My research into Metroid Prime’s gargantuan cut content.

Apr 11, 2008
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Volume 1 : Metroid Prime.

Volume 2 : Metroid Prime 1.5 and the Metroid 2 Remake.

Volume 3 : Metroid Prime 2 Echoes.

Volume 4 : Metroid Prime 3 Corruption.

Volume 5 : Metroid Prime Hunters and “Toon Metroid".

I’ve been in full research mode, and have discovered enough stuff to fuel a couple of threads. I’ve discovered a ton of concept pieces, notes, renders, animations and reflections from Retro Studios staff regarding their work on the Metroid Prime trilogy. Some of this material has been seen elsewhere, and some of it seems to have had no exposure whatsoever.

This thread is to present my findings with regards to the first Metroid Prime. I hope you find this interesting. I certainly did!

Note: Anything that is not in quotes is speculation by me, informed by the materials, and should be treated as such.

Enjoy the secrets of Tallon IV!




Elements from Metroid Prime that were planned, removed, adjusted or altered from the final release:


Very Very Early Title Screen and Menu Themes













(Source: Bernardette Lacarte)

These images represent some of the earliest concepts I've ever seen from Metroid Prime. I'd guess they were throwing out lots of different ideas of the game's "look".

Early Title Screen



(Source: The Cutting Room Floor's analysis of the Metroid Prime demo disc content)

A very early title screen would have welcomed players to Metroid Prime. The abstract organic render in the bottom-right corner is unidentifiable.


Original Opening Monologue

Ten years ago, beneath the surface of Planet Zebes, the mercenaries known as "Space Pirates" were defeated by interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran. Descending to the very core of the pirate stronghold, Samus exterminated the energy based parasites called "Metroids" and defeated Mother Brain, the leader of the pirate hoarde.

But the Space Pirates were far from finished. Several pirate research vessels were orbiting Zebes when Samus fought on the surface below.

After the fall of Mother Brain, the ships escaped, with the hope of finding enough resources to rebuild their forces and take their revenge.

After discovering a possible pirate colony on planet Talon IV, Samus has once again prepared for war, hoping to end the Pirate threat forever.
(Source: The Cutting Room Floor's analysis of the Metroid Prime's buried disc content)

At one point, it seems that Jennifer Hale - the talented voice actress who voices all of Samus' vocalisations in the Prime games - was to deliver a monologue explaining the preceding events of the original Metroid. You can download this and listen to it yourself from The Cutting Room Floor website.


Alternate Opening Screen



(Source: The Cutting Room Floor's analysis of the Metroid Prime demo disc content)

At some point, a blue-on-black text opening was intended for the game.


Another Alternate Opening Sequence



For a period, this opening sequence (with scanning animation passing over Samus' anatomy) greeted players.


Alternate station landling pad




Alternate UI








Kraid



(Source: Greg Luzniak)



(Source:Gene Kohler)

Gene Kohler said:
"The level that he was to be included in was well underway to being designed. There just was not enough developement time remaining to fully implement all aspects of the scenario that were needed to pull off a highly polished/fun gaming experience... It was [ultimately] decided that Kraid was not imperative enough to the Metroid Prime project to run the risk of pushing up the release date in order to fit him in,
It does appear that two different Kraid designs were considered. The first would have been more familiar, with Kraid strongly resembling his Super Metroid incarnation and firing his traditional belly-spears towards Samus. The design that was chosen was for modelling was more radical however, with Kraid’s head replaced with a grotesque metal shell. Could this have represented an unfinished attempt by the Space Pirates to rebuild their defeated general following the events of the original Metroid?


Mother Brain





(Source: Andrew “Android” Jones)

If I were to try and interpret Andrew Jones’ madness, I’d suggest the following theory:

Metroid Prime’s story may have originally involved the Space Pirates mounting Mother Brain (or a copy/clone) into the Talon IV Impact Crater itself. The influx of power and energy from the alien Phazon could have elevated her powers into a transcendent, near-magical state. The hovering eyes were perhaps representing her ability to see across the planet, and the plume of blue energy could be the constant stream of Phazon pumping into her flesh. The rocky spikes could even represent the phazon morphing around her, accommodating her anatomy into its twisted, living environment. Mother Brain’s massive size, absolutely dwarfing Samus, could suggest that the Phazon induced growth and mutation, expanding her well-beyond her confines of her glass life support system.

Such a theory would certainly fit in with the eventual concluding battle of the series, as shown in Metroid Prime 3. Perhaps Retro Studios reconsidered this idea, with the substitution of an Aurora Unit instead?


