About 18 months ago, at E3 2017, Nintendo did one of those things only Nintendo can do: it showed us a logo for a hotly-anticipated game. With nothing aside from a logo to go on, we knew Metroid Prime 4 was in development. We’d hoped to get something like a screenshot or game footage to chew on this winter, but now Nintendo is saying that development is restarting from the beginning with Retro Studios, the team behind the first 3 Metroid Prime games, which first appeared on the Nintendo GameCube and Wii.
Nintendo took a look at the status of Metroid Prime 4 and decided that “current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series.” Nintendo called the game’s current status “very challenged” in a video update released late this week.
Because of this, Nintendo has decided to bring in Retro Studios, based in the United States, to work with its internal Japanese team on the game.
While this means a longer wait for the game, this is actually great news. First, Retro Studios was always where fans wanted to see this game come from, so this works as a kind of second reveal for the game. Not only are we getting a Metroid Prime game, we’re getting it from the team that does it best. Second, this series has always been a tough one for Japanese studios. The Metroid games have always done better with Western audiences for whatever reason, and that’s part of why we get Metroid games so rarely. The last time Nintendo put out a console-sized Metroid game, Metroid: Other M, it was developed by Team Ninja and received some very mixed reviews. Bringing in a Western studio to collaborate seems like a great idea to combine the best of both teams.
When is Metroid Prime 4 coming out? Not for a long while.