There was some hope that Metroid Prime 4 would be at the Nintendo Direct after online retailers listed the game as available for pre-order ahead of the event, which also happened with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. While the latter showed up in a big way, that unfortunately cannot be said about Metroid Prime 4, but this Direct did indicate a potential turning point for the game.

Metroid Prime 4's rough development history is no secret. First announced at E3 2017, Metroid Prime 4 was kept well under wraps, but there were some indications that something was going on with its development, as it skipped E3 2018. Only the title card of the game had been shown when, in January 2019, Nintendo announced that Metroid Prime 4's development was being restarted at Retro Studios. A few updates have come out since then, largely in regard to job advertisements and postings, and fans have been kept in the dark since. With the latest Nintendo Direct giving the franchise some love in the form of Metroid Prime Remastered, there's more hope for Metroid Prime 4 than ever before.

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Now, Metroid Prime 4 may not have been there, but Metroid Prime as a whole was. The new remaster shadow dropped for fans using the Nintendo eShop, with a physical release hitting retailers on February 22. Priced at $39.99, this doesn't just seem to be a fresh new coat of paint. No Switch remaster can really be just that, but there are revamped graphics and sound design, unlockable art, and updated control schemes to bring Metroid Prime to the Switch. All of this makes Metroid Prime Remastered native to the Switch, and as of this writing, it is only the second Metroid game native to the console. Metroid Dread is the first, which reviewed well, but the other Metroid games playable on Switch are only via the online service.

Metroid Prime Remastered

Combine this with the rumors that Metroid Prime Remastered development has been done for a while, and it shows how Nintendo is acting on the franchise. This wouldn't be the first time Nintendo has been said to do something like hold back a release, and timing is certainly key. Shadow dropping Metroid Prime Remastered though is a bold move, one that offers some legitimacy to this rumor, if not outright confirming it. But if timing is key, the question becomes timing to what. Being able to play a remaster of the first game before officially re-revealing Metroid Prime 4 sometime this year is a hopeful, bold move.

Of course, there are rumors that Nintendo is going to have a light end-of-year release schedule, and a Switch successor has been rumored for next year. Those rumors constantly crop up, but if so, a Switch successor will likely be backward compatible to some degree. If this is true, and that's a pretty big if with the Switch recently outselling the PS4, Metroid Prime 4 could be the launch title used to market it, perhaps later this year. If it's not true, then the current happenings within and around the franchise bode well for Metroid Prime 4 to hopefully be re-revealed sooner rather than later. If anyone was concerned about the sales figures of Metroid Dread, which could perhaps be summed up as good for the franchise but not great for the Switch, then it stands to reason those fears can instead be replaced by hope.

Metroid Prime 4 is currently in development for the Nintendo Switch.

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