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Metroid Prime 4: The Series' Story So Far

With Metroid Prime 4 looming on the horizon, here’s a recap of the entire Metroid Prime saga up until now.


Metroid Prime 4 has finally been given a proper unveiling, now renamed Metroid Prime 4: Beyond and with an announced release planned for 2025. With the long-awaited release finally on its way, it's worth taking a look back at the story of the other Prime games. And for more, be sure to check out all the biggest Nintendo Direct announcements.

It’s been more than five years now since Nintendo shockingly revealed it was restarting development on Metroid Prime 4. In that span of time, the company has announced and released two high-profile Metroid games for Switch in Metroid Dread and Metroid Prime Remastered, keeping the series in the spotlight.

Although we currently know very little about the story of Metroid Prime 4: Beyond, one thing we can infer is that it will go in a different direction from previous titles. The first three installments in the Metroid Prime saga all revolved around Phazon, a mysterious radioactive substance capable of destroying the galaxy. Over the course of the original trilogy, Samus traveled to multiple planets afflicted by the mutagen to eliminate the corrupting substance and prevent it from falling into Space Pirate hands, culminating in a climactic confrontation against recurring nemesis Dark Samus on the Phazon homeworld.

With the Phazon saga firmly wrapped up, Metroid Prime 4 will likely pit the bounty hunter against some new galactic threat, but there are a few lingering story threads from previous games that may give us a hint as to what--or who--that could be. In the meantime, here’s a recap of the entire Metroid Prime saga up until now to refresh your memory as we await more news on Metroid Prime 4.

Spoilers for the first three Metroid Prime games follow.

First Encounter (Metroid Prime)

Though we don’t yet know where Metroid Prime 4 will fall in the series’ timeline, the entire Metroid Prime saga thus far takes place between the first Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus.

The story begins shortly after the events of the original Metroid. Several months after defeating Mother Brain and halting the Space Pirates’ operations on Zebes, Samus intercepts a distress signal from a derelict frigate orbiting the planet Tallon IV. Upon arriving, she discovers the ship is actually a Space Pirate research vessel, wherein the Pirates had been conducting experiments with a strange, newly discovered mutagen known as Phazon. In the course of her investigation, Samus comes face-to-face with one of these test subjects: the Parasite Queen, a monstrous creature that escaped captivity and has been wreaking havoc aboard the frigate. Samus is able to subdue the monster, but in the process inadvertently triggers the ship’s self-destruct sequence.

En route back to her gunship, the bounty hunter encounters her nemesis Ridley, revived and cybernetically augmented since their confrontation on Zebes. She pursues the dragon to Tallon IV, a lush natural world once occupied by the Chozo--the highly advanced bird-like race that raised Samus and developed her Power Suit. As with the Space Pirate frigate, Samus arrives to find Tallon IV eerily deserted. The Chozo, ravaged by some unseen force, have since vanished from the planet, with only the remnants of their once great civilization left to mark their presence.

The murals left behind by the Chozo chronicle the arrival of a great “poison” that reached Tallon IV via meteor and seeped into the very heart of the planet. Though the Chozo did their best to contain the corrupting force within the meteor’s impact crater, their efforts were ultimately futile, and the substance--Phazon--slowly spread and decimated their civilization. Lured by the prospect of harnessing this mutagen for their own ends, the Space Pirates arrived on Tallon IV some time before Samus and established various facilities across the planet to further mine and experiment with Phazon.

During the course of her mission, Samus eventually gains a Phazon-enhanced Power Suit, allowing her to enter the impact crater and confront the source of the mutagen: Metroid Prime. Partway through the climactic final battle, Samus destroys Metroid Prime’s exoskeleton to reveal its core form--a nebulous being made of pure Phazon. Samus ultimately defeats the creature, but in its death throes, it latches onto and absorbs her Phazon Suit as the impact crater begins to cave in.

The bounty hunter flees the site before it collapses, her mission to rid the planet of its corruption finally accomplished. However, this isn’t the last she’s seen of Phazon or Metroid Prime. After Samus departs Tallon IV, the scene shifts back to the impact crater, where a hand is seen emerging from Metroid Prime’s bubbling remains--confirming the creature survived by reconstituting with the stolen Phazon Suit.

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A Planet Torn Apart (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)

Some time after her adventure on Tallon IV, Samus receives a missive from the Galactic Federation to investigate Aether--a windswept planet on the outskirts of a neighboring star system. One month prior, a squadron of Galactic Federations soldiers was dispatched to Aether to pursue a Space Pirate vessel. However, communications with the squadron suddenly went dark, prompting the Federation to enlist Samus to locate the soldiers and render assistance.

