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Akira Otani is an employee of Nintendo that produces games developed outside of NCL, such as the Mario & Luigi subseries and Wave Race: Blue Storm. Otani was the coproducer of Metroid Prime alongside Kensuke Tanabe, and the assistant producer of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes alongside Risa Tabata. Otani was also in charge of PR at NCL for Echoes. In March 2003, the three producers gave an interview to Nintendo Online Magazine about their work with the original Metroid Prime. It was unofficially translated into English by the Metroid Database.
Otani was given the role of director, as the game had no on-site director. Since Retro Studios, the developer of Prime was based in Texas in the United States, Otani and Tanabe had to travel there about 5 times. Otani said he became accustomed to American food with the frequent trips.