Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch is being rebooted with Retro Studios taking over development

Credit: Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo /

Nintendo announced today that Metroid Prime 4 is being rebooted after failing to meet the company’s expectations. But the announcement comes with a silver lining.

When Nintendo first announced Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch back in June of 2017, many figured it would be a long time until we actually see the game come to fruition. Still, even just the logo appearing alongside an announcement that the long-awaited game was now in development was enough to get fans excited.

It’s been quite a while since we last heard anything regarding Metroid Prime 4, but today, Nintendo provided an update on the status of the game. It’s one of bittersweet news. In a video posted to social media, Shinya Takahashi, General Manager of Nintendo’s Development Division, announced that Nintendo is rebooting development on Metroid Prime 4.

This comes as a bit of a shock as Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said during last year’s E3 that development on Metroid Prime 4 was “progressing well.”

“Although this is very regrettable, we must let you know that the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series,” explained Takahashi. “We have determined that the current development status of the game is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team.”

It’s unclear how far along development on the game was, but apparently, Nintendo had seen enough to come to the conclusion that it wasn’t what the company had envisioned for fans.

Obviously scrapping a game in its entirety, regardless of what stage in development it’s at, is a huge decision. But it’s a decision that must be commended as I’m sure fans of the series would rather wait a little bit longer for a quality game than have Nintendo push out a disappointing game, especially after how long we’ve waited for this sequel.

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Restarting from scratch means that whatever plans Nintendo had in place for the game’s launch are effectively delayed. But seeing as how we never had a release date, or launch window, to begin with, it’s hard to be too disappointed. We never knew when the game was to release for Nintendo Switch anyway, so what’s a little while longer – especially when it means a (hopefully) better overall game?

There is a silver lining to today’s announcement, however. As part of the change, Nintendo is shifting development to a new studio, even though we never knew who was developing the original game to begin with (Bandi Namco, maybe?).

In any case, the U.S.-based Retro Studios, the team behind the original Metroid Prime games, will be the ones handling development on the reboot.

“We have decided to have the producer, Kensuke Tanabe, work in trust and collaboration with the studio that developed the original Metroid Prime series, Retro Studios in the United States, and restart development from the beginning,” Takahashi continued. “We did not make this decision lightly. This change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning, so the completion of the game will be delayed from our initial internal plan. We strongly recognize that this delay will come as a disappointment to the many fans who have been looking forward to the launch of Metroid Prime 4.

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Given the Retro Studios’ history with the Metroid Prime series, this is incredibly exciting news as the first three games in the series are considered some of the best of all-time. Sure, delays are never fun, but if it means a better game as a result, then I’m all for it.