My research into the development and cut material in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Apr 11, 2008
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".

This thread covers discoveries, cut material and other rarely-presented material from Metroid Prime 3: Corrupution.

As before, be aware that what you are about to read is highly speculative in places, with ideas supported by the presented materials. I hope I’m right, but don’t even remotely promise to be.


Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Unused explosive opening battle with “Kraid”

(Source: Ben Sprout)

At some point in development, Metroid Prime 3 was conceived as having a James Bond-eque opening sequence, which would show Samus concluding an unseen adventure. The opening sequence is storyboarded to show the following:

(1) On a black screen, bold white text announcing NINTENDO PRESENTS appears, followed by A Retro Studios Game.

(2) Samus enters a large dark chamber with cracked stone floors.

(3) A shadow covers her. Samus looks up to see a colossal creature that appears to be Kraid, or a member of the same species. The creature has three glowing eyes, spike-protrusions erupting from its chest, and gigantic claws as appendages.

(4) “Kraid” launches a massive multi-storey sized claw towards Samus. It smashes into the ground in front of her.

(5) We see Samus’ view from her visor, gun ready. This could indicate a point in which control is restored to the player and the boss battle takes place.

(6) Suddenly, the entire scene turns red as “Kraid” explodes in a fountain of blood. There appear to be green energy weapons being fired from an unknown source.

(7) As the scene calms we can see Samus looking up at the space occupied by “Kraid”. Where his head once was, her loyal gunship is waiting for her.

(8) The camera zooms out to show Samus gunship hovering over the headless corpse of “Kraid”. The text METROID PRIME 3 appears.


(Source: Ben Sprout)

Is the unidentified creature in the storyboard Kraid? It possesses a number of traits that would fit: enormous size; three eyes; spiked chest protrusions; and a large carnivorous jaw. There are some differences worth considering: the creature is purple instead of green and there anatomical differences in body shape and appendages.
Recall one of the early scan entries in Metroid Prime:

Metroid Prime said:
"The reconstruction of geoform 187, code-named Ridley, was recently completed. After his defeat on Zebes, Command ordered a number of metagenetic improvements for him. Though aggressive, we were able to implement these changes in a cycle. The metamorphosis was painful, but quite successful in the end. Early tests indicate a drastic increase in strength, mobility, and offensive capability. Cybernetic modules and armor plating have been added as well. We believe our creation, now called Meta Ridley, will become the mainstay of our security force, a job he will certainly relish."
This evidences that Space Pirate High Command routinely resurrects their own leadership geoforms with “metagenetic improvements” after they have fallen. The Kraid we are seeing in this storyboard could have undergone a similar process, having being reconstructed with changes to make him more powerful alongside a darker skin tone for better camouflage with his surroundings.

The use of a first-person view in the storyboard could suggest that some part of the encounter with Kraid could have taken the form of a boss-battle. Alternately, it could have simply been a non-interactive bombastic opening sequence to the game.


(Source: Sammy Hall’s Old Portfolio site – now defunct)

Super Metroid’s Crocomire appears to have been intended to appear at some point. Some of the sketches suggest the presence of metal armour (particularly on his snout), possibly suggesting that the creature has been constructed by the Space Pirates as a cyborg, ala Meta Ridley.

Given his affiliation with cavernous hot locations, Crocomire may have been intended for an appearance in the lava caverns of Bryyo. Another possibility is that he was to be fought (as a possible representative of High Command) on the Space Pirate Homeworld.

Unknown “Pirate Prime” Boss?

(Source: Retro Studios Concept Art)

This image depicts a gargantuan creature, and can be interpreted as a very muscular take on Space Pirate anatomy. The creature is given a very detailed piece of concept art, and yet does not appear in the game at any point.

I’ve chosen the name “Pirate Prime” as I don’t have anything else to go on – it seems to be by far the strongest-looking and most physically developed of all the Space Pirates.
A theory: This creature could be a leader among of the insectoid species to which the Space Pirate troopers belong. We know from the logs in Metroid Prime that with the defeat of Mother Brain, Ridley and Kraid, a leadership structure was still fully functioning (“High Command”), presumably located on the Space Pirate homeworlds. A possibility is that this monstrous creature is a representative of their leadership. The concept art portrays the creature as being formidable, and perhaps a boss that was excised early in development.

Galactic Federation: Chozo Research and Development Division

(Source: Sammy Hall’s Old Portfolio site – now defunct)

It appears that an excised plot development concerned the Galactic Federation’s Chozo R & D Division, whose presumed goal is the acquisition and attempted replication of Chozo technologies. The highlighted unit is presented as a “non-functional “mk-5” prototype, with a bulky appearance suggesting that the Federation is unable to replicate the compact technologies and elegant form factor of the power suit. This plot point would parallel the Tallon IV log concerning the Space Pirates own disastrous attempts to reverse engineer the technology:

Science Team is attempting to reverse-engineer Samus Aran's arsenal, based off
of data acquired from her assaults on our forces. Progress is slow, but
steady. Command would dearly enjoy turning Aran's weapons against her. We
believe we can implement Beam weapon prototypes in three cycles. Aran's Power
Suit technology remains a mystery, especially the curious Morph Ball function.
All attempts at duplicating it have ended in disaster: four test subjects were
horribly broken and twisted when they engaged our Morph Ball prototypes.
Science Team wisely decided to move on afterward.
Such a development would not have been surprising, considering that Metroid Fusion reveals the Federation is hungry for alien technology and weaponry.

The smaller pieces of concept art show prototype suits performing different actions, suggesting that during the game the suits would have become functional. What could their role have been?

A possibility is that they may represent a force sent to retrieve or dispatch the Phazon-infected Samus. Consider that of the four bounty hunters infected by Dark Samus’ parasite, the other three lost their minds and transformed into deranged, dangerous aggressors. With the increased risk of Samus falling to the same corruption, the Federation could have dispatched these experimental soldiers in order to contain her.

