Dreams eventually do come true, as Nintendo finally answered a prayer Metroid fans have held since 2007.
One of Nintendo’s longest-running and most influential franchises, the Metroid saga has been in a bit of a rough spot as of late with fans. The most recent title- Metroid Prime: Federation Force/Blast Ball– was a surprisingly competent multiplayer shooter for the Nintendo 3DS, but longtime fans of the series were quick to dismiss the title for being a relaxed spin-off of the Metroid series, starring Galactic Federation soldiers and not the famed Varia Suit-clad bounty hunter. 2010’s Metroid: Other M was the last Metroid title to release for a home console; akin to the gap between Super Metroid (SNES) and Metroid Prime (GameCube), no new Metroid titles released for the Wii U. Despite the game successfully answering questions sparked by Metroid Fusion‘s story, the Team Ninja-developed Other M received negative backlash for poor writing and characterization, reducing Samus Aran from a confident bounty hunter, to a frail former soldier who blindly follows orders.
It seems Nintendo has been secretly listening to the cries of Metroid fans, as a brief teaser for a new Metroid game was shown during the E3 2017 Nintendo Spotlight presentation; with a blast of blue smoke and the number “4”, Nintendo announced that Metroid Prime 4 was currently in development for the Nintendo Switch; it was revealed in the following Nintendo Treehouse broadcast that Metroid Prime 4 will not be developed under veteran Retro Studios, but a “talented new development team”.
Upon praising the success of the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime revealed the debut gameplay trailer for a second new Metroid game, Metroid: Samus Returns. Developed under Mercurysteam, Samus Returns is a complete remake of 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy. The remake includes abilities from the more recent 2D games (i.e. Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion), and will include fully-3D environments and character models to take advantage of the handheld’s telescopic 3D effects.
Metroid: Samus Returns will release for the 3DS on 9/15. A release window has not been scheduled for Metroid Prime 4, but is expected to arrive sometime “beyond 2017”.