Metroid Prime 4 Restarting Development

A more Retro look.

Late last week it was announced that Nintendo had pulled the plug on Metroid Prime 4 with now former developer’s vision as it was not meeting Nintendo’s high standards. This is simultaneously a bad sign and a good sign. It is a bad sign that things were going very wrong and the game had gone off the rails, potentially being the reason why we hadn’t heard about it since it was announced in 2017. This also explains why there was no direct in the month of January, perhaps Metroid was planned to be shown off this month but due to scrapping the entire game Nintendo had to cancel their direct with a lack of real gameplay from a major game. However, there are some silver linings that can be taken from this. Nintendo is taking this game very seriously and is monitoring it closely because they care about making sure that it does well. Not only that, but it was surprisingly transparent for Nintendo to outwardly say that they had restarted production and given it to another team. It’s a bold choice that earned them a lot of credit, and most importantly, it won them patience with the fan base.

With the announcement of Metroid being handed over to a new team, it only seems fitting that the original developers at Retro Studios are stepping in to get the job done. This one piece alone raises questions such as what was Retro working on before this? And also, why wasn’t Retro the developer from the start of the development cycle? While the former is a big enough question to merit its own article, the former can be answered in much less time. There are a few options here, either Retro was nearing an announcement of their previous game before taking on this task and they were unavailable at the time. Or, Nintendo, with its refined effort at working with different developers outside of their normal choices, decided to give a team a chance and see where they took it. Obviously neither option panned out and the decision to reveal Metroid so early now has backfired on Nintendo. Obviously though many games have gone through development troubles and come out better for it. Nintendo is committed to providing a high quality experience that can set a new standard like games such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The scariest part about this whole announcement is essentially resetting the calendar for this game.

While it was unlikely to release this year, Metroid Prime 4 was supposed to be on the horizon with new footage or a cinematic, or even a screenshot to get fans hyped up for the game again. Unfortunately we aren’t going to get any of that this year. We can expect a bit of wait before the next Metroid news comes out, but how far along is Retro is the question on everyone’s minds. In the worst case scenario Retro had literally started from scratch the day of the announcement. This would mean that the game is at least 4 years away. The best case scenario, however, is that Retro had been quietly working on this behind the scenes, and had a bit of work done before this announcement was made. Even better would be if Retro had been informed ahead of time so that they can shift their focus much easier. The most likely option is in the middle of the two. Retro more than likely has procured some assets from the previous team and did have ideas in planned out in case someone had to pull the plug on the old game. Hopefully the most important groundwork has been laid and if Retro is proficient with its time we might still be able to see some footage by the end of the year. That is VERY unlikely, but it is still a possibility because we don’t know how long Retro has known. Obviously if they found out along with the rest of us and they are only just now switching gears from their last project, there is no chance we hear about this game until 2020 at the earliest.

All that being said, it’s easy to wonder how this game is going to be replaced in Nintendo’s lineup schedule. Bayonetta 3 is the obvious choice for games in development beyond this year. However, after that there really is nothing. The only other games that we know about are releasing in 2019 and most don’t have the massive appeal that Metroid has. Surely there are more announcements incoming, but for now, we all will just have to wait and see.

Are you sad to see Metroid delayed? Are you excited to see Retro working on the game again? Let me know in the comments down below and make sure to subscribe for more Bring Your Own Games.

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