If this theory has any merit, then such a development would have provided a nice thematic and visual symmetry for the series. In Metroid Prime, it is Samus clad in orange and red, fighting against the blue Phazon. In Metroid Prime 3, it would be the Federation clad in blue and red, fighting against the blue corrupted Samus.

An interesting point to consider is that in Metroid Prime: Hunters, a number of alien bounty hunters wielded technology comparable to Chozo power suit and morph ball technology. This would suggest that though the Space Pirates and Galactic Federation are expansive and influential, they are far behind the greater galaxy in technological development. The existence of the Chozo R & D Division could have hinted at the Federation’s desperation to defend itself against these aliens, and even explain the motives behind the Metroid breeding on the BSM Station in Metroid Fusion.

The Ice and Fire Morph balls

(Source: TCRF Analysis of the Metroid Prime 3 Demo disc)

(Source: Retro Studios Concept Art)

In an early beta of the game, the debug menu dedicated to Morph balls refers to “Ice Ball” and “Fire Ball” upgrades. These cannot be activated without crashing the game, suggesting that they were excised during early development.

The only planet in which an ice/fire dynamic is encountered is on Bryyo. Perhaps these power ups would have given Samus something to find further in the underused Ice Bryyo area? Given the Metroids’ weakness for cold, it seems possible that the “Ice Ball” upgrade could have been used in combat against them somehow.

Ship Grapple Expansion

Ship Grapple Expansion (no idea how this worked; the Ship Grapple Beam must have worked differently in an earlier version of the game. See for yourself in 0_90c76f28fe55670e.STRG within Logbook.pak. No data beyond a namedrop from scanning the pickup seems to be left of this.)
(Source: TCRF Analysis of the Metroid Prime 3 Retail disc)

At some point in development, Samus would have acquired an upgrade allowing her to grapple onto her ship. A speculative use for this would be Samus summoning her ship to position itself between two distant ledges, and using her grapple beam on the underside of her vessel to swing over the gap.

Mecha Ridley

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption render)

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

The top image depicts Meta Ridley as he appears in game, very similar to his Metroid Prime appearance but with notable differences. The bottom image is a Retro Studios piece of concept art with the original filename of “Mecha Ridley”. There are quite a few differences – the wings appear to be of a circuit-board like material, his body is even more angular and sleek than his other forms, and his colouring is Phazon blue.

A possibility is that in the opening battle on Norion, Samus was originally intended to fight this new Mecha Ridley, but due to time constraints Meta Ridley was substituted. Another theory is that there may have been a third Ridley battle in the game at some point.

Samus’ Destroyed Powersuit

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

This piece of concept art appears to show a cut plot development – Samus pulling her way out of the destroyed remnants of her powersuit. The lack of Phazon-managing PED extensions to the suit could suggest that this sequence was intended for inclusion before the PED suit was introduced.

Perhaps in the original storyline, the battle with Dark Samus on Norion resulted in the destruction of Samus’ powersui. The suit was then presumably rebuilt by the Galactic Federation with PED enhancements during her recovery.

Flesh Chamber

((Source: Ben Sprout))

The above images are textures developed for Metroid Prime 3 with the following filenames:


Though Samus does enter living creatures in the released game -such as the Leviathans and Phaaze - these environments do not use red organic textures seen here. It seems that at some point in development, Samus was to enter a chamber of flesh, perhaps the body of some unseen gargantuan creature.

The “Chain Cleat” area

(Source: Todd Keller’s Blog – now defunct)

The area depicted in this unusual concept piece does not appear in the final game in any form. On the blog in which the image was posted, the Retro Studios’ artist confirmed that the idea was abandoned as it was apparently “too RPG”.

Samus’ Gradual Disfigurement

(Source: Textures extracted from Metroid Prime 3 : Corruption,uploaded to Metroid Wikia by Chozoboy).

A easily missed detail in the final release of Metroid Prime 3 is the gradual disfigurement of Samus Aran as the toxic Phazon spreads through her flesh. The only way of seeing these images in game is for the brief flashes when Samus’ own reflection becomes visible in her visor.

100 Percent Corruption “Stage 4”

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

In the released game, we only see stages one to three of Samus’ Phazon corruption. A planned fourth stage appears to have been cut, in which Samus becomes virtually indistinguishable from Dark Samus.

Alternate Bryyo

(Source: Eben Schafers)

Some very different ideas for the planet Bryyo were considered, with an apparent focus on on overwhelming plant and fungal life.

The Lore of Bryyo

Retro Studios artist Matt Manchester created a large amount of the planet Bryyo. To inform his artwork and digital architecture, he created a fascinating lore for the extinct Bryyonian race:

I wrote brief mythologies for each head, and put together a loose history. Although these descriptions didn't make it into the final game, I like to include them here so you know where I was coming from when making them. Again, these are just from my own personal notes.
"From the sleeping chaos awoke the high god. It was he, the Antecedent, the propagator of the genesis, and the eternal body in the sky. In the beginning of creation, the life giving sun created its first child, Bryyo. Upon it’s surface it poured a vast ocean in which the beginnings of life could thrive. The high god then laid down to resume his eternal sleep. From his body, the 23 keeper gods sprang forth as the watchers and caretakers of the world.

Within the expansive waters, the children of Bryyo were borne. In their primitive forms, they wandered the currents for eons, becoming masters of the deep. The gods watched this burgeoning life from atop their holy island, where the eternal flames burned within the Garden of Light.

When the Reptilicus had dominion of the oceans, the gods granted them access into the divine province, to be one as them, and partake of their knowledge. Given new forms to walk upon the land, they dwelt within the garden for a time.

After bestowing their wisdom to the mortal sons of Bryyo, the pantheon ascended to live upon the sun. All departed the celestial first son but one god, Thalyys, who remained as the keeper of the Garden of Light and watcher of the mortals.

