Nintendo unexpectedly dropped a Direct Mini announcement on March 26 to tease the next Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter and an Easter-themed Animal Crossing: New Horizons event to name a few. But allegedly leaked information suggests Nintendo may have had a slew reveals planned for E3 2020 (before it was canceled), including a potentially jaw-dropping Metroid Prime 4 update.
UPDATE: This was an early April Fools' hoax. Twitter user Rakujira explained, "We faked a Flipnote Studio for Switch ""leak"" to goof on a couple of small Discord guilds, and needless to say it got wayyy bigger than we ever anticipated... sorry!"
Original post follows.
Images of what appears to be a portion of Nintendo’s planned E3 2020 presentation began circulating online Tuesday. The leaks in question are all screenshots of images created withing Flipnote Studio, a free downloadable sketchbook app for the Nintendo DSi that's running on a Nintendo Switch. These photos obviously imply that Flipnote Studio for the Switch is in development, but they also hint at some of Nintendo’s other plans, including the potential for a major Metroid Prime 4 announcement. Could it include a release date window?
Nintendo was seemingly planning to use the Flipnote Studio reveal to showcase some of the company's plans for the rest of the year and beyond. The E3 2020 Direct video presentation includes drawn images of various Nintendo properties.
One such image depicts a first-person view of a Metroid game. Samus’ arm cannon is seen at the bottom right blasting one of the franchise’s iconic Metroid facehuggers.
Directly to the left of that image is another drawing of who appears to be Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto next to an “E3 2020” sign. This suggests that the company could be preparing an announcement around the delayed Metroid Prime 4, but Olimar is also waving from the next image, so take that speculation with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Nintendo hasn’t said a word about the highly anticipated title ever since Nintendo’s Senior Managing Executive Officer Shinya Takahashi somberly announced its delay in January 2019. The company started the game’s development from scratch in partnership with Retro Studios, which probably means there's still a long wait ahead before the game is released.
Subsequent Metroid rumors, however, suggest that Nintendo is working on two fresh Metroid titles that will allegedly launch by April 2022 to fill the Ridley-sized hole in fans’ hearts. None of these plans have been confirmed by Nintendo, but if Tuesday’s leaks prove to be legitimate, then we might have some clarity soon.
The Inverse Analysis
While it’s totally possible that someone faked these images to stir up Nintendo’s fan base a day before April Fools' Day. It’s also in Nintendo’s character to host such a quirky Direct, especially when the company’s workflow has been shaken up by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, Nintendo’s E3 Direct was over 40 minutes long and even included Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser meeting King Koopa. This year it might be impossible for the company to produce a grand Direct presentation because employees are working from home in order to comply with social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.
To make up for that, the company might ask a handful of its executives, creatives, developers, and other employees to submit doodles that would be shown in a narrated slideshow format.
Since it seems that Nintendo was planning these announcements for E3 2020, which was canceled because of coronavirus concerns, we might have to wait until June to find out if a Metroid 4 is actually on the docket this year.