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Fortnite Won’t Be Getting Metroid Skins Thanks to One Nintendo Demand

Nintendo and Epic Games disagree on exclusivity.

key art from Metroid Samus Returns

Given how much of pop culture Fortnite has absorbed into its rainbow-colored battle royale over the past few years, it may seem odd that none of Nintendo’s iconic characters have appeared to do battle with the likes of Goku and Ariana Grande. As court documents from Epic Games’ lawsuit with Apple revealed, Epic Games did have plans to bring Metroid heroine Samus Aran to the game, and now we know why that collaboration never happened.

Nintendo would have agreed to have Metroid in Fortnite, but only if the bounty hunter was made exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version of the game, Donald Mustard, former Epic CCO, told Game File in April.

Fortnite may be scooping up every popular character it can, but Nintendo’s roster isn’t likely to join any time soon.

Epic Games

“They got really hung up on their characters showing up on platforms that weren’t their platforms,” Mustard said. “They would be thrilled to have Nintendo characters in Fortnite, but just only if it’s on their platform.”

At the same time, Epic had a requirement of its own that every new character added to Fortnite would be playable on every version of the game. “We want to make sure that Fortnite is the same experience, no matter what screen or device you’re playing on,” Mustard told Game File.

That makes Nintendo the only one of the big three console makers without any of its characters in Fortnite. Both Sony’s Kratos and Halo’s Master Chief joined the fight in late 2020, and they’re available no matter which platform you play on, just like the rest of the game’s skins. Fortnite does feature a few console-specific skins, but players only need to redeem them on their respective consoles before they’re made available on other platforms. For Nintendo, even that was too much.

Nintendo keeps a tighter grasp on its characters than PlayStation or Xbox.

Sony/Epic Games

As disappointing as the announcement may be for fans of both Metroid and Fortnite, it’s not entirely surprising. Nintendo is well known for keeping its original characters close to its chest, disallowing crossovers and publicly pulling the plug on fan games. That’s not a given, though. In 2019, Nintendo did allow developer Brace Yourself Games to create a spinoff of its Crypt of the NecroDancer called Cadence of Hyrule, which is set in the world of The Legend of Zelda with the series’ protagonists as playable characters. The difference is that Cadence of Hyrule is Switch-exclusive.

It seems unlikely that either company will budge any time soon. Both Nintendo and Epic Games are doing just fine on their own, and Fortnite in particular doesn’t need any help getting its legions of fans to keep spending money on skins. As much as Samus’ arm cannon seems like it would make her a natural fit for the multiplayer shooter, fans who want to see her beating up on characters from outside the world of Metroid will have to stick to Super Smash Bros. for now.

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