Arkithun crafted for the gods the City of Glass, wherein the vital light of the high god’s form could eternally penetrate. It was after this that he bestowed the knowledge and gift of architecture to the curious reptilicus, to forge for themselves a civilization.

The oceans sank, and the land spread out from the divine island in all directions. The great migration occurred, and the kingdoms and cities spread throughout the world. Having long departed their primordial territory, the Garden still remains at apex of the lands highest mountain, abandoned by all but Thalyys, who tends to it eternally."

"Chronicler of Ages – Ordyyn: Nestled deep within the walls of the great library, Ordyyn tirelessly scribes the history and events of Bryyo. Those chosen ones that have most impacted the histories of the world ascend to assist the chronicler in their afterlife, helping to maintain the infinite halls of knowledge, and forever bask in the radiant light of the high god."

"Instiller of Venom – Korphyygis: At the beginning of each life, and before birth itself it is Korphyygis who bites each youngling, pouring into their body the physical essence that is as a poison to their enemies. This blessing is carried within each mortal for life."

"The Lord Artisan – Arkithun: After the gods departed Bryyo, and chose to live upon the sun, it was Arkithun who crafted for the gods the mighty City of Glass. Its sprawling towers and buildings are their eternal dwellings. From within its walls, the light of the high god may still penetrate to soak all with vitality and life. After crafting the divine city, Arkithun granted to the children of Bryyo the knowledge and gift of architecture, to forge a civilization for themselves."

"Dreamer of the gods – Pharandrin: This half blind deity remains in a perpetual dreaming state. It is within his mind that the resting conscious of all children of Bryyo travel. He is the god of abstraction, and the weaver of mystery. For those attuned to him most, he is also the god of insight."

"The Sacred Transmuter – Anglyyn: When the children of Bryyo became masters of the deep, and then left the water to pursue a life upon the land, it was Anglyyn that crafted for them new forms to better traverse the world. The spirit of Anglyyn is with each mortal at all times, providing eternal growth and replenishing the body when needed."

"Caretaker of the Dead – Ekrosyys: Within the body of the sun itself lives Ekrosyys. It is here where all spirits of fallen children of Bryyo ascend to. He keeps watch over all souls of the deceased, who’s life essence is absorbed into the light of the sun, to lend themselves once again to the never ending cycle of life."

"Keeper of the Garden of Light – Thalyys: Atop the highest mountain in the burning plains dwells the god Thalyys, forever tending to the gardens there, and maintaining the eternal flames. It is written that when the last child of Bryyo has fallen, the flames will extinguish themselves, and the light of the sun will cease to be, casting the world into a great darkness."

"The Travelling sustainer – Kromdyyn: When the great continent expanded outwards, and the children of Bryyo migrated with it, Kromdyyn traveled with them for a time as well, seeking to learn the ways of the land, and discover the mysteries that the ocean had concealed since the beginning of time. For an age afterwards, Kromdyyn disappeared into the frozen dark lands, and wandered the expansive plains of ice. When he returned from his dark sojourn, he had learned much, and bestowed to the mortals the ability to conceal themselves, and hide from their enemies."

"Harvester of Nectar – Vyyth: When the oceanic waters receded from the primordial island, and land spread outwards in all direction, Vyyth poured upon the naked crust of the land the invigorating and restorative burning nectar. This immaculate serum has the powers to heal the sick and diseased. All newborn younglings are ceremonially bathed in this curative substance to ensure strong vitality."

(Source: Matt Manchester)

The Lost Bryyo Murals

(Source: Nathan Purkeypile)

This image is buried away unmarked in Nathan’s Portfolio website, and tells the story of Bryyo's past, present and possible future. Note the appearance of blue crystals on the dark side of the planet, which could suggest that the mural records the extinct Bryyonians' own prophecies regarding Phazon and the downfall of their civilisation.

The Lost World?

(Source: Sammy Hall’s Old Portfolio site – now defunct)

This image shows Samus’ Gunship flying towards a landing pad in a jungle, with a blue-coloured tower block in the distance. The entire area seems to be contained in a very unusual coral-like material, suggesting artificial construction or growth.

This mysterious environment does not seem to have the same Phazon pollution seen throughout Metroid Prime 3, could it have represented a peaceful non-infected world?

Return of the Friendly Aliens?

Morphology: Endocoon

Threat level low. Fond of machinery.

Widely considered to be ''cute.''


Endocoons are a semisentient species of mammal known for their playful demeanor.
They are particularly fond of machines, perhaps drawn by the hum of an engine or the shine of metal.

Unfortunately, their inquisitive nature can be quite disruptive, especially when fine machinery is involved.
(Source: analysis of the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption game disc)

(Source: Super Metroid Concept Art of an Etocoon)

The description of these cut creatures refers to them as “inquisitive” and “playful”, making it extremely unlikely that Samus would have harmed them. The name is only a slight deviation from “Etocoon”, the name of the friendly aliens in Super Metroid who assisted Samus in learning new abilities.

These Endocoons may have been allies for Samus during the game, likely teaching her new skills.

Alternate Fleet Admiral Dane

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

A radically different design of Admiral Dane remained unused. The design includes a false leg, energy lance, eyepatch and possible cybernetic jaw.
Jul 27, 2006
Yes, I LOVE these threads

The part with the Federation attempting to reverse engineer Samus' suit is what I find most interesting. I think it'd really be interesting if they revisited it and had Samus become a fugitive/enemy of the Federation after they try to get her to hand over her suit and she refuses. Almost like they think such a thing is too dangerous and they don't feel comfortable with just Samus having it. Or maybe a point where we find they're been taking DNA samples of Samus trying to create "supersoldiers" out of the extracted Chozo DNA. Anyway, awesome thread

edit: Now I feel bad for breaking the flow of this. Yeah, can a mod move this post down? Or just delete it I guess?
Apr 11, 2008
Unused animation sequence from the Omega Ridley boss battle

Unused Galactic Federation Transmissions

Galactic Federation, PA-003.

