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My advice to other artists is this: if you want to work in show-business and entertainment, then understand that you are not an artist at work, you are a designer. Always go home and create your own art for yourself. Go to work to create a product that needs to appeal to audiences and sell. I’ve met many artists in game development that haven’t created their own artwork in over a decade. Make an oath to not let this happen to you, or else you simply become a cold product yourself.

—Sammy Hall

Sammy Hall.jpg

Sammy Hall is a former Retro Studios contract artist who worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. He stayed on with the team for the development of Donkey Kong Country Returns. His artwork, some of which can be unlocked in the in-game Concept Gallery, depicts Crocomire, Federation Marines, the Reptilicus, SkyTown, the Powerworks, and the Gunship. The Crocomire artwork was drawn for fun while working at Retro Studios.

Hall has since retired from video game development, citing dissatisfaction with the industry's labor conditions.


After graduating from art school, Hall worked at Midway Games in Chicago, where he conceived environments for Stranglehold (overseen by the former producer of the Metroid film, Brad Foxhoven). A friend contacted him to say that things were going on at Retro, and Hall moved to Austin, Texas to work there. According to him, "I mostly got paid to sit in a room and draw just about anything I wanted non-stop for years, it was great." He found a challenge in drawing storyboards; since Metroid was a series that left much of the storytelling to the player's imagination, and Retro did not have the resources for big budget cinematics, he sought to keep the cutscenes to a minimum.[1]

Hall wrote a feature for Shinesparkers in July 2018 entitled "Energy Tank Acquired", detailing his experience with Metroid before working at Retro Studios, and touching on his time there. He re-drew one of his rough Crocomire sketches in more detail for the site as well.

In May 2020, Shinesparkers discovered artwork shared by Hall on his ArtStation profile (since removed) that he created for abandoned game pitches based on Sheik (from The Legend of Zelda) and the Boo enemies from the Mario series. These never entered full production and the artwork was not seen by much of Nintendo, according to Hall.[2]


  • Hall played the original Metroid in his childhood, but since he did not understand the password system, he would always quit and lose his progress. His father bought him a copy of the game from Toys R Us, having been a fan of Alien (a film that greatly inspired Metroid). While staying at a remote bed and breakfast one weekend, the owner's son, a "tiny country boy", played through the entire game for Hall in one sitting without saying a word, and then left. Hall was pleased to see the ending, and discover Samus's true identity.[1]
  • In 2002, while he was in college, Hall's friend placed their copy of Super Metroid into his bag. Playing it ignited a love for Metroidvania games in him, and he played through classics such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Shadow Complex and Axiom Verge.[1]
  • Hall describes Austin as "just about the coolest place a gamer could ask to live", and that the nature there was an influence on Corruption. On Retro Studios, he said he hopes they will one day be able to create a unique game that will change how people see the medium of video games. He has also collaborated with Armature Studio and Bluepoint Games, studios founded by former Retro developers.[1]



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