Metroid Prime Space Samus
Image: Nintendo / Retro Studios

Earlier today, we shared a brand new Did You Know Gaming? video (see below) that discussed the development history behind the original Metroid Prime. From its start as a three protagonist-lead fight against eugenics to its eventual shift to a first-person Samus Aran-starring game, it's safe to say the creation process behind one of Nintendo's best games was complicated, for lack of a better word.

One amusing little nugget to come out of this video is a rather unusual revelation. Samus Aran is commonly referred to as a 'space bounty hunter', implying she's a kind of Boba Fett-type character. This is exactly how Retro Studios, the developer behind the Prime series, saw Samus, but at the time, Nintendo had a totally different understanding of who Samus was, and what a bounty hunter was.

This was revealed when Bryan Walker, senior producer on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, discussed the team's original concept for the final game in the trilogy with the Did You Know Gaming? team. Retro Studios wanted to bring its bounty hunter vision for Samus into the gameplay directly by creating a more open world for her to explore. Bryan had this to say about the concept:

"We were not proposing, in any way, shape, or form — even in our wildest dreams — that we would have like Metroid Prime Skyrim... We were not talking about 200-hour sidequests or anything like that. [More precisely, it was] the ability for the player to operate out of a hub area, and to go onto different missions that didn't necessarily lend themselves directly to the normal path-progression that a Metroid Prime game was known for, as far as traversal, retraversal, and so forth. [Samus had] the ability to step outside of that and do more things on the side."

Rather than money, Retro Studios was going to reward Samus and the player for taking on these bounties and missions with upgrades. All in all, this sounds like a fantastic idea, but as we know, it sadly never came to fruition. And all because of a difference of opinion on what Nintendo saw Samus as.

Bryan spoke of this discovery during the video, too, saying:

"Kiyo, who was one of the translators, boiled it down very well in the assumption that our Japanese partners had of Samus — that she was not doing it for the money, she was being very altruistic. And I think he rolled out the term 'motherly'. She was caring for people, what she was doing was literally out of the goodness of her heart, because she deeply cared about humanity. Which was as far away from Boba Fett as you can get. I never would have equated Samus with the definition of an altruistic motherly influence, given that she had the title of 'bounty hunter'... We were just looking at Kiyo as he was describing this, like, are we even on the same planet??"

It was only after days of thrashing this out with Nintendo that Retro Studios discovered that Nintendo didn't know what a 'bounty hunter' even was, yet had been using the term as far back as 1986! Instead, the Big N thought of Samus as a 'space adventurer', which makes a lot of sense given that one of her main musical motifs calls her a 'space warrior'. Sounds a little nobler, doesn't it?

So we didn't get our dream Metroid concept because of a misunderstanding? Sigh. Well, there were other factors, such as a small development team, but it might not be time to lose hope, as Nintendo has maybe come around to the idea of Samus hunting bounties. In Metroid Dread, Samus is seen picking up a mission during the intro, with ADAM warning that the danger of the mission is too great for the bounty that's being offered. One for Metroid Prime 4, maybe?

Let us know what you think of this amusing little misunderstanding in the comments.