Metroid 64 is one of the great mysteries of the N64 era. Other than a few screenshots, nothing came of what would have been the first Metroid 3D game, though in hindsight it was perhaps for the best: the series made a triumphant return on the GameCube with the excellent Metroid Prime, and all was well. Last week, however, kotaku discovered that indie developer Luto Akino isn’t ready to put the Metroid 64 dream to bed, and is building his own Metroid game on the technology, style and design that an N64 version could have.
Now these types of projects often end up on PC, but just to confirm that this wasn’t one of those ventures where the game was being made for real N64 console cartridges, we reached out to Akino, who confirmed that “it’s for PC.” , adding that “maybe it would be nice to change the ’64’ for something else, but the truth is that it adds strength, sentimentality and helps the player to dive right into that time.”
Finally, working on #Metroid64, I tweaked small details and put in a test texture. There is a bug with the beam direction when Samus is leaning against the wall that I need to fix #metroid #F2P #n64 #lowpoly #Nintendo64 #Zelda #unity #unity3d #madewithunity #gamedev #3dmodeling #3D pic.twitter.com/ sWBYoTboveApril 26, 2022
Even though the project is in its early stages, it looks pretty good (as in, true to the inherently rudimentary look and feel of N64 3D games). This morph ball animation with the bounce afterward seems to capture the fluctuation seen in many games at the time, and the targeting and auto-segmenting is also perfect. The only inaccuracy I see is that the frame rate is really smooth rather than the 20-25fps that the N64 liked to drag.
Looking back, you can understand why Metroid 64 didn’t happen in the past. These were the early days of 3D graphics, and for every Super Mario 64 there were several Castlevania 64s or Earthworm Jim 64s that struggled to make that technical leap gracefully.
One of Metroid’s original creators, Yoshio Sakamoto, gave some interesting insights into a 2010 interview with games.tm on why no developer wanted to touch Metroid 64:
“When I held the controller of the N64 in my hands, I just couldn’t imagine how it could be used to move Samus. So for me, it was too early for me to personally make a 3D Metroid at that time… approached another company and asked if they were going to make an N64 version of Metroid and the answer was no, they couldn’t. They declined, saying they unfortunately didn’t have the confidence to create an N64 Metroid game that could compare favorably to Super Metroid.”
Well, a few decades later, Metroid 64’s time has apparently arrived. You can follow the progress of Akino’s project by following him on twitter and Instagramwhich are already full of little clips and footage of the game coming together.