Metroid Prime 4 was delayed earlier this morning, with Nintendo citing development troubles in an unusually candid video statement that they shared. The company announced that they are rebooting development of the game, with Retro Studios, the folks behind the original trilogy, in charge of the project now.
It was unclear to many how this may have happened—after all, Retro Studios was working on their own project (allegedly a Star Fox racing game) for a while now. Had they been pulled from that and forced to work on Metroid?
As it turns out, that may not be the case. Speaking on Twitter, Imran Khan, a senior editor for Game Informer, suggested that Retro Studios themselves had pitched their own involvement in Metroid Prime 4, and that Nintendo had liked their pitch.
The development for Metroid Prime 4 had been scattered. Nintendo has a very experimental, ad hoc driven development process, which seemed to be at odds with how Metroid Prime 4 was being developed—by a number of studios spread across the globe. Some studios and parts of the game were allegedly coming along well, while others were not. Nintendo figured it would be better to have everything be done in one place, at one studio, and Retro’s pitch convinced them that they would be the studio to hand the game off to.
If this account is true, then it’s interesting that the kind of development process that is all too common for AAA games—Ubisoft, Rockstar, EA, Activision all do this kind of decentralized development, for example—does not work for Nintendo’s workflow. On the whole, I am glad the company is sticking with a method it knows works well, and that it knows will turn out the kind of quality output we can expect from the publisher.
Metroid Prime 4 is due out exclusively on the Nintendo Switch (probably) at some indeterminate time in the future. While we wait, we can hope Metroid Prime Trilogy will come out on the Switch to tide us over.
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.
— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) January 25, 2019