There was a lot packed into Tuesday's Nintendo Direct. There were more than enough surprises to satisfy most Nintendo players. However, as has proven to be the case more than once over the last few years, there was something missing. There was something noticeably missing. Nintendo previously promised that Samus Aran would ride again, but the fourth chapter in the Metroid Prime series was nowhere to be found.
Where was Metroid Prime 4 at E3 2021?
If you're looking at that embed above, your eyes are not deceiving you. It's been a whopping four years since Metroid Prime 4 was first announced, all the way back at E3 2017. We're now at E3 2021 and there's no indicator that this latest entry in Samus' 3D series is any closer to release.
Some may be asking, "What happened?" The answer to that comes from a January 2019 update from Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi. At that point, Metroid Prime 4 had been in development for a significant amount of time, but Takahashi cited that, "the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series." As a result, development was essentially restarted from scratch, this time with original Metroid Prime creators Retro Studios.
Because of this, players should look less at Metroid Prime as a game that's been in development for four years and more as a game that's been in development for a little more than two. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted video game development across the board and it's likely that Metroid Prime 4 hit several hurdles, as a result.
However, the Metroid franchise wasn't completely absent from the Nintendo Direct. A new 2D action entry to the franchise was unveiled called Metroid Dread, exploring a wholly new chapter of Samus' journey and introducing some exciting new horror elements. Fans of games like Super Metroid and Metroid: Samus Returns should feel excited about this game, which is set to release in October.
For now, it looks like the wait for Metroid Prime 4 will continue for at least a little while longer. It's entirely possible that Nintendo could reveal more about the game before the end of the year, either during a random Nintendo Direct or through a large industry event, like The Game Awards. Shacknews will be on the lookout for the latest news, so stay tuned for any updates.