Ridley





(Source: Andrew “Android” Jones)





(Source: Mike Sneath)


(Source: Danny Richardson)



(Source: Metroid Prime Trilogy materials, Retro Studios)

It seems that at some point, Ridley was intended to be encountered in a canyon with interconnecting bridges. It also appears that there were a few different designs considered: a more organic incarnation with visible bloody organs through a metal exoskeleton ribcage; an almost entirely-mechanical incarnation with more than a passing resemblance to Metroid: Zero Mission’s Mecha-Ridley; and a radically-different red and orange metal dragon, almost steampunk in design.

The linked video also shows some of the hidden details in Ridley’s incredible final Meta-Design.


Flying Insect Boss



(Source: Greg Luzniak)



(Source: Mike Sneath)



(Source: Martin L’Heureux)



(Source : Originally hosted at Nintendo.com, Retro Studios)

It seems there was originally a flying cybernetic, insect-like boss on Talon IV, hovering from a colossal apparatus firing blasts from its claws. It is very different to the less intimidating flying Pirates that are in the final game. It could be that this boss served as some aerial-equivalent to the Phazon-infused Omega Pirate.

The concept piece could be a different interpretation of this same creature. If it is, then it seems to suggest in the large flying device actually contains a living Metroid, its flight powers being hijacked for the bosses’ advantage. Perhaps the aim of the battle would have been for Samus to have freed the Metroid from its captivity, allowing it to turn on and consume the boss?


”Dark Possessed Ridley”



(Source : Originally hosted on Nintendo.com, Retro Studios)

This highly mysterious image appeared on Nintendo’s website under the filename “Dark_Possessed_Ridley”. Ridley appears to have been somehow altered to a Chozo-like form: his wings are feathered; his jaw has become a beak; he is clothed in Chozo-style armour; and he is apparently not hostile to Samus.

A theory: A different endgame for Ridley may have been intended. Instead of the Chozo Ghosts summoning the power of the temple to project him off the cliff, perhaps they channelled their supernatural energies into the dragon himself. This “dark possession” could have forced upon Ridley a metamorphosis, altering his appearance to reflect the Chozo possession. Perhaps in this "dark possessed" form, the Chozp spirits use Ridley's body to help Samus to get to the Impact Crater to finally defeat the worm within.


Sheegoth Prime



(Source: Greg Luzniak)



(Source: Mike Sneath)

It appears that a third stage of the Sheegoth life-cycle was to serve as a boss for the Phendara Drifts territory. This four-armed juggernaut would have presumably been the final form of the species, whose “baby” and “adult” variants were regular enemies in the final release. Note that the name “Sheegoth Prime” is one I have assigned as no official one is given.

Given that the lesser adult Sheegoths were tough enemies in their own right, it remains very unclear how Samus would have defeated this colossal monstrosity. If it possessed the same electrical kinetic powers as its smaller counterparts, it may have been a powerful boss indeed.


Space Pirate Organic Weapons



(Source: Andrew "Android" Jones)



(Source: MassiveBlack)

There were a number of organic-style Space Pirate weapon designs that went unused in the final release.


Early Samus Power Suit concepts, with designer's notes



(Source: Metroid Prime Trilogy Bonus Materials)


Early Beam and Upgrade Concepts



(Source: Metroid Prime Trilogy Bonus Materials)

This concept art shows some early ideas for Samus' gun and the beam upgrades. Note that the ice beam upgrade appears to be in the shape of Crocomire!


Lava Thardus



(Source: Derek Bonikowski)



(Source: Martin L’Heureux)

Mike Sneath to n-sider said:
if I remember correctly Thardus was suppose to be in a large lava pit arena but I believe we had to change it due to time constraints.
It seems an early version of Thardus was to be fought in a lava area. Perhaps Thardus was to be the boss of Magmoor Caverns (which conspicuously lacks any bosses in the final release), and Sheegoth Prime would have been fought in the Phendara Drifts Quarantine Arena?

It is interesting that this alternate version of Thardus has a glowing red core – perhaps this was a consequence of its fiery surroundings?


Alternate Parasite Queen





(Source: Greg Luzniak)


(Source: N-Sider.com)



(Source: Mike Sneath)

Mike Sneath said:
What may be of even more interest is the fact that Samus could have been fighting "The Queen" in another setting that did not make the final cut. "I made the Parasite Queen almost at the beginning of when we started Metroid, Mike told N-Sider. "LeRoy [Strauss] made the chamber you see in the game maybe a year or so later. There was a previous chamber, which was scrapped because the game play wasn't working properly so the designer remade the chamber."
The Parasite Queen fought on the opening space station in Metroid Prime was originally intended to be quite different. The concept piece and animation suggest slight differences to the queen encountered by Samus in the final release. Retro Studios Mike Sneath confirms above that the battle was to originally to take place in a quite different location.


Omega Metroid





(Source: Danny Richardson)

It seems that at some point in development, at least one gargantuan Omega Metroid was considered for inclusion on Talon IV. This formidable enemy would also serve as the final boss of Metroid Fusion, and provide a nice story link between the two games.

