Metroid Prime 4 development restarts; Retro Studios takes over

Metroid Prime 4, announced a couple of years back at E3, is having its development restarted and the project handed back to the series’ creator, Retro Studios, Nintendo has announced.

Shinya Takahashi, general manager of the Entertainment Planning and Development division at Nintendo, fronted the announcement in a typically Nintendo-ey video. That is to say, he wasn’t demanding viewers ‘slam the subscribe button’ or encouraging children to gamble.

Instead, Takahashi said of the decision: “As a result of the continuing development since [E3 2017] – although this is very regrettable – we must let you know that the current development process has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series.

“Nintendo always strives for the highest quality in our games; and in the development phase we challenge ourselves and confront whether the game is living up to that quality on a daily basis. If we’re not satisfied with the quality, we aren’t able to deliver it to our customers with confidence, and the game will not live up to our fans’ expectations.”

With the current development status of the game being ‘very challenged’, Nintendo brass took the decision to cancel the ongoing project and hand the series back to its creator, Texas-based Retro Studios.

Director of the aborted project Kensuke Tanabe will still be working alongside Retro Studios, but development of Metroid Prime 4 will be restarting from the beginning. That’s as in, this isn’t building off what’s already been done – the project is starting over from scratch.

That’s a gigantic decision to have to make, and has surely added at least an extra 12-18 months onto the time we have to wait til release.

You can see all of the polite, lovely, decidedly un-YouTube-like announcement right here.

Frankly, I’m happy about this. It’s an honest, pragmatic approach to development of a game that is really-bloody-very anticipated by a good deal of Switch owners (and would/will-be owners). With the awful Metroid: Other M tarnishing an otherwise spectacular run of Samus-fronted releases, the last thing Nintendo would have wanted from one of its flagship franchises is to flounder.

Admittedly Metroid Prime 4 being back in the hands of Retro Studios does mean we’re unlikely to be able to refer to it as a cheap imitation of the original series’ quality, so our ‘Metroid Primark’ joke will have to go unused.

Ah well.

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