(Phazon mining by pirates)

Transferred data for further inspection to database.


During the last two years, the space pirates were led by their greed for Phazon.
To this day, two Phazon mines were neutralized, yet the pirates are almost obsessed to obtain this rare commodity.

The secret service suggests that the pirate syndicates already depleted all their resources on Phazon programs.

Many pirates lost their life, during fights over the substance, but also in barbaric experiments to increase performance by Phazon.

Recent data suggests that the pirates came across more Phazon deposits, possibly the biggest yet.
OGF dataset PK-211.

(Phazon seed)

Transferred further data to the database.


The collected data suggests, that the "Phazon seeds" are an organism, a living container for a Phazon core.

The entity is capable of interstellar travel by creating worm holes. It instinctively approaches its target planet.

After the impact the life form perishes.

The armored hull is left to protect the Phazon core.

Yet, before that, the organism will often attract predators of the local ecosystem and beguiles them.

Prompted by this mutation through massive Phazon radiation, they defend the core.
The kernel itself oozes into the planet and finally replaces the local ecosystem by a Phazon-based one.
(Source: analysis of the German Metroid Prime 3: Corruption game disc)

These (somewhat clumsily written) entries do not appear in the final release, and suggest that when Dark Samus found the Space Pirate Homeworld, the Empire was engaged in a brutal civil war over depleted Phazon supplies.

Skeletal Ridley

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

A cut development would have been the appearance of this disturbing skeletal form of Ridley. These concept pieces appear alongside the Omega Ridley images, suggesting a connection. A likely possibility is that the Omega Ridley boss battle originally had a second form, in which Samus must fight this phazon-fuelled skeletal remnant to conquer the Space Pirate Homeworld Leviathan.

Unused Scan Data of Cut Enemies

Morphology: Phase Sprite
Emits bursts of energy capable
of blinding visor systems.

Phase Sprite

Phase Sprites travel in large collectives for safety.
Each collective is spawned by a Sprite Nucleus--a larger, brighter Sprite that the others orbit as they search for sustenance.
As a defense mechanism, they can render themselves invisible.
If threatened, they will generate a bright burst of light and radiation that can temporarily neutralize sensors and powered systems.
Mechanism: Despair-Class Turret
Space Pirate defense system.
Susceptible to explosive attacks.

Despair-Class Turret

The Space Pirates have upgraded the venerable ''Humility'' turrets with a new unit.
The "Despair" turret is a grenade launcher modified for use with the new turret platform.
The unit is lightly armored, and fast targets can evade the limited targeting system of the unit.
Morphology: Phazite Armored Trooper
Heavy assault armor composed of Phazite.
Resistant to most weaponry and Beams.

Phazite Armored Trooper

Target's Phazite armor makes it extremely resistant to damage in combat.
Only Beams of the highest temperature can penetrate the layer of Phazite in the armorsuit.
Morphology: Reptilicus-G
Personal cloaking field now enabled.
Detectable with an advanced visor.


Gandrayda's ability to shape-shift has been greatly enhanced by Phazon exposure, allowing her to assume a number of deadly forms at will.
These new forms come with a cost, as she also inherits their weaknesses.
A mistress of stealth, she will employ her personal cloaking field often, setting up her next deadly attack.
An advanced visor system may be able to detect her location.
Morphology: Armored Pirate
Armor resists Beam attacks.
Vulnerable to explosive blasts.

Armored Pirate

Some Space Pirate units are now equipped with a durable battle armor that provides resistance to most Beam weaponry.
The armor is susceptible to explosive attacks, however.
Shatter it to expose the target to Beam damage.
Morphology: Assault Pirate Militia
Expendable infantry units.
Armor vulnerable to explosive blasts.

Assault Pirate Militia

The heavy armorsuits of the Assault Pirate Militia provide adequate resistance to most weapon systems.
This unit is the most skilled of all the militia forces.
If able to prove themselves in combat, the pirate military will grant them admittance into the official army ranks.
Morphology: Advanced Pirate Militia
Expendable infantry units.
Armor vulnerable to explosives.

Advanced Pirate Militia

The additional armor of the Advanced Pirate Militia increases their resistance to Beam weaponry, but they remain vulnerable to explosive attacks.
The Advanced Pirate Militia contains promoted soldiers from the Armored Pirate Militia.
Once the pirate military is satisfied with a unit's performance, they will grant them a higher rank.
With the promotion comes additional support in the form of an extra layer of ablative armor for combat.
Morphology: Mantha
Susceptible to cold-based weapons.
Emits sonic bursts in self-defense.

Manthas are practically indestructible. Only low-temperature weapons have any effect on them, and then only to stun. The creatures use sonic bursts to attack potential meals.
Morphology: Advanced Shield Militia
Battle shield deflects attacks, but can be pulled with Grapple Beam.

Advanced Shield Militia

The pirates in this militia unit wear an additional layer of ablative armor.
Despite the added protection, the armorsuit is still vulnerable to explosive blasts.
Their portable battle shield, while resistant to most small-arms fire, is also easily pulled off.
Phazon-based attacks can also destroy the shield.
Morphology: Vaporwing
Combat rating at 4F: Minimum.
No detected weapon systems.


Vaporwings were created by the Steamlords as pets.
They have since gone rogue, and now run wild in SkyTown.
They are named for the wake of energized gas they leave behind in flight.
Morphology: Assault Shield Militia
Battle shield deflects attacks, but can be pulled with Grapple Beam.

