Prime 2D is a gorgeous sidescrolling take on Metroid Prime, and it’s playable now

Metroid Prime was the first 3D Metroid game and it’s still considered a GameCube classic, spawning two sequels and at least one fan attempt to port it to PC. But one team is taking a completely different tack: they’re remaking Metroid Prime as a 2D platformer, in keeping with the style of classic NES and SNES Metroid games.

Dubbed Prime 2D, it’s the work of Team SCU, which has apparently been working on the project since 2004, albeit with some personnel changes along the way, as well as the help of “hundreds of volunteers.” The team issued a free demo of the project late last week, and you can download it here if you’re keen (or you can just watch the video above).

Naturally, a first-person game can’t be perfectly transferred onto a 2D plane, and in a post from 2017 Team SCU explained that over the course of Prime 2D’s development the scope has shifted dramatically. “Rather than the pixel-perfect translation envisioned by our predecessors, we are taking a more targeted approach as a commentary on the shift from classic 2D to modern 3D gaming,” it says.

“Instead of copying the source material exactly, we are instead focused on taking the core concepts, translating those, and then implementing them in a logical 2D solution. By doing this we allow ourselves to focus on building a good game first and foremost, and then using that as a base on which to create a familiar experience, rather than constraining ourselves to trying to implement 3D ideas in 2D space.”

The gameplay footage shows a platformer that would probably have pushed the 16-bit SNES to its limits, if it had worked at all, and probably wouldn’t have been welcome on the Nintendo 64, which never got its own Metroid instalment. To be honest, it looks like it belongs to now, alongside stuff like Axiom Verge, Dead Cells and Blasphemous.

As lovingly crafted as the demo is, Nintendo’s famously litigious approach to fan projects may put a limit on its availability. Here’s hoping it survives though, and the project comes to fruition.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.