Samus Metroid Prime
Image: Nintendo / Retro Studios

Metroid Prime is one of the crown jewels in the GameCube's library as well as within the Metroid series. Prime combined exploration and first-person gunplay to expert effect, which was only possible due to Retro Studio's involvement. While this game is (rightfully) highly regarded, it's no secret that the development behind it — which forced Retro to crunch to finish the game — was fraught. But Metroid Prime was once a very different and very unusual game.

Did You Know Gaming? has delved into the history of the original Metroid Prime and spoken to multiple people who worked at Retro Studios at the time. The developer had to scrap multiple thousand-page design documents to create something Nintendo was willing to go ahead with. And Samus was originally never part of the picture.

Retro Studios was working on a title widely known as Action-Adventure, though the original lead developer — who left before Metroid Prime was shipped — John Whitmore revealed that it was actually called MetaForce, a third-person game that starred three female meta-humans. Each character had their own chapter and a corresponding enemy, with the whole game planned to be around 30 hours. The game's story focused on a gene-editing utopia, but an evil force wanted to use the technology to create the perfect human.

The MetaForce were a group of three heroines — Brynn, Miko, and a nameless third character — who were out to stop this group from manipulating this technology. Their foes were very different from what we usually see in a Metroid game, though. One was an Indian Luddite cult leader, and another was a Neo-Nazi eugenicist. While Nintendo liked the concept, they had concerns about the third-person perspective and thought having three characters was too much.

To say there was a lot of back and forth is an understatement, with multiple discussions tabled and ideas scrapped, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. The video touches on multiple aspects of the game's design, including how the team created sound effects, the design of Samus' gunship, and how the reception to Metroid Prime at SpaceWorld 2000 (the most 00's-sounding convention ever) is what prompted Nintendo to make Metroid Fusion. The last in the trilogy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, was also planned to be an open-world game, with actual side quests and space bounties!

Check out the Did You Know Gaming? deep dive below, and share your thoughts on it with us in the comments below!

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