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RUMOR - Details on Metroid Prime 4's rough development, Retro's new involvement, Metroid Prime Trilogy on Switch, and other Metroid projects

The news of Metroid Prime 4's development being restarted with Retro handling the project has shocked many, there's no doubt about it. The announcement has lead many fans to wonder just how the project fell apart, and what lead to Retro getting involved once again. While we don't have concrete information, we do have some rumored details from Imran Khan, Senior Editor at Game Informer.

- the problem came from Nintendo's experimental ad-hoc development process
- Metroid Prime 4 was being made in parts in different countries
- some studios were progressing smoothly with the project, while others were having a lot of trouble
- Nintendo started to think that the game needed to be all under one roof to set things straight
- Retro made the pitch for their involvement and put together a demo that Nintendo liked

That's not the only project Metroid fans have been hearing about, though. There have been long-standing rumors of the Metroid Prime Trilogy coming to Switch, as well as other Metroid-related projects in the works. Khan elaborates on those situations as well.

- the Metroid Prime Trilogy Switch port has been completed for quite some time
- it was originally going to be announced last month
- there's more Metroid stuff in development

Comments

Top Rated Comment
fylo
Fri Jan 25 19 03:22pm
Rating: 9

I recently watched a video on Extra Credits that was about early builds, and it stated that most of the development struggles by the 3/4 of the way, since the game is already shaping up.

I think in regards to using what work, it may not be as simple as that. Changing teams like changing game engines can and have struggle trying to piece together work from another team. Is like how in Disney years later they explained how tracing old animation cels in order to save money on animation was a more impractical and costly method of working that building those from scratch.

We also see how badly transferring assets to another team is messy in movies. This has happened often in DC movies and is well documented that it shows that changing teams and using previous work can be hard to mesh with the stuff you're now adding to the project.

In short; sometimes starting over is better than struggling to fix something that's not working.

I'm not sure I believe that. If some parts were progressing well while others weren't, why scrap the entire thing and start from scratch? Why not keep some of the parts that were doing well? The way Nintendo described it made it sound like nothing was worth saving.

fylo
Fri Jan 25 19 03:22pm
Rating: 9

I recently watched a video on Extra Credits that was about early builds, and it stated that most of the development struggles by the 3/4 of the way, since the game is already shaping up.

I think in regards to using what work, it may not be as simple as that. Changing teams like changing game engines can and have struggle trying to piece together work from another team. Is like how in Disney years later they explained how tracing old animation cels in order to save money on animation was a more impractical and costly method of working that building those from scratch.

We also see how badly transferring assets to another team is messy in movies. This has happened often in DC movies and is well documented that it shows that changing teams and using previous work can be hard to mesh with the stuff you're now adding to the project.

In short; sometimes starting over is better than struggling to fix something that's not working.

elfteiroh
Fri Jan 25 19 11:52pm
Rating: 2

In programmation, we often call this "Technology Debt".
Bad decisions early one that drag us later.
Most commonly encountered when you start with a prototype, and try building the game on top of it instead of scrapping it. Usually this is done to save time and costs, but end up making the project cost double.

So the game was uneven on several fronts. Its easy to think it could have ended heavily disjointed.

alleycat
Fri Jan 25 19 03:21pm
Rating: 1

All I know is that Retro Studios have a monumental task ahead of them. Not taking their previous work lightly but this one is going to be scrutinised from bow to stern & pillar to post. All manner of luck to them.

True, although I don't know how much to gauge it. At this point my level of expectations is like RE2 which before reveal I was expecting it just to be like the first Resident Evil Remake.

Fri Jan 25 19 03:35pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Retro made the pitch for their involvement and put together a demo that Nintendo liked

That goes against the dumb narrative that “Nintendo forces Retro to work on Metroid” that I’ve seen in a few places.

the Metroid Prime Trilogy Switch port has been completed for quite some time

Very possible Retro did the port and now they have a competent working engine for MP4. I’m not sure if they announced the Trilogy for Switch in conjunction with the MP4 news would have been best or not. In one hand it would show that the port isn’t going to eat into the reboot dev time of MP4. If they come out with the trilogy later this year people will ask “why did you waste dev time on this when MP4 needs all it can get?”.

I forgot to mention in the earlier story that it had been rumoured that Retro worked on Labo too. IGN founder Peer Schneider is adamant that they did but Nintendo kept their names off it because they knew “fans” would have implosions.

They worked on MK8 but not sure if they had much of a hand in MK8DX?

groose
Sat Jan 26 19 02:30am
Rating: 1

That goes against the dumb narrative that “Nintendo forces Retro to work on Metroid” that I’ve seen in a few places.

Such a dumb narrative! Dumb like that time Nintendo cancelled four unnamed Retro Studios projects plus Raven Blade (which was in a playable state and looked cool) so Retro could focus only on Metroid. Dumb like the rumor from May of last year that Nintendo cancelled another one of their projects.

