Metroid Prime 4 is in development for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. Well, apparently. Many Nintendo fans are increasingly convinced it's never coming out. That said, according to rumors over the years, the first three games of the series are being brought to the Switch and Switch Lite to accompany the long-awaited release of the fourth mainline installment in the series. However, according to a former developer on the series, this is unlikely.
Michael Wikan was a senior designer at Retro Studios and on all three mainline Metroid Prime games. According to Wikan, bringing the trilogy to Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch would require a herculean effort due to the motion controls of the third game, and how much work it would be to update them to normal controls.
"That would take a lot of effort, so I am pretty skeptical it will happen," said Wilkan when talking about the possibility of the trilogy on Switch. "It was straightforward to update Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2 to motion controls, but converting Metroid Prime 3 to normal controls would be a herculean effort, as it is scripted very specifically using volumetric triggers to detect the motion in precise manners to do specific switches, and the bosses are tuned to take into account the ease of gestural aiming."
Wilkan continued, revealing even more reasons why it could be a very difficult task:
"Retro no longer has functional editor tools to work with the Prime code base, so everything has to be 'brute force' hard coded."
Wilkan notes it's not impossible, but rather it would just require a lot of work and resources, which is why he's personally skeptical it will ever happen.
It would make sense for Nintendo to bring the trilogy forward to Switch and Switch Lite ahead of the release of Metroid Prime 4, but it sounds like it may not happen. And if it does happen, it probably won't be anytime soon because there's no indication that Metroid Prime 4 is releasing anytime soon.
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H/T, Nintendo Everything.