By Michael Fontanini / February 9th, 2015
We heard the first talk of this mysterious cancelled Metroid project last December, but the people at Unseen64 (whose job is to unearth cancelled projects like this one) have put up a new podcast talking about it. According to Unseen64’s Liam Robertson, this project’s goal was to revive 2D Metroid on the Nintendo 3DS. The game aimed to provide 2.5D, side-scrolling game play. It was said to be like regular 2D Metroid games, but with 3D depth.
We don’t know if this would be like multiple layers of parallax background using the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D feature, or like the corridors are actually 3D like in Metroid: Other M for Wii. This sounds like a cool idea either way and perhaps Nintendo will still do something like this at some point. All of this information we now have about this mysterious project is from one of Robertson’s sources, whom he has been protecting (thus the lack of information prior to now).
It is unknown which development studio was behind this project, but Robertson did hint that it was from “a pretty popular Western developer”. Retro Studios comes to mind as they are one of the only Western developers who work on 1st-party Nintendo games (this is still just speculation, though). The studio in question pitched their prototype to Nintendo, but sadly they did not want to continue with the project. They weren’t ready to move the franchise in a 2.5D direction back then (around 2012 or thereabouts), so the project went to its grave.
The prototype featured an art style departing a bit from what we are used to in the Metroid series. Samus is said to have had a “thinner” and “a bit more athletic” appearance. In the 30-second prototype video that Robertson saw, he describes Samus running through a level and taking out a few enemies along the way before ultimately confronting a boss (who looks like Kraid). Based on this prototype, he said it ran a bit faster than Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion.
While it is unfortunate that the project was cancelled, it is an interesting story. I greatly loved the Metroid Prime series, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the classic 2D Metroid games too. I would love to see Nintendo make new ones in the future, especially since we haven’t seen a new 2D Metroid game since Metroid: Zero Mission for the Game Boy Advance. Metroid: Other M kind of counts, but at the same time it doesn’t. It had some side-scrolling game play, but it wasn’t a classic 2D side-scrolling style of Metroid game.