For the past twenty years, Metroid has been split into two main branches. There are the 2D games produced by Yoshio Sakamoto and the Prime games, made by Retro Studios and generally produced by Kensuke Tanabe. This has led to the misconception that the team in Japan doesn’t consider the plot of the Metroid Prime Trilogy important or even canon. Sakamoto has dispelled this notion in the past, stating that he advised on Prime‘s story, but the connections between the teams go deeper than that.
Metroid Prime Trilogy gets a re-write
In a recent interview with Kiwi Talks, former Retro Lead Designer Mike Wikan revealed that Nintendo took a hands-on approach to the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Numerous changes were made to the in-game text, and Nintendo was very involved in this process.
To tell you the seriousness that Nintendo takes with, they had gone through all of our text, all of our scans from all three games, and done a complete spreadsheet analysis on how it all fit together with the Metroid Prime universe in its current state. Every word. They sent us hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of edits and changes for all the text to make sure everything harmonized and worked in the Metroid universe. That’s the level of detail that they put into it. Probably 50-60% of the work we did on the Trilogy was changing those scan files.
Metroid Prime Trilogy (and its associated spin-offs) tell a largely self-contained story, but Nintendo still wanted to make sure that story fit properly in the Metroid universe. It will be interesting to see how the story continues to evolve when Metroid Prime 4 finally comes to Nintendo Switch. In the meantime, the plot of the 2D games will soon continue in Metroid Dread.