We’ve had very little in the way of Metroid news since Nintendo announced it had completely restarted the development of Metroid Prime 4 back in January 2019, but something in the company’s last Nintendo Switch Online game update trailer causes me to believe that some kind of Metroid announcement is imminent.
Like the best conspiracy theories, this one is premised on tiny, incidental details that likely have no significance at all. Still, I won’t let little matters like logic put a damper on things, so join me as I dive down this rabbit hole and outline the (admittedly tenuous) reasons why I believe some Metroid news is coming soon.
To put everything into proper context, we first need to go back to September 2018, when Nintendo launched its Switch Online service. One of the primary perks the service offers to subscribers is access to a library of classic NES games (which would be expanded to include SNES games as well starting in September 2019). If you look at this screen cap from the NES overview trailer, you’ll notice that Nintendo’s Switch profile icon in the upper left corner of the screen is Mario.
This isn’t surprising, of course. Mario is Nintendo’s most recognizable character, so it’s only fitting that he’s the company’s stand-in for these trailers. Every single time that Nintendo announced new additions to the NSO library since the service launched, the company used the same picture of Mario as its profile icon (and if it demonstrated a multiplayer game, the second player’s icon would be Luigi or another character from the Mario series). That continued all the way through the July 2020 update.
Then, beginning with the September 2020 game update, everything changed. As you can see in the upper left corner of the screen of that month’s trailer, Nintendo started using a different profile icon:
The company has been using this same Metroid icon in its NSO trailers ever since, including in this month’s video. Why the sudden change? A reasonable person would say that perhaps a different employee is now capturing the footage used for these trailers, one who is likely a big Metroid fan. I, however, don’t buy that. Given how carefully Nintendo curates its public image, I can only see this as a deliberate tease.
The timing is also unusual. It would be one matter if Nintendo recently introduced a new slate of Metroid profile icons that month as part of a Switch firmware update and was showing one of them off, but this icon has been available since the system launched. And why would it begin using it in September, of all months? That’s suspiciously close to the series’ anniversary. The original Metroid debuted in Japan in August 1986. Since there was no game update in August, the September one was the closest to the series’ anniversary. The pieces are all falling into place!
Like Zelda, Metroid is also celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, which would make this the perfect time to bring a Metroid game to the Switch, be it Metroid Prime 4 or an older title like the original Metroid Prime Trilogy. A Switch version of the latter has reportedly “long been done.” Perhaps this is a hint that we’ll finally get it this year?
Couple that with the recent Fortnite comic, in which a character that kinda-sorta-maybe a little resembled Samus could be seen in the background in one of the panels, and this is definitive proof that something is afoot with the Metroid series this year. Or maybe not. Maybe, in my desperation for Metroid news, I’m reading too deeply into minor details that the company hasn’t even noticed. I choose to believe I’m onto something here, however, so remember this if Nintendo makes some kind of a Metroid announcement next month during E3.