One of the coolest graphic effects from the original Metroid Prime was dynamic lighting from some of your weapons. Not only did it look amazing to see your shots light up surfaces as they zoomed down corridors and across rooms, but they even made the game a little easier in dark places. I remember at least once using shots to help me get a read on surfaces in a pitch black area.
It was such a distinctive feature that some people were a bit upset that it wasn’t included in the recent remastered version for the Switch, especially since it was included in the remake of Metroid Prime, in the Metroid Prime Collection released for the Wii. What happened?
Youtube channel KIWI TALKZ spoke with Jack Mathews, one of the programmers of the original version, in a Youtube video, where they revealed that the beam lighting effect was designed around a specific feature of the Gamecube hardware, that made it nearly free. They theorize that it could have been included in the Switch’s version, but it would have been much more costly there, especially at its 60 fps target. The Switch was designed, either cleverly or infamously depending on your point of view, around a mobile graphics chip, that was never intended to wow with effects, even those available to 22-year-old hardware.
It is interesting though, to think there are things the Gamecube’s now-ancient 3D chips can do easily that the Switch has trouble with. Mind you, the Switch does target a much higher resolution than the Gamecube, not 1080p but still 900, which is a lot more than the Gamecube which was aimed at standard def televisions. But on the other armored hand, it has been over two decades. Ah well.
Why Beam Lighting Was Removed In Metroid Prime Remastered (KIWI TALKZ on Youtube, 6 minutes)