Shortly after arriving on Aether, Samus discovers the remains of the missing GF soldiers, slaughtered in an ambush by a pack of shadowy, interdimensional beings known as the Ing. The Ing’s ephemeral forms allow them to possess other lifeforms, including the deceased troopers, and they inhabit the fallen corpses and launch a surprise attack on Samus. The bounty hunter is able to defeat the reanimated soldiers, but soon afterward encounters a mysterious doppelganger who leads her through a strange portal, where she is once again ambushed by the Ing.

Having narrowly escaped the attack, Samus makes her way to the Great Temple at the heart of the planet, where she meets U-Mos, the leader of the peaceful Luminoth. U-Mos entreats Samus for her aid, explaining that Aether has suffered a similar fate as Tallon IV. Several decades ago, the planet was struck by a meteor carrying Phazon, contaminating and slowly poisoning the Luminoth’s homeworld. The impact was so great that it also caused a dimensional rift to form, cleaving Aether into two halves: a “light” world and a “dark” mirror dimension where the hostile Ing reside. The shadowy creatures have since been waging war against the Luminoth in an attempt to conquer the planet, and without Samus’s assistance, Aether will become enveloped by its dark half.

Complicating matters, the presence of Phazon has also drawn the attention of the Space Pirates, who have set up mining operations across Aether to extract the mutagen. As Samus travels across the planet thwarting the Space Pirates’ machinations, she once again encounters her mysterious doppelganger, Dark Samus--the reborn form of Metroid Prime. Lured to Aether by its rich Phazon deposits, Dark Samus has been ransacking the Space Pirates’ facilities and absorbing the mutagen to regain strength, leading to multiple confrontations with Samus.

The bounty hunter ultimately reaches the Ing’s stronghold deep in the heart of Dark Aether, where she does battle with the species’ progenitor, the Emperor Ing. After defeating the shadowy beast, she is ambushed one final time by Dark Samus, now composed purely of Phazon energy. Samus overcomes her clone and returns to her gunship before Dark Aether implodes, fulfilling her mission and restoring order to the planet. As before, however, the story does not end there. In the game’s secret ending, Dark Samus is seen reforming in space, ready to return again.

The Source Of Phazon (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)

Six months after her expedition on Aether, Samus is enlisted once more by the Galactic Federation. The Federation’s Aurora Units, a network of organic supercomputers stationed across various planets, have been infected by a virus, and Samus is tasked with working alongside three other renowned bounty hunters to help cure it. Before the mission can get underway, however, the Space Pirates launch an attack on a Federation base on the planet Norion. Samus and the other hunters travel to the base and successfully thwart the Pirates, but the group are ambushed by the revived Dark Samus, who infects each of the hunters with Phazon.

Samus awakens one month after the attack, now outfitted with a specialized Power Suit that can utilize the Phazon coursing within her body for a temporary boost in strength. The Federation informs Samus that the Phazon-bearing meteors that struck Tallon IV and Aether were not random acts of nature, but a deliberate effort to spread Phazon across the galaxy. These living meteors, dubbed Leviathans, originated from a radioactive planet called Phaaze, and three more were recently observed hurtling toward the nearby planets Bryyo, Elysia, and the Space Pirate homeworld.

The other three bounty hunters, having awoken before Samus, were each dispatched to a different planet to investigate the Leviathans. However, communication with the hunters was lost several days ago, and it now falls to Samus to determine their whereabouts. As the bounty hunter travels from planet to planet, she discovers that each of her former comrades has succumbed to their Phazon corruption and gone mad. Samus has no choice but to defeat the other bounty hunters and destroy the Leviathans impacted in each of the planets, ridding them of the Phazon threat.

With the other Leviathans successfully dispatched, Samus travels to Phaaze for a climactic final confrontation with Dark Samus. The doppelganger fuses with the planet’s corrupted Aurora Unit, but Samus ultimately prevails, defeating Dark Samus once and for all. With the supercomputer now destroyed as well, the entire planet begins to self-destruct, eliminating Phazon from the galaxy for good.

However, a new threat appears to be looming in the shadows. As Samus sets off for her next destination, she’s tailed by a mysterious gunship resembling the one piloted by Sylux, one of the enemy hunters introduced in the offshoot game Metroid Prime Hunters. Very little is known about this cryptic warrior, but he harbors a deep disdain for the Galactic Federation and Samus, and his appearance in Metroid Prime 3’s secret ending suggests he may play a pivotal role in the series’ next installment.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not that will be the case. While Metroid Prime 3 ended with a tantalizing tease as to where the story could go from here, Retro Studios may well take the narrative in a different direction. As it stands, it’s currently our only hint as to what we can expect in Metroid Prime 4, but with any luck, we won’t have to wait too much longer until Nintendo finally sheds more light on the game.

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