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Metroid Prime designer doubts Switch Trilogy port will happen, third game's controls would require "herculean effort" to port

VysePSU

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A former Retro Studios design lead who worked on the Metroid Prime trilogy has said he’s sceptical the games will be ported to Nintendo Switch.

Mike Wilkan, who was a design lead on all three Prime games before leaving Retro some year alter, made the comments on Facebook, in reply to a Metroid fan account.

The designer’s scepticism involves the complexity of translating the third Metroid Prime game’s Wii motion controls to Switch’s standard setup, which he said would require “a herculean effort”.

In contrast, Wilkan said adding motion controls to the first two Metroid Prime games for its 2009 Wii Trilogy collection was “straightforward”.

Responding to a comment calling for a Switch port of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Wilkan wrote (spotted by GameXplain): “That would take a lot of effort, so I am pretty sceptical it will happen.

“It was straightforward to update MP1 and 2 to Motion controls, but converting MP3 to normal controls would be a herculean effort, as it is scripted very specifically using volumetric triggers to detect the motion in precise manners to do specific switches, and the bosses are tuned to take into account the ease of gestural aiming.”

The designer went on to claim that Switch’s gyro controls wouldn’t be able to simply replicate Prime 3’s Wii mechanics, and “brute force” programming would be required to adapt them.

“The biggest issue is Retro no longer has functional editor tools to work with the Prime code base, so everything has to be ‘brute force’ hard coded,” he wrote.

“Rebuilding the hundreds of interaction sets in MP3 alone, not to mention retuning the game play to take in the slower engagement pacing of conventional controls would probably take a year with a 4-5 person team full time by itself.”

Despite the designer’s comments, it’s been claimed that Switch ports of the Metroid Prime games have long been in the works. According to a claim from a senior journalist, the Switch port has been long finished, but its release was delayed due to the prolonged development of Metroid Prime 4.

According to Fanbyte’s Inram Khan, Metroid Prime Trilogy HD was originally planned to be announced at 2018’s Game Awards in December – right around the time Metroid Prime 4’s development was rebooted.

Nintendo announced in 2019 that it had decided to “restart development from the beginning” for Metroid Prime 4, with producer Kensuke Tanabe calling in Retro to take over the project from its original, unannounced developer. Retro has been hiring for Metroid Prime 4 ever since.

Around half of the full-time developers who worked on Metroid Prime 3 remain at Retro Studios, according to VGC analysis conducted in 2019. It found that a core team of around 50 people worked full-time on the 2007 Wii shooter and around 27 remained at the Texas-based developer, including four contractors made permanent.

Crucially, five of Metroid Prime 3’s 11 designers were still at Retro and potentially working on the upcoming Metroid Prime 4.

However, from the original Metroid Prime – which released almost two decades ago – less than 10 of the 40-plus team members remained at Retro and virtually all of the lead creators had moved on.

 
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jakinov

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They recently announced Skyward Sword for the switch, managed to convert the controls to standard, and people thought that was never going to happen. Just find someone creative enough to make it happen.
Skyward Sword has more sales potential which makes it more worth it as a business to spend any extra time. And in the article he talks about how the game is heavily paced and designed around the controls so that you don't just need to change the controls you have to change the bosses and also hundreds of other elements to the game . Skyward Sword from what I know just has the controls basically remapped.

It has nothing to do with finding someone creative enough to do it, it's about the amount of potential work and the reward.
 

Elysion

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Wait, I only have a Switch Lite, so I‘ve never used a normal Switch, but I was under the impression that the Joycons are motion controllers like the Wiimote. Does this mean they actually aren‘t, and they‘re just regular controllers, except that they‘re detachable? That’s… kind of lame, if true.

I always thought the Switch was an all-in-one system, allowing both regular controls and motion controls (at least in docked mode). Aren‘t there motion controlled games like Arms or Ring Fit? And what about Labo? I‘m very confused right now, lol.
 
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JeremyEtcetera

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Skyward Sword has more sales potential which makes it more worth it as a business to spend any extra time. And in the article he talks about how the game is heavily paced and designed around the controls so that you don't just need to change the controls you have to change the bosses and also hundreds of other elements to the game . Skyward Sword from what I know just has the controls basically remapped.

