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Why Metroid Prime Fans Are In An Uproar

There's a dark side to video game fandom, and sometimes hardcore fans will feel no remorse for harassing creators online for not aligning with their desires. Michael Wilkan, who helped create the "Metroid Prime" series, is at the center of the latest bit of fan outrage.

It all started when Wilkan spoke out about the possibility of bringing a port of "Metroid Prime" to the Switch. Wilkan, the lead designer for "Metroid Prime," explained in a Facebook comment that porting the "Metroid" trilogy to Switch would be a "Herculean effort." Wilkan elaborated, saying that "Metroid Prime 3," in particular, "is scripted very specifically using volumetric triggers to detect the motion in precise manners to do specific switches, and the bosses are tuned to take into account the ease of gestural aiming." Some fans didn't like hearing that their favorite game might never make it to Nintendo's latest console, and apparently took to the internet to protest.

In a now-deleted tweet (via Gfinity Esports), "Metroid" fansite Shinesparkers called out toxic fan behavior and asked for the community to do better in the future. Shinesparkers tweeted, "We have been informed that the developer mentioned has been targeted with abusive messages directed at his personal account on social media. The Metroid community is better than this, please be kind." Shinesparkers did not detail the nature of the messages Wilkan received, but many gamers can use their imaginations.

Will fans ever see Metroid again?

Importantly, Wilkan's initial comment on the "Metroid Prime” trilogy didn't state that porting the games to Switch would be impossible. Also, Wilkan doesn't work with Retro Studios, and hasn't for years. Even though Wilkan wasn't speaking in an official capacity, fans still seemingly took his comments to heart, and apparently lashed out in the process. Wilkan simply spoke from his own experience working on the "Metroid" series.

Though toxic behavior is never the answer, fans' fears of never being able to play a new or ported, "Metroid" game are valid. "Metroid Prime 4" is still enduring a troubled development process, leaving fans wondering if they'll ever get a new installment of the franchise. With high level positions open on the "Metroid Prime 4" team as recently as December 2020, it's unclear where exactly the game is at in development. 

Regardless, "Metroid" remains one of the most influential series in gaming history. Some gamers have even recently made a connection between Selene, the protagonist of "Returnal," and Samus Aran herself. No matter how long it takes to develop a new "Metroid" game, or port an already existent "Metroid" game, Shinesparkers has encouraged everyone to act civil in the meantime.