Ahead of its anticipated E3 unveiling this year, scans taken from subscriber issues of the latest American Game Informer magazine have shed some light on Retro Studios' Metroid Prime 2, confirming the presence of a rumoured four-player split-screen mode.
The magazine secured several screenshots of the game, which are currently floating around the net, but Nintendo has remained stubbornly tight-lipped about the Cube sequel, leaving Game Informer to rely on the gravity of its media rather than any concrete game details.
What we can gauge from the screenshots, however, is that the game will feature a four-player split-screen multiplayer mode, in which each player we've seen controls a different coloured version of Samus and can make use of the ball mode to get around. It also appears that each player is limited to one energy tank at a time, presumably in an effort to create a level playing field.
We don't know the nature of the multiplayer game yet (whether it's deathmatch, co-operative, capture the flag, or something a bit more imaginative), nor do we know how the game will handle compared to its predecessor, so it's a bit early to pass comment on Retro Studios' plans, or talk about the possibility of online or LAN play, but nonetheless we're buzzing in anticipation of getting our hands on it next month.
Elsewhere the screenshots suggest that Retro has come up with some new visor modes - two icons on the HUD look very similar to the normal vision and scanning visors of the first game, but the other two icons are new to us. Metroid fans on the web are already speculating that the visor icon resembling a speaker could be some form of sonar. The weapon icons have also changed.
Visually, the screenshot scans don't give us much of an idea of how the game will look compared to Metroid Prime, and in the absence of an actual copy of the magazine it's difficult to determine anything of consequence. Just about the only thing we can say with any certainty is that it's sticking to the same visual style (quite possibly the same technology), but we'd imagine Retro has piled on a decent amount of detail to help the game stand out.
Earlier this year a senior source close to Nintendo told Eurogamer that the platform holder plans to unveil Metroid Prime 2 and the sequel to Zelda: The Wind Waker at its pre-E3 conference this year.