This year marks the 35th anniversary of Metroid. Nintendo’s classic sci-fi franchise is as old as Zelda, but there’s no party. While Mario got a full year to celebrate his big milestone, Nintendo hasn’t so much as uttered Samus’ name. Considering Metroid Prime 4’s uncertain development status, we may not get an update on the franchise at all this year.
That’s not stopping fans from showing their love of the franchise in their own ways, even if it gets them in trouble with Nintendo. A group of Metroid diehards is working on a full 2D remake of Metroid Prime and it looks incredible.
What’s even better is that there’s a demo for the project currently available to download. Though you’ll need to act fast before Nintendo inevitably takes it down.
Developed by Team SCU, he ambitious project reimagines the GameCube classic in the style of games like Super Metroid. It’s a 2D side-scroller where players explore iconic locations like Chozo Ruins. The look and feel of those levels is preserved here but presented in a perspective that’s far removed from the original game’s 3D first-person platforming.
It’s not just the levels that carry over. Every little detail from the original is present. There’s hidden lore to be scanned, classic enemies to fight, and even reimagined versions of the game’s boss fights. The demo features a battle against the Hive Totem, which operates like the Mother Brain fight from the first Metroid title.
The only thing that really feels different is a new version of the game’s soundtrack. It borrows some motifs from the original score but reimagines them to better fit with the feel of a 2D game.
It’s all incredibly impressive ... and it probably won’t be around much longer.
Nintendo has a history of striking down fan projects before they can see the light of day. The company famously took down a fantastic fan remake of Metroid 2 just before announcing its own Nintendo 3DS remake. Considering that the demo is in the public spotlight at the moment, the developers likely have a cease and desist in their near future.
On one hand, it’s understandable. Metroid is Nintendo’s IP and remakes like this directly infringe on its rights. It’s an open and shut case from a legal standpoint. On another level, fan remakes like this exist because Nintendo is stingy with its franchises. Fans have no idea when they can expect the next Metroid game. They can’t even play most of the franchise on the Nintendo Switch.
Fans are essentially doing what Nintendon’t. They have a real passion for Metroid, but little assurance that Nintendo cares about it. Judging by the birthday snub, it’s clear that it’s not a high-priority franchise for Nintendo at the moment. There’s a void to be filled and indie games inspired by the franchise aren’t quite going to get the job done.
Diehard Metroid fans who are itching for a new game might want to check out the demo while they can. It’s only a matter of time before it’s taken down, so this might be the only taste of the series we get until Metroid Prime 4 finally gets a release date.