Metroid Prime Remastered Is the Perfect Test-Run for Metroid Prime 4

Opinion: The Metroid Prime remaster provides us a good taste of what could be to come from Metroid Prime 4.

Published: February 24, 2023 12:28 PM /


Samus In Metroid Prime Remastered

During the latest Nintendo Direct, the Japanese gaming giant delighted and surprised fans across the globe with the announcement and subsequent shadow drop of Metroid Prime Remastered. Rumored to be completed and sitting on a shelf for years, the remastered edition of Metroid Prime is a welcome addition to the diverse library of Nintendo Switch games.

Unlike other Nintendo ports or additions to Nintendo Switch Online, the remaster of Metroid Prime gives players hope of a game that we haven't heard nearly anything about for years: Metroid Prime 4. Could this release mean that the Metroid Prime 4 release date is imminent? It might, but even if we have longer to wait, fans can be more confident in what the final edition of Metroid Prime 4 will look like. 

Metroid Prime Remastered - Samus Blasting a Beam

Metroid Prime Remastered's Success Isn't Surprising, But It Is Encouraging

Metroid is a series that has a relatively small but devout following among Nintendo fans. That fan base is steadily growing, with 2021's Metroid Dread quickly becoming the best-selling Metroid of all time. This is great news for the franchise, even if the sub-3 million sales pales in comparison to the 30+ million sales to date of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This momentum continues with Metroid Prime Remastered

Though sales data isn't yet available, the discussion online is clear: Metroid Prime Remastered is an extremely popular choice. Many who have never played the original are picking up Metroid Prime to explore Tallon IV for the first time, and longtime fans are double dipping, boosting sales by purchasing the digital copy while preordering the Metroid Prime Remastered physical edition. 

Could Metroid Prime Remastered outsell the original? It appears more than likely given the traction that Metroid Dread received, especially since the original Metroid Prime sold around 2.8 million copies -- a relatively small sales goal to clear with a hardware install base of 122.55+ million units. With the fanbase growing, could Metroid Prime 4 become the new best-selling Metroid game of all time? I wouldn't be surprised, especially with the direction the franchise appears to be taking. 

Metroid Prime Remastered Phendrana Drifts

Optimizing for the Hardware That Is, Not What Might Be 

The argument that Nintendo creates underpowered hardware is a hackneyed one at best, and players often take the company to social media court over the corners developers need to cut in order to release their games on the system. Retro Studios, historically, works within the confines of the Nintendo ecosystem and finds a way to bring their games to an incredible level of polish prior to release. 

Metroid Prime was one of the earliest games released on the GameCube and remained one of the best-looking games of that generation. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze runs at a joyously stable 60 FPS even on the Wii U (though at 720p), and Mario Kart 7 continues to be one of the most impressive games in the Nintendo 3DS library. 

In an age where people are constantly debating whether or not the Switch is powerful enough for modern games, Metroid Prime Remastered works as an effective showcase of what the console is really capable of. Yes, Metroid Prime is a segmented game with only limited environments loading at one time, but this gives Retro Studios the ability to push graphical capabilities to the limit. 

And push them they do. Honestly, Metroid Prime Remastered is on the border of remake territory with how well these visuals have been overhauled. Not only are the textures sharper, but lighting reacts in a much more natural way, and the control scheme has been completely redesigned for modern controllers. 

I have a feeling that Metroid Prime Remastered was designed, at least in part, with the engine that Metroid Prime 4 is being developed on. Reports have revealed that the Metroid Prime code was run through a newer version of Retro's proprietary in-house game engine.

This is the same engine that Retro has been using for years, updating it for each game. So it's not a stretch to think that we're getting a glimpse of what to expect from Metroid Prime 4. Not only could Metroid Prime 4 excel on the current iteration of the Nintendo Switch, it may arrive even sooner than we think. 

Metroid Prime 4 logo

When Is the Metroid Prime 4 Release Date?

No one except the uncles at Nintendo can know for sure when the Metroid Prime 4 release date is, but I'm much more confident that an announcement could arrive this year than I was a month ago. Nintendo understands the debacle of announcing Metroid Prime 4 in 2017 with only a logo, and the following 2019 announcement of starting over from scratch. This is a mistake they'll make exactly one time, which is why they've been so tight-lipped about this title. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the next update we get about Metroid Prime 4 is a full trailer with a firm release date. Maybe the way will be paved with remasters of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, but with shadow drop capabilities, it's possible we could see those games get announced and released the same day. 

Nintendo is undoubtedly working on whatever the successor to the Nintendo Switch will be, and while many have theorized that Metroid Prime 4 will be a launch title, it's looking more likely that Metroid Prime 4 could be a swan song game for the current Switch and help bridge the gap to the next generation in the same way that Breath of the Wild helped sunset the Wii U and kickoff the Switch. 

Whether or not we get the Metroid Prime 4 release date this year or later, Metroid Prime Remastered's success inspires much confidence in the future of the series. And given how good the remastered edition of the original game looks, I can't wait to see what a fully polished Metroid title built from the ground up for Nintendo Switch will be like!

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Me holding a Nintendo Switch next to a Reggie Fils-Aime poster
| Staff Writer

Dan is a Boston-based writer who has been with TechRaptor since the end of 2020. He has been working in the online writing, editing and SEO space for nearly… More about Dan