Metroid Prime 4 is still in development, but when exactly we'll get our hands on it remains a mystery. Ever since it got announced in 2017, all we've really had is a logo and nothing more.
Everything around the game went silent following this. This silence later made sense when Nintendo announced in January 2019 that it had scrapped the original project and was starting over with Retro Studios. So, it'd be fair to call this a turbulent development.
But that was more than three years ago and since the announcement that the project was being rebooted, we've heard very little in the way of solid details about Metroid Prime 4. We just know thanks to job listings that the project is still alive.
Our Metroid-shaped gap was somewhat filled by the release of Metroid Dread, the first 2D Metroid entry in the franchise in nearly 20 years, in October 2021 but - if anything - Samus' last outing has only made us more excited about her next one.
We've been hoping 2022 will be the year we finally get solid details on the next Metroid Prime game but so far we've just seen some new concept art through the banner of the official Retro Studios Twitter account. Until we do get some more solid details, there are plenty of rumors to dissect about what we should expect from the next Metroid Prime game and when we might be able to expect it.
Want to know more? Read on for everything we know so far about Metroid Prime 4.
Metroid Prime 4: cut to the chase
- What is it? A brand new Metroid Prime game
- What can I play it on? Nintendo Switch
- When can I play it? TBC
Metroid Prime 4 release date and platforms
Metroid Prime 4 doesn't have a release date yet but we do know that it's coming to the Nintendo Switch family of consoles. So, it'll naturally be compatible with Nintendo Switch Lite and the recent Nintendo Switch OLED model, too.
When exactly we'll get our hands on Metroid Prime 4 remains a mystery, especially as Nintendo announced in 2019 that the project was scrapped and started again with help from Retro Studios. It's been three years since that announcement and we've still heard no solid details from Nintendo.
In a May 2022 financial update (opens in new tab), the game did appear on Nintendo's launch schedule but its release date is still marked as TBA without even a year assigned. So, it's likely we'll still be waiting a little longer.
Metroid Prime 4 trailer
Back at E3 2017, Nintendo released a first-look trailer for Metroid Prime 4. To date, it's the only trailer we've seen so far for Metroid Prime 4. Check it out below:
Metroid Prime 4 gameplay and story
There’s so little Metroid Prime 4 information out there that piecing together the story is nigh impossible. What we will say is that Metroid Prime 3’s ending didn’t strike us as open enough for any kind of direct continuation. Though Samus went into hyperspace, giving the opportunity for a sequel to enter a new world or galaxy, we’d say the core story of the original trilogy is now closed.
Back in 2015, Eurogamer (opens in new tab) interviewed series producer, Kensuke Tanabe, who stated that “the stories of Dark Samus and Phazon are done” adding that any new games in the series would focus on other Prime-series elements. One thing we can be fairly confident in is that, like other Prime games, Metroid Prime 4 is likely to be a first-person shooter.
Other than that we can’t say what kind of gameplay changes will arise from either the new developer or the new Switch platform. Coming in as a fresh start, there’s actually plenty of room for Metroid Prime 4 to innovate. Given The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario franchises have embraced more open worlds, we wonder if this is something that Nintendo will bring into the Prime series, too.
It’s like that, like other Switch games, there will be optional motion controls with the Joy-Cons - we’re imagining aiming, firing, and environment scanning, for example.
Metroid Prime 4 news and rumors
New job listings emerge
It appears Retro Studios isn't done hiring yet for Metroid Prime 4. According to a new job listing, it's now searching for a Senior Environment Artist to produce "various organic props" for the upcoming sequel. Specifically, this looks for someone who can:
"Create compelling environments with an emphasis on environmental storytelling. Work closely with art direction and leads to capture desired goals of look and play space. Develop high quality environment assets ranging from hard surface to organic models."
Searching for clues in the concept art
In February 2022, gaming tweeter Nibel (opens in new tab), spotted that Retro Studios updated its Twitter banner to a new, previously unseen piece of concept art that appears to give us our first visual tease of Metroid Prime 4.
The artwork features what looks to be a silhouette of Samus standing in the middle of an atmospheric corridor. The architecture around her looks fairly alien, and the blue filter gives the impression she’s underground or within the gangway of a spaceship. The added border at the top and bottom of the image might suggest we’re looking through another character’s visor, too.
Social media banners wouldn't usually stir much excitement, but this is the long-quiet Metroid Prime 4. So. fans made the most of opportunity with some speculation (opens in new tab).
Some users pointed out (opens in new tab) the image’s blue tinge is similar in color to the Phazon energy (opens in new tab) that cropped up throughout the original Metroid Prime trilogy before being destroyed in its climax. Phazon played a big part in the second game, creating its chief antagonist Dark Samus, and appeared back in the third to create a new breed of mutated Metroids.
A poster on ResetEra (opens in new tab) suggested the image looked like an abandoned duct, and might hint at the “that the game will be more dark and desolate than previous titles. Maybe they will go back to the creepy nature of the original Metroid.”
