Take a look at this story. What is Retro up to?
Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see Retro mentioned for their work in Mario Kart 7. What Retro did was provide graphical assets and art to Mario Kart 7. So we already know that Retro is being used, in some form, as an art/engine studio and not just making games.
It is highly likely that Retro is being the ‘link’ between Western third parties and Nintendo in terms of communicating and working with game engines on the Wii U. Retro’s art talent is likely being pooled for Nintendo’s new HD games.
Is Retro working on games? Have they become nothing more than a shell that works on game engines and contributes art? We know so much designer talent has left Retro over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo just uses Retro as a graphics and engine studio as well as their point man to communicating to Western game companies on technical matters. This may last the entire generation.
Nintendo may not want to deal with the headaches of Retro game designers. But then again, if you had to get approval from Sakamoto for many years, you’d want to flee too.