Metroid 4 Prime missing from Nintendo Direct February 2021 despite impending 35th anniversary for the series

With today’s Nintendo Direct being the first big one in a while, fans thought we might hear something about Metroid Prime 4. It’s the Metroid series’ 35th anniversary this August, but we heard nothing concerning Nintendo’s plans to celebrate it today. Given that this was an excellent opportunity for at least some news on the eagerly anticipated game, many wonder why it was missing.

Why wasn’t Metroid Prime 4 at the Nintendo Direct?

Metroid Prime 4 Logo

Metroid Prime 4 was first announced at E3 2017. Initially, development on the game was being done at Bandai Namco Studios. However, in January 2019, after that studio had worked on the game for at least two years, Nintendo announced that Bandai Namco’s version of Metroid Prime 4 wasn’t meeting its expectations. At that point, the project was handed to Retro Studios, the company that developed the first three games in the Metroid Prime series.

When Nintendo handed the game to Retro Studios, development was reset. So, as of now, only two years worth of work has been completed. This setback means that Metroid Prime 4 could still be years from release. Nintendo hasn’t commented on the game publicly since the January 2019 announcement, but no bad news, official or otherwise, has come out of Retro Studios. The studio has been hiring developers for the project, which seems to be a good sign.

It’s likely that Nintendo is holding back on showing Metroid Prime 4 until closer to the Metroid 35th anniversary. Given the game’s rocky development, Nintendo likely doesn’t want to give out any info until it’s absolutely positive it’s on track to release.

So, the fact there wasn’t any Metroid Prime 4 news or a trailer at today’s Nintendo Direct isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t mean the game is canceled or that development is going poorly. It just means Nintendo will show us something when it’s ready. That’s how the company has worked for years, and it doesn’t show any signs of changing now.