I love Metroid, but being a longtime fan does weird things to you. Take, for example, the latest kerfuffle over Retro Studios updating its Twitter banner. Where a normal person might see a cool piece of Samus Aran concept art, the ravenous Metroid fan, their hunger unsatiated by Metroid Dread, imagines a portal hiding all manner of Metroid Prime 4 secrets.
This change was first spotted earlier today and quickly spread across the internet like a Phazon corruption, prompting Metroid fans on Twitter, Reddit, and ResetEra to begin weighing in on the new image’s significance. Many are convinced this is our first, true look at Metroid Prime 4 after years of having only a simple logo to tide us over.
“Are we looking through a visor here? Sylux’s visor perhaps?” wrote Twitter user Biotank, name-dropping a major Metroid character, set up as a foil to Samus Aran throughout the Prime series, who many consider underutilized. “I’ve been waiting for the triple Sylux payoff from Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime 3, and Metroid Prime: Federation Force for so long.”
“She appears to be in some sort of abandoned duct,” wrote Justin Bailey, an appropriately named ResetEra member. “The ‘feel’ of the setting here might be hinting that the game will be more dark and desolate than previous titles. Maybe they will go back to the creepy nature of the original Metroid.”
“The contrast between the dark parts of the picture and the light parts are hinting at two different dimensions! Ing dimension return confirmed!” Reddit user Moose_Cake wrote on r/Metroid, a joking reference to the reality-hopping escapades of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.
While the new banner isn’t explicitly labeled Metroid Prime 4, it’s understandable why folks would feel a twinge of excitement over this image, what with the game having had zero public exposure after its June 2017 reveal. Since then, issues behind the scenes saw Nintendo scrap Bandai Namco’s early work on Metroid Prime 4 and shift responsibility for its development to Retro, the original creators of the Prime series, in 2019. Kensuke Tanabe, a veteran Nintendo employee who produced several previous Metroid Prime games, still oversees the project.
“The current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series,” Shinya Takahashi, Nintendo’s senior managing executive officer, explained at the time. “[W]e have determined that the current development status of the game is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team. We have decided to reexamine the development structure itself and change it. By collaborating and developing with Retro Studios, we believe we can make this game something that will meet our fans’ expectations.”
Whether or not Retro’s new Twitter banner holds any grand secrets about Metroid Prime 4, the wild response to so simple a social media update should further prove just how high anticipation is for the upcoming game and, really, the franchise in general. If I were Mr. Nintendo, I’d honestly be a little worried about the insatiable monsters I’ve created with my hit, sci-fi franchise.