Dumb like developers of the original Prime saying they felt like "abused dogs" and it was "the worst experience of their life" (https://www.usgamer.net/articles/nintendo-almost-shut-down-retro-studios-after-metroid-prime-shipped).

Dumb like every single Retro Studios game having a NCL producer and co-producer.

Dumb like a critically-acclaimed game studio that in 20 years hasn't been able to put out a single completely original game.

Yes, they made a pitch for Metroid Prime 4. But if you at the broader picture, at the games that Nintendo has allowed them to create and how much of that they've been allowed to do on their own, sans NCL's direct supervision and involvement, them putting whatever else they had on hold so they can back to working on the series they've been most successful with tells a sad story of a game studio that, whether Nintendo or they themselves or at fault, still hasn't forged it's own unique identity.

ngamer01
Sat Jan 26 19 05:06pm
(Updated 5 times)

And then when they get the chance to have a new IP, you'd be bitching "Where's DK or Metroid?"

For all you're saying that Retro are just Nintendo lapdogs, but let's consider previous studios that left Nintendo for any reason or went against them.

1) RARE - Bought out by Microsoft and their initial Xbox offerings bombed. All their original IP that were to get sequels were shelved or farmed out to other Microsoft studios. RARE's original staff have long since disappeared. They might as well have been closed with how little the staff in name only are doing.

2) Silicon Knights - They left to do their own thing on Sony and had several bombs and one lawsuit from Epic Games that brought them down. Denis Dyack to this day still can't get anything going in the video game industry after his previous crowdfunding campaigns bombed.

3) Nintendo Software Tech - While they didn't leave Nintendo, they might as well been shut down due to the failure of Project HAMMER. Since that Western AAA attempt collapsed, they've been relegated to Mario vs. DK developer (now mobile developer too) along with assisting in other Nintendo projects as extra resources for them. They no longer have any autonomy due to going against Nintendo's teachings.

Be careful of what you wish for if you want Retro have more autonomy. Nintendo could let them go do their own thing and they will probably fold like a house of cards as a result. Would it be nice if Retro could launch a new IP? Yes, but there are a lot of risk factors that Nintendo doesn't want to stomach and they pretty much lost three studios to doing their own thing instead of Nintendo's.

pajob
Fri Jan 25 19 03:41pm
Rating: 1

If there is more Metroid stuff in development, I will love to see a new 2D Metroid following the story of Metroid Fusion. Also, I'm not sure how well Samus Returns sold on the 3DS, but I'm sure a HD version on Switch would reach a bigger audience.

I don’t think official numbers were ever released by un-official sources place it at around half a million sold (excluding digital).

I do agree it would likely perform better on Switch. It came out so late in the 3DS life, many Nintendo fans probably skipped over it. It’s not a bad looking game on 3DS so a little up-rez for Switch wouldn’t be a huge dev effort.

Had this come before the announcement, I may believe it, but coming hours after the announcement makes me feel this is just clickbait.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

captaincolon
Fri Jan 25 19 03:46pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

I'm fine with the redo. I actually wasn't keen on the idea of them making a new Metroid Prime without Retro Studios being involved (though I guess in the long run it doesn't matter since most of the original team are no longer there anymore).

I've been waiting years to see what Retro Studios is capable of with their own original IP, but I guess we'll have to wait even longer now.

Unpopular opinion time: I just don't care for 2D Metroid games, so if it wasn't for the Metroid Prime games (specifically Metroid Prime 3) this series might as well not even exist to me, so it was important they get this right. And Metroid Prime: Federation Force was in fact a good game and I'd choose to play it over the 2D entries any day of the week, twice on Sundays. Phew, I just had to get that off my chest.

Careful now or you’ll trigger his royal highness ;)

microtic
Fri Jan 25 19 03:49pm
Rating: 1

And here I am just wanting a new HD ultra stylistic 2D Metroid game.

After playing Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, Axiom Verge, Celeste, and several others I really feel that it is one of the best ways to showcase powerful stories with a very strong mood.

I bet the costs would be much less overall than a 3D Prime game as well.

Still the issue would be that Nintendo wants to sell the game at a 60 dollar price. All the ones you listed are cheaper than that. And aside from fighting games, big developers don't use sprites anymore.

With that said, it'll be nice if maybe they could use the UbiArt engine and make something like the concept art NextLevelGames had. Though many may not like the cartoony look.

I'm going to call shenanigans considering that Nintendo routinely does this with game development, Monolith Soft developing parts of Zelda, Retro developing parts of Mario Kart, and Xenoblade 2 being made in only a few years with most of it's development outsourced to multiple development studios.

We never really did hear which studio was working on MP4, did we? This could be why.

This all sounds plausible but it really doesn't matter. The fact is it's delayed, maybe for 2 or 3 years. Nintendo made the wrong call and now they made the right one. At very least Nintendo owned up to the mistake, talked to us about it and it now moving forward.

