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Metroid Prime 4: Should it follow the basic formula of 1-3 or try something new? [roundtable]
By the basic formula I mean "first person non-linear adventure shooter with generally one main path through the game and optional upgrades" etc.

I've been thinking about this because a lot of games are going more open world or semi open world and even though on paper I would say "not everything needs to be like that", I generally like the change? And that kind of formula COULD work in a Metroid game. Samus is, after all, a bounty hunter who rarely ever hunts bounties, but they could make an open world Metroid with various quests including actual bounties.

With that said, I don't know if I actually want an open world Metroid game. I love open world games but I'm also getting burnt out on most every game I'm playing lately taking 100+ hours to finish. There is something to be said for tight and to the point.

With THAT said, I like what the new Resident Evil 4 remake did. It's the old Resident Evil 4 formula but with optional side quest type things that involve tougher enemy fights and such. I could definitely see that working with Metroid, kind of the same formula as the last 3 games but with optional bounties you can go find and take care of.

I dunno. I guess I don't really know what I want, just make it good!

What do YOU want to see from Prime 4?

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06/19/23, 06:26  
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I don't think I'd want to see it too open. Metroid has always had a fair amount of exploration, but it also works best when it's a tightly-designed experience without too much downtime between cool sequences. I actually feel that one of the few flaws of MP1 is that it can have a little too much backtracking (like if you need to travel from Tallon Overworld to Phendrana Drifts), particularly that one stretch of Magmoor that you have to keep running through. So I'm in the camp of wanting a non-huge game. That said, there are two things I think the Metroid series could really benefit from:

The first is better rewards. Extra Missiles and Power Bombs have their place, but they're also kind of boring. They're kind of like if Breath of the Wild had an arrow limit and kept offering slightly bigger quivers (+5 each) as rewards. I want to see MP4 bring out more surprises and excitement. Maybe a Paper Mario-style Badge system, where you find all sorts of cool little stat-boosting abilities (more damage with X beam, fire-type attack added to missiles, quicker scanning, homing shots, etc) but you have to mix and match them since you have a finite number of "badge points" (or whatever), but a regular upgrade to find could be more badge points. This would be in addition to the usual permanent upgrades of course like the Spider Ball. Hollow Knight also does something like this and it helps encourage exploration when you don't know what you're gonna get.

The second is post-game challenge. I'm a retro kinda guy but one thing a lot of games do better nowadays is offer lots of ways to play after beating. And I don't just mean a blanket Hard mode like in Dread. I'm talking stuff like what the Resident Evil series offers: in addition to extra difficulty levels, there are new game modes like Mercenaries, New Game+ options, galleries etc. I want a randomizer mode! Make a speedrun mode that keeps a timer and reward people with stuff for beating the game quickly, and put up the fastest times on a leaderboard. Just gimme more rewards and more replay and it'll be good.
06/19/23, 17:09   
Overall, I'd like it to stay more the same than different, but they could absolutely refine and invigorate the status quo into something new without going full-fledged open world. I wouldn't want to lack that initial direction or need to look under every crevice for hidden paths and items. I like that there's a bit of a restriction which makes the game a bit more focused.

They could and perhaps should have maybe a more intricate story with beats that don't all have to be done in order, or at all. I'm still not done with Tears yet, but I love how there seem to be many main story quests which ultimately tie back in, but I'm not sure all are required to actually beat the game.


I like many of these ideas, especially the better rewards thing.
06/19/23, 17:18   
@TriforceBun Speaking of backtracking, one thing I think hurts the Prime backtracking is things don't really change a whole lot from the 1st time you go through an area to the 10th. One thing it maybe could learn from open world games is how to make the areas change over time, more powerful enemies, etc.

Of course, you can't add any huge barriers to movement or backtracking just gets tedious. So I'm not sure what the ideal balance would be. But again, I think Resident Evil 4 remake handles this pretty well. Certain key areas like the first village are completely changed when the story brings you back through them, and then you also have the side quest things and such that make it worth going back to places you have been.
06/19/23, 19:30   

Definitely. The Prime Remastered experience for me was mostly great but the backtracking (without warp ability) and the lack of differences did take a bit of a toll on me this time around. Story stuff could make those changes even if they're mostly aesthetic.
06/19/23, 20:12   
I remember thinking about this after replaying the Prime 1 remaster:

Secret_Tunnel said:
This game gives me a good reference point for what I want from Metroid Prime 4:

- Keep the awesome atmosphere and writing, and crank the alien-ness up to 11. Like anand says, give us bubbles! Surprise me.
- Change up the combat a lot. Metroid Dread's boss fights were incredible, some of the best in any game ever. Match that.
- Come up with a way to preserve the rapid pace of the early game while still weaving in interconnected game-spanning puzzles and hidden items without too much backtracking.

If Prime 4 can do all that: masterpiece.

I do like the text in Metroid Prime, but if they want to go even further with it:

I'm gonna be getting a lot of use out of this tweet...

TriforceBun said:
I'm talking stuff like what the Resident Evil series offers: in addition to extra difficulty levels, there are new game modes like Mercenaries, New Game+ options, galleries etc. I want a randomizer mode! Make a speedrun mode that keeps a timer and reward people with stuff for beating the game quickly, and put up the fastest times on a leaderboard. Just gimme more rewards and more replay and it'll be good.

YES. I was just telling some people a few weeks ago about how randomizers are a huge gameplay innovation that I want more big studios to embrace. The Pokemon Company is sitting on a gold mine, they just need to re-release Pokemon Emerald with randomizer options intact and include some story about how gene-altering parasites have invaded Hoenn, and that'd breath so much new life into Pokemon!

