Monday, December 28, 2020

NEW Metroid Prime 4 Update: Nintendo Switch Demo Build | Retro Studios Hidden Change + Darker Story?



It’s been a bit of time since our last update, but there has now been some changes going on behind the scenes that warrant a new update before we head full into 2021. In our last update it was discovered and revealed first on this channel that Retro Studios had started hiring 3 different Game Testers to play test a Pre-Alpha Build of Metroid Prime 4 and that the game was going to start testing for bugs and quality control, along with tracking defects during gameplay and updating development hardware for the staff. 

The new update for Metroid Prime 4 is that it appears we can confirm that Retro Studios has in fact now officially started the Demo Build testing with these game testers they hired. If you look at Retro Studios hiring page all of the Game Testers they were hiring for before and to now, have been removed, meaning that they are now joined up with the Retro Studios staff and have begun full testing of Metroid Prime 4, and this is an exciting update because the sooner demo testing starts, which it appears now that it has, the sooner it is that we will be seeing the game in action in a trailer. 

We’ve been following and tracking every part of the development of this game of course more closely this year in 2020, and as we’ve been hearing those reports of new Switch hardware getting ready to be revealed as soon as early next year, and the fact that they have started fully play testing builds of Metroid Prime 4, no longer hiring, but now officially begun testing before the end of 2020. 

At this point it’s only a matter of getting through the holiday time period and getting into 2021 so the plans that Nintendo may have intended for 2020 but had to delay can finally be revealed, since as we know in terms of games for 2020 Nintendo 1st party and getting big AAA third Party games has been almost non-existent, besides for the very late, but of course better late than never all Digital Version of DOOM Eternal for the Switch, which is my Switch game of the year for 2020. However, besides that, in terms of games, it’s been an off year for Nintendo with a lot of games/plans being pushed into 2021 no doubt due to the Pandemic situation. 

So in terms of debuting new hardware, Nintendo normally has some kind of 1st party game it either shows off the hardware with or launches the hardware with, the New 3DS had 3D Majora's Mask with graphical upgrades and the Nintendo Switch Lite had Link's Awakening Remake. So with the quiet nature of how 2020 was for Nintendo’s 1st party, it lines up with previous actions by Nintendo that they may in fact be holding back software for debut on this reported new Switch, and while I don’t expect Metroid Prime 4 to come out in the first half of 2021, it would make sense to show it’s first trailer for this New Switch when they debut the console in conjunction with something like a Metroid Prime Trilogy HD and perhaps an updated Definitive Edition for Breath of the Wild with all DLC included and upgraded graphics and performance to then lead into a holiday release for Breath of the Wild 2, that is something I could easily see happen in 2021, not necessarily in not this particular order, but it would set the momentum for 2021 for Nintendo moving forward in the year as PS5 and Xbox Series X will be entering in their second holiday season in 2021.

PS5 and Xbox Series X have some really big games hitting their consoles in Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok, Gran Turismo 7, Ratchet and Clank and Halo Infinite, all of which is competition for Nintendo whether gamers view it that way or not, since all these companies are competing for market share, your time and your dollar and a lot of the PlayStation games for example lately, have been crossing over into “Nintendo-like” territory with games like Astros Playroom, Sackboy and evergreen games that appeal to everyone like Spider-Man.

Nintendo no doubt in 2021 will be putting up quite a big fight in terms of making sure they re-secure their fanbase to be locked in for years to come with core 1st party games that continue to push new gameplay innovations and appeal to all gamers, something I think they’ve gotten away from in recent years. Usually though new hardware from Nintendo does bring some new innovation with it, so I’m very excited to see what Nintendo has up their sleeves in this aspect. 

Also as a secondary update for Metroid Prime 4, and for Nintendo in general, it appears Nintendo has quietly changed how they list their job postings. They have now updated and removed the dates of when they posted publicly their job hiring's. Normally when Nintendo or Retro Studios posts a new job for hire, they list the date in which it was posted at the very bottom, and now, for reasons unknown,  they both, Nintendo and Retro Studios, if you check their job pages, have removed all dates for which jobs were posted. We have been closely looking at these job hiring's for a while now and other websites have been doing the same thing, so the only logical reason to remove the dates of posting a new job or previous job is that Nintendo wants more secrecy in terms of public information on how far along their game progress is and to have more of a generalization of interpretation of what they are hiring for and for what.

However, I want to make clear that there is a way around this, at least for now, and that is by looking at Nintendo’s and Retros jobs on their LinkedIn account pages, which does still in fact post the dates of when new jobs start getting listed for hire. The combination of simply frequently visiting their job pages to see what you notice that has been added or wasn’t seen before can tell you what is new, however it will make it a bit more difficult to tell since many job hires are similar to other ones, so I do think Nintendo is trying to be more secretive than before, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this very closely moving forward. 

