Shinya Takahashi, Nintendo’s senior managing executive officer, announced a major hiccup in MP4’s development: specifically, they’re starting from scratch.
The Japanese developers announced Metroid Prime 4 at E3 2017 with not much to show for it. Aside from a title card, all we knew was producer Kensuke Tanabe would be leading a new development team. That’s understandable – giving the reins of a long-standing franchise to new blood is smart. Letting younger developers inject new ideas into its formula has resulted in some of Nintendo’s finest games. Both Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild managed to reinvent their respective series while recapturing its magic. So I don’t blame Nintendo for wanting to do the same for Metroid Prime.
But if Wheel of Fortune has taught me anything, it’s that you can only spin a wheel for so long before landing on a bankrupt. And unfortunately, the bottom fell out with Metroid Prime 4.
Nintendo’s Developer Update
Today, Takahashi announced Metroid Prime 4’s development status has yet to meet Nintendo’s standards, requiring a change in development structure.
“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, although this is very regrettable – 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,” Takahashi spoke with a firm precision. “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 fan’s expectations.”
Takahashi goes on to clarify: Metroid Prime 4 is still happening. Rather, Kensuke Tanabe is recruiting the original Metroid Prime developers, Retro Studios. In their hands, he states, Nintendo believes they can make a game that can “stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with the original trilogy.
It’s a refreshing moment of transparency and humility from such a giant corporation. But we can definitely cross Metroid Prime 4 from the slate of games expected to release this year.