With E3 2015 long gone, one title still lingers in the recesses of Nintendo fans’ minds from their Digital Event: Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Nintendo arguably had no real chance of setting the world on fire after their competitors’ press conferences by holding back new footage of their biggest franchise new entry, The Legend of Zelda Wii U, but just like Sony, Nintendo had some explaining to do about their upcoming fall lineup, with some surprises for the early future in 2016. One of those shocking reveals was a 4-player co-op shooter using a familiar title, ‘Metroid Prime’ that did more harm than good. This announcement alone has outraged fans and sparked a petition to cancel the development of the game. Now, some would say that’s a bit drastic; all gamers have the option to simply avoid the game altogether, but the reasoning behind why they can’t, actually has some validity.
Normally, any new Metroid game announcement would have the fanboys in a frenzy, but this game felt different. Everyone was holding their breath for a new Metroid announcement and what was shown was not expected nor appreciated. The game’s initial launch trailer has a 90 percent dislike ratio. That shouldn’t bode well for any game developer. It’s hard to imagine a Nintendo game that has over 70,000 dislikes on the initial launch trailer, but if you don’t believe that, see for yourself here. Following the trailer, fans took to Change.org to eradicate this entry and render it nothing more than a bad dream. The petition needs roughly 5,500 more signatures to reach its goal. If you feel as strongly as Gilbert Manzanarez about the cancellation of Metroid Prime: Federation Force, sign here.
On the petition, Manzanarez expressed his stance on the game.
“For almost a decade, long time Nintendo fans have been waiting for a true Metroid game,” he said. “What we got however is a disgrace of a game with the name ‘Metroid’ slapped on the title. It has no elements at all of what Metroid is about and it’s a disrespectful manner to old and new fans of the series…”
Now that may seem harsh but the statement does ring true. The title the petition is referring to is Metroid Prime 3: Corruption that launched in 2007 which was regarded as the best Metroid game ever outside of Super Metroid. That’s 8 long years since the last ‘Prime’. The Metroid franchise releases new games sporadically, so when a new game does come along, it’s an event. Fans have been waiting for that infamous, “one more thing…” announcement at every press conference or digital event since the Wii U was announced. Imagine within this long drought of no Metroid since Metroid: Other M in 2010, somebody thought it would be a good idea to strip the core elements of the sci-fi epic to deliver a fun family-esque lazy spinoff shooter for E3. That is why fans are angry, the concept of 4-player mission-based game isn’t the problem here, nor is it because Samus Aran, the main heroine of the series isn’t playable (or at least it seems that way) or even the abysmal aesthetic. It’s because the game throws out the Metroid formula for something more, dare I say, fun? The fact of the matter is the game and the fans are having an identity crisis.
Yes, every Metroid game before it has starred Samus, but that isn’t my quarrel with the title. I’m sure she may be added in either a mission down the line, or unlockable after you finish the campaign. My issue is that Next Level Games, the developer affiliated with the title, is using a familiar brand to leverage