If you’ve been following the development of Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch closely, you’ll know that its release has been frustratingly delayed. It simply isn’t up to Nintendo’s usual standards, so it is going back to the drawing board.
In the meantime then, why not revisit the series’ 3D roots, and check out the Gamecube’s original Metroid Prime trilogy? And, in a fittingly sci-fi update, why not take a gander at the games running in 4K using a neural network to re-imagine its textures for the modern age.
That’s what YouTube’s Robert Dykes has done for the below clip, taking Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to a whole new level of detail:
Want a taster of the first game in the series? Here’s the original running in 4K, courtesy of YouTube channel College Hill:
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How it works
Obviously, this isn’t an official release, and requires some hacking of the Gamecube games’ original files to enhance them in this way.
The modders are using program called ESRGAN (Enhanced Super-Resolution Generative Adversarial Networks), which rips the textures from the original base game, analyses them, and then intelligently fills in the gaps in the lower resolution textures to sharpen them up and make them palatable in 4K, while in keeping with the feel of the originals. A 16:9 widescreen mod is also applied before running the new files through the PC Gamecube emulator Dolphin.
It may lack the artistry of a human touch to the texture work, but they both look a damn sight better than they originally did, and bring us a little bit closer to imagining what Metroid Prime 4 may actually look like when it is finally revealed.