I am currently replaying Metroid Prime for the fourth time (I'm very close to the end) and it still stands as one of my all-time favorite games. Iím probably not going to replay Metroid Prime 2 and 3 right now, but theyíre also up there, although I feel like neither quite matched the brilliance of the original. So it got me thinking about the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 and what I would like to see out of it. Obviously a large amount of what I would like to see out of it is to just keep doing what worked in the original trilogy, which was a lot. But there are definitely places for improvement and expanding the franchise as well, and that is what this list is about.
Oh, and these are not in order of preference or anything, just kind of randomly listed.
The controls for the Metroid Prime games were certainly solid, and I really loved the Wii pointer aiming implementation in Metroid Prime 3, but I canít say the controls of the franchise are perfect. Some controls worked amazingly. I still have no idea how they made platforming work so fluidly in a 1st person game. But other controls were a bit iffy. For instance, itís a rare 1st person franchise with shooting that doesnít use dual analog controls, so there is no way to walk and aim at the same time, or even like, peek around a corner or anything (at least, before the pointer controls in Metroid Prime 3, but I suspect they wonít use pointer controls this time around.) Should Metroid Prime 4 have dual analog controls? Maybe? Iím not sure what the best solution is, I just want the aiming to be quicker and easier, and not require me to stop in place to aim, if possible.
Make a Single, Huge Interconnected World Again
The original Metroid Prime nailed the world design. Aside from the space frigate intro segment, which worked well to get players accustomed to the controls and general gameplay mechanics, the rest of the game played out on a single planet, where each of the areas had several connections to the others, and in the natural progression of the game you never quite knew where you would end up next. I would often leave an area only to arrive back in it in a completely different place, opening up a lot more of the map than I originally suspected existed in the process. For example, early in the game you find the wreckage of the intro section frigate in the Tallon Overworld area. But by the time I had the required upgrades needed to get into the crashed frigate, I was arriving at it from a completely different direction, using an elevator I found hiding behind a save station in the Chozo Ruins that brought me to a clifftop near the frigate. This is just one example among many. Heck, the Magmoor Caverns basically have connections to every other area.
Just look at this map!
This, for me, is the ideal Metroid experience. Unfortunately, the sequels fell further and further away from this ideal. Metroid Prime 2 had a single planet location with connections between the areas, but the connections were limited, and outside of connections to a hub section, usually not related to the way you progressed through the game itself, but existed more as an optional way to quickly travel back to previous locations to look for more missile and health upgrades. And Metroid Prime 3 almost completely moved away from the interconnectedness by taking place on many different planets, with the only way to travel between them being Samusí ship.
Sometimes franchises change for the better, and itís not bad to mix things up, but in this case I really feel like the first Metroid Prime had not just the best world of the three, but the one that was most true to the definitive Metroid experience II would love to see Metroid Prime 4 go back to this deep and interconnected way of exploring. Speaking of the map...
Fast Travel (of a Sort)
This is a tough one for me, because exploring the world is a huge part of the Metroid experience, and often while travelling back to a place I had already been is when I would stumble upon the correct way forward, or find various upgrades that I either didnít see my first time through or didnít have the right power-ups to obtain yet. I donít necessarily think Metroid should move away from this kind of progression and have fast travel spots all over the map per se. But I do find it a bit tedious when I want to get from one side of the map to the other and have to run all the way there. A few options to get around the huge map quicker couldnít hurt. Maybe some conveniently placed morph ball speed tunnels or something that can shoot you across the world at lightning speeds.
More Dynamic Design
Metroid Prime is an amazing game, but it does feel a little bit dated in some ways in 2020. We have seen the rise of procedurally generated gameplay over the last ten years or so, and even games that donít use it still try to make their moment to moment interactions feel more varied and dynamic. Meanwhile, most every room that you travel through in the Metroid Prime trilogy is fairly static. There will occasionally be triggered events that change things, but nine times out of ten when you travel through a room that you have already been to it has the same enemies spawning in the exact same locations as before. For a game that has a lot of backtracking, and a lot of rooms you will be going through four or five times or more, things can get a bit predictable over time.