The best part is the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Would be the first Switch port that really worths $60.

The MP Trilogy was only $20 on Wii U.

But that was the unaltered Wii game, with SD graphics, where not even everything could be unlocked due to WiiConnect 24 not working.

Totally understand the restart on development and it’s ultimately a good thing that it’s happening. Also a nice thing to know that despite changes in management, they’re still prioritising the quality of their art above anything else which can’t be said for so many publishers nowadays.

Hopefully the Trilogy port is happening. Today would have been an appropriate time to announce it but I’ll take it whenever. I wouldn’t say no to a Samus Returns HD port either!

- the Metroid Prime Trilogy Switch port has been completed for quite some time
- it was originally going to be announced last month
- there's more Metroid stuff in development
That's kinda weird. You'd think the Prime 4 reset would make them announce that other stuff sooner instead of later as consolation.

Right? Like, "oh, sorry, we don't have Metroid Prime 4 ready this year, so here's Metroid Prime Trilogy!" Unless there is some reason they are holding off on the Metroid Prime Trilogy announcement...

But unless I missed it, I don't know why they needed to tell us they were restarting Metroid Prime 4 right now, so they could have held off until they are ready to show Metroid Prime Trilogy or other "Metroid stuff in development".

Would be really interesting to see scrapped concepts from Bandai Namco about prime 4.

Funny how we've heard practically nothing since the game's announcement and now on the same day that Nintendo release a video about the changes suddenly we have these rumours. Right!

A Metroid Prime Trilogy HD would be easy, it wouldn't take much work. There's countless videos out there of games running on the likes of Dolphin or just look at the Nvidia Shield TV version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess from the other day. The increase in hardware performance allows for assets to be easily upgraded.

https://gonintendo.com/stories/327074-check-out-nvidia-shield-tv-s-the-legend-of-zelda-twilight-prince

A MPT HD release seems more likely now by means of apology and to appease Metroid fans who now have to wait likely another 3 to 4 years for Metroid Prime 4. And then there's the other thing, it would sell well, you know, make some money for Nintendo.

I'm fine with them restarting the development. But I wonder whether Retro Studios can still do it. They have the talent, but do they have the leadership? I also wonder why they came forward with this information. In the past, did Nintendo announce such a dramatic change for their other series? If not, why be so transparent now?

It's been many years - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is almost 11.5 years old! Many of the original team have moved on from Retro Studios, or so I've heard, and it's not that surprising given how much time has passed.

So I guess it really depends on if the original team took their talent/skill/abilities with them, or if they passed on any particular and unique skills they have to whoever's there now.

And yes, the transparency is definitely unusual. Many other games have started and restarted in their development, but I don't recall apology videos being made - and what prompted this, anyway? All we'd seen was a teaser with the title, we know literally nothing else, so they could have just done the same thing without having to say anything publicly. Is this a setup or a fakeout so we'd be blown away at E3 this year when they'd be like, "surprise, this is what Metroid Prime 4 looks like!"? Okay, I don't see them doing that, but I also never saw them feel like they would make an apology/update video like they did, either, so... who knows what's possible.

It's almost as though Nintendo is turning over a new leaf with respect to the inner workings of the company. In the past, they would usually delay a game until it was ready, even if they had to start the development again. But not only have they restarted the development, they told the public about it. I'm sure they carefully weighed the pros and cons of telling fans that they were going to restart the development of MP4, i.e. should we be open to fans, how will this affect our public image?

But what's the reason for this? Is it because Nintendo feels that they must be more honest to their customers? Or is it because Metroid is one of their oldest series, and should be given the respect it deserves? Is this a precedent set by Iwata or Kimishima for being more open? I don't know why.

We haven't seen a game from Retro Studios in 5 years, you've got to think they're close to finishing whatever they're working on, maybe we'll see it at E3 and it'll be released by the end of the year. It could have been why they weren't asked to make MP4 initially. Retro Studios are a completely different developer from when they made the original Metroid Prime. Maybe Nintendo are impressed with what Retro Studios are making now. It must dispell the rumours that the company are in trouble. Nintendo surely wouldn't move MP4 from one trainwreck to another. RS may not be able to fully commit to MP4 until their current game is finished. Takahashi said it would be a "long road.....and development time will be extensive" Why did he say those words? Why didn't he mention the Switch? There's more pressure on this game to deliver now, I think this game is going to take a long time to come out, as I said before these games take longer to develop nowadays, it'll probably be bigger than the previous games, HD development and I wouldn't bet against some online multi-player elements. It's going to be the BOTW situation all over again.

So Nintendo have already started the porting process for next generation. ;) We hoped for a January Direct, nobody predicted this would be it.

I hope Metroid Prime Trilogy release in The Switch as a way to ease your wait until MP4 release in 2021 or later

I wonder what game Retro studios was developing beside the port of Donkey kong Tropical Freeze now they are developing MP4?

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