Nintendo's highly anticipated Metroid Prime 4 has been rebooted.

The project, announced via a logo back during Nintendo's E3 presentation in June 2017, will now be restarted from scratch, significantly delaying its release.

Nintendo has also switched development teams, with the original Metroid Prime trilogy developer Retro Studios pulled in to take charge, led by the trilogy's producer Kensuke Tanabe.

In a statement sure to stun fans expecting a very different kind of developer update - or even a release date - Nintendo exec Shinya Takahashi today said the company had taken the rare decision to restart the game as it had "not reached the standard we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series".

"The current development status is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team," Takahashi said in a video statement, embedded below. "We have decided to re-examine the development structure itself and change it."

"We did not make this decision lightly," Takahashi continued. "This change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning, so the completion of the game will be delayed from our initial internal plan.

"We strongly recognise that this delay will come as a disappointment to the many fans who have been looking forward to the launch of Metroid Prime 4.

"I'd like to extend my deepest, heart-felt apologies to everyone that the launch will be delayed. It will be a long road until the next time we will be able to update you on the development progress, and development time will be extensive.

"However, we will continue developing the game so that when it is completed, it will stand shoulder to shoulder with past Metroid Prime titles."

Nintendo never officially confirmed its development partner for the project, other than stating it was working with a new team on the game which was not Retro Studios. But reports backed up by Eurogamer sources confirmed a team at Bandai Namco were heading development.

Retro Studios, meanwhile, has been putting together an unannounced Star Fox racing game - the status of which is unclear.

I spoke with Metroid Prime series producer Kensuke Tanabe back in 2015 about his ideas for a fourth Metroid Prime game - including which story arcs and characters from the original trilogy might crop up again, and which he now considered concluded.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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