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Editorial: Nintendo Does Gamers Right with Metroid Prime 4 Restart

It seems like a rare thing these days when a company holds themselves to a standard of quality. That is why I found it rather refreshing, found myself hopeful, after watching Nintendo’s development update video on Metroid Prime 4.

The video begins with Shinya Takahashi the Senior Managing Executive Officer at Nintendo, who is responsible for development, began with an update on Metroid Prime 4. To my surprise, like many others have expressed on Twitter, that Metroid Prime 4 was being restarted. But not just restarted by Nintendo, the game was being restarted with Retro Studios, Metroid Prime’s original creators.

Takahashi went on to explain that since Metroid Prime 4’s announcement on June 13, 2017 at E3, they have yet been able to give an update. He mentioned this fact was very regrettable and went on to explain that the development had not reached the standards they seek at Nintendo. The game’s producer, Kensuke Tanabe, was directed to work with Retro Studios and restart development from the beginning.

I can only imagine the meetings that must took place leading up to the decision to hand the project back off to Retro Studios and begin again. I feel for all those who worked on Metroid Prime 4 and the possibility of throwing all that effort away. Nintendo, from the video, is clearly aware of how passionate the Metroid Prime fan base is and how eager they are for a new Metroid Prime installment. They also knew something had to be done and there was clearly a risk.

Nintendo could have just kept plugging away and forced out a game. More than likely it would not reflect the passion and desire of the developers, of the fans, as it was now just a project to get out the door. Odds are the reviews would have came in harsh and the game would not reflect that famous Official Nintendo Seal of Quality.

But delaying a game should clearly upset fans as well, right?

Not so much. Yes there will be some brief vocal whining. But that is all it really is. Whining.

Real fans, real gamers want a quality product. They want a good product. Something they want to play and be proud they played it.

After watching the video update again I couldn’t help but to think about a quote from Shigeru Miyamoto, possibly the most important video game designer of all time. “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” Now this may not always be the case as a few delayed titles, that I wish not to bash come to mind that was absolutely terrible, but in general seems to be a good philosophy.

Nintendo rolled the dice and let everyone know they did in a very simple, yet classy manner what was happening, why it was happening, and gave us hope. Bringing in the Metroid Prime series original creators is a strong signal to all fans that Nintendo does care that they get this right.

As Metroid Prime fans are aware, we are now over 10 years past, since the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in late 2007, early 2008 world wide. Even if Metroid Prime 4 was on schedule, most AAA game titles have an 18 to 36 month development time table. With the 2017 E3 announcement and Nintendo’s history of delaying games to make sure they are right fans could have seen a mid to late 2020 launch. Now we are looking at a brand new timetable which puts the game even further out.

Still thinking about Shigeru Miyamoto, I remembered something else that came from that same interview of the previously mentioned delayed game quote. Miyamoto said that if he wasn’t making games today, he wouldn’t be playing them. He mentions it might be a lack of time. Or even “maybe I don’t see so many titles that I find fascinating enough that I want to spend time playing. Time is precious and a game has to be worthwhile, right?”

This made me really think about the current gaming environment. There are more video games than ever on the market. Indie one person studios to big Fortune 500 companies cranking out video games. Not all games are created equal and not all games are fun nor good. But the point that really hit home for me is time. Time really is precious. We only have so much of it.

So why would I want to waste it playing a game that was rushed, was forced out just to get it done? I wouldn’t. And I would think most fans would agree considering at the time of writing this the Nintendo Metroid Prime 4 Update video has 91K likes and 3K dislikes. So I say to Nintendo and Retro Studios, ignore the whiners and take your time. Get it done right. Make it worthwhile. It is what the gamers want, it what the fans deserve, because after all, time is precious.