Report names Bandai Namco as the developer behind ‘Metroid Prime 4’

Nintendo shocked and delighted Samus Aran fans back at E3 2017 with the announcement of Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch, but shortly afterward, the company revealed that longtime Metroid Prime developer Retro Studios would not be working on the project. According to a new report, that job is being handled by Bandai Namco instead.

Eurogamer reported early Friday morning that Bandai Namco Studios Singapore is the lead studio responsible for developing Metroid Prime 4, and it’s composed, in part, of former LucasArts Singapore staff who had worked on Star Wars 1313. The information initially came to light because of developers’ LinkedIn pages mentioning an unannounced first-person game for Nintendo Switch.

Series producer Kensuke Tanabe will still be involved with Metroid Prime 4, but it isn’t clear what Retro Studios is working on instead. It’s rumored that the Texas-based developer could be involved in developing something “non-gaming,” possibly Nintendo Labo. The last project Retro worked on was the Wii U game Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is making its way to the Nintendo Switch in May.

In addition to Bandai Namco’s work on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the company — as Namco — was also responsible for Star Fox Assault on GameCube. This would undoubtedly be the most ambitious partnership between Bandai Namco and Nintendo thus far, and seeing as it has been more than 10 years since the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, they’ll have to hit it out of the park.

Nintendo has outsourced work on the Metroid series on a pretty regular basis in the past. Last year’s excellent Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS was developed by Spanish studio MercurySteam, and Team Ninja worked on the Wii’s Metroid: Other M. The spin-off multiplayer game Metroid: Federation Force was developed by Next Level Games, a studio that has worked almost exclusively with Nintendo over its lifetime. Since 2014, Next Level Games has only worked on Nintendo games.

Metroid Prime 4 doesn’t have a release date yet. We’re expecting to hear more information about the game during Nintendo’s E3 event in June, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the game’s developer remains a “secret.”