Metroid Prime 3 came out in 2007. Itís been over about thirteen years since the last mainline Metroid Prime game, and it will probably be closer to fifteen years or more by the time Metroid Prime 4 releases. There are a lot of games that can act as blueprints now for making your game areas more varied and dynamic when traversed multiple times. I donít think the Metroid Prime games should go full-on procedurally generated or anything like that, but not having everything feel so static in the areas I continually traverse would be a big step up.
More Isolation and Horror
This is maybe just a personal taste (ok my whole list is made up of personal tastes, but this really is) but I love the isolation and horror elements of the Metroid series, and this is an area where I think the origins of Metroid should be studied hard when designing Metroid Prime 4. The first few Metroid games were all about exploring an isolated environment alone, in settings that often contained subtle or outright horror elements. One of the early areas in Super Metroid particularly plays up the creepiness factor, slowly building tension in a seemingly abandoned set of rooms before an explosion of aliens finally pop out and attack.
Metroid Prime did a fairly good job at the isolation, though it doesnít have a whole lot of horror elements. Metroid Prime 2, on the other hand, has one of the scariest intro sections in any Metroid game, where you explore the aftermath of an ill-fated marine expedition and find countless corpses strewn around, which eventually arise as possessed zombies and attack you. I legit canít play that section alone at night! Thatís good stuff there. But by Metroid Prime 3 the sense of isolation was more or less minimized, and it contained fairly regular meetings with a large cast of characters. There was still a bit of horror (especially as your previous compatriots fell to the corruption one by one), but not really at the level of some of the previous games.
I want to see more isolation and more outright scary sequences. This is a game series inspired by the Alien franchise, after all!
Smarter Enemies (at Least the Space Pirates)
Another thing that is obvious when playing Metroid Prime in 2020 is that the enemy AI isnít all that advanced. For many of the enemies, it probably shouldnít be. A lot of the creatures you run into in the various ecosystems are not supposed to be particularly evolved, and itís fine if theyíre following relatively simple patterns. But the Space Pirates are highly intelligent creatures who do things like research technology and build spaceships and such, they should have better wiser tactics than wildly hopping around or running straight at Samus! Iím not expecting anything at the level of FPS that are built around combat, but Iíd love to see the enemy AI advance a bit so some of the battles could feel more alive.
The Next Great Suit Power
I feel like a large part of the Metroid Prime trilogy approach to suit powers involved taking established 2D Metroid powers and re-inventing them in 3D. A bunch of this took place in the original Metroid Prime: missiles and super missiles, the (limited) space jump, the grappling hook, the the morph ball, the spider ball, power bombs, etc. made an appearance. Metroid Prime 2 got the screw attack working and Metroid Prime 3 added wall jumping. At this point, most of the main suit mechanics from the 2D games have made an appearance. And sure, we have gotten some new stuff as well, especially in the various visor upgrades. But I want to see the next great suit power. A power that years from now will stand at the level of the morph ball, the grappling hook and the screw attack. What would this be?
I donít know! Thatís up to the game designers to figure out! I think that it would involve motion in some form though. A lot of the best suit upgrades have to do with how Samus moves around her environment, and I have to believe that there is still some untapped potential there.
Bring Back Kraid
One thing that I think I knew but forgot is that Kraid was originally planned to be in the original Metroid Prime, and a model was even created for the game.
Kraid obviously never made it into the final version of Metroid Prime, nor any of its sequels, nor any other 3D Metroid game. The only 3D Kraid I know of is in the Super Smash Bros. games.
But can you imagine? How cool would this have been?!
"I wish I remembered more. I just remember he was huge, that there were a bunch of jumping pieces, and that there was no way we were going to make it work in the time we had."