Given the unrealised potential of the Metroid Prime – Metroid Fusion system link, it seems possible that the Omega boss may have been unlocked through the GBA connection. Perhaps if Samus cleared the game with the Fusion Suit, a new boss awaited her in the Impact Crater?

The second, smaller Metroid looks like an intermediate stage between the base Metroid creature and its bipedal Omega incarnation. Could the Space Pirates have been somehow trying to accelerate the creature through its lifecycle?


Forest Flaahgra







(Source: Andrew “Android” Jones)



(Source: Todd Keller)



(Source: Mike Sneath)

It seems a number of different concepts for the ferocious Flaahgra boss were explored. One which seemed to make it all the way to animation, was the idea of the creature naturally emerging from its seed in what appears to be a dark forest area. This clearly contrasts his final locale, the mirror-bearing temple in the Chozo ruins.


The Giant Metroids





(Source: Andrew “Android” Jones)



(Source: The Cutting Room Floor's analysis of the Metroid Prime's buried disc content)


It seems that in the Impact Crater, Samus would have been forced to overcome gigantic, phazon-fuelled Metroids. This would have been a clear nod to Metroid, Metroid II and Super Metroid, in which Samus was forced to do an endurance run against the colossal creatures to get to the final battle.

The image discovered buried in the game disc, of a Space Pirate apparent scan data of a giant Metroid, may have foreshadowed this onslaught.


A surviving Chozo?



(Source: Metroid Prime Instruction Manual)



(Source: Metroid Prime Trilogy Bonus Materials)





(Source: James Dargie)



(Source: Martin L’Heureux)

This intriguing image and animation would suggest that at some point, at least one Chozo (or a sleek robotic recreation of one) was operating on Talon IV. The animation seems to suggest caution and stealth, a far cry from the deranged Chozo ghosts seen in the final release.

Could secret sabotage from this creature be the reason for the various failures and delays reported by the Space Pirates in their logs?


Mutated Metroids







(Source: Danny Richardson)

It seems that early in development, Talon IV would have contained heavily mutated Metroid creatures. These sketches look even more sickly than the fusion and hunter mutations that appeared in the final game.


Tallon IV Concepts



(Source: Metroid Prime Trilogy Bonus Materials)

A lot of different ideas were explored for the appearance of Tallon IV, many showing the cataclysmic damage caused by the Phazon meteor.


Winged Chozo Ghosts



(Source: Nintendo.com, Retro Studios)

This image would suggest that a winged variant on the Chozo Ghosts were intended to be encountered by Samus on Talon IV. Is the angelic-imagery intentional? Could these creatures have been more benevolent than their psychotic, wingless counterparts?


Speedbooster and Shinespark upgrades



(Source: The Cutting Room Floor's analysis of the Metroid Prime's buried disc content)

This image, buried away unsued in the Metroid Prime final release disc, would suggest that the Speedbooster and Shinespark powers were intended for inclusion at some point and never made it. Given that there doesn't appear to be any places on Talon IV in which Samus could have made use of these, it seems likely that they were excised from the game early.


Insect Cyborg Pirates







(Source: Nintendo.com and the Metroid Prime Instruction Manual)



(Source: Martin L’Heureux)

At some point, the game was intended to include these vicious looking cybernetic insectoid Space Pirates. Fimbulvetr spotted this in the animation reel, and provided this very observant commentary

Fimbulvetr said:
Another interesting tidbit from all this is the presence of the original Space Pirate design in action in Martin L'Heureux's showreel. The design is much more reminiscent of the Zebesian look from the earlier games, down to the claw cannons, and it can be seen in the instruction manual for the game, though the only hint of its existence in the game itself is some decaying body parts in a container in the Phendrana pirate base (there's a giant claw cannon among them, maybe there was an Elite Pirate design based off the older model at some point as well?).

More Expansive Impact Crater























(Source: Andrew “Android” Jones)

It seems that the Impact Crater was originally intended to have been a much larger area. The art suggests an alien living place, with eruptions and movement continuously shifting the surroundings. The increased size would have enabled Samus to fight her way through the aforementioned gigantic Metroids, and would have allowed for an exciting escape sequence as per series tradition.


Friendly creatures?



(Source: Nintendo.com)

This unidentified creature has is a mystery, appearing in the Metroid Prime concept art with no explanation or apparent role in the released game. Given its decidedly unintimidating appearance, could it have been an ally to Samus? A possibility is that the creature, like the friendly animals of Super Metroid, could have somehow supported the hunter in her quest.


Super Metroid



(Source: Danny Richardson)

This image would appear to confirm that more connectivity content was intended for Metroid Prime. It seems that when connected to Metroid Fusion, the Gamecube would allow full access to the transcendent Super Metroid. Had this been implemented on release, it could be argued that the Metroid Prime disc would consequently contain the two very best Metroid games in existence.


