Metroid Prime Remastered is available for digital download from today (Feb. 9) for the Nintendo Switch.
Fans weren't expecting the surprise remaster of the classic GameCube first-person shooter first released in 2002, which was announced as part of Wednesday's Nintendo Direct live stream.
In addition to boasting vastly improved graphics Metroid Prime Remastered also offers an updated control system, with players able to guide Samus using the Switch's dual stick controls. This intuitive system will be familiar to anyone accustomed to playing current first-person shooters.
For purists, however, the game also offers a GameCube-inspired control option which emulates Metroid Prime's original controls. Additionally, Polygon reported that Metroid Prime Remastered also includes a "pointer" based control scheme based on the Wii version of Metroid. A hybrid mode functions in a similar way to the classic control system while integrating pointer-style gyro controls for aiming.
The original Metroid Prime was the first of a series of three games known as the Metroid Prime saga, set between the original Metroid and "Metroid II: Return of Samus." Controlling Samus Aran and her iconic power armor, players battle the Space Pirates to shut down biological experiments on the planet Tallon IV.
The game, which differed from the previous four main Metroid franchise entries by offering a first-person perspective rather than a third-person style, was followed by "Metroid Prime 2: Echoes" for the GameCube in 2005 and "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" for the Wii in 2007, the latter of which closed out the saga for the time being. A fourth game in the saga for the Switch was announced in 2017 with Retro Studios currently handling development.
There is no sign of remasters of "Metroid Prime 2: Echoes" or "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" yet, but given the surprising nature of this announcement fans of the franchise may be expecting similar releases for its sequels in the future.
The Metroid franchise which began in 1986 has been so influential on the video game industry that it has partially inspired a whole sub-genre of games along with Konami classic "Castlevania" known fittingly as "Metriodvanias." These are action-adventure games that follow a non-linear structure that encourages the re-exploration of areas with unlocked abilities and upgrades.
While not giving any clues regarding the remaster of Metroid Prime sequels and no new Castlevania on the horizon, the Nintendo Direct live stream did present fans of the genre a glimpse of footage from the forthcoming Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC. Developed by Motion Twin, the natural unification of this modern Metroidvania and one of its spiritual parents will be coming to the switch on March 9, 2023.
Metroid Prime Remastered is currently available as a digital download on the Nintendo eShop for $39.99, but fans of physical media will have to wait until Feb. 22 for a physical version of the game.
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Robert Lea is a science journalist in the U.K. whose articles have been published in Physics World, New Scientist, Astronomy Magazine, All About Space, Newsweek and ZME Science. He also writes about science communication for Elsevier and the European Journal of Physics. Rob holds a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy from the U.K.’s Open University. Follow him on Twitter @sciencef1rst.