December 3, 2022

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Metroid Prime dev shares some cool behind the scenes secrets ahead of the game’s 20th anniversary

2 min read

Metroid Prime’s 20th anniversary is coming up, and even if there’s no remaster announcement coming, devs of the original have at least shared some cool secrets.


Those of us that remember Metroid Prime coming out have probably turned to dust from the first sentence (not me, I don’t remember, sorry to everyone who does), but yes, Metroid Prime turns 20 next week on November 18. To mark the occasion, programmer Zoid Kirsch has decided to share some secrets you might not know about the game, having started November 18, with plans to continue sharing some everyday up until the anniversary.


The first fact he shared is one you probably won’t be surprised to hear. Those long door opening sequences? Yep, that’s just the rooms taking time to load. Kirsch explained that at max two rooms could be loaded at once, explaining why rooms with multiple exits could only have one door open at a time.

Metroid Prime’s 20th release date anniversary is on November 18th. Each day until then I’m going to tweet out a little story about its development. Here’s the first one:

— Zoid Kirsch (@ZoidCTF) November 8, 2022

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One of the cooler facts is about one of the effects in the game, one that sees Samus’s visor filled with a noise whenever she’s near the Pulse Bombu, obstructing her vision. Kirsch noted that because the GameCube only had 24mb of RAM, “every texture [had] to be carefully considered.”


Kirsch noted that using a low resolution texture to save memory would just make the static look blurry rather than crisp like you’d want it to. So how did they achieve the effect? An engineer came up with the idea of literally using the memory holding the Metroid Prime code itself, which honestly rules so much.


“When you see Samus’s visor affected by electrical “noise” in game, you’re actually seeing the bits and bytes of the Metroid Prime software code itself being rendered on the screen,” wrote Kirsch. “Turns out machine code is sufficiently random to work great as a static noise texture!”


Head to Kirch’s Twitter for some more facts, as it’s always a treat to get such rare insights into Nintendo games in particular.


We are, of course, still waiting to hear more about Metroid Prime 4 (which is still in development), but it’s likely we’ll have to keep playing the waiting game.

If we used a low resolution texture (64×64) to save memory the “static” would be blurry and not crisp. One engineer on the team came up with a great idea: what if we just use the memory holding the Metroid Prime code itself! We quickly tried it out and it looked amazing.

— Zoid Kirsch (@ZoidCTF) November 8, 2022

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