning for the latter and is credited under additional thanks. He was also the lead designer for Donkey Kong Country Returns and an unknown, unannounced project. Pearson said that he was "very social" during the development of both Prime games and would speak to other staff, amplifying their ideas. He learned a lot from Todd Keller, including how to guide other employees to reach success rather than dictate how they would do so.[1]

Pearson left Retro in December 2010 and joined 343 Industries the next month, becoming the lead multiplayer level designer for Halo 4 and 5: Guardians, before working at Bluepoint Games (founded by former Retro Studios employees) for a few years. He is currently a creative consultant and the creative director at Playful Corp.

In 2019, Pearson released a guide he wrote to creating a Metroidvania game. Part 1[2] can be viewed here: [1], and part 2[3] here: [2].

Thoughts on MetroidEdit

Metroid was incredibly influential to me as a game series, that I grew up playing. I love Super Metroid, but I loved the original Metroid. I had some great, basically moments experiencing that in a social setting, playing with friends. We were all passing the controller back and forth, exploring this crazy alien world. You didn't know what to expect, and it was very different in format from other games at the time.

I think that, for me, the core of Metroid revolves around the idea of exploration and wonder and being isolated in an alien world. There's an element of isolation and kind of discovery where you're in an alien setting, you don't have a frame of reference for things that you relate to in the everyday world. Everything is an opportunity for surprise. You're discovering what creatures do as you travel through the world. You're discovering what these abilities and tools do and there's this sense of place and a mystery around everything, so that you're solving things in a very visual way just from the information that's provided.

But there's constantly moments that imprint on you, like when you run across a Chozo Statue. Let's just take Super Metroid, where in its hands is an orb that you break open, and then get a new ability. The questions that start coming up in your mind, that's like what are the Chozo, what are these things? You don't even see the names listed, so it's something where you talk to friends about, and try to come up with your own theories about what these meanings are, and then maybe do some research and read a little bit, and then learn more of some of the fictional elements, but it's still a very personal thing for people. That idea of being alone somewhere distant and having to kind of survive.

—Kynan Pearson[4]


  • At one point, he went into Mark Pacini's office and found him working on a pitch document, putting more polish into it than what Pearson thought was necessary. Pacini explained that he wanted to do everything, such as create that document, better than the previous attempt. His philosophy of "always do better" greatly influenced Pearson.[5]
  • On Twitter, Pearson has commented that he prefers the Japanese covers of each Prime game, particularly Echoes.[6] He said that Retro Studios has a larger version of the Japanese Echoes cover on display as a poster inside the studio, but was unsure if such a poster was officially released to the public. He also commented his belief that the Amorbis boss in Echoes would be an excellent toy or action figure.[7]
  • Datamining of the Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Bonus Disc has revealed that PFC G. Haley, one of the deceased Federation Marines in the final game, was originally named K. Pearson. This is a clear reference to Kynan Pearson.
  • Interviewed by fanzine Switch Player in 2017, Pearson revealed what he wanted to see from Metroid Prime 4, which was announced during Nintendo's Spotlight conference in June. He hoped it would reimagine Metroid similarly to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with a "fully realised planet featuring a vast surface and a deep subterranean world to explore".[8]


External linksEdit


  1. ^ Starting at 27:45
  2. ^ PixelProspector [pickaxe icon] (PixelProspector). "Guide to Making Metroidvania styled Games - Part 1" (written by @KynanPearson - Designer on Metroid Prime 2/3) 🗒️ #MetroidWeek #Metroid #gamedev" Oct 17, 2019 7:51 a.m. Tweet.
  3. ^ PixelProspector [pickaxe icon] (PixelProspector). ""Guide to Making Metroidvania styled Games - Part 2" (written by @KynanPearson - Designer on Metroid Prime 2/3) 🗒️ #MetroidWeek #Metroid" Oct 17, 2019 7:53 a.m. Tweet.
  4. ^ Starting at 5:39
  5. ^ Podcast, 33:25
  6. ^ a b Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Always loved the Japanese Metroid Prime 2 box art. Wish this had been the US cover." 27 Oct 2013 10:44 p.m. Tweet.
  7. ^ "Amorbis: The massive boss of the Agon Wastes in #MetroidPrime2 would be such an impressive action figure or toy!" 16 Nov 2014 2:28 p.m. Tweet.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "For Display Only! Perks of having worked on Metroid games! ;)" 12 Jan 2013 5:47 p.m. Tweet.
  10. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "LOL. Donnie Darko Samus! an old personal sketch..." 28 Apr 2013 1:33 p.m. Tweet.
  11. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Super Metroid Fun on WiiU! ;) #metroid #wiiu #miiverse #lol" 9 Jul 2013 5:52 p.m. Tweet.
  12. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Samus #amiibo" 22 Nov 2014 6:20 p.m. Tweet.
  13. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Let the memories begin! #metroidprime time!" 6 Feb 2015 10:20 p.m. Tweet.
  14. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Moving offices today and now I need to find a new spot to hang stuff. #metroid" 24 Nov 2015 2:55 p.m. Tweet.
  15. ^ a b Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Memories!" 24 Nov 2015 2:58 p.m. Tweet.
  16. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Easily the best Samus armor I've seen yet. Retro Studios needs to buy that and display it in the office. #PAXWest2017 #Metroid" 4 Sep 2017 3:18 p.m. Tweet.
  17. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Thank you so much @mercurysteam and Sakamoto-san for making another amazing Metroid. I hope this relationship continues on the Switch. :)" 16 Sep 2017 9:40 p.m. Tweet.
  18. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "I do Miss working on Metroid. A little Sunday Samus and Ridley whiteboard sketch I did today for fun. Made up a new suit. #Metroid #conceptart #gamedevelopment" 25 Feb 2018 7:50 p.m. Tweet.
  19. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Samus and Ridley continued from previous tweet... Whiteboard remix #Metroid #gamedev #videogames #gameart" 25 February 2018 11:12 p.m. Tweet."
  20. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Doing another whiteboard Samus suit redesign sketch in anticipation of Prime 4. Trying to see how far I could push it and have it still be recognizable. Not gonna finish this one though. ERASE TIME! #Metroid #conceptart" 11 March 2018 10:45 p.m. Tweet."
  21. ^ Pearson, Kynan (KynanPearson). "Some mornings you just gotta put on something warm and play through Super Metroid." 29 Dec 2019 10:40 a.m. Tweet."
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