Assault Shield Militia

Members of this militia are well equipped.
Their heavy armorsuit is resistant to most weapon systems, and their portable battle shield can withstand most small-arms fire.
Their shields provide excellent protection, but are easily ripped from their arms.
Phazon-based attacks can easily destroy the shield.
Morphology: Salamander
Phazon-based bioform.
Dangerous in large numbers.
(Source: analysis of the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption game disc)

This data, buried and inaccessible in the retail release, confirms a number of excised creatures and Space Pirate forms. It also would seem to confirm that Gandrayda had a cut ability to transform into a Reptilicus.

Dark Samus’ Continued Metamorphosis

(Source: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes in-game screenshots)

A vital story thread in Metroid Prime 2 was the gradual physical transformation of Dark Samus. The character initially appears as a wraith clad in a twisted blue variant of the Power Suit. As that game built to a climactic conclusion, with the integrity of Dark Aether’s pocket universe collapsing into oblivion, Dark Samus appears in her final form. She is an organic, translucent creature, with a tricloptic transparent skull wired into visible organs floating in her torso. The eye-structure growing from her hand confirms the obvious – she is the regenerated essence of Metroid Prime.

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption render)

This development was abandoned in the released Metroid Prime 3. Dark Samus retains a stable, physical form that remains consistent for the entire game. Many pieces of concept art seem to confirm that this was not the originally intended direction for the character:

(Source: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Retro Studios Concept Art)

A cut story direction seems to continue the metamorphosis witnessed in Metroid Prime 2. A number of different designs are presented, ranging from skeletal to monstrous. Some of the designs show Dark Samus’ arm transformed into a vicious tendril, others show viscious Phazon spikes growing from her shoulders. The designs are particularly dark and have an almost undead quality to them, perhaps to represent the undying nature of Dark Samus’ existence.

Samus versus Space Pirates sequence

((Source: Sonny Santa Maria))

This video shows a sequence that does not appear in game, with Samus (before wearing the PED suit) fighting her way though a Space Pirate group.

The Space Pirate Metroid Breeding Facility

Matt Manchester was responsible for some of the laboratories explored on the Space Pirate Homeworld. To inform his artistry, he created Space Pirate Lore detailing the Space Pirates research on the Metroids. A portion of this made its way into the game, but most of it was unused.

This room was a lot of fun too. I always considered the Metroids themselves to be one of the most interesting aspects of the series, and easily one of the most original creatures in gaming. I wanted this room to feel something like a metroid museum of sorts. I thought about the ways the pirates would test and analyze the metroids, and different experiments they would put them through. Like the statuary room in Bryyo, I wrote many notes to correspond with some of the different things I put into the room. Many of these made it into the game actually, although they had to be edited due to text size resrictions. I made the metroid eggs specific for this room. I watched the intro to Super Metroid again, and noticed that the fluid inside the egg dries almost instantly when exposed to the air. I created some "hatched" eggs similar to this, with the embryonic fluids hardened immediately in their dripping state. I'll include the notes I made as well, for those interested in the fiction I created personally for the room.

When I first started working on this room, I envisioned all different types of Metroids being housed here, as if this was the main research facility where all different variations of the creature were brought and studied. Due to a number of reasons, many of these variations did not make it into the final game, but some of the write-ups mention them.


Metroids exposed to the Dark Aetherian atmosphere displayed significant changes to their physiology and behaviorial patterns. Exposure resulted in altered cutaneous pigmentation, solidified carapace with superficial dermal striation, emergence of multiple luminescent ocular organs, and two additional cuspidate teeth.

Advanced physical durability was observed, as well as more instinctual and aggresive behavioral tendencies. Subsequently nocturnal, Dark Metroid developed a fatally acute sensitivity to solar light.

All attempts to recreate this atmospheric transformation have met with utter failure. Test specimens yield a 100% mortality rate.

Experiments rarely live more than a few hours after artificial transformation is achieved. Of these rare instances, specimens require complete artificial sustainment. No sentient behavior has been observed in any instances.

Failure attributed to unknown variables.


Side by side observation of metroids native to different planets show subtle variations in dietary cycles, energy consumption abilities, and aggressive tendencies. Theoritical analysis suggests that the Metroid's environmental versatility is due in part to it's adaptness to survive in differing atmospheric conditions, marked changes in gravitational influence, and varying levels of gamma type radiation.

Specimens native to SR-388 still display most consistent growth and energy consumption maturation.


Exposure of unhatched metroids to alien sustentative chemicals and levels of radiation has been insightful as to the adaptability and survivability of the organism, even at this early latent state.

Specimens that survive have been observed with greater scrutiny as to their cumulative behavioral augmentations, as well as any affect exposure has to their ability to drain life energy.


Metroids derive from a parthenogenetic birthing process. Amniotic egg fluid provides both nutrients and phsyical protection of the developing larva.

Once hatched, this fluid experiences rapid desiccation, hardening completely in several seconds.

Hatched Metroid larva still retain a full coelenterate body structure. larval tentacles harden to become cuspidate teeth in adults. Energy draining abilities in this form are primitive, but still very fatal.


Tallon IV specimen - One of a small batch of Metroid native to Tallon IV. This was the only group transferred from local research laboratories on the planet before their subsequent attack and destruction.

SR388 Specimen - Metroid recovered from Ruined structures excavated below the surface. The frequent presence of Chozodian architecture wherever Metroids are found to habitate naturally leads to theories of possible connections between the two species.

Zebes Specimen - Research laboratories located below the surface of Zebes consistently yield the most relevant data on Metroid developmental cycles, and physiological composition. This could be due to the vast changes of climate on the planet. Observations and tests may be performed in a multitude of naturally-occuring native environments. Progress of research on this site has led to Expansion of the labs, as well as a stronger security presence. The Zebes station remains our primary Metroid research station.


Observations of captive Metroids display a rare anomaly in their developmental growth. Approximately .08% of contained specimens never reach the biological process that leads to their otherwise natural metamorphic stages of maturity.

