Metroid Prime Remastered Is Cool, But Where’s Metroid Prime 4?

Metroid Prime Remastered is a stark reminder that Metroid Prime 4 still isn't here.

Samus Aran in Metroid Prime Remastered
Photo: Nintendo

Metroid Prime is back on the Nintendo Switch, but not with the brand-new installment you were probably hoping for when the publisher announced this month’s Direct presentation. Instead, you’re getting Metroid Prime Remastered, a port of the GameCube classic for Nintendo’s current-gen console.

It’s a nice surprise which brings improved visuals and sound to Samus’ beloved first-person adventure. It also adds the option to use dual stick controls in the game for the first time, a great update for new and veteran players looking for a more modern FPS experience. You can also choose from several difficulty options, including an easy mode which “reduces the amount of damage Samus takes in combat, helping you worry less about fighting to focus on exploring.” You know, if you just want to scan stuff, explore, and vibe.

If you want to play it ASAP, you can purchase it digitally on the Nintendo eShop right now. Meanwhile, a physical edition will hit stores on Feb. 22 in the US and March 3 in Europe. The kicker is that it’ll set you back $40, which might be a little steep for some, especially considering it’s not a full remake or a bundle collection with more than one game in the series. There’s also something to be said about the arguably cynical way Nintendo has made fewer of its post-N64 era classics available since it ditched its Virtual Console marketplace, forcing gamers who want to replay these titles to pay higher prices for re-releases or sign up for a Nintendo Online subscription.

The remaster has also left some Nintendo fans wondering what this re-release means for the future of the franchise. Is Metroid Prime Remastered meant to pave the way for the next proper installment in the series? Or is it a consolation prize for a bigger project that’s not coming anytime soon? It’s unclear.

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Nintendo brought down the house during its E3 2017 Direct presentation with the announcement that Metroid Prime 4 was on the way. At last, we’d get a continuation of the GameCube series that introduced an entire generation of gamers to Samus Aran and her dangerous sci-fi world. The first entry since Metroid Prime 3: Corruption wrapped the original trilogy in 2007, part four had been a long time coming and couldn’t get here soon enough.

That was six years ago. Years of silence and at least one false start in development later and Nintendo still hasn’t delivered the game. Originally, development was delegated to Bandai Namco Studios, who worked on the title until at least 2019, when Nintendo revealed that the project had restarted in-house, with Retro Studios back at the helm of the series it first spearheaded in 2002.

With safer hands working on the project, it seemed like Metroid Prime 4 was finally on track, but that’s become increasingly harder to tell when we’ve not heard anything new about the project since 2019. And a lot has happened since then. The Covid-19 pandemic shut down virtually every office on the planet, forcing game studios to work remotely and pushing back release dates. There’s no doubt Metroid Prime 4 was affected by this global crisis. Metroid Dread, a new 2D installment not tied to the Prime series, released in 2021, but that was put together by MercurySteam, the talented developers behind Metroid II remake Samus Returns. So, where is Retro’s project?

Metroid Prime Remastered is certainly good news, and Nintendo fans are rightfully elated. But it also leaves us wondering whether this is meant to be the start of a big year for the franchise or simply an appeasement as the publisher moves on to other things as the six-year-old Switch enters its twilight years? All we can do is what we’ve been doing: wait and see.