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Nintendo reboots Metroid Prime 4 development

Bad news for Metroid fans who were hoping to see a new entry in the series this year. Polygon is reporting that Nintendo is restarting development on Metroid Prime 4, taking the project away from its current team and handing it to Retro Studios, which made the original Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi provided more information on the change via the company's YouTube channel.

"The current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series," Takahashi remarked. "Nintendo always strives for the highest quality in our games, and in the development phase, we challenge ourselves and confront whether the game is living up to that quality on a daily basis."

Takahashi then dropped the really bad news, explaining that development would shift over to Retro Studios, and noting that "this change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning." That definitely means that we won't be getting Metroid Prime 4 in 2019, and it's not looking all that great for 2020, either.

Metroid Prime 4 was originally announced during E3 2017, providing fans of the franchise with just a logo and nothing in the way of gameplay or any other details. News on the project has been mostly silent since then, leading fans to wonder if Nintendo planned to feature the game later in its 2019 lineup. Not many seemed to leave room for the possibility that development in the game was in trouble — just that Nintendo was being overly secretive.

Nintendo still has some tricks up its sleeve to keep Switch fans happy this year. There's already a Pokemon RPG slated for release sometime in 2019, and there's speculation that the next Animal Crossing title could show up sometime this year, too.

But the loss of Metroid Prime 4 for a couple more years — whether or not it was actually going to come out in 2019 — hurts quite a bit. Hopefully Nintendo can fill that empty space with something good.