Metroid Prime 4’s development reboot was disappointing to fans, but if it can make use of the Switch Pro’s improved hardware, it could be a blessing.
By Peter Szpytek
Published Jun 05, 2021
The Metroid Prime?trilogy is often viewed as some of Nintendo’s best work, so when?Metroid Prime 4?was announced to be in development at E3 2017, fans of the series were excited. Following its announcement, there were a handful of development updates, however, in 2019, it was announced that the entire Metroid Prime 4?project had been scrapped and was starting over. Through job listings and leaks, it seems like?the game is still a ways off from resembling anything close to being complete.
One of the most frustrating parts of being a video game enthusiast is the wait time between a game’s announcement and its eventual release. So when the?Metroid Prime 4?development reboot was announced, it, unfortunately, meant that the wait for the game was going to be even longer. In the following years since the news broke, however, one thing has been giving?Metroid?fans hope that the rebooted development will result in a better game in the long run: the Nintendo Switch Pro.
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While there are plenty of great arguments for designing games with both current and last-gen hardware in mind, there’s still something to be said for games designed to make use of the most up-to-date, top-of-the-line hardware. The recent announcement that?the?God of War?sequel,?Horizon: Forbidden West, and?Gran Turismo 7?will all be cross-generational titles on PlayStation consoles has split the opinions of fans, but it would be a different scenario with the Switch Pro since it’s intended to be a mid-gen upgrade and not an entire generational leap forward.
There’s still no official word on if Nintendo Switch Pro exclusives will even exist, but there is a chance they will.?If they do, there’s no better series than?Metroid?to be pushing the envelope of what Nintendo is capable of because it has a legacy of doing just that with previous Nintendo hardware. Then again,?Metroid Prime 4 could still come to the Switch Pro and reap its benefits while still having a proper release on the original Switch console as well.
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Some fans might be justifiably upset if?Metroid Prime 4?were to be announced at E3 2021 as a Nintendo Switch Pro exclusive, however, they might be convinced of its importance when thinking about what specifically would be possible in a?Metroid?game with better hardware. While the rumored specs of the Switch Pro don’t include anything like an SSD that might speed up load times, its rumored processing power and higher resolution are what really catch the eye.
Rumored to run games in docked mode in 4K resolution,?Metroid Prime 4?could be the best looking game in the series bar none. Having a crisp resolution would give the series’ alien planets a sense of fantastical realism not yet seen on the Switch. The alien and monster design would be so much more realized because textures would have the potential to be cleaner and crisper. Environments would also benefit and potentially allow the game’s visual language to be much clearer. As is the case with?Metroid?games, alternate paths and hidden secrets are sometimes poorly marked without any real indication that they’re there. If Nintendo can make use of a higher resolution with more detailed environments, the game might still be as challenging and purposefully obtuse as the series always is, while?being even more approachable to newcomers.
High-quality textures and cleaner environments aren’t entirely up to the resolution though, their use has more to do with a console’s processing power. If the rumors are true, the Switch Pro will have the same processor as the original Switch but will have a higher-end chipset allowing it to perform much better. This means that Nintendo will be able to play around with more intricately designed enemies and more complicated game design. Environments can be bigger with intricate details and enemies can have more varied, interesting attack patterns. Visually, there can be more happening on the screen while also performing at an optimum frame rate. Puzzle design can benefit as well by having more “moving pieces” involved with solving them making for better, inspired puzzles.
While not every hardware upgrade feels necessary, the Switch’s age is definitely starting to show when playing certain demanding recent games. By no means are these titles unplayable, but a hardware update seems like a good idea for those who things like resolution and performance matter to. Alongside the Switch Pro upgrade, releasing a handful of games that make use of the new features helps convince buyers that the improved hardware really is making a difference. It takes a quick look at the PS5 with exclusives like?Astro’s Playroom?and?Returnal?to see satisfied fans.
If?Metroid Prime 4?were to release as a Switch Pro exclusive it could do the convincing all on its own. Looking back at Nintendo’s history,?The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?did a similar thing for the Switch back in 2017. Yes,?Breath of the Wild?also released on the Wii U, but the game sold infinitely better on the new hardware and acted as an incentive to buy it, proving its worth.
Rumors seem to suggest that the Switch Pro will be releasing later this year alongside?Breath of the Wild 2, so it’s unlikely that?Metroid Prime 4?would be leading the charge on the upgraded hardware. As mentioned above, it seems like there’s still some time before Nintendo gives any more information on?Prime 4, but hopefully, when news comes, it’s that the game will be making the most out of the newest Nintendo hardware.
Metroid Prime 4?is currently in development for Nintendo Switch.
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About The Author
(71 Articles Published)
If you’re looking for him, Peter can usually be found dropping hot in Apex Legends with his friends. A fan of games of all types including JRPGs, third-person shooters and survival horror, Peter is a journalism graduate of North Central College and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @PeterSpittech
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