RUMOR: Details of a Cancelled 3DS Metroid Surface

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Samus Aran

Samus Aran

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.

Super Metroid

Super Metroid (SNES)

Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion (GBA)

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.


About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.