Next year will see the release of the hotly anticipated Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the long awaited sequel to the critically and commercially successful Metroid: Other M (haven’t played it myself). However, instead of following the misadventures of Samus Aran, we get to play as one of four nameless space marines in a once in a lifetime chance to see the universe of Metroid outside of the famous bounty hunter’s visor.
I’m not one of the people who had the fervor of rage at the reveal of the new Metroid game at E3, but I was still left disappointed at way I saw and the reasons behind it. Before Federation Force there was leaks of concept art Next Level games had that was a Metroid game for the 3DS that, in an unconventional move for the sake of innovation from Nintendo, looked like a Metroid game, complete with the 2D side scrolling and a cool modern comic book art style.
And all in the name of what? To bring the Metroid series back into the eyes of gamers? Cool, yeah. I can get down. But apparently also to tell the story of characters in the Metroid universe other than the main, and only, player character. Characters who are nameless, ostensibly faceless, and haven’t been established apart from being in a generic Galactic Federation.
I always pegged the Metroid franchise to be about isolation and observation, where Samus and the player experience each new potentially dangerous environment like an explorer rather than just a hired killer; taking in the world slowly and subtly as you scan animals, fauna, dead bodies, and text logs to ultimately--and most rewardingly--draw your own conclusions. This perceived change (because we don’t know what the final product will look like, maybe it’ll be everything Metroid fans hope for and appeal to the new generation and allow the franchise to grow) reminds me of what Capcom keeps doing to the Resident Evil games: turning them into loud, tacky shooters instead of retaining the somber, slow-paced horror it was known, and popularized, for.
Both franchises are from studios that for whatever reason or another don’t appear to get what it is about their games that made people like them in the first place. Is it a cultural thing? I know Metroid has always been popular in the West than in the East and Nintendo doesn’t what to bank on a franchise they can’t sell to everybody on the goddamn planet and make a gabillion dollars from it--and I know for a fact that Capcom can’t afford to do anything but, yet insist on trying to have their cake and eat it with re-releasing every decade old Resi game under the sun while trying to hawk the newer ones as glorified Call of Duty and Gears of War knock offs.
I’m rambling, because games in development with little to no information about is a mind numbingly frustrating time where one can only speculate about what’s going to happen next. I, along with everyone else, am is waiting for the reveal in the future about Federation Force that’ll make us go “OOOOH! Okay, I can get behind this 110%!”