Metroid Prime is a video game developed by Retro Studios and Nintendo for the GameCube, released in North America on November 17, 2002 and in Japan and Europe the following year. It is the first 3D game in the Metroid series and the fifth main installment, and is classified by Nintendo as a first-person adventure rather than a first-person shooter, due to the large exploration component of the game and its precedence over combat. Metroid Prime, along with the Game Boy Advance game Metroid Fusion, that was released alongside it on the same day in North America, marked the return of the Metroid series after eight years – the last game in the franchise had been 1994's Super Metroid.
Metroid Prime is the first of the three-part Prime storyline, which takes place between the original Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus. Like previous games in the series, Metroid Prime has a science fiction setting, in which players control the bounty hunter Samus Aran. The story follows Samus as she battles the Space Pirates and their biological experiments on the planet Tallon IV.
The game was a collaborative effort between Retro's staff in Austin, Texas and Japanese Nintendo employees, including producer Shigeru Miyamoto, who was the one who suggested the project after visiting Retro's headquarters in 2000. Despite initial backlash from fans due to the first-person perspective, the game was released to both universal acclaim and commercial success, selling more than a million units in North America alone. It not only won a number of Game of the Year awards, but it is also considered by many critics and gamers to be one of the greatest video games ever made and remains one of the highest-rated games on Metacritic. In 2009, an enhanced version was released for Wii as a standalone game in Japan and as part of Metroid Prime: Trilogy internationally.