Retro Studios imagined Metroid Prime as a third-person shooter, but Nintendo wanted first-person

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Nearly two decades old, Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime trilogy is still widely revered for the amazing job it did transforming a traditional Metroid experience into a 3D adventure that felt equal parts invigorating and familiar. While the games are widely praised for their immersive first-person viewpoints, an interview by Kiwi Talkz with former Retro Studios developer Jack Matthews reveals that that first-person viewpoint nearly did not come to fruition. Evidently, Metroid Prime was, at least at the earliest stages of its development, considered a third-person game. Nintendo, meanwhile, had other plans. You can read Mr. Matthews’ comment on the matter below.

When we did our first prototypes we did do them as third-person, but I mean, these were the initial like, getting streaming working and stuff. I believe [Nintendo] might have seen that, we had like basically a third-person Samus kind of running around between doors, and then they immediately put the kibosh on it and were like; ‘No no no, we said first-person, we meant first-person.’

So, it seems that Metroid Prime was not always the lovely first-person franchise that Retro Studios built so well. A third-person Metroid Prime would, of course, function a lot different than what we know and love today, but I’d love to see what that would have looked like. I wonder if Nintendo’s insistence on first-person was the right call?

If you are interested in hearing more about Retro Studios and its development process for Metroid Prime, but sure to check out the full interview. Otherwise, let us know what you think of the idea of third-person Metroid Prime in the comments.

Nick Pearson
I'm the Reviews Editor here at Nintendo Enthusiast, and I'm a major fan of all consoles and eras.