- Jack Mathews (formerly of Retro Studios)
Is it finally time to make that huge and epic platforming-centric Kraid boss battle? I think it is! Donít get me wrong, I donít want Metroid Prime 4 to just be a cheap nostalgia dump. The game doesnít need to be set on Zebes and rehash Super Metroid or anything. It should be mostly new stuff. But we did get Ridley in Metroid Prime, so I think that it is finally time for Kraid to get his turn.
And if we canít get Kraid, at least bring back Crocomire? #crocomirefan4life
No Late Game Fetch Quests
Some of my other opinions might be controversial, but I have a feeling no one will disagree with me on this one. I absolutely love the Metroid Prime trilogy, and have played through each game multiple times, and my least favorite part of each is always the late game fetch quest. Basically, for reasons that I canít quite understand, when you are nearing the end of any given game in the Metroid Prime trilogy, the final area is locked out until you go collect ten or twelve or so random knick-knacks hidden scattered across the entire world. This exists in all three of the main Metroid Prime games, so momentum would suggest that it will also exist in Metroid Prime 4 unless someone stops and says hey wait, maybe just because the first three games did something doesnít mean we have to do it in the fourth, right? Itís ok sometimes to admit that you made a mistake and make adjustments moving forward.
What is even the logic behind a fetch quest like this? From a developer perspective I can kind of see why you would want to get your players revisiting the map once they have all of the suit upgrades needed to pick up some of those power-ups that they couldnít get their first few times through any given area, but just leave it up to players to decide if they want to do this. Most of us will naturally check our maps, see some areas with unfinished business, and be capable of deciding on our own what to do about it.
Either that or they are just trying to pad the run-time of the games, but these games are long enough as it is, they donít really need any artificial padding. And this thought leads me into my final thought...
A Note System for the Map
One common Metroid experience for me, which Iím sure others can relate to, is when I run into a secret that I canít do anything about yet. It might be a small grate that I need bombs for, or a platform just out of reach, or whatever. The only thing that I can do is just hope that when I finally get the necessarily suit upgrade I will remember every little point on the map that it applies to. But I wonít remember! Yet, surely... Samus Aran would? Sheís a bounty hunter, that is a job that requires keeping track of various things, she must have some system for doing so! Also, she has a high tech suit with all kinds of software built right into it. Surely she would have some sort of note-taking software installed, right? Itís common software on pretty much any OS.
Iím not sure what the best way to handle this would be. For common things, it could theoretically be as simple as if you scan something that needs an upgrade you donít have yet, it appears on your map. For instance, in Metroid Prime ďBendeziumĒ was a material that could only be destroyed with power bombs, so any time you scan an object made of ďBendeziumĒ it could appear on your map, maybe with some indicator of whether you have ever destroyed it or not (many destroyed objects tend to come back in Metroid Prime games, though speaking of fixes, maybe they shouldnít?)
But this way of handling things also has a pitfall, which is that it turns otherwise interesting and complex environmental secrets into merely checking off boxes. Also, not every secret is something that you can just scan and instantly know what you need. Often a secret involves looking at the screen, knowing something looks fishy and might be a secret, but not being able to figure out yet what exactly it is. So it might help to let users create their own notes as well. In handheld mode this would be super easy, you could quickly add notes with the touch screen. Itíd be a bit tougher in docked mode, but still feasible. And better than nothing!
Iím going to throw in a bonus eleventh pick here because I couldnít get my list down to just ten. And also because I donít really know how to title this one, so here goes. You know those cute little green creatures (the Dachora and Etecoons) in Super Metroid that help teach you things, and that part during the final timed escape where if you take a little detour you can rescue them? More of that kind of thing please.
So there are my ideas. What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have any ideas of your own? Tell me your thoughts below!
