It’s been a minute since we first learned of the existence of Metroid Prime 4. And by that, I mean four years. And that was literally just a logo. But we’re going to have to keep waiting. In the meantime, Nintendo has decided to tide us over with [checks paper] Metroid 5???????
Nintendo revealed the new sidescrolling Metroid game, called Metroid Dread, as part of its Direct today. Dread is the first new 2D Metroid game in 19 years, and it will be out on October 8, so it’s not far off at all.
In the trailer, Samus walked down a corridor, only to be ambushed by a very tall robot called the E.M.M.I. This cutscene morphed into a sidescrolling chase scene through multiple rooms, with Samus ultimately getting caught and pinned to the ground before the game’s title was revealed. Nintendo then showed a sizzle reel of gameplay footage, featuring Samus battling enemies and solving puzzles. Robots that Samus must evade seem to feature heavily.
Nintendo described Dread as having a “new feel” and “a variety of threats that Samus will encounter.” In a Treehouse session after the Direct, producer Yoshio Sakamoto said that Dread will continue the story that started in the first Metroid and will “mark an end” to the main series story arc focused on the “uncanny” relationship between Samus and Metroids.
Continue Samus’ story after Metroid Fusion, exploring a strange new planet alone and hunted by the ominous E.M.M.I.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 15, 2021
Many were expecting to see Metroid Prime 4 today, but it seems that was never the plan. During today’s Direct, Nintendo mentioned that it’s “working hard” on Metroid Prime 4 before quickly transitioning into the big Metroid Dread reveal.
Metroid Prime 4 was first announced at E3 2017 and, at the time, was not being developed by series progenitor Retro Studios. Instead, Nintendo said that series producer Kensuke Tanabe was working with a “talented new development team.” Later, Eurogamer reported that team to be under the umbrella of Bandai Namco, first in Singapore and then in Japan when the Singapore team moved on to another Switch game.
2018 came and went uneventfully, with then-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé telling Game Informer that “Metroid Prime 4 is still in development and proceeding well.” Not too well, apparently, because in early 2019, Nintendo senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi said in a video that development “has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series” and that Tanabe would restart the game’s development “from the beginning” alongside original series developer Retro.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” Takahashi said at the time. “This change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning, so the completion of the game will be delayed from our initial internal plan.”
He further added that development time would be “extensive.” So it’ll probably be a while longer before we finally see it in action. Metroid Dread, though, seems like a more than adequate consolation prize.