Others have been a little more conservative in their speculation, with one Reddit user noting (opens in new tab) that Samus’s bulky armor design doesn’t appear to have significantly changed from the previous Metroid Prime Games. And, of course, others treated the reveal a little more lightly, jokingly pointing (opens in new tab) out it’s been five years since the game’s initial reveal, and all we've got to see is a single piece of concept art.
It's still in development (despite radio silence)
A January 2022 job posting from developer Retro Studios reminded us that the game is indeed still in development. It's now been roughly three years since the elusive Prime sequel restarted development at Retro Studios, being handed over from Nintendo's previous in-house efforts.
The job ad comes directly from Retro Studios itself, specifically its official Twitter account. The studio is now looking for a tools engineer and a technology engineer to aid the continued development of Metroid Prime 4.
We are looking for a 𝗧𝗼𝗼𝗹𝘀 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗿 and a 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗴𝘆 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗿 to join us on our journey to develop Metroid Prime 4!#GameJobs #GameDev #GameDevJobshttps://t.co/NWVPLGvVVc pic.twitter.com/Kz7pGFEDDZJanuary 27, 2022
Metroid Prime 4 didn't make an appearance at Nintendo's E3 2021 showcase, however, Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi did provide a very brief update on the game, saying: "Currently, we're working hard on the latest game in the Metroid Prime series, Metroid Prime 4, which we previously announced."
It was during this showcase that Nintendo announced its first new 2D Metroid entry in the franchise in close to 20 years, Metroid Dread, which released in October 2021.
High-profile developers jump onboard
With Retro Studios now running development, Metroid Prime 4 has got some fresh, big-name talent behind it, with the studio signing on some fresh talent. Jhony Ljungstedt, the former art director at studio DICE is joining the team, having previously worked on Battlefield 5, Medal of Honor (the 2010 reboot), and Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. He's being joined by Kyle Helfey (Halo character designer) and Stephen Dupree, who returns to Retro Studios having previously been the lead designer on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Retro Studios is hiring for Metroid Prime 4
It was something of a shock when Nintendo announced that it would be starting from scratch on the development of Metroid Prime 4 with Retro Studios. The latest news from this new phase in the game's development is that Retro Studios is now hiring and looking to increase numbers on its development team. The roles are wide-ranging and all are based at the studio in Austin, Texas.
These advertisements suggest that the game is still in the early stages of development so it could be some time before we get any more solid updates on its progress. If you're a world-class developer and a fan of Metroid, though, this could be your big break!
Retro Studios is hiring! https://t.co/139BABLNWn @RetroStudios pic.twitter.com/33h6lw8t0gApril 26, 2019
Nintendo scraps Metroid Prime 4 and start again
In a shock announcement back in January 2019, Nintendo revealed in a development update video that it scrapped the current project as it wasn't happy with the current progress. However, Nintendo has rebooted the project with help from original creators Retro Studios.
"This change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning, so completion of the game will be delayed from our initial internal plan," Nintendo's senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi explained in the update video. "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."
You can watch the development update from Nintendo below:
Metroid Prime 4: what we want to see
A more open world
As we said above, this is a new start for Metroid Prime which means room for changes. Though we’re worried it could be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ we’d be interested to see the Metroid Prime games follow in the footsteps of Zelda and Mario to embrace a more open-world format.
The first three titles were already pretty big, but the Switch offers more scope. We think the Super Mario Odyssey approach of large interconnected worlds could translate well. The Metroid series is replete with interesting environments we’d love the chance to see more of and the Switch is the console that has enough power to make that possible.
Just as a new start is a chance for innovation, it's also a chance to welcome a new generation of Metroid fans. It's the same with any series that goes on for a long time - there's a certain amount of assumed knowledge and lore that makes coming in as a new player feel more like a chore than a joy.
We'd love to see Metroid Prime 4 take a Monster Hunter: World approach by retaining what makes it great while giving new players a way in.
New weapons and abilities
The Metroid series has some seriously cool weapons and abilities for Samus’s armor and we’d like to see more of them. By all means, bring back the classics but bringing a couple of exciting new upgrades to the table will make us feel like we’re truly progressing in the game as well as the franchise as a whole.
Make it feel like a true Switch game
With its motion controls and HD Rumble, the Switch has more than its portability to help its games stand out. We'd love to see Metroid Prime 4 make the most of them, though perhaps more of the HD Rumble and less of the motion control.
Motion control could create some fun and interesting shooting and environment scanning opportunities, but integrating HD Rumble into puzzle-solving or integrating it into combat situations to act as an enemy alert would be interesting.
Bring in Sylux
Back in 2015, producer Kensuke Tanabe said that the ship at the end of Metroid Prime 3 actually contained Sylux, a Hunter from Metroid Prime: Hunters.
Tanabe said that he'd like to create a Metroid game that featured both Sylux and Samus and explored their dynamic, something which we'd also like to see happen; the characters have an unexplored and potentially interesting history. It's known that Sylux isn't the biggest fan for Samus or the Federation, yet he uses a Federation weapon. That alone has us thinking he'd make an engaging villain for a new title.