The Nintendo Switch turns six as of 2023, which happens to be the same amount of time since Metroid Prime 4 was first revealed at E3 2017. Metroid Prime 4 continues to be a hotly anticipated title for gamers. Still, with the Switch’s lifespan seemingly ending as rumors of a successor swirl, it makes you wonder if the game will ever come to Switch.
A recent financial report reiterates that Metroid Prime 4 will be coming to Switch, but with 2024 looking to be the year of the Switch 2 (or whatever Nintendo ends up calling the thing), it is likely this will be a cross-generation title.
In Nintendo’s latest financial report, the company listed its announced games that have upcoming releases. Metroid Prime 4 sits alongside titles such as Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Super Mario RPG, and Detective Pikachu Returns - which are all slated to be released before the end of 2023. While Metroid Prime 4’s release date is still listed as TBA (to be announced) the inclusion of the title at all may assuage worries that Metroid Prime 4 is going to launch exclusively for the next Nintendo console.
As a title that may come out amid a transition period between consoles, Metroid Prime 4 could take a page out of Breath of the Wild’s book and be a cross-gen title. Breath of the Wild was released as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2017. While it was considered one of the main reasons to buy the new console and remains one of the best Switch games ever made, it is not actually a Switch exclusive — It also came out on the Wii U.
Releasing a game near the end of one console's lifecycle and another’s launch is a tricky thing. Either the game is a selling point for the new console generation and needs to be experienced on the latest hardware, or it shows off how developers have mastered the last generation at the end of its life in addition to having a bigger install basis that might buy the game.
Breath of the Wild had its cake and ate it too, giving Wii U owners one last great title while acting as an incentive for people to hop onto the Nintendo Switch. But the case with the Switch and its successor is a bigger deal than the transition from the Wii U to the Switch. The Wii U is still the lowest-selling Nintendo console. But the Switch is now the third best-selling video game console ever, with more than 129 million units sold.
Most Switch owners have a catalog of games on their system and jumping to a new system entirely can always be difficult (unless the Switch 2 has much-needed backward compatibility). Metroid Prime 4 acting as a bridge between the systems is the best option for Nintendo, as it is a chance to give Switch users the last hooray they deserve while also showing off the benefits of upgrading to the Switch 2.
Many Switch owners have been waiting nearly as long as they have owned the system to play Metroid Prime 4. Some may have even bought the console in order to eventually play the game. As its inevitable release gets closer, it should deliver on that promise to Switch users.
For those who do eventually give up their Switch for the Switch 2 after the new console's release, it also makes the jump easier, as you would already be able to pick up and play Metroid Prime 4 from where you left off on the Switch.