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A 3DS Metroid game was in development by Next Level Games. However, according to a nameless developer, the game's development was shelved in favor of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.[1]

Concept art for it was later leaked online on 2014 in a portfolio for Next Level Games belonging to artists Nelson "Dedos" Garcia and Xochitl. The concept art indicated a more angular style, and contained art for Samus as well as a Boss Creature.

An Iwata Asks interview previously mentioned the prototype without revealing it was Metroid:

Iwata: What was your impression at Next Level Games when you first heard about this project?

Bryce: At the time, we were actually involved with a completely different project for Nintendo, and one day we had a video conference about that.

Chad: We had made a prototype in preparation for that meeting.

Bryce: And Kensuke Tanabe-san suddenly started something like a drumroll and said, "You're gonna make Luigi's Mansion 2!" I was so surprised I could barely speak.

In January 2015, details surfaced of a cancelled Metroid game that may be related to this project. A source for Unseen64 revealed that the game was intended to have a different art style from previous Metroid games[2]. A 30-second prototype video that has not been released showed Samus blasting her way through enemies before confronting a boss resembling Kraid.[3]

Despite the shelving of this game, Next Level Game released a multiplayer Metroid spinoff for the 3DS, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which focuses on a group Federation Marines known as the Federation Force. A year after that game shipped, Spanish developer MercurySteam shipped Metroid: Samus Returns – which was a remake of the Game Boy game Metroid II: Return of Samus – for the Nintendo 3DS also.