With how much of Tears of the Kingdom is themed around time, I thought it'd be so cool if there was a secret ending you could only get by going back in time to the end of the Great Sky Island section and then having to speedrun some objectives around the world map to prove what you've learned.

Luigi's Balloon World was a great step in this direction. These games are already such awesome sandboxes, Nintendo should explore new modes like this to really make sure they're leaving no stone unturned and letting players get even more out of them!
06/19/23, 22:56   
@DrFinkelstein I personally love scenarios in backtracking where the area changes drastically, physically or psychologically. such as Skyward Sword when you go back to Faron woods to find it flooded well above the treetops in water, or even in Chrono Trigger where it's the same map every time but from drastically different time periods. there's a lot of backtracking elements from Fusion i'd love to see in MP4 in like 10 years after i get around to beating the first three...
06/20/23, 21:24   
Edited: 06/20/23, 21:25
@Stan McStanly

Totally! The only time I'm not really keen on this is when it ends up blocking back your chance to find certain items or pickups. If it pulls that gate keeping stuff then I don't enjoy it. I don't want to possibly miss something.
06/20/23, 22:38   
I think the most important thing for any Metroid game is unpredictability and spatial awareness. With the former, I don’t necessarily want to know what power ups I’m going to get. I like to come back to an area and go “Oooh, THAT is what that was there for.” It’s not as fun if I’m just like “I assume that’s where I have to use the Speed Booster later.”

With the latter, I love when the exit of an area is somewhere familiar. “Oh I was under THAT area this whole time?” Seeing how the world’s areas interconnect and weave is always a highlight. Even if it’s done on a more micro level where you find shortcuts within an area, the world should also have its own sense of unpredictability.

And when there’s enough unpredictability, it makes solving everything even more gratifying and rewarding.

(Also I don’t want some big artifact hunt thing at the end. If they DO have something like that, there should be some kind of quick way to work your way around the map, not unlike the postgame of Other M).

I don’t necessarily just want a better looking version of the other games. I don’t know what it would be, but I’d like something that feels familiar but with new wrinkles that make me go “Oh why didn’t they think of this before?” I actually dreaded the stuff with Samus’ ship in Prime 3, but the way they did it was just SO cool, so I’m not opposed to seeing more of that.

Whatever they do, I think as long as you feel like a cool, badass space bounty hunter, it should feel good. I kind of hope we’re not dealing with Phazon again, but I understand Metroid Prime is the title of the series. Maybe in 4, it’ll be “prime” more as a branding, and less dealing with the actual character.
06/21/23, 00:00   
PogueSquadron said:
I like to come back to an area and go “Oooh, THAT is what that was there for.” It’s not as fun if I’m just like “I assume that’s where I have to use the Speed Booster later.”

Very much THIS!
06/21/23, 01:02   
A mix of both I s'pose, but mostly new. The very basic first line of "first person non-linear adventure shooter" should be kept, but have some new and different gameplay concepts. As great as the Prime games are, three of them is plenty.
06/21/23, 01:44   
@DrFinkelstein There is this one treasure in the Resident Evil 4 remake that you have to grab your first time through the area and everyone complains about this because it's super easy to miss. I missed it my first playthrough.

@PogueSquadron One thing I think the Prime games struggle with a bit is giving you reasons to go back to old areas other than "use the power-up at that one spot you can use it at now to get a missile upgrade" or whatever. I think having optional bounties or other reasons to go back to areas you don't have to could help.

But I also think having more expansive areas could help too. Like maybe it's not just a single missile upgrade, maybe it opens up an entire new optional area to explore.
06/21/23, 03:17   
Edited: 06/21/23, 03:19

Yeah, see that would annoy me with that game. I know that's not the easiest to design when people want both the changes and the lack of missable collectibles, but it's doable. Or at least some kind of method is needed to know if you've got everything before moving on.

That's one thing I don't like about the Prime scanning stuff. Some of those scans are missable too and no matter how diligent I try each play through, I'm always missing some.
06/21/23, 12:38   
New question:

Metroid Prime 4, does it actually exist or not?
06/21/23, 19:12   
(very) old question:

existence, does it actually exist or not?

we first have to end the eon old debate before initiating the new one. I mean, they got as far as making the title logo for it so in theory, it's either trying to exist but failing, or it's trying to stop what little existence it has, but can't seem to do so.
06/21/23, 22:41   
Edited: 06/21/23, 22:46

I believe it exists and to temper expectations they're going to reveal it less than 6 months from release... a la Metroid Dread. BUT... this is a kick in the nuts for people like me who were pretty solidly convinced it would be a Holiday '23 title. Oi... and no Silk Song. Metroids and Metroidvanias... where art thou?
06/21/23, 23:15   
I think it exists in some pre-alpha state, but I don't think it exists "as a game" yet. Or maybe it did, and now they restarted.

But as you said in the Discord, better to take their time and get it right. As long as is necessary.

When was the last time Nintendo vaporwared a game, anyone remember? I think it's been a long while.
06/22/23, 05:27   
@J.K. Riki we now have the technology to crank out 250 gigabyte games willy-nilly. I'm not surprised its been a while.
06/22/23, 06:51   
This is a wild claim but what if.....Nintendo wants to make Metroid 4 into a VR experience? I've always felt like having a VR headset on while playing a game can be distracting. However, with a character that has an actual helmet on would fully immerse me. I know its a super long shot mainly due to the VR landscape being very niche but man, it'd be cool.
06/23/23, 18:30   
@Abdooooo Now there's an idea, make it compatible with Labo VR....
06/23/23, 18:42   
@Abdooooo ooh, that combined with Wii-mote style controls would make for a fun experience.
06/23/23, 19:21   
Edited: 06/23/23, 19:23
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