Yes. Every one of your wishes sounds good to me. Basically focus on the best aspects of the best games that give Metroid its identity without being afraid to push things forward and make it a game that feels like it was developed in the 20's. The original Metroid Prime felt like it was a game from the damn future when it first came out. It blew me away, and I still love it... but yes it has aged in some ways.
I really don't want to see too much jabbering and story. Metroid is best when Samus is alone on a hostile alien planet doing her thing.
I'm going to admit that I'm not letting myself get too hyped about this game. I'm not quite as apprehensive about it as I was with the original Retro team when Prime was first announced, but... well, let's face it. There's some strange things going on with Retro. The studio is likely troubled to go this long without a release. I'm prepared for this game to turn out sort of ehh and to not let it upset me if that ends up being the case. Hope for the best, expect decent.
You know, the gyro remote for my LG TV works shockingly great. It feels just like a Wiimote with a sensor bar. I guess LG went to a company that specializes in all of this, but it gave me hope that IR style controls are actually possible with gyro and good software.
I always catch myself just sort of playing with the cursor like I used to with the Wiimote.
@Hinph I mean. Who knows what is going on? Maybe Nintendo jerked them around a bit but now they're finally allowed to work on something solid again. I do remember that after a few key guys left to start Armature people thought Retro was OVER, but they kept making great games.
I think the fact that Metroid Prime 4 started off dev with some other team and they screwed it up so bad that they had to restart though... good or bad sign? How much of that mess is still in the DNA of whatever they moved forward with? And how much of that team is still around versus Retro stepping in? It's all so unclear!
I do keep telling myself they've never released a bad game... never released a less than great game. And if they were working on something that got canceled, well... it happens. But then there's all the key people they've lost and all of those rumors that the company was a mess. I'm glad they are being given a chance on another big project and not just becoming the next NST or Monster Games, but I don't want to get too hyped until I see some footage. Hopefully we love it.
Then there's those rumors that MercurySteam might be hard at work on a new 2D Metroid too. Could possibly be a really good time for Metroid fans soon. Switch is the best possible platform to jolt some life back into some Nintendo franchises.
All three Prime games had a sequence that put me on edge. Prime 1's Phendrana Labs, when the lights go out after the thermal visor and you have to escape in the dark while Space Pirates and METROIDS run amok...eesh! Still freaks me out. As you mentioned, Prime 2's intro chapter, as you mentioned, although large chunks of that game felt particularly eerie (seeing the dark versions of areas you'd become familiar with). And Prime 3's sequence in Elysia that called back to the original Phendrana Labs, except this time the Metroids phase through the walls.
I fully expect Prime 4 to have another bonkers horror sequence to get me sweating. Spooky Nintendo moments are fun!
I'm not sure how I feel about late-game fetch quests! On the one hand, maybe the pacing would be better if they weren't in there; in a traditional story, it'd be really lame if there was a long multi-hour lull in between the final two chapters. Get to the good stuff!
On the other hand, I'm not convinced that logic applies to games like Metroid Prime. It's not like there's a big 11th-hour twist right before you go to the Impact Crater. Exploring the world is what you've been doing throughout the entire game! It's been a while since I've played Metroid Prime, so maybe the execution isn't the best and I'm not remembering it well, but I always find the complaints about Wind Waker's endgame hunt to be strange. The game is about sailing around the world, filling out your map, and discovering secret islands; all of a sudden you don't want to do that anymore!?
Granted, people also complain about having to sail across Wind Waker's map at all, so I think the game's linearity may have sucked in people who wanted a more, uh... normie linear experience.
But I also think you're onto something by saying that, if players want to tour the map one last time before beating the game, they should be able to just do that themselves. In this wondrous post-BotW world that we're living in, we should be able give players the freedom to skip right to the final boss if they want to (sometimes)! There doesn't need to be a distinction between mandatory and optional content, the entire game is already optional unless you're a critic who's being forced to play it for work, which by definition means you won't be enjoying the game as much as you could be if you could go at your own pace. The old "challenging level -> rewarding cutscene -> challenging level -> rewarding cutscene" formula is outdated because it implies that playing the game isn't its own reward. There's not a huge reason to lock a ton of content behind mandatory challenges, players who actually enjoy the game will seek out those challenges anyway.