While developmental stages are stunted, physical growth continues at a congruent rate. Efficiency of energy consumption increases steadily as well. During behavioral analyses, greater intelligence and problem solving skills are observed.

Heightened abilities of energy consumption make this anomaly a potential key in isolating and duplicating their feeding process artificially.
(Source: Matt Manchester)

Phaaze Galactic FMV

This animation accompanied the "Metroid Prime Trilogy - Behind the Scenes" documentary but does not appear to be attributable to anything that appeared in-game. One possibility is that it is an animation sequence that never made it into the game. Another possibility is that its an interesting animation of Phaaze's place in the galaxy made specifically for the documentary - which is interesting in itself.

Further Images and Insight from a Retro Studios Artist

On Matt Manchester’s blog, he provides some incredible insight into the design of Metroid Prime 3. There are a number of very subtle allusions to previous Metroid games, and other fascinating revelations.

He also provides some images of the near-obsessive detail that went into his environments, often in locations that are very difficult to actually see in-game.

(Source: Matt Manchester)

Boss Intelligence

Retro Studios programmer Paul Tozour has provided some insight into the artificial intelligence considerations that went into some of Metroid Prime 3’s bosses:

Dark Samus (Metroid Prime 3)

This is the final battle in the final Metroid Prime title, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Dark Samus clones itself repeatedly in this battle and works together with its clones (or "echoes") in many interesting ways. In a lot of ways, this encounter represents a culmination of many things I had been working toward since the original Dark Samus battle in Metroid Prime 2.


I'm very proud of the work I did on Helios for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption; it's easily my favorite boss character (though this video really doesn't do it justice as the individual bots are almost invisible at this resolution). It was also a great opportunity to further develop my design skills, as I proposed the boss encounter and did all of the prototyping and the majority of the design work in addition to the engineering.

I wanted Helios to defy easy understanding by continually morphing and changing in ways that deny the player any easy categorization of its identity.

During various parts of the encounter, Helios freely transitions between a loosely-coordinated group of separate flying robots, a set of separate clusters that have tight coordination among themselves, or single highly coordinated creature that acts more like a single entity than a swarm. The swarm becomes a sphere, a tornado, a massive ring, a set of smaller rings, a giant humanoid creature, a loose flock of creatures swirling around the main Prime Bot who controls the swarm, or the Prime Bot acting all alone ... continually and gradually transforming between its many different stages and doing everything it can to defy any simple definition the player might try to put it into.

If you look closely, you'll notice that the swarm doesn't change state all at once; in most cases, the bots smoothly and gradually transition between the various forms, underscoring the idea that the intelligence is shared among multiple levels of the hierarchy (the swarm as a whole, the individual forms, and the bots themselves).

Dark Samus (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)

The work I did on Dark Samus on Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was my attempt to introduce a faster and more nimble type of AI opponent to the Metroid Prime series. We weren't trying to replicate a "deathmatch" against an AI, but we wanted to bring something really new to the table -- an enemy that wasn't necessarily a massive boss creature, but which could challenge the player with its speed, its agility, and its tactics.

This type of AI proved successful and served as a general model for many creatures in the sequel, including Rundas, Gandrayda, and the new Dark Samus. Although there are 3 separate Dark Samus battles in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, I've included the second Dark Samus battle here since it really builds on the features that worked in the first encounter very nicely.


Rundas is one of the three bounty hunters from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and he builds on the nimble, Dark Samus style of AI

Meta Ridley

This boss encounter was originally intended to be the first boss the player encounters in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Since this was the first Metroid Prime game on the Wii, we set out with the goal of orienting this encounter more toward a point-and-shoot arcade style of gameplay to get players comfortable with using the Wii remote before asking them to use it in conjunction with the analog stuck. As such, the player spends the battle falling down the tube either above Meta Ridley, below Meta Ridley, or in his hand, and the battle is oriented mostly toward pure arcade action.

Defense Drone

This is an encounter against a mechanoid guardian creature on SkyTown that was designed to make use of Metroid Prime 3's grapple beam feature.

Korakk and Beast Rider

This is an encounter on planet Bryyo that was designed to make use of several different player abilities in Metroid Prime 3, including the grapple beam, morphball mode, and Hyper Mode.[/b]
(Source: Paul Tozour)

Retro Studios Boss and Character Models

These images showcase the many hidden details in Retro Studios character models, up to and including the final boss.

Reptilicus vs Ing

(Source: Alejandro Roura)

Retro Studios animator Alenjandro Roura produced this animation to show how fluid character movement is. The animation shows a Reptilicus (from Metroid Prime 3) unsuccessfully challenging an Ing (Metroid Prime 2).


(Source: Retro Studios)
Apr 11, 2008
Further Reading

The following portfolios contain downloadable textures, viewable wireframe images and other insightful pieces of Retro Studios material:


That’s everything!

I hope you enjoyed this series of research threads into these fantastic games. That I could find such expansive material only evidences how dedicated Retro Studios were to this franchise, exploring a gargantuan array of ideas and story concepts and refining them into a masterpiece trilogy.


EDIT - Thanks for the nice comment Zoramon089. Is there any chance a mod can move your post on a bit so it doesn't disrupt the flow please? Thanks!


I'd be in the dick
Oct 29, 2006
Absolutely amazing work, Mama. I love these threads. Man, I really wish some of the alternate Dark Samus forms had been used. The character design used in the games always seemed way too similar to Samus and below Retro's usual standard. The ones here are great.


I paid good money for this Dynex!
Oct 13, 2008
Holy shit, this stuff continues to be so, so good.

And again, I really wish Nintendo would loosen the reins on them and let them make something dark. That's clearly the direction they want to go.
Jun 14, 2007
Simply amazing. Im going to read it all when i get home. Ive played and beat all the Primes including Hunters, except this one, i need to.

