The fourth entry of the Metroid Prime subseries of first-person adventure games has been in development for so long that it might as well be a punchline to Nintendo fans at this point. Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch in E3 2017, albeit only with a logo treatment and no release window. Years later, is the release date for Metroid Prime 4 any clearer?
Each piece of news for Metroid Prime 4 ironically seems to set the title back rather than forward, much to the ire of Metroid fans. The last Metroid title to release was Metroid: Samus Returns in 2017, which itself was a remake of the 1991 Game Boy title Metroid II: The Return of Samus. For reference, Nintendo announced Samus Returns in the same E3 2017 Nintendo Direct as Metroid Prime 4.
The biggest piece of news came in January of 2019 when Nintendo senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi announced a seismic shift in development. Metroid Prime 4 initially had what was called an ad-hoc development team led by Metroid producer Kensuke Tanabe and reportedly including developers from Bandai Namco. Takahashi disclosed publically that work on Metroid Prime 4 has restarted, and that original Metroid Prime developer Retro Studios is now attached to the project.
Since then, all information about Metroid Prime 4 has entirely come from speculation and intuition from job postings by Retro Studios. Nintendo is infamously quiet about ongoing projects, and the Texas-based Retro Studios is arguably more tight-lipped. However, from 2019 onward, Retro has hired numerous individuals from other triple-A studios and companies such as Activision, Blizzard, and EA — Retro has also rehired former developers from the studio.
A February 2021 earnings report from Nintendo still listed Metroid Prime 4 as having a “TBA” release window. This guide will update when the release date becomes any more clear.