Additional Discovered Images



(Source: Tom Papadatos)



(Source: Gene Kohler)









(Source: James Darcie)

Playable Super Metroid




Nintendo of America unused Promotional Logos



(Source: Tim Garet)

N.O.A were focus testing the above logos to promote the game. The ones with ticks next to them were approved by focus groups. In the end, none of these were used.


That's it! I hope you enjoyed that GAF. Any sites that want to reuse my post, please do the decent thing and at least link back to all the research and work I’ve done here.

Many thanks to Metroid Database and the Metroid Wiki for being invaluable in this research.
 
Dec 21, 2011
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#6
i love you man, :) this is just great. the amount of content that didn't make the cut is ridiculous, they could another game out of that.
thank you for this, and i will stay tuned for the next one. :D
 
Nov 24, 2009
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#7
Holy crap.

It's a shame those insect creatures didn't find their way into one of the games, I love the creepy organic look their animation has. That giant sheegoth looks like it would've been an awesome boss.

Also Metroid Prime is at the top of my list for best games last gen. Amazing game even without all this content.
 
Jan 14, 2009
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#9
An expanded impact crater is probably the biggest thing for me here. Something more akin to the length of Phaze in MP3 would have been great for the finale in Prime.
 

Chacranajxy

I paid good money for this Dynex!
Oct 13, 2008
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#10
I'd love to see Retro make a darker Metroid game that hues a little closer to their concept art. Just look at the Sheegoth Prime concept art and tell me that a boss like that in wind-blasted wastes like that wouldn't make for a supremely awesome fight. If Nintendo wants to see the series change, that'd be the way to do it... not Other M and its parade of bullshit.
 
Dec 6, 2010
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#15
Holy shit this stuff is amazing.

Sheegoth Prime looks absolutely incredible, and the Thardus being the Magmoor Caverns boss switched out in place of Sheegoth Prime seems to make sense.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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#19
I thought I saw pretty much all of the cut content, but I was wrong. Definitely a shame that it got cut.

Makes me want a Wii U Prime remake with cut content worked back in
 
Jul 27, 2009
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#21
You're doing great work on this.

I'm always surprised to hear some of these concepts didn't make Prime due to time constraints. The game's so perfect and so rich I can't imagine much more content. Until i started reading the backstory Metroid Prime felt like the game where everything went perfectly. It's just flawless.
 
Jun 12, 2008
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#22
I'm one of the rare few people who played Metroid Prime 1 after 2 and to this day, I ALWAYS expected there to be more in the Impact Crater than what was actually there. Seeing some of the concept stuff, especially Mother brain, the expanses and "living dynamics" of this conceptual Crater and Giant Metroids makes me wish if they had stuck that in. Hoooooooly shit.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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#25
really appreciate the legwork you put into this thread. metroid prime has always had some of my favorite art (both concept and in-game) and seeing all this gorgeous stuff that was cut from the game is at once both saddening and jawdropping.
 

GaimeGuy

Volunteer Deputy Campaign Director, Obama for America '16
Jun 18, 2004
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#30
Holy shit @ Sheegoth Prime. The thought of fighting an even more menacing Sheegoth makes me giddy... and scared as fuck.

Your speculation about Thardus and Sheegoth Prime is almost certainly spot on, though. Thardus seems like a logical choice for magmoor
 
Nov 10, 2011
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#32
You are my new hero, Mama Robotnik. These are incredible finds.

Dear Nintendo, make this a game now. I don't care if combining all of this stuff together would be nonsensical, you could just have it all be a nightmare of Samus'. It doesn't matter, this stuff is too awesome to not play.

GaimeGuy said:
Thardus seems like a logical choice for magmoor
I think he would have made more sense there than he did in Phendrana, now that I think about it.
 
Dec 8, 2011
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Oh god this really makes my hope Retro gets back to the Metroid series again. They could practically make a whole new game with some of the concepts they scrapped. I really liked the Metroid 1.5 story and ideas from what I've read

I really want to see Mother Brain come back again too, those concept pictures were just too great.

Really anything from Retro would have me seriously stoked. They havn't made a single game that didn't blow me away
 

Jangaroo

Always the tag bridesmaid, never the tag bride.
May 28, 2009
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I remember seeing a picture or two of the concept art you posted in this Metroid Prime guide I had way back in the day. Always wondered about them. Fantastic thread as usual by the way.
 
Oct 27, 2007
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#44
This is amazing, great work!

Your speculation regarding freeing the Metroid strapped to that flying insect boss would have been so awesome - it would have made for one hell of a memorable battle. Especially if they worked that Metroid into the game (or Prime 2/3) ala Super Metroid <3