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Why Nintendo didn’t show Metroid Prime 4 at E3

When’s the next time we’ll see it?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Samus Aran, as shown in a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate teaser.
Chelsea Stark (she/her), executive editor, has been covering video games for more than a decade.

Nintendo spent much of its E3 presentation this year highlighting anticipated titles, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! But many fans expressed disappointment that Metroid Prime 4, which was announced with the briefest of teases during E3 2017, was nowhere to be found.

It’s probably not too surprising, but the game seems to be quite a ways out, and Nintendo aims to only show things that are a little closer to release, said Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime.

“We believe it is not fair to the fan to repeatedly tease them over time about a game,” Fils-Aime told Polygon during an interview at E3 2018. “That’s why we tend to focus close in, typically in a six- to nine-month timeframe, and go deep in sharing content and information on a particular piece of content.”

There have been a few exceptions to this of course, like the 2014 E3 demo of the game that eventually became 2016 release Star Fox Zero. But generally recent Nintendo releases have followed the formula of extended reveals coming six to nine months before the game hits retail.

If you’re doing the mental math there, it means that we likely won’t see Metroid Prime 4 on Switch in the next nine months, and maybe even a year. But since we still don’t know more about the game, including its developer, it’s hard to know for sure. The only other tidbit Fils-Aime would offer was that “Metroid Prime 4 continues to be in development and making great progress.”

“But right now, for something that’s not launching in 2018, it just wasn’t the right time,” he said.

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