Nintendo has released a video update on Metroid Prime 4. In it, Nintendo Senior Managing Executive Officer, Shinya Takahashi, surprises fans by announcing that Prime 4's development is being restarted, with Retro Studios taking over.
In the video, Takahashi states the reason for starting over is that the current development phase did not reach Nintendo's standards. Because of this, Nintendo is now utilizing the company behind the original Prime trilogy, Retro Studios, and starting over development from the beginning. As you probably guessed, this also means that Metroid Prime 4 has been delayed. However, Takahashi says the fourth installment is being developed so that it "will stand shoulder to shoulder with the past Metroid Prime series titles." Sadly, this also means a long time before another update. In short, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing the new Metroid installment this year.
This news will likely come as a shock to most fans. Metroid Prime 4 was originally unveiled during Nintendo's 2017 E3 presentation, nearly two years ago. Since then, there hadn't been a major update. Ironically, though the game had been in development all this time, Nintendo actually never revealed who was developing the title - all we knew was that it was not Retro Studios. There was the report by Eurogamer that Bandai Namco was working on it, but that was not confirmed. Though it is disappointing that the game will take even longer to launch, the knowledge that Retro Studios is working on it should mean the game is going to be as great as it can be.
Retro Studios has developed nothing but critically acclaimed titles. Even besides Metroid Prime, the studio was responsible for the highly liked Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze. The original Metroid Prime was an early GameCube title and successfully brought Samus Aran into the world of 3D. Then came Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the latter of which utilized motion controls on Wii. There was also a few spin-off games, but these were not developed by Retro Studios.
Nothing is confirmed about Metroid Prime 4's story or setting. Based on statements to Eurogamer in 2015 by series producer Kensuke Tanabe, the saga of Dark Samus is over, and the ship tailing Samus in Corruption's secret ending belongs to Sylux. Metroid Prime: Federation Force's secret ending features an individual who appears to be Sylux. Assuming this is all leading up to something, the game could be about a conflict between Samus and Sylux. It's all theories until Nintendo reveals something, but it isn't likely we'll hear anything major until late this year at the earliest.