You may have heard the rumors that Retro Studios’ next project is a game “everyone wants [them] to do.” Of course, this statement will mean something different to everyone who reads it, but the first title to immediately spring to my mind was a new Metroid Prime. This, I think, seems far more feasible than any of the other games commonly listed as possibilities: with Other M proving to be a critical and commercial disaster (though some more reputable outlets disagree with this sentiment), it is likely Nintendo would want to rectify this misstep and appease any fans it may have alienated. A fourth Prime would be the perfect solution to this problem and would also help entice core gamers into purchasing its next home console. Whether or not the game is actually in development will not be known for certain until the company’s press conference at E3 in a couple of weeks, but until then we take a look at some of the possible directions a fourth Metroid Prime may take.
Discussing the title’s controls in any length would be a misspent endeavor, as without an idea of what Project Café’s controller actually looks like, it would be almost impossible to predict with any sort of accuracy. If the console is compatible with the Wii Remote as some rumors claim (or if it features its own remote-like controller), then it would be safe to say the game’s controls will not be all that dissimilar from those found in Corruption. This would certainly be an ideal scenario: not only did the remote make aiming more intuitive, but its motion capability turned the game into one of the most immersive experiences on the platform. A similar scheme would maintain this level of physical immersion without impeding upon any of the series’ core mechanics, and it would bring Samus’s weapons to life in ways not possible with more traditional controllers.
The bulk of the bounty hunter’s arsenal has already been successfully integrated into the Prime games, but one power-up that remains conspicuously absent from the series is the Speed Booster. This is particularly odd when you consider how much more difficult it must have been to translate the Morph Ball and Screw Attack into three-dimensions, especially as the Speed Booster would not require any significant changes in the series’ mechanics in order to function properly– as in Fusion and Zero Mission, it would be initiated simply by running long enough, and the rest of your surroundings (coupled with the appropriate visual effects) could merely slow down to create the illusion of moving at an increased speed. The item would afford a lot of creativity in level design, and it would simply be a sight to behold from a first-person perspective.
If for whatever reason this approach proves to be too disorienting for the player, then the camera can always pan out to a third-person viewpoint as it does when the Morph Ball and Screw Attack are engaged. In this case the Speed Booster would behave much like it does in Other M, and it would be far more intuitive thanks to the availability of an analog stick. Regardless, either approach would be a perfectly feasible way of introducing the item into the Prime games, and I sincerely hope the power-up does make an overdue appearance in the next installment if there is indeed one in the works.
Gamers who were able to complete Corruption with a 100 percent rating were treated to an additional cutscene at the title’s conclusion. The clip itself was quite short in duration, but it gave an intriguing look at the possible direction a fourth title may take with its plot. It begins with Samus returning to her gunship. As she departs the planet Elysia and disappears into the starry horizon, a mysterious ship is seen looming ominously behind her. The vessel bears no resemblance to any other seen within the game, but its shape and general appearance have lead many fans to believe it was piloted by Sylux.
For those unfamiliar with this name, Sylux is an enigmatic bounty hunter first introduced in Metroid Prime Hunters. Little about the character is known for certain (even Sylux’s gender is a mystery, though for the sake of simplicity I will herein denote the hunter with a masculine pronoun) save that he harbors a strong hatred for Samus and the Galactic Federation. His gunship, the Delano 7, is in actuality a stolen GF prototype, and you can see from the screenshot below that it bears a noticeable resemblance to the mysterious ship that tailed our heroine at the end of Corruption.
Where Sylux stands in 4’s plot is anyone’s guess, but it is likely he will play a role similar to that of Dark Samus in Echoes, a recurring adversary that ultimately serves as the game’s final boss. This hypothesis makes sense for a number of reasons: the two are similar enough in physical stature that they are both suited for making surprise appearances at any point in their respective games, and his reputation as a ruthless bounty hunter suggests he will not surrender after only a single confrontation. That Retro chose to devote Corruption’s final cutscene to his introduction is also telling of his significance to the plot, as the effort would not have been made if he was not a vital part of the story.
Furthermore, two additional elements of the plot can be inferred from Sylux’s presence: 1) the game, like the trilogy that precedes it, will also occur before Metroid II; and 2) the Galactic Federation will, in some capacity, again be involved. Sylux follows Samus immediately after she departs Elysia, and it seems unlikely he will just wait around until another gap between two-dimensional titles to launch an attack on her. Similarly, his unexplained hatred for the Federation plays right into the ending of Corruption— with the threat of the Phazon Leviathans eradicated and its best bounty hunter away, the Federation could be lulled into a false sense of security. This would be the ideal moment for Sylux to pounce on his unsuspecting targets, and the act could be what ultimately sets the story of 4 into motion.
Despite their sound defeat, Space Pirates, too, will undoubtedly make a return, inhabiting whatever planet it is Samus will explore next. Their presence can be explained easily enough: their operations on this new planet have been occurring concurrently with the events of Corruption, and by the time Samus arrives they will have already been well-established. Archnemesis Ridley, however, will likely sit this title out– the little matter of having been destroyed should be enough to keep him down for one game, and it would simply be redundant to include him yet again when he has already played such a prominent role in the Phazon saga (not to mention the series at large). He can stand to skip every other Prime title.
That said, if all is as I predict and the Space Pirates have been operating independently of those encountered in Corruption (who were overseen by the space dragon), then they will have had to have been under the command of a different Pirate general…
A fourth Metroid Prime would be the perfect opportunity to introduce a three-dimensional version of Kraid– with Ridley seemingly destroyed (at least until his eventual resurrection in Super Metroid), Kraid is the only Metroid adversary of note who can pose a legitimate threat to our heroine. The time-span between 4 and Corruption would be far too small for Ridley to undergo repair and appear as a villain, and the only logical way the Space Pirates can be included in the plot is if they had already been on the new planet for quite some time. This would leave them without supervision, and while it is possible they were acting independently (the Pirates on Aether, after all, did not have a superior officer overseeing their operations), Kraid’s appearance would help a new Prime title reestablish itself as the definitive three-dimensional Metroid experience while hearkening back to the series’ roots.
All of this speculation will likely be rendered moot when Nintendo unveils its next home console come E3, but that does not invalidate the possibility of a fourth Metroid Prime being released sometime in the future. That Corruption would end with such a blatant tease suggests Retro is not averse to the idea of developing another, and the game would make an excellent selling point to core gamers who may have become disillusioned with company’s recent direction. Even if the game is unveiled, it is very likely it will look vastly different than anyone could ever imagine, but that does not take away any of the fun of trying. Let us know if you agree with our predictions, and feel free to share your own ideas on where the series can go in the comments section!