Why a Metroid N64 Game Never Happened

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the metroid The franchise has a history of ups and downs, stealing the show as quickly as it slips back into obscurity. While the Metroid Prime the trilogy is considered classic, something like Metroid: Other M received a more mixed reception. It’s an interesting series to look back on, especially since it’s featured on all generations of Nintendo consoles except the Nintendo 64. Many of Nintendo’s major IPs like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda made the jump to 3D in the N64 era, but Samus Aran was nowhere to be found.

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She finally made a triumphant return to the GameCube with the aforementioned Metroid Primebut that was eight years after the previous game on SNES, Super Metroid in 1994. While it might seem odd that Nintendo completely shelved one of its most beloved series for an entire generation (not to mention Samus’ appearance in Super Smash Bros.), there were a few good reasons why this happened behind the scenes.

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Nintendo 64 and the leap to 3D gaming

In 1996, playing a game in the third dimension was still a new concept. The idea had been toyed with past titles like star fox and the original Loss, but nothing had gone that extra mile. That all started to change with the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, with titles like Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64 ushering in a new way to enjoy the game.


In this new craze for 3D, everyone was on deck to try to take advantage of this technology. Almost all major franchises sonic the hedgehog for mega man were all trying to go 3D, with varying levels of success. While something like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time set the bar for what an epic adventure could be, Castlevania on N64 was a clumsy leap to 3D with finicky controls and a clunky camera.

Needless to say, just because the ability to go 3D was an option doesn’t mean all franchises should make that leap. Nintendo has always been very protective of its IP addresses and probably spent a lot of time thinking about how metroid could have worked on the N64.


The Metroid N64 that never was

During the lifetime of N64, there was talk of creating a new adventure for Samus Aran. An interview with franchise co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto went into great detail about why the project never got started in the first place. One of the first big issues for Sakamoto was actually the N64 controller, as the design just didn’t click in his mind. He didn’t know how to create a 3D metroid game using this controller to play it.

Beyond that, it seemed the decision had been made not to pursue the project on N64 as the weather just didn’t seem good. Another company fully approached Nintendo to develop the game, but Nintendo refused. The company simply didn’t have any ideas it felt were strong enough to compete with the previous effort, Super Metroidand didn’t want to give fans an inferior product.


While it’s disappointing that Samus skipped an entire period in Nintendo’s history, it’s admirable that Nintendo chose to wait for a better time to reintroduce the franchise to the public. Of course it all worked out in the end because 2002 brought the punch of both Metroid Prime on GameCube and Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance, but we wonder what it could have been used for metroid on N64.

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