Then again, that also implies that games without much in the way of explicit plot, where the gameplay is its own reward, shouldn't feel too bad about locking stuff behind gameplay... because the only stuff they're locking away is more gameplay! I can understand why someone who wants resolution to Wind Waker's story would get peeved about having to trek across the whole world before they can see the ending (which, again, is why that model of storytelling is outdated). But in Metroid Prime, there's no big suspenseful climax to look forward to, the game is pretty upfront about trekking across the world being the only reason you'd want to play it. If someone gets bored of the late-game artifact quest, they can put the game down and rest easy knowing that they're not missing much!
This is I think why people asking for an easy mode in Sekiro are missing the point. If you skip a challenge in that game, you're missing out on the only reason to play it! There's nothing more for you here. So why do you even care? Because people have been brainwashed by the game industry to think that they have to beat every game that comes out or they'll lose their gamer identity!
But in Metroid Prime, there's no big suspenseful climax to look forward to, the game is pretty upfront about trekking across the world being the only reason you'd want to play it. If someone gets bored of the late-game artifact quest, they can put the game down and rest easy knowing that they're not missing much!
I mean, not sure I'd totally agree with this. There isn't a huge story per se but the game is basically building up to this idea that something sinister crashed into this planet and wrecked it, and your ultimate goal is to get to that thing and figure out what the heck it is and what to do about it. It's a mystery that you get some hints of through the logs and such but ultimately you have to see it to know for sure. To just like... not ever get there... would feel like something big is missing and leave that string unsolved.
Plus from a gameplay perspective if you quit during the fetch quest you miss two boss fights, and the boss fights in the Prime games are awesome. And not counting mini-boss type stuff, Prime 1 only has what... five boss fights? You'd be missing 40% of the boss fights!
There is also probably some human psychology thing that says people like completing things. We can fight against that impulse of course, but if it's something like this most people who got this far will want to see it through.
This is I think why people asking for an easy mode in Sekiro are missing the point. If you skip a challenge in that game, you're missing out on the only reason to play it!
I highly disagree with this for multiple reasons, the first one being that difficulty is relative and one person's easy mode IS another person's hard mode, the second being that people are capable of deciding on their own what reasons they want to play a game and it's a bit infantilizing to tell them they don't / shouldn't really want what they want, the third being that saying something is the "only" reason to play a game makes no sense really because games, especially good ones, are always multi-faceted things that have a lot of enjoyable elements, and... well, I could go on and on.
But wait, haven't we already all had this argument somewhere on this site?!
difficulty is relative and one person's easy mode IS another person's hard mode
But wait, haven't we already all had this argument somewhere on this site?!
I was thinking about this yesterday! Lol. Here's what I came up with:
-In some games, challenge is the purpose. If the developers intentionally want to put the player in a difficult, stressful situation, you're right, there's no universal solution here, and some sort of adaptive difficulty makes the most sense. Resident Evil 4 does an awesome job of this.
-In other games, challenge is a consequence of the mechanics. In the same way that it doesn't make sense to say, "Some people really love math but struggle with a^2 + b^2 = c^2, why can't we have an easier version where it's just a^2 = c^2? Who are you to tell people how to enjoy Pythagorean Theorem?", it also doesn't make any sense to say that you can alter certain aspects of a game without totally breaking everything. Now, I recognize that, in practice, there are basically no games that are designed so tightly that make this actually true, but I think it's something to shoot for, and I think that's why From Software is so stubborn about it.
the second being that people are capable of deciding on their own what reasons they want to play a game and it's a bit infantilizing to tell them they don't / shouldn't really want what they want, the third being that saying something is the "only" reason to play a game makes no sense really because games, especially good ones, are always multi-faceted things that have a lot of enjoyable elements
It's definitely elitist, and I own it. I think that if somebody is playing a Mario game for the story, in the vast majority of cases that's because they haven't been exposed to better stories, and that we shouldn't pretend that we wouldn't be helping them out and saving them a ton of wasted energy by pointing out that there are plenty of other games/movies/books out there that better optimize for what it is they love about Mario's story minus the platforming.
