It’s a true Cinderella story of gaming: a fan has become a full-time developer. The lead creator of the fan-made Metroid 2 game, Project AM2R, has announced that he’s joining the ranks of Moon Studios’ employees to work on its upcoming title, Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
The man in question is Milton Guasti, who took to Twitter to reveal that he’ll be working on level design in the studio’s newest game. “It’s a special day for another reason. I’m now part of Moon Studios, I’ll be working on level design for Ori and the Will of the Wisps,” Guasti wrote. His mention of it being a “special day” is in reference to the fact that his hiring was confirmed on the first anniversary of Project AM2R and the 31st anniversary of Metroid, thus boosting the momentousness of the occasion even further.
A sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, which was widely considered one of the best games of 2015, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is said to feature much of the same dark whimsy as the original. Players will embark on riveting new adventures to uncover mysterious beyond the reaches of the Nibel Forest, bring to light the once-hidden truth of those who’ve been lost, and unthread the enigma of Ori’s identity to unearth who the Spirit Guardian really is.
This is quite a far cry from Guasti’s previous work on Project AM2R, a remake of Nintendo’s Metroid 2: Return of Samus. Featuring refreshed 16-bit graphics and a completely unique soundtrack, Project AM2R was a true labor of love, but stirred up legal troubles with Nintendo, causing the company to shut down the Metroid fan project by requiring Guasti to pull it from the internet.
Despite the shift from the sci-fi action-adventure series to a platform-adventure sequel, Guasti is still extremely excited to be a part of Moon Studios and the Ori and the Will of the Wisps team. He explained the circumstances surrounding the job offer and his eager acceptance on his blog.
“Some time ago, the CEO of Moon Studios (creators of Ori and the Blind Forest) reached out with an offer. They needed a level designer for their upcoming sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and I was a potential candidate for the job,” Guasti wrote. “I gladly accepted the offer. Ori is one of the many games I was able to enjoy lately. One can see the love and attention to detail that went into its design. I feel like I’ll be right at home working with this team.”
Though it’s not his beloved Metroid and he isn’t working at Nintendo, Guasti appears wholeheartedly enthusiastic about this new beginning. His tale of triumph serves a bit of a fairytale purpose, proving that though pouring passion into a fan project is risky and may end up being stripped away by the higher-ups, a happy ending is possible. And who knows, perhaps Guasti’s work on Ori and the Will of the Wisps will garner a ton of attention and see him working on a new Metroid title sometime in the future. One can only dream.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps doesn’t yet have a release date, but is expected to be available on PC and Xbox One. The series’ first title, Ori and the Blind Forest, is out now on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.