Another aspect I wanted to touch on with Metroid Prime 4 is that recently Retro Studios was hiring Storyboard Artists to and I quote: “define emotional scenes that will resonate with audiences,” and “explore interesting and innovative scenes that elevate the narrative.” and while some Metroid fans may have been worried that this could mean another Metroid Other M situation with over dramatic and drawn out cutscenes and perhaps putting way too much emphasis on Samus Aran's inner thoughts that many fans expected or wanted, I personally don’t think Metroid Prime 4 needs to shy away from such aspects, since the idea of Samus being a person of deep thought, leading a life of isolation, independence and searching for a bigger, deeper meaning in the grand scheme of things for her life and purpose has long since been established in years past before Metroid Other M even existed as far back as the publishing of the graphic novels of Metroid: Volume 1 and Volume 2  first released in 2003.

The evolution of Samus it seems was always intended to be something that was going to happen sooner or later, much like how in Tomb Raider, Laura Croft as a character started out as a Indiana Jones type of explorer/archaeologist and action hero, but also had a lot of character development that started being explored more deeply in the 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, and continued with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which gave Laura Croft a much deeper, more human nature with emotional connections/friendships, and dealing with loss and mistakes made, but overall still being the very strong character fans associate with. 

While it is true that some fans may be afraid of Retro Studios examining more of the internal feelings of Samus, the fact of the matter is, in Metroid lore, that aspect of Samus is very much already there ready to be told, but perhaps in more of a “less is more approach” giving acknowledgement and some exploration to her inner struggle without making her seem degraded as a strong character. There is an argument of course that the faults that we do share as humans, can actually make us appear as stronger people to others and be respected more. 

In regards to Metroid Prime 4, if they do go down that route, balance will likely be the key to make it a success or a failure in terms of how the story and her inner character is explored. However, if Retro Studios handles it similar to how Laura Croft was done, I think it will be extremely successful. All of us as humans have dealt, no doubt, with past struggles, but in the end it depends on our own choices on how we deal with those struggles and how we decide to lead our lives, since ultimately the choices we make are always our own, and no one can decide for you that what happened in your past will decide how you are as a person in the future, only we as individuals can make that choice. A lot of that comes from self determination and strength of will; like how are strong are you? Will you give up or keep on fighting? So in terms of Samus Aran, we know she’s an extremely powerful person, it’s been established greatly already, and perhaps, just maybe her inner struggles that she’s experienced or does experience from time to time is what fuels her strength to keep fighting, and these kind of aspects can only be explored if we get to see those things examined in a game or story element.  

In the next part of the discussion, you may have noticed that there is always some kind of Darkness that follows Samus, whether it’s in Dark creatures, Dark Samus herself or with the Dark atmosphere she seems to inevitably find herself in. I see this Darkness of tone continuing with Metroid Prime 4, it seems to always find its way in with how Samus is explored as a character and how Metroid games are set. The term “darkness” gets thrown around a lot, but something to keep in mind is that “darkness” doesn’t have to mean Scary, darkness can mean tone or emotion or feeling. An interesting thought that can come up with Metroid games and Metroid Prime games is the thought that the Darkness that surrounds Samus in each game is something that actually draws fans to those games. People like dark themes, they enjoy dark atmosphere, dark storytelling, dark and immersive music, and why is that? Well perhaps it’s due to those themes being set before you that bring a sense of reality to the game world since without the dark you can’t have the light, and a world that is always shown in the light tends to be less interesting. Darkness in storytelling, when it does bring the light into it, can evoke even more emotions to the gamer than something without it. It’s the never ending pursuit of this goal of storytelling that separates successful movies, games and novels from each other. 

In a lot of things, less is actually more, like with the ending of Super Metroid, there was no dialog at all, but the message was very sad and dark for Samus and the relationship between her and the once Baby Metroid was extremely powerful. So for Metroid Prime 4, since Retro Studios wants to evoke emotions in cutscenes and story, I can see them using both spoken narrative and silence with how they want to convey emotion, and usually Metroid games are not these happy types of games, so most likely they are going to be reaching out for a dark theme to tell and to convey emotions for that.  

We all know we haven’t yet seen the actual game (Metroid Prime 4), and we haven’t seen even it’s art or heard it's music, but we do have the essence of Metroid that lives inside each fan and the desire to see this finally be revealed. No doubt all of this can be both frustrating and exciting since we now know how close Metroid Prime 4 is to being finally shown from the latest information.

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