Metroid Prime 4’s Development Has Restarted

What happened?

Yesterday, Nintendo released an official video about the status of Metroid Prime 4. I, along with many others, have hotly anticipated any news about the project since its reveal during E3 2017. The news we’ve received is both disappointing and uplifting. Shinya Takahashi describes the development of Metroid Prime 4 up until now as “very challenged.” As some of you may know, while the original producer of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Kensuke Tanabe, is overseeing the project, the actual developers are all new to the series. No matter how talented the devs may be, nailing the feel of the previous entries is sure to present a lot of challenge.

As a result, all development done up to this point has been scrapped and will start anew in collaboration with Retro Studios, the developers of the original Prime games. Seeing as a typical AAA game takes around 3 years of development, fans can hopefully look forward to the fourth installment in the Metroid Prime series around 2022. While many of the developers at Retro back in the Prime days are long gone, I have faith Nintendo can leverage their resources to deliver a product fans will absolutely love.

Was this a good move by Nintendo?

I would definitely say so. It must have been hard for Nintendo to essentially admit that they have had fruitless development for the past year and a half or so. Big props to them for refusing to continue stringing along their fans with a sense of false hope.

Also, the Switch is still in its early years and they have been blowing through their best IP rather quickly. Without Metroid, most of their upcoming heavy hitters include Animal Crossing, Pokemon and Fire Emblem. Maybe this occurrence was a blessing in disguise for Nintendo to perpetuate the longevity of the Switch.

Will the Metroid Prime Trilogy come this year to Switch?

Unfortunately, I do not believe we will be getting the Metroid Prime Trilogy on Switch this year. I believe Nintendo will release the trilogy next year since I do not anticipate them having many big releases in 2020. Then, in 2021, we will receive an E3 dedicated to showing off Metroid Prime 4 Breath of the Wild style followed by a release in the Spring or Summer of 2022. Yes, it is kind of depressing to look that far ahead knowing that we could’ve had Metroid Prime 4 this year if Nintendo played their cards better, but at least we are getting it. The biggest win Metroid fans can take away from this delay is Nintendo’s dedication to doing the franchise justice.

Why did Nintendo announce the game so early in the first place?

I believe companies got too caught up in creating buzz for their brand and disregarded the stresses and the unruly amount of anticipation an early game announcement can create. The biggest perpetrator has been Sony in the past couple of years. They have been much better recently, but the levels of hype they’ve generated from their fan base was out of control from 2015-2017. Feeling the competition and seeing fans frothing at the mouth for anything Metroid, I believe they decided to make an early announcement of their own with Metroid Prime 4. Hopefully, video game companies realize the repercussions of assuming the game announced will blossom into something amazing.

Whenever Nintendo fails to deliver in a timely manner, they are very candid about their shortcomings and their dedication to make things right. I have complete faith that when we get Metroid Prime 4, it will be one of the greats that we will talk about for years on end. I would like to see companies not make announcements without substantial gameplay to back them up, but I understand the temptation to announce games barely in development to pique the interest of consumers and investors alike. However, more likely than not, the development of a game announced too early will be unhealthy for the developers and an agonizing wait for the consumer. What do you think about Metroid Prime 4’s restarted development? What is your personal favorite Metroid game? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Images retrieved from Nintendo’s E3 2017 Press Assets

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