You're right that the multi-faceted natured of games makes this tricky. Because the final couple bosses of Metroid Prime are awesome! But I also think I disagree with the idea that games should be super multi-faceted. You spend most of your time in Metroid Prime exploring, and then maybe 10-20% fighting enemies in arena combat. That might be perfect for the group of people who perfectly align with that split, but I think it might be more optimal to have one game where you explore and another game where you shoot enemies. Like you said, the controls in Metroid Prime are a little clunky for an FPS, and the Space Pirate AI isn't amazing, and I don't know that that's an accident. I don't know this for a fact, but it's feasible to me that Metroid Prime would be an even better game if it didn't have certain combat aspects shoehorned in.
Arin Hanson made a similar critique of Ocarina of Time back in 2014. "You have the exploration part, and you have the combat part, and they're these totally separate things that don't mix at all! Older Zelda games had a natural merging of combat and world design, but Ocarina didn't, and it feels very artificial."
And everyone got super mad about his video, until Breath of the Wild came out and successfully integrated combat and world design perfectly. (Though the developer of Frog Fractions argues that the bosses still feel antiquated, and that they should have all been more like the battle against the ice dragon, where you're traversing the world as you fight this massive thing.) I think a similar thing could be done for Metroid.
I'm kind of rambling now, but my point is that if somebody likes some aspect of a game that's locked behind some totally unrelated aspect of the game, I actually have a lot of sympathy for them, because I don't like it when games do that. But my solution is to not play ball with it. I'm not going to write Naughty Dog a letter asking them to take out the boring hours upon hours of walking through the jungle in Uncharted. They're already too far gone. I'm just going to turn the game off and watch Indiana Jones.
That's not a great solution for someone who's at the end of Metroid Prime and wants an answer to that specific mystery. But I'm surprised they were able to trudge through all the exploration stuff they don't like to get to the mystery bits for two dozen hours already! And I think that we accept a loooot of trudging downtime in our games these days, and that we collectively need to have higher standards if we want to banish it. Which might come across as elitist!
I think the "challenge is a consequence of the mechanics and there is no way around it" thing though like... nice in theory, but I wonder if that could truly ever apply to a game with HP and healing and such, because you can always balance those in various ways. Heck, you could even do that in some adaptive behind the scenes ways. I've actually played games where I wonder if they're doing this and I just didn't notice it right away, because my health is at a certain point and it feels like say... 2 more hits will kill me, and then I get hit like 5 more times and I'm still alive, and I'm like... is the entire health bar a lie?! I mean, now that I think about it, some devs definitely have to do this, right? Make the low end of the health bar stretttttttch itself out so that a player who thinks they are on the verge of death actually gets a few more chances than they mathematically should? I'll bet a lot of games do this.
I guess in the Mario / story example we can tell people there is better out there, but if they want to do their thing anyway, why not? I mean, at a certain level anyone looking to games for stories when novels or heck even movies (the best of which are still a huge leap beyond the best game stories) exist is probably deluding themselves about how good the game's narrative is. Wasn't there some infamous game review that tried to say the story of some GTA game rivaled Citizen Kane or some nonsense?! But they're probably playing the game for more than just the story, even if the story is the main appeal to them.
Wait, who said people don't like the exploration bits?! Some people just like it all! While super specialized games can be immensely satisfying, and "jack of all trades but king of none" games can put me off a bit, I really do love a game that nails a lot of things in one tight and amazing package.
