The Great Silence of Nintendo

Very few fans of the Nintendo franchises can forget the announcements that took place during E3 2017. After an incredible starting year for the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo session of E3 was highly anticipated. What new games would be hinted at, and when would they be released? Most of the sneak peeks were anticlimactic, that was until a blue number four slowly splashed across the screen. Metroid Prime 4 was officially in development. The teaser was a mere 44 seconds long, but it lit a fire of rumors and speculation that would stick in gamers’ minds.

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“You’re killing me, Nintendo.”

Then there was nothing. There were no development updates and no further trailers were released. It was thought that E3 2018 would introduce more news concerning the title, but that came and went without a mere mention of it. It is now 2019 and still, nothing has been said about Metroid Prime 4. Believe when I say that this is by design, and it is due to a marketing technique that the gaming industry has been using for years called “phantom hype.”


Phantom Hype and Gaming

It is a relatively new term for something that has been happening for many years. Phantom hype is the deliberate anticipation that is created in consumers when a product is teased at and then seemingly forgotten by the company that did the teasing. In the gaming industry, this is what phantom hype looks like:

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The game provided the perfect example of what phantom hype is. Courtesy of Rockstar Games

A game like Red Dead Redemption 2 is teased online and at a major gaming event. Rockstar Games then shuts up about all aspects of the game including its size, scope, and story. Come the next year’s E3, they say nothing about the game, in fact, they say nothing for the next couple of years. Fans know the game is in development, but have no clue when it will arrive. Finally, in May of 2018, a trailer drops and the anticipation peaks, because it appeared as if the developers had forgotten about the fans, but they had not. This is phantom hype at its finest.

On the top of your head, you can probably think of many titles that are subjected to phantom hype. Kingdom Hearts III has been the subject of this for many years, and it is finally arriving in the hands of gamers this month. The Final Fantasy 7 remake is another phantom hype title, but only time will tell if it has stalled or is deliberately being held back. Metroid Prime 4 is just another title in a long list of games that have been “phantom hyped.”

What We Know So Far

The details concerning Metroid Prime 4 are sketchy and may not be very reliable to boot. All pertinent information I am providing has been taken directly from reliable sources and not click-bait troll sites. What we do know is that the game is being developed by Bandai Namco and not Retro, which is a major shift from the last three titles. There is no information on what the content of this game will be. However, it will most likely stick with the FPS style of the last three games.

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Samus is on her way back, we just don’t know when. Courtesy of Polygon

Nintendo of America knows that we have chomping at the bit for a new Prime title. That is why they announced back in October that they will be releasing an official Metroid Prime 4 trailer during the first quarter of this year. Read the official statement from Nintendo:

“Fans have been waiting for this news ever since we first teased the game. And now their patience has paid off! I am happy to announce that sometime in Q1 of 2019 we will reveal when the release date for the Metroid Prime 4 teaser trailer will officially premiere.”

Phantom hype, my friends, phantom hype.

Let the Anticipation Sink In

I have been a part of the video gaming industry for many years. I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that we will see Metroid Prime 4 released this year to a worldwide audience. Phantom hype has a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years. After that, it can be assumed that something has gone wrong in the development of the game. Everything seems to be moving forward on schedule for Prime 4, so we are going to probably get it as nice Christmas present this year.

What do you think? When is Metroid Prime 4 going to hit the shelves? Do you think I am right about phantom hype? What other games are receiving this treatment? Let me know in the comments below.