During last year’s E3 presentation, Nintendo surprised one of their most passionate fan bases by revealing that Metroid Prime 4 is in development for Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s first-person sci-fi adventure series has been handled exclusively by Retro Studios in the past, but the Austin-based developer will not return for Samus’ next game. Nintendo has remained entirely silent on the identity of the long-awaited title’s developer, but thanks to a report from Eurogamer, we may have our answer.
Earlier this week, YouTuber Doctre81 highlighted the fact that a Lead Designer at Bandai Namco Singapore had two unannounced Nintendo Switch exclusives listed on their LinkedIn profile. According to the listing, we can expect Ridge Racer 8 on Nintendo’s hot new console, as well as a “First Person Shooter/Adventure” title. This same developer noted that they “Regularly presented pitches, storyboards, design directives, and gameplay to both Nintendo Headquarters and Bandai Namco Entertainment Group.” Upon further digging, Press Start realized that Bandai Namco Singapore has received an influx of developers from the cancelled Star Wars 1313 project. Several of these developers mention an unannounced project they’re working on, calling it a “well-known” and “exciting” IP.
Eurogamer followed up on these listings both by contacting Nintendo and by speaking with their sources. As you might expect, Nintendo’s official stance is that they do not comment on rumors. However, Eurogamer claims that multiple sources have privately confirmed that Bandai Namco’s secret project is in fact Metroid Prime 4. The Singapore studio is reportedly taking the lead on the project with collaboration from Nintendo, much like the previous collaborations between Retro and Nintendo.
According to Eurogamer, Bandai Namco is still “relatively early in the game’s development,” and they do not expect that it will hit Nintendo Switch this year. That said, they believe it’s possible that the Prime Trilogy could see a re-release on Switch in the meantime. While they have no source to indicate that this is the case, it’s notable that the Lead Designer also lists “UI design for transition between original platforms to new modern trends” as part of their duties.
Fans will undoubtedly have mixed reactions to Bandai Namco taking the lead on the long-running franchise, but they’ve proven themselves on previous collaborations. Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai worked closely with Bandai Namco on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and Bandai also helped craft Pokkén Tournament on Wii U and Nintendo Switch. The Lead Designer even specifically mentions “Nintendo’s exacting requirements” for development on LinkedIn, so they’ll be closely supervised.