In recent years Nintendo has become rather cautious about revealing games. More often than not, new titles are only unveiled months, if not weeks, before they’re set to be released. It can be a somewhat frustrating policy for fans, but its one that keeps expectations and hype levels carefully in check.
For the most part, Nintendo stuck to their blueprint at E3 2017. Almost everything they showed was coming out in 2017 or early 2018, with one major exception – Metroid Prime 4. Nintendo had nothing but a logo to show, and the game won’t be out until at least 2018, if not later. So, why did Nintendo change up their game plan?
In a recent interview with IGN, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime explained Nintendo’s usual conservative approach to announcing games, and why Metroid Prime 4 was the exception:
“For us, we believe that having hands-on opportunity married to an announcement is really the best way to do it. So, let’s take Super Mario Odyssey for example. We could have announced it months ago, but we weren’t ready, the team wasn’t ready to show it and to let the consumer really understand visually how the hat mechanic works, how the capture mechanic comes into play. And so, that’s how we think these through.
For certain games, games that will be in development for, let’s call it a decent amount of time, like Metroid Prime 4 -- and given that it’s a franchise that we know people have been very eager to get news on -- that’s when, fine, we’ll share it. We’ll share it early. Others, we want to hold closer in and reveal it when the gameplay is going to be available. It literally is game by game, title by title, how we make that decision.”
Makes sense, although there’s probably a little more to it than Reggie lets on. I think if Nintendo had only revealed this year’s Metroid: Samus Returns fans probably would have dumped on the game, because they wanted something for the Switch. Since fans knew a Switch Metroid is coming, they were more willing to judge Samus Returns on its own merits. In this case, revealing Metroid Prime 4 early definitely made sense.
Metroid Prime 4 doesn’t have a release date, but you can bide your time with Metroid: Samus Returns, which rolls onto Nintendo 3DS on September 15.