There was even art of the Galactic Federation trying to emulate the Chozo tech too. Never would have guessed that eventhough ithe GF's motives are getting suspicious.
Apr 11, 2008
Why is every single thing in this thread more compelling than what we got in the final version of the game.
During my research, I discovered the translation of the Metroid Prime III Iwata Asks, which as far as I am aware, was never officially released in English:

Apparently development was disrupted when Iwata declared that Retro's efforts weren't "the same quality as Twilight Princess" and demanded improvements. Its also interesting to hear how disheartened Retro apparently were with the revelation of the Wii's unexpected specs, at least at first.
Jan 30, 2011
During my research, I discovered the translation of the Metroid Prime III Iwata Asks, which as far as I am aware, was never officially released in English:

Apparently development was disrupted when Iwata declared that Retro's efforts weren't "as good as Twilight Princess" and demanded improvements. Its also interesting to hear how disheartened Retro apparently were with the revelation of the Wii's unexpected specs, at least at first.
There is just so much wrong with this. I mean what the fuck.
Apr 11, 2008
There is just so much wrong with thi-UGH
Tanabe: That may have been the most arduous part of this project. Well, actually, there was one more major hardship we had to overcome. Those were your words…

(Strained laughter)

Iwata: So, we've finally come to this topic. (Laughs)

Tanabe: During the second half of 2006, I showed you Metroid Prime 3, as it was then in mid-development. You told me, "In this current state, it's no good. It's ok if we postpone the release, so please improve it until it's of the same quality as Twilight Princess." I couldn't believe what I had just heard. My face went ghastly pale. (Laughs) Originally, we were planning to make it a launch game, so I asked, "What should we do now...?!"

Iwata Even if we couldn't release it with the hardware, our original plan was to at least release it soon after. So to fulfill this objective, development had begun really early, and the people at Retro had given their all to achieve this goal as well. That's why, even though they had been given more time to work on the game, rather than feeling happy about getting time to improve it, they may have felt that they just wanted to finish the project as soon as possible.

Tanabe I think so. Also, to put it specifically, I don't think the people at Retro really sensed what you meant by "improve it until it's of the same quality as Twilight Princess." We didn't, either. After all, the games are in different genres
I never knew any of this before today.


Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
"I don't have any idea what the fuck he's on about either. Lets just fishing this quickly so we can get paid and get the fuck out of here."
Jun 12, 2008
Brooklyn, NY
Oh mannn, why did they drop the Federation Reverse Engineered Suit soldiers concept, everything about Dark Samus coming from Prime 2, Kraid & Crocomire, and that wonderful Metroid Museum for Prime 3?

That storyboard art and the ruined powersuit Samus look... HNNNNNG

This thread makes me want to replay 3 once more, but just knowing about what could have been again is making me wish there was more Prime to look forward to.

Edit: Re: The title, I wish if we got Prime 3: Echo Harder myself. :p

That Iwata Asks is absolutely fascinating just from the excerpts taken. Not up to snuff with Twilight Princess though? Sorry, as much as that game is good, no. Just no. Especially not at the cost of goddamned Echoes 2 basically.
Nov 7, 2011
These threads are mindblowing Mama. Worthy of being published on Gamasutra or the 'Time Extended' pages in Edge.

Nintendo should have taken better care of the talent at Retro.
Jun 12, 2008
Brooklyn, NY
It's really hilarious to me that when I played Prime 3 for the first time, my first impression was that it really felt watered down versus the previous 2 games for some reason I couldn't describe. After all, the art design was pretty much hitting its zenith for this series, the Wii controls were splendidly done when they weren't grapple related (not because they were bad but because they really weren't expanded enough), and the worlds were all still well realized.

Seeing this though really drives the point home. There's a lot of compelling shit in here and I just can't fathom how all of it managed to get excised.
Dec 14, 2008
What the hell. I can see why some of the stuff was cut from echoes, but all of this looks much better than what got in... Bryyo looks way better. The opening Kraid battle would have been 100000x better than the stupid halo ripoff intro. Ughh.

Amazing post/s
Sep 9, 2005
I never knew any of this before today.
That's insane. While Prime 3 led me to believe that Retro had done everything it could with the Metroid franchise, I can't believe Iwata came to this conclusion, and only a few years later we got Other M.

Mama, I couldn't help but notice there was nothing about the infamous "Metroid Dread" scan. Were you able to find anything / heard anything regarding something that I remember reading was nothing more than a mere "coincidence"? (Ha!)
Mar 28, 2010
Dominican Republic
This thread is awesome, thanks for the great read. Those guys at Retro are extremely talented developers and it shows, I can't help to think they would produce more awesome/different games if Nintendo gave them more freedom to work on the things they like the most.


Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
May 4, 2007
An impressive job, mama! /subscribes
Feb 12, 2009
Brooklyn, NY
Once again, amazing stuff. I had no idea that Kraid was planned to be included in this game, only to be cut again. I'm confused about your notes on Meta Ridley; the concept art below the render is actually very similar to how the final version looks on Norion, certainly closer to it than the render, which is the Prime 1 design.

Those flesh textures are tantalizing because they imply a return to the visual style of the impact crater from the first game, and perhaps even the red phazon plot point, which was conspicuously absent in Corruption.

I'm guessing the "chain cleat" has to do with Bryyo, judging by the the reptilian face and the presence of the massive floating "moons" chained to the planet's surface in the final game, but that face indeed doesn't look like the Reptilicus. It also amazes me how much lore was created for Bryyo and its inhabitants, only for even what wasn't cut to be entirely irrelevant in the final game (outside of maybe the Chozo connection). I always thought that dropped plot thread was strange.

The Iwata Asks was an amazing read, especially the portions about the relationship between eastern and western design sensibilities, and it provided the biggest surprise out of all of this for me personally: that the light and dark theme for Echoes was decided on by a single western Retro staffer out of love for A Link to the Past. I'm not even sure how to feel about that.

