The fourth instalment of the Metroid Prime series was always going to be a tricky game for Nintendo to release. Announced in early 2017, ten years after Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Metroid Prime 4 was set to continue the story on the Nintendo Switch. Featuring a brand new development team led by Bandai Namco’s Japan and Singapore studios, there was a lot of excitement for this new game, even though Nintendo had only revealed a logo at this point.
As the years passed without any updates, Shinya Takahashi, Nintendo’s EPD general manager confirmed two years later that Metroid Prime 4’s development had restarted. Takahashi announced Retro Studios, the developer of the original trilogy, would return to create the sequel.
There hasn’t been a Metroid game on consoles since Metroid: Other M, and that was released back in 2010. Fans have been waiting over a decade for a new Metroid game, but at least there’s confirmation that Metroid Prime 4 is officially in development. It’s been just under two years since development restarted, leaving us with a number of clues that give us an idea of what kind of shape the game is currently in.
METROID PRIME 4: EVERYTHING WE KNOW SO FAR
If you’re hoping to play Metroid Prime 4 before 2022, you may be disappointed to hear that this is highly unlikely to happen. Though development for the game restarted back in 2019, Retro Studios was not equipped to create a game as large as Metroid Prime 4 in its current state. Over the past two years, Retro Studios has hired numerous AAA developers, ranging from Santa Monica Studio veterans to former Naughty Dog members.
Though the original trilogy launched within the span of just five years, Metroid Prime 4 is being built from scratch. The assets from the previous games are unusable now due to their age and overall low quality. Having to create an entire game from the ground up will take a minimum of two years, and that’s in the best case scenario. To make matters worse, we are currently in the middle of a global pandemic which is sure to slow down the development process.
Retro Studios continues to hire developers, the most notable over the past few months is Marisa Palumbo, who spent years working at Rockstar. The studio is also hiring product testers on a contract basis, which suggests Metroid Prime 4 is in a playable state. This doesn’t mean the game is ready to ship, but that’s a positive sign that the game is progressing well so far.
Nintendo revealed a trailer for Metroid Prime 4 along with the announcement back in 2017, though there isn’t much to see other than the logo. It appears that Nintendo is sticking with this logo as it hasn’t changed since the project’s reboot.
Nintendo is in the habit of re-releasing its bestselling Wii and Wii U games on Switch. Mario’s 35th anniversary celebration brought together three of the plumber’s iconic 3D games, so there is precedent to believe the Metroid series could have a similar celebration.
The Metroid series commemorates its 35th anniversary in 2021, and while Metroid Prime 4 seems unlikely at this stage, a re-release of the Metroid Prime Trilogy could be on the cards. If Nintendo wants to do something slightly more adventurous, it could package up some of Samus’s 2D adventures alongside the Prime games.
And that’s all we know about Metroid Prime 4. Judging by everything that has happened with the game’s development, it appears Retro Studios is gearing up to create one of its biggest games yet. Though this means fans will have to wait a little longer, if it means Metroid Prime 4 becomes a better game as a result then that’s fine by us.