Nintendo brought some solid games to this year's E3 showcase, but there was one glaring omission: Metroid Prime 4. The game was originally announced at last year's E3, with no news since. Fans expected to hear more, possibly even see some footage, but were instead greeted with complete silence on the topic. It turns out there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for that. Nintendo isn't ready to show Metroid Prime 4 yet.
At 2017's E3, Nintendo showed a logo for Prime 4. That was it. But that was all it took to get Metroid fans excited. Conformation that a game is even being developed is happy news. A year later, however, the logo is still all there is.
Bill Trinen, the senior product marketing manager for Nintendo, explained the game's absence from E3 2018 to Game Informer. "Last year, because it was the first year for the [Nintendo Switch], we looked at things that were maybe a little further out. This year, you can see pretty clearly, we’re back to focusing on the near-term."
Nintendo itself has said its focus during E3 is on the games that will release within a year. Vague teases of games without release dates isn't usually the Nintendo way. As Trinen said, last year's announcement of Metroid Prime 4 broke that rule because the company wanted to do all it could to hype the Switch in its first year.
The goal for 2018 was to return to form by centering on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, a game that will come out this year. Prime 4 isn't scheduled to release any time in the near future, so fans will just have to wait to see more.
"I think the main thing is, as people have probably realized by now," Trinen said, "We show things when we think we’re ready to show them. And when we think we’re ready to show Metroid Prime, we’ll show Metroid Prime."
The Metroid fandom is notorious for being starved and constantly declaring that fact. Not that they can be entirely blamed. The Wii U didn't even get a Metroid game. The most recent titles in the series were a remake and a controversial spin-off. Meanwhile, other Nintendo franchises like Fire Emblem and Pokémon get yearly attention. So to see another year pass without Metroid must be disheartening. Unfortunately, that's the reality of being a Nintendo fan. Nintendo likes to take its time, and consumers just have to deal with that.