One other thing, when you updated the thread about the first game you added a piece of concept art depicting a Zebesian style space pirate, but with exaggerated proportions and bristling with extra weaponry. I'd never seen it before, and it strengthened my hunch that there was an early, scrapped Elite Pirate design that was based on the Zebesian look. Thanks for posting it, and again, thanks for compiling all this.
Jan 27, 2005
South Carolina
Man, I really wish some of the alternate Dark Samus forms had been used. The character design used in the games always seemed way too similar to Samus and below Retro's usual standard. The ones here are great.
I agree completely. Fantastic designs.

Wasn't Kraid also supposed to be a boss in Metroid Prime? Retro keeps cutting him out for some reason.
Yeah, that sort of pisses me off. We need another Kraid battle!
Sep 30, 2009
These were all amazing to read. Thank you for digging up all this information.

I'm trying to finish up the Trilogy on Hypermode, but I can't get passed Emperor Ing in Prime 2. That game is my equivalent of comfort food and I can't beat it on hard. :p Prime 3 is the only Wii game I've ever whacked myself in the face playing.

The art, attention to detail, and thought that goes into these games is incredible, but I can't help but feel that it all goes unnoticed. Maybe Retro can take a cue from Rare or the old Factor 5 guys and add an unlock able commentary track.

Anyway, when can we expect the Donkey Kong thread? :p
Tanabe: "If Nintendo goes ahead with this, we will be in deep trouble!" They would try to change your mind: "With these specs, there is no way you'll sell in America!"

Ha ha.

If Samus is overpowered in hyper mode, she transforms into what looks like stage 4.

This looks like a prototype for the Mogenar boss mostly because of the weak points.

I assume spoilers are safe because of how in depth the OP is.

Also it could have been great if we got Omega Kraid in a Leviathan on the Pirates home world (no offence Omega Ridley which you posted) and if the last boss deteriorated into a clumsy version of Metroid Prime in the end, that would have been more appropriate after the Aurora 313. I love the game though, a consistently excellent trilogy.


Still Tagged Accordingly
Jun 6, 2004
awesome thread. great work.

i'd love to see Retro take on another Metroid game. no gimmicks, just a pure Metroid game in the same vein as Super and Prime.
Apr 11, 2008
Thanks for the nice comments again, its positive feedback like this that encourages me to dig further!

That's insane. While Prime 3 led me to believe that Retro had done everything it could with the Metroid franchise, I can't believe Iwata came to this conclusion, and only a few years later we got Other M.
Yeah. Actually delving this far into Retro's Metroid games has somehow made me even more angry towards the shoddy, lazy and offensive Other M. The Prime trilogy was taking every opportunity to try and use the traditional Metroid framework as a springboard for wild new ideas. Every familiar weapon, upgrade and returning foe was reconsidered for both being effective in three dimensions and to be fresh and distinctly different from its previous incarnation. The games introduced new standards for the franchise, such as multiple biased narratives leaving events open to player interpretation, a whole new smorgasbord of expansion for the game universe, near-perfect control, and absolutely beautiful audio and visual splendor. They're completely remarkable.

Other M was ugly, had sonic-wallpaper for background music, introduced very little new while providing an uninspired recycle of the powerups and enemies seen in the early Metroid games with little to no fresh ideas. You can find more attempts at innovation in the abandoned concepts in Retro's unmade Metroid 1.5 than in the entirety of Other M. Its clumsy, boring, at times actually stupid, and all of that is before we get to the asinine, obtrusive and offensive storytelling.

I do have to wonder, why Iwata didn't call them out on it as he did with his perceived concerns regarding Metroid Prime III.

Mama, I couldn't help but notice there was nothing about the infamous "Metroid Dread" scan. Were you able to find anything / heard anything regarding something that I remember reading was nothing more than a mere "coincidence"? (Ha!)
Nothing, I'm afraid. If it was being developed in Japan, then all my researching strategies (which I'm slowly turning into a twisted art form) will come up null as I don't speak Japanese.

In the last thread, I was asked if I had seen any materials from the rumoured Retro Zelda/Sheik spinoff game. I have found nothing regarding this, even in portfolios from former staffers who are quite liberal in posting their materials. I believe that the Sheik rumour is a complete myth, myself.

Once again, amazing stuff. I had no idea that Kraid was planned to be included in this game, only to be cut again. I'm confused about your notes on Meta Ridley; the concept art below the render is actually very similar to how the final version looks on Norion, certainly closer to it than the render, which is the Prime 1 design.
Hmmm, I think you are on to something here. I did rewatch the Norion Ridley battle, and there are qualities in his model that are not reflected in the "Mecha Ridley" design but also not reflected in the "Meta" incarnation either. I don't have the means this very second but later I'll get some HD grabs from the battle off Youtube and do a proper comparison.

I'm guessing the "chain cleat" has to do with Bryyo, judging by the the reptilian face and the presence of the massive floating "moons" chained to the planet's surface in the final game, but that face indeed doesn't look like the Reptilicus. It also amazes me how much lore was created for Bryyo and its inhabitants, only for even what wasn't cut to be entirely irrelevant in the final game (outside of maybe the Chozo connection). I always thought that dropped plot thread was strange.
This makes loads of sense. The chains seen on Bryyo are unexplained and this image would seem to provide some insight.

Why the fuck didn't you propose all this as a feature article for a website or magazine or something? It's more informative than most of the ones I've read.
I like posting this stuff on GAF. If the other threads are anything to go by, this one will be picked up by some gaming news sites in a couple of days. Most of them are getting better at acknowledging my work and linking to the OP, though you always get the ones that just copy and paste my post or discovery and claim it as their own.

Sax Russel

location: beach
Jun 10, 2004
Thanks for putting these threads up, the Metroid Prime games make for such an amazing series and reading all this buried/lost information about them has been great, really enjoyed it.