Metroid is a fascinating franchise to look at in the historical tense. Its first game shocked the world with the reveal of who Samus Aran was. Super Metroid is considered one of the best games of all time. Then the series went dark until the Metroid Prime series came along (as well as Metroid Fusion). Then it bombed via Other M, and is now making a comeback via the recently released Samus Returns, and the upcoming Metroid Prime 4. However, you might be surprised at how Metroid Prime 2: Echoes changed during its development.
How so? Well, ShineSparkers did an interview with Jack Matthews, a former developer at Retro Studios (the team behind the Metroid Prime Trilogy) and he revealed that a good bulk of time spent on Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was focused on multiplayer:
“When we started development on Prime 2, multiplayer was actually going to be the focus (I think we internally thought of the project as Metroid Prime 1.5). We were even going to have the ability to play as a Space Pirate and have things like wall grabs and such.
As we moved back towards a primarily single-player focus, we should have ditched multiplayer altogether. There was a ton of effort put forth to make multiplayer happen: we had to actually author third person Samus animations, we had to have support for multiple “players” in a game world, we needed to author all new lower quality effects, add game modes, et cetera et cetera. It’s all work that took quality and mindshare away from the single player.”
Interestingly enough, Echoes is considered by some to be the weakest of the Prime trilogy, maybe this played a part of it. Hopefully, whoever is making Metroid Prime 4 won’t make the same mistakes.