Prime candidate

Update: Since we posted the original story, we have since come across this curious post from 4chan's /v/ board (click that link at your own risk) which appears to show a member of Spain's development community attempting to leak the existence of MercurySteam's Metroid.

The post reads:

Mercury Steam is making the new Metroid, how do I know it? because I'm a 3d artist and I made the interview 1 week ago, in Spain. Also 2 friends who worked with me in Gameloft Madrid already moved to Mercury this month.

This thread from the anonymous forum-goer predates our report by 3 months, but serves to corroborate the information we have gathered from our own sources independently. Providing the claims are accurate, it would seem that MercurySteam's play for the license is a more poorly kept secret than initially thought.

Original story: One enduring rumour that has quietly been circulating in the Spanish games industry is that MercurySteam, the studio behind Konami's Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series, has been pitching a new entry in the Metroid series to Nintendo. After extensive digging and coordinating with contacts related to the project, we can now confirm this to be the case.

In late May, Nintendo Life learned the company began an effort to expand its staff for the game. As work on its proposal for a new Metroid game was under-way, MercurySteam was hoping to bring in a number of talented new developers hand-picked from other Spanish studios. Hiring calls were posted too as the search widened.

We have ascertained that work on a prototype for this unsolicited pitch was established earlier in the year, and had a full game been green-lit, it was planned to be developed for both Wii U and 3DS. It was being referred to internally as simply 'Metroid', and it has been described as a first person game set in a post apocalyptic sci-fi environment. In their demo, Samus was the main character - as you would expect - but was joined by seven other playable bounty hunters, as well. This is a similar set-up to that seen in the DS game, Metroid Prime: Hunters.

MercurySteam, perhaps somewhat naively, disclosed to those attending interviews the nature of its new project, which is believed to be the initial cause of it starting to leak out. The outcome of the pitch is uncertain, but currently isn't looking good for any hopeful Metroid fans. Rumour has it that it was turned down by Nintendo. Updates from the developers and associated contacts dried up recently, followed by a small series of departures from the company.

Shortly thereafter, an update to MercurySteam's website teasing their next game arrived, further adding to the conundrum. It portrays a man in what appears to be the cockpit of a spaceship, smoking a cigar. The accompanying text reads:

Exploring new worlds
Fighting strange new creatures
Discovering new heroes
Expect news soon

Considering the similarities these brief details bear to the aforementioned Metroid pitch, it is a possibility that these two projects share a connection. Earlier in the year, we were made aware that the developers held a contingency plan of remodelling the game into an original IP, in the event of the proposal being rejected. Whether or not this is now the case remains to be seen.

We reached out to MercurySteam, who were unavailable for comment on the matter. If we hear anything else, we will be sure to update this post.

What are your thoughts on the developer potentially one day tackling the Metroid series? Let us know in the comments below.