Metroid Prime developer Retro Studios has largely served as the steward of the AAA-tier Metroid titles for the bulk of the century, but while they had temporarily passed the reigns over to internal Nintendo studios that then resulted in the development of Metroid Prime 4, other teams, including Spanish developer MercurySteam were working on Metroid: Samus Returns of and 2021’s Metroid Dread. Eventually, Metroid Prime 4 hit the rocks and so Retro once again regained control of the title, and in turn, stepped back into the world of Samus Aran having worked on two Donkey Kong games in the meantime. As it turns out though, for a period, Retro wasn’t totally done with Metroid, as it turns out that they had other irons in the fire that simply didn’t amount to a full project.
Paul Tozour, who was responsible in part of Metroid Prime has recently spoken to Did You Know Gaming, and spoke of how at one stage, Retro was conceiving a title that drew plenty of comparisons to XCOM in the period where development on Metroid Prime 3 was coming to a close. According to Tozour, the game was to be a prequel to the Metroid Prime titles, with him saying that the game would cover “the moment when Samus Aran first separates from the Chozo who raised her from childhood, encounters humanity and becomes a bounty hunter.”
The pitch document for the game reportedly reads,
Metroid Tactics allows the player to control the legendary Samus Aran, a squad of elite Galactic Federation troopers, and various other bounty hunters as they work together to defeat the Space Pirates.
Along the way, the player can hire new units and upgrade all of the units in his team with many different kinds of new armor, weapons, skills, and abilities – with Samus and the various bounty hunters having a large number of unique abilities that will prove invaluable in combat.
Sadly, the project never got greenlit internally, a process that “In order to succeed, a pitch would have had to enlist the support of then-design lead Mark Pacini, studio head Michael Kelbaugh, and Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe, and those three individuals had wildly different tastes and perspectives on gameplay and different goals for what they wanted to see Retro Studios working on,” said Tozour.
Metroid Prime 4 is currently in active development, targeting release on the Nintendo Switch on an unspecified date.