(Pocket-lint) - Rarely do we have to wait quite this long for a game that's been confirmed as in development - Metroid Prime 4 was first announced all the way back in 2017, at E3.
Well, it's more than five years since then and it's nowhere to be found, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to go on. Find out all the key details right here.
Metroid Prime 4 release date
You can see the announcement teaser for Metroid Prime above this section, although there's basically no meat to it. It's just a logo and the confirmation that the game is in development.
We got no news about the game from that teaser until 2019, when Nintendo made the surprising move of publicly announcing that it was scrapping what had been done so far on the game, and starting again under the helm of Retro Studios.
This is an unusual degree of communication not just for Nintendo but for the games industry more widely, but it probably knew that questions and rumours would keep mounting up if it didn't step in and clarify the situation.
Still, it's now been three years since that update, and we can only assume that development has been in progress that whole time. There's been little mention of the game, but in the intervening years a 2D Metroid came out to rave reviews on the Nintendo Switch - Metroid Dread.
We hope that by the end of 2022 we might hear more about Metroid Prime 4, and the good thing about Nintendo is that it is prone to dropping game very soon after showcasing gameplay for the first time. Still, at this stage it's probably safer to hope for a release sometime in 2023, given the timeline of its development so far.
Metroid Prime 4 platforms
One of the few details that accompanied Metroid Prime 4's initial announcement was that it was in development exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, and while a lot of time has passed since then, the Switch is still going strong.
We'd expect the game to remain an exclusive when it does come out, and unless it takes another couple of years then it should release for the current generation of Switch devices, headlined by the ever-impressive Switch OLED.
Metroid Prime 4 gameplay
As the above sections will have made clear, we haven't seen a hint of any gameplay from any of the updates around Metroid Prime 4 - it's all been simply logos and developers chatting.
That means we can't be certain about anything related to how the game will play, but you can nonetheless makes some fairly safe bets about it.
The Prime series is a first-person shooter series, one that upended the traditional gameplay template for Metroid and made it dynamic from the player's point of view.
We would very much assume that Metroid Prime 4 will also be a shooter, therefore, since anything else could just be rebranded to something like Metroid Dread.
The Wii-era trilogy of Prime games all came with motion controls that were revolutionary for the time and still hold up surprisingly well if you can get hold of them now. However, the way the Joy-Cons work on the Switch is a little different to the Wii's remote, in particular with no light-sensor for consistently acurate placement.
We'll therefore be interested to see whether Nintendo persists with motion controls, or simply makes a standard first-person shooter that you control much like you would Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, for example.
Hopefully it'll involve plenty of hopping between planets, like in previous games, and puzzle-solving to go with the combat, something to break up the pace nicely.
Of course, being a Metroid game you can also safely assume that you'll accumulate new powers and upgrades throughout the game, to get access to new areas and to help you get past obstacles you might have noticed hours before.