Metroid Prime 4: Beyond won’t be a “BOTW moment” for the franchise, and that’s okay

Image: Nintendo Life

When Nintendo concluded its latest live show with the full reveal of Metroid Prime 4: Beyond, the world briefly went a little louder as fans celebrated the glorious return of one of the company’s most revered franchises. finallyAfter being initially announced in 2017, Prime 4 is scheduled to launch in 2025, and it looks amazing.

Although the overwhelming majority reacted to the trailer with excitement and anticipation, there were also those who felt disappointed, pointing out the similarities between the game and previous Prime entries, both in terms of visuals and gameplay.

Here’s the thing: I get it. I really. After 7 (or 18) years of waiting, our imaginations are definitely starting to get the better of us, and after games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and even Super Mario Bros. Wonder To show just how much Nintendo is willing to deviate from the tried and tested formula, it’s natural to assume that Prime 4 will also represent an important evolution for a series that started in 2002.

Now, I’m not saying that developers should rest on their laurels and be satisfied with the bare minimum; Experimenting, pushing the boundaries, and challenging player expectations is always a good thing. But with Prime 4, I think it’s important to examine our expectations and understand the reality of this game.

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Let’s take a look at the development time to start. There’s no doubt in my mind that Prime 4 was announced far too soon, and few would argue against that. Many first-party Nintendo games these days are revealed and released within just a few months, but almost two years after Prime 4 was announced in June 2017, Nintendo’s Shinya Takahashi confirmed that development will resume From scratch at Retro Studios.

So let’s analyze this. If development began in January 2019, that would mean Prime 4 has had roughly five years to cook in the oven by now (a large portion of which will likely also be affected by pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021). 20 years ago, this would have seemed unusual, but for big-budget titles in the eighth and ninth generation of consoles, it’s the norm. The only difference with Prime 4 is that we, the fans, knew it all along (good luck with that). Manuscripts of the Sixth SheikhBethesda).

I know a lot of people are probably reading this and thinking something along the lines of, “Well, that’s not so our Trouble, isn’t it?” And you would be right. However, what I want to make clear is that when a game becomes a known entity and is subsequently kept under a veil of secrecy (because… Seven years, mind), it is all too easy to have inflated expectations. It has happened to me on multiple occasions.

It’s also impossible to avoid growing speculation that Prime 4 might bypass the Switch entirely and spawn its successor. This conclusion is certainly understandable, but it is nevertheless unfounded. Nintendo has consistently labeled Prime 4 as a Switch game, including in its regular lineups during financial updates. Now I know companies like to embellish information or use misdirection from time to time, but outright lying about which platform Prime 4 will be released on? Nah, I never bought that. Prime 4 feels like a Switch game because it is He is One. Even if it ends up being cross-gen, the Switch 2 version will simply be a shinier version of what we have here.

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Aside from that, it’s important to keep in mind that Prime 4 is the fourth main entry in the ongoing narrative. When you look at franchises like Zelda or Mario, those games (for the most part) rarely put numbers in their titles, essentially giving developers a blank canvas to work their magic on. Prime 4 is a continuation of the story that concluded in a huge cliffhanger in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, with the Union Force only offering a few tantalizing clues about what might happen in the future.

First 4 3
Image: Nintendo

The thing is, this isn’t a reboot or overhaul of the Prime series; It’s simply the next chapter, just like Halo 4exactly like Anonymous 4exactly like Gears 4. Heck, just like Pikmin 4! I think we can all agree that, despite their quality, none of these games did anything particularly groundbreaking when compared to previous entries. Again, it’s about expectations and what we think we want from the next game versus what it will actually be like.

Finally, I want to highlight the visuals, specifically. It’s clear to me that Metroid Prime Remastered was a test run for Prime 4. Looking at the two side by side (Which I did(By the way), there’s a marked improvement with the latter, but you can tell that the technology applied to Metroid Prime may have been repurposed for Prime 4. With this in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking, “Oh, well, Prime 4 looks just like the first game.”. But I would say go back and look at the footage of the original trilogy on GameCube and Wii and I think you’ll be surprised at how far Retro Studios has come.

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Metroid Prime 4 won’t be the franchise’s “Breath of the Wild moment,” and that’s a good thing — we shouldn’t expect it to be. What we can hopefully look forward to is an exciting journey into the fourth main entry in one of Nintendo’s most iconic franchises of all time. 2025 can’t come fast enough.

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