Metroid Prime 4 is supposed to be the next main installment in the Metroid series. Since the last main installment in the series came out in 2010, it should come as no surprise to learn that its announcement at E3 2017 was met with an enthusiastic response from Metroid fans. Unfortunately, this was followed up by a lack of news in 2018 save for short reassurances that its development was going well.
This has now been proven incorrect, seeing as how the Nintendo EPD General Manager Shinya Takahashi has revealed that Metroid Prime 4 will be delayed. Moreover, it seems safe to say that the delay will be a very significant one, seeing as how Nintendo has decided to toss out what it has at the moment in preference for starting over by entrusting the project to the original Metroid Prime developer Retro Studios. Something that was explained by Nintendo’s dissatisfaction with the project’s failure to meet its standards for what a Metroid Prime game should be.
Why Is This a Positive Step?
For Metroid fans, this is a serious blow. After all, a lot of people had been hoping for a release in either 2018 or 2019. However, now it seems that Metroid Prime won’t be coming out until 2020 or later, meaning that an already long wait has become longer still. With that said, if interested individuals want to remain positive about the whole thing, there are a couple of potential upsides to this announcement.
First, the restart on Metroid Prime 4 means that interested individuals have a higher chance of getting a good game at some point in the future. In a perfect world, they would have gotten a good game by now. However, Nintendo’s reaction should make it very clear that isn’t one of the possible outcomes. Instead, the choice is between a definitely bad game sooner and a potentially good game later. Under these circumstances, it seems safe to say that most Metroid fans would choose the latter option, particularly since the fate of the Metroid series as a whole is riding upon it.
After all, the last main installment for the Metroid series was the much-mocked Metroid: Other M, which might have gotten some good comments for its gameplay but got gutted by both critics and consumers because of the poor storytelling for one of the most iconic female characters in the world of video games. Since that time, there has been a spin-off called Metroid Prime: Federation Force that flopped in 2016 as well as Metroid: Samus Returns that met with a better response in 2017 but was nonetheless a remake of Metroid II. As a result, if Metroid Prime 4 fails, it isn’t exactly difficult to imagine the Metroid series going into hibernation save for the very occasional remake or spin-off for another decade or so.
Second, the reveal that development on Metroid Prime 4 is starting over is a surprising show of transparency. This is particularly true because it came from Nintendo, which has managed to pick up a notorious reputation for being tight-lipped in the past. However, it should be remembered that other video game companies aren’t too enthusiastic about sharing this kind of information with their customer bases either, which is perhaps unsurprising when bad news can have a very noticeable impact on their financial numbers very fast.
As a result, this announcement can be seen as a step forward when it comes to transparency. Moreover, it isn’t unreasonable to think that it could be an example of a better way forward when it comes to video game companies communicating with with their customer bases. Certainly, the news that Metroid Prime 4 is being restarted will result in some unhappiness on Metroid fans now, but it is still better than giving them no information for months and months, which tends to have a corrosive effect on people’s enthusiasm no matter how excited they might have been at the start. Due to this, it will be interesting to see whether Nintendo will take a more active role in setting accurate player expectations in regards to its titles from this point forward, which could result in better relations with players by keeping them well-informed about what is going on as well as what they can expect in the near future. If nothing else, it shows more respect to said individuals than ignoring them until everything is ready for release, which tends to be something that most people respond well to.