Metroid Prime 4 development restarted at Retro Studios [Update]

A long road ahead for the anticipated sequel.

Metroid Prime 4

Development on Metroid Prime 4 has been restarted from scratch at original series developer Retro Studios, Nintendo’s Shinya Takahashi said in a video message.

Get the full message and transcript below.

I am Shinya Takahashi, and I’m responsible for development at Nintendo. Thank you so much for playing Nintendo games. I wanted to speak with you today to give you an update on Metroid Prime 4, the newest title in the Metroid Prime series.

We deeply understand the high anticipation that Metroid Prime series fans have for this title. We have felt it especially from the passionate words from fans we heard when we first announced this title at E3 the year before last.

Ever since the announcement, we have not been able to give you an update, but as a result of the continuing development since that time, 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.

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.

From this perspective, 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. We have decided to reexamine the development structure itself and change it. Specifically, 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.

By collaborating and developing with Retro Studios, we believe we can make this game something that will meet our fans’ expectations. 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. I’d like to extend my deepest, heart-felt apologies to everyone that the launch will be delayed. It will be a long road until the next time we will be able to update you on the development progress, and development will be extensive. However, we will continue developing the game so that when it is completed, it will stand shoulder to shoulder with the past Metroid Prime series titles.

On behalf of Nintendo and Retro Studios, I sincerely appreciate your understanding.

Thank you very much.

Update at 3:15 p.m.: Game Informer senior editor Imran Khan has shared a series of insights, albeit unconfirmed, into the development of Metroid Prime 4 and a rumored Metroid Prime Trilogy for Switch.

“Huh, I guess that explains where Metroid Prime Trilogy disappeared to,” Khan said in a tweet reacting to news of Metroid Prime 4‘s restarted development. He continued, “It’s been long done. Initial announcement was supposed to be last month [in December].”

As for why we have still yet to hear about it, Khan said, “Nintendo sits on a lot of games for a long time until they feel like marketing it. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was on the eShop servers like a year ago.”

Regarding Metroid Prime 4, Khan said, “Retro working on Metroid Prime 4 is interesting. There’s not a lot of old Metroid Prime people there anymore, so the experience is all just in the name. It’s a good PR move, but I wonder what happened with the old developer (which was Bandai Namco Studios) to cause them to overturn the table.” He continued, “The last I heard of the game was around September when people told me it was proceeding fine. [Nintendo of America president and COO] Reggie [Fils-Aime] even said the same in December, when clearly it must have been boiling over.”

According to Khan, Metroid Prime 4 was being developed by a “patched-together team across different countries. Maybe parts of it were working fine, but other parts weren’t.”

Later, he added (2), “Hearing that the big problem with Metroid Prime 4 development was Nintendo’s experimental ad-hoc development process; it was being made in parts in different countries. Some studios were trucking along saying it was going smoothly while it was on fire elsewhere. Internal thinking was that it needs to be all under one roof to right the ship. Interestingly, Retro made the pitch for their involvement and put together a demo that Nintendo liked.”

On ResetEra, Khan also mentioned, “There’s more Metroid stuff besides Metroid Prime 4 in development and I would imagine the Metroid Prime 4 delay adjusts their schedule a bit.”

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