I think the "challenge is a consequence of the mechanics and there is no way around it" thing though like... nice in theory, but I wonder if that could truly ever apply to a game with HP and healing and such, because you can always balance those in various ways. Heck, you could even do that in some adaptive behind the scenes ways.
Hmm... maybe! Probably? Probably. I'm almost alright with people's requests to slow down the global game speed, and tweaking the player's HP is a similar idea.
Wasn't there some infamous game review that tried to say the story of some GTA game rivaled Citizen Kane or some nonsense?!
IGN's review of GTA4 said it had a Godfather-tier story, haha. And then a few years later one of their editors said that Metroid Prime was the Citizen Kane of video games, and that one blew up too!
I don't think Metroid Prime being the Citizen Kane of video games is that ridiculous to say, but I'd still probably disagree with it? It's sort of innovative, but mainly it's just awesome. Not that I actually know what the historical significance of Citizen Kane was.
Now I'm having deja vu to a discussion I remember reading, I think on here, where people were arguing that the enemy placement and combat in Super Metroid felt much more cohesive with the game's method of traversing the world, whereas in Metroid Prime the monsters more often than not just feel like nuisances that get in the way and are hard to dispatch because you have to stop and aim at them. Which is similar to Arin Hanson's criticism of Ocarina of Time vs. A Link to the Past in that video!
How funny would it be if Metroid Prime 4 wasn't even first person? Other M had its issues, but it was still a fun experiment!
I think video games probably have their Citizen Kane IE something that is brilliant and expanded the medium and took it to some great point or whatever, but it would be less related to game story and more related to what games do best, interactivity. The true Citizen Kane is probably like, Super Mario Bros. or something.
I've never seen Citizen Kane and have no idea what I'm talking about.
How funny would it be if Metroid Prime 4 wasn't even first person? Other M had its issues, but it was still a fun experiment!
I was actually thinking about this while replaying Metroid Prime, like I'm just assuming Prime 4 will be more or less in the same basic style with the same basic controls and the same basic gameplay as the other 3, but then I thought... not necessarily? Something like say, Resident Evil, keeps changing things up and at this point I have no idea what to expect from 8. But then, I think if they really wanted to do something radical with 3D Metroid, would they have called it Metroid Prime 4? Metroid Prime is already a sub-series, if you do something super new you can just create a new sub-series?
Plus there was the whole some other developer is making it oops no it's actually a total mess so we're going to restart it from scratch with Retro on board thing, which makes me think that whatever that OTHER game was might have been trying some radical stuff (with poor results, apparently) but that after one restart I wonder how radical they will really want to go. Someone might just be saying "ok let's stop wasting time and just go back to what we know works".
Hard to say how Nintendo would think about these things though.
I think #4 is the biggest reason why 2D Metroid games have been so infrequent and consisted only of remakes for almost two decades (plus an interquel if you count Other M as 2D). It's gotta be hard to come up with a flashy, game-changing new platforming gimmick when one of your character's signature abilities is infinite invincible mid-air jumping.
The Prime games do have an advantage there in that Samus's powers have always been toned down for 3D. But still, her toolkit's already pretty full. I think an easier move from here is to make her current tools more versatile. The grapple beam is so stiff and situational in the Prime games: let Samus really sling herself around with that thing, whenever and wherever, and maybe integrate it into combat more.
How funny would it be if Metroid Prime 4 wasn't even first person? Other M had its issues, but it was still a fun experiment!
I always thought Other M could have benefited from a sequel that polished up a lot of the issues with that game. The 3rd person perspective really lent Samus the same feeling of speed and agility from the 2D games that the Prime series could never quite replicate. Streamline the controls a bit with some analog action and extra buttons, get rid of the idiotic authorisation system, give us back traditional pickups, and you'd have a solid base for a follow-up. Too bad the backlash has all but guaranteed we'll never get one.