Did Next Level Games work on Metroid before Luigi’s Mansion 2?

Luigi’s Mansion 2 was developed by Next Level Games, an external group to Nintendo. Next Level transferred the GameCube adventure to a handheld format. This second iteration was divided in chapters and was more straightforward than the first title, though. Next Level Games could have developed a Metroid prototype before its work on Luigi’s Mansion 2.

An artist that worked in Next Level Games until 2009 designed some concepts for a Metroid product:

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Even Iwata hinted this prototype indirectly when he was asked about his first impression at Next Level Games:

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Thanks, Kyoto Report.