It has nothing to do with finding someone creative enough to do it, it's about the amount of potential work and the reward.


Nintendo has the resources. Again, a game being made around a certain control type has never stopped anyone from adapting it to a different control type. Plenty of people do it for free in emulation.

Edit:

A yes, mapping controls to regular fps style + gyro, the biggest obstacle of all.


*Returns to playing sekiro with a dance pad*
Can’t 3 be played on PC? How hard can it be to map to analogue sticks?



That former Retro employee in the OP has been around Nintendo too long, he's starting to use their hard-headed way of thinking as a way of problem solving.
 
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Javthusiast

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If there is a will to have those games on the switch then there certainly will be a way.
 

01011001

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what? how?

the game barely has any motion controls that actually are anything else but motions that trigger digital inputs.

as in motions that are simply a button that has been bound to them.

what can you actually do in Prime 3 that can't be mapped to a button?
 

StateofMajora

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Note to Nintendo: On Switch Pro just move the infrared camera to the front of the Joy-Con and add a pair of LEDs to the dock. KABOOM, 1:1 Wii ports for nothing.
Yes but then the joycons will still feel like shit :[

Wii mote not carrying on with switch is a great shame, amazing innovation it was
 

salamanderjuice

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Wait, I only have a Switch Lite, so I‘ve never used a normal Switch, but I was under the impression that the Joycons are motion controllers like the Wiimote. Does this mean they actually aren‘t, and they‘re just regular controllers, except that they‘re detachable? That’s… kind of lame, if true.

I always thought the Switch was an all-in-one system, allowing both regular controls and motion controls (at least in docked mode). Aren‘t there motion controlled games like Arms or Ring Fit? And what about Labo? I‘m very confused right now, lol.
They are motion controllers but they don't do IR pointing like Wii Remotes. That said Mario Galaxy in 3D All Stars showed Gyro Pointing is basically as good anyways?
 

jakinov

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Nintendo has the resources. Again, a game being made around a certain control type has never stopped anyone from adapting it to a different control type. Plenty of people do it for free in emulation.
Resources that can arguably be spent elsewhere to make even more money. It's about ROI. Nobody is saying that it's impossible, his stance is that it's a big task because they did a lot of things a certain way that make it more work than simply changing the controls if you want a good experience. That fact that people elect to try and do things for free has no bearing on whether or not it's worth it for Nintendo to do or how big of a task this is to do properly. If you just want to just have MP3 on Switch and don't care for them to optimize the experience and just want the bare bones control mapping you'd get from an emulator then sure it's not that big of a task. But what the author describes is reverting all the design decisions they made because of that control scheme in order to optimize the experience for Switch. And not about how hard it is to map look up to joytick.
 
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Naked Lunch

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Ummm.....
Just put the aim controls on the right stick. Job done.
Lazy asses.

F-Zero cant release because there is "no new ideas" and now this - so many excuses from Nintendo. Tired of their shit.
 
J

JeremyEtcetera

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Resources that can arguably be spent elsewhere to make even more money. It's about ROI. Nobody is saying that it's impossible, his stance is that it's a big task because they did a lot of things a certain way that make it more work than simply changing the controls if you want a good experience. That fact that people elect to try and do things for free has no bearing on whether or not it's worth it for Nintendo to do or how big of a task this is to do properly. If you just want to just have MP3 on Switch and don't care for them to optimize the experience and just want the bare bones control mapping you'd get from an emulator then sure it's not that big of a task. But what the author describes is reverting all the design decisions they made because of that control scheme in order to optimize the experience for Switch. And not about how hard it is to map look up to joytick.
Here:
Herculean effort like nintendo did for 3D allstars?

mtv middle finger GIF by The Charlotte Show
And then make the new trilogy a limited time offer just like 3D allstars. There's your money back and then some. Like Xaero Gravity Xaero Gravity said, there's a high chance that this is already done and they're sitting on it for the right profit opportunity.
 
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jakinov

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Here:

And then make the new trilogy a limited time offer just like 3D allstars. There's your money back and then some. Like Xaero Gravity Xaero Gravity said, there's a high chance that this is already done and they're sitting on it for the right profit opportunity.
Mario all stars is an example of Nintendo not wanting to put a lot of time and money in these old games. Metroid games sell a lot worse than Mario games typically so the ROI is arguably going to be worst. You don't just want your money back and some. You want your money back and a lot.

They could have already done it. I'm not really betting on them doing it or not. I'm just defending/explaining what the designer is saying. Which is that to do a "proper" port it's going to take a lot of time/effort. Skyward sword or Mario aren't great examples because they don't show Nintendo going in and making significant changes.
 
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Shifty1897

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As many posters have already pointed out, a solution was created for Skyward Sword, which was previously thought to be too difficult to workaround.

So that Metroid Prime 3 line is a load of BS. Metroid Prime Trilogy exists and is new enough that the code is still around. Take the existing game, make it 1080p 60fps docked and 720p 60fps handheld, add some modern control options for all three games and sell it for $60. It should be good for 3-5 million copies, minimum.

The amount of dev work would be nothing compared to creating a brand new game from scratch. I personally believe the reports that the Switch trilogy is done and ready to go, they're just sitting on it until 2022 when Prime 4 releases.
 

kiphalfton

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Well anything seems like a "Herculean effort" compared to the ports theyve been putting out on Switch. I.E. anything that would require putting in some actual effort would probably seem Herculean I'm sure.
 

Alexios

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I loved the trilogy and 3 itself on Wii but.

Wut? They're the same as the controls for the other two games + the ability to free aim on top of the central lock on for different body parts. How could that not just be mapped to the 2nd analog stick (and the gyro stuff too) which is otherwise unused when you're locked on an enemy?

The whip thing can be mapped to a button just as well, it was merely a vague shake, since Switch has more inputs than Wii did and the rotation of the various switches can also just be mapped to the sticks (or tilts even) since once you start such a segment the rest controls don't work.
 
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coffinbirth

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This guy might be a little too far up his own ass. Personally, I enjoyed this FAR more than the Wiimote Flailing, with the lasso stuff being a bit annoying still...but c’mon. I don’t have Facebook, so could someone slap this on there with a derp attached or something, haha.
 

BlackGauna

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Oh, so the would have to put in actual work for once instead of copy-pasting the game to the Switch with minimal effort.
 

Zannegan

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Not a problem. Wait for Nintendo VR console, it will play perfect.
I'm pretty sure most of us would be spewing our guts out, running around a those speeds, in those claustrophobic, alien environments in VR.... but I'd sure like to give it a try anyway.
 

yuadesa

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Five employees working for one year is considered herculean? No wonder Retro is such a mess
 

Woopah

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Wait, I only have a Switch Lite, so I‘ve never used a normal Switch, but I was under the impression that the Joycons are motion controllers like the Wiimote. Does this mean they actually aren‘t, and they‘re just regular controllers, except that they‘re detachable? That’s… kind of lame, if true.

I always thought the Switch was an all-in-one system, allowing both regular controls and motion controls (at least in docked mode). Aren‘t there motion controlled games like Arms or Ring Fit? And what about Labo? I‘m very confused right now, lol.
They have motion controls like the Wiimote but no IR sensor. MP3 used IR pointing with the Wii's sensor bar, and the Switch does not have a sensor bar. That's the challenging part.
 

Zannegan

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They have motion controls like the Wiimote but no IR sensor. MP3 used IR pointing with the Wii's sensor bar, and the Switch does not have a sensor bar. That's the challenging part.
Nintendo could have avoided a lot of this trouble by including a better tracking/recentering solution in the joycons in addition to the gyros. It would have had to be expensive either. Even a cheap camera in the Switch itself and a couple of IR LEDs built into strategic spots on the controllers would have done the trick (The Wii, but reversed). I'm glad they had a strong, cohesive vision for the hardware, and it's certainly paid off for them, but for pennies they could have made BC and virtual console much more feasible.

Oh well. Here's hoping the Switch's successor has better tracking, if only to enable VR.