Nintendo took everybody by surprise this year with the sheer amount of content they packed into E3. Honestly, this soon after the launch of Switch, I didn’t really expect them to use this E3 as anything more than a marketing platform for games we already knew about. Arms, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles are all big Nintendo IPs that are coming out soon. Even our favorite Italian plumber is getting a brand new adventure this year. Naturally, it would be completely normal to expect those to be their focus of the show.
Now, imagine the surprise we had when Nintendo decided to top their already tasty cake with a handful of unannounced titles. Yoshi, Kirby — EVEN A NEW POKEMON GAME! One new announcement though not only stole the show for me, but also stole my heart.
Metroid Prime 4 was announced.
Seriously, if not for Beyond Good and Evil 2 being revealed with a full trailer, Metroid Prime 4 would have been the runaway success of E3 to me. I hold the original Metroid Prime in the highest regard as being the best videogame ever made.
After a brief few years in the spotlight though, The 1st person Metroid’s popularity dwindled a bit, ultimately vanishing for the last ten years. Die hard fans of the series have always had a dormant hope that a new announcement would show — ultimately winding up with either empty hands or spin-offs that nobody really wanted. So you can imagine the excitement when they rolled this lovely teaser.
I’m not alone in my excitement, either. The world has wanted a new Metroid for so long and it’s finally our time!
Please go pound sand…
Turns out, some people have been trying to de-rail my 10 year hype train by pointing out Metroid Prime’s original studio will not be developing the game.
Now, I’m a sensitive boy. I understand that the internet is full of opinionated garbage. I’m sure most people think my stuff is just that. But I take things personally. I love Metroid I won’t stand for this nonsense! Prepare yourselves for my soapbox of WHY IT DOESN’T MATTER RETRO STUDIOS ISN’T DEVELOPING METROID PRIME 4.
The Retro we knew
Metroid Prime came out in 2002. The world was breaking through to a true “next generation” of graphics. Retro Studios, a still very new company, had been forged as a Nintendo loyal developer and lived under their umbrella. The remarkable thing about Retro was their ability to work within their limitations. Microsoft and Sony led the market in mature aimed, graphic driven content. Nintendo was constantly seen as the underpowered tech that was made for children. Retro shoveled majestic dirt all over that notion by creating Metroid Prime. With one single game, they proved not only did Nintendo titles have the same ability to entertain a mature audience, but look damn good while doing it.
Seriously, I could praise Metroid Prime for pages on end, but here’s the point:
A studio name represents the creatives behind it.
Metroid Prime was released 15 years ago. That is a huge chunk of time. The world has changed, people have moved on, and the Retro Studios of today isn’t what it was in 2002. I don’t mean to say that Retro is less of a company now — Their reimagined Donkey Kong Country brought new life to that series, creating some of the best (and hardest) platformers to date.
What I mean is Retro is literally different. The studio now consists of a much younger, different cast of creators. Many of their core team have left in the time between today and Metroid Prime, moving on to create some great things!
Mark Pacini, Prime’s original director has since moved on to be the director of ReCore.
Kynan Pearson, the lead designer, and Jason Behr, the lead level designer for the original have both since parted with Retro, moving onto 343 studios to work on the most recent games of a little series called Halo .
It stands to reason that the artists at current Retro would have a (rightfully) different version of the Metroid Prime universe. And that’s fabulous! It’s also worth reasoning that those who are still with Retro may not even WANT to work on Prime anymore. Metroid Prime spanned three different games over a length of 7 years. On top of that, a completely re-tooled compilation, released in 2009. That’s a long time for anyone to spend on one project. It’s entirely plausible that their hearts are just somewhere different now. I want Metroid to be driven by a passion for the series. A new studio could definitely bring just that ingredient.
The vision is still there.
Even though Retro isn’t involved, there are a number of the original creative team members that are confirmed to be returning for the project. Both Kensuke Tenabe (Prime’s original producer) and Kenji Yamamoto (Prime’s original composer) will be joining whatever studio takes on Prime 4. The new team will expectedly have fresh ideas for a current day audience, and that’s wonderful! Even so, you can be sure there will still be some of the original talent in place to ensure a great foundation for a new Metroid Prime.
It’s Still Nintendo
If there is one thing Nintendo is meticulous about, it’s the quality of their games. Even the so-so received Metroid: Other M in 2010 was enjoyable and playable. I will admit that they screwed the pooch with Galactic Federation Force. But even for all of it’s faults, it was still a solid package. Spin-offs aside, Nintendo takes great pride in their tentpole IPs and Metroid Prime helped them in a North American market that desperately needed it. I expect they won’t abandon that, and will seek to meet all of our expectations. You can be sure that this game will live up to their seal of quality and be a great experience.
Honestly, I don’t care WHO is making Prime 4 to drive my hype. Our excitement is driven by Metroid as a series. We want to see a strong female protagonist in Samus Aran. We want to see a desolate ruin that has a story to unfold. We want creative sci-fi in only a way that Nintendo can do it! Do you think I understood or cared who the mind behind my first experience with Metroid Prime, Metroid Fusion, or even Super Metroid? If you answered ‘god, no!’, you’re right.
In the end, these trolls online trying to kill your hype for Metroid Prime 4 do not matter. What matters is that it’s here, the wait is over, and soon we will again get explore new planets as our favorite galactic bounty hunter.