Dear Mr. Sakamoto,
Before I get started, I want to tell you how much I loved Super Metroid, which I completed only a few days ago. It is one of the few games I would essentially call flawless. It is the first side-scrolling Metroid I played after having completed Metroid Prime 1 and 3. As a whole, I always considered Metroid to be one of the most interesting, ongoing game series to date.
You asked in a recent Interview for Player Feedback about Metroid: Other M. Not only have I played and completed before mentioned game, but I also wrote a review for a local daily newspaper. So I had a lot of thought put into analyzing this game. This of course does not mean, that my opinion is more important than the one of other people, but I still want to take this chance to react.
One statement in your interview made me very nervous. You said that players should not have their own perception of Samus Aran, that it would essentially hurt the series, that everyone has his own perception of that character. This is why you, as the 'author', had to flesh her out a bit in this latest game.
This is where my main criticism starts: No, You did not have to flesh her out. Metroid as a series was helped a lot by leaving the main character in the dark, unexplained and unexplored. Explaining her motivations and characterizing her only hurts the series. Look at a series like Half-Life: Gordon Freeman as a protagonist is nothing more than a blank sheet on which the players, of every gender, can project themselves. Why not keep Samus Aran that way? The focus on storytelling hurts Metroid: Other M a lot, since the portrayal of Samus is inconsistent with almost everything that has been before in the Series. It actually destroys the atmosphere and bad writing render any effort that was put into it, essentially futile. You have essentially made the same error that George Lucas did with the Star Wars series: instead of leaving some things unexplained and to the imagination of the viewer, You over-explain things, destroy their 'magic' and any suspense surrounding it.
Metroid: Other M is not a bad game. It does a lot of brave experiments, some of which fail and some of which succeed. The biggest failure was the story-telling and characterization of Samus Aran. I know I'm not alone with that point, and I'm certain You are going to hear about this by a lot of people. Some will be nicer than me, some will be way more rude, but they will all be honest, because they love this series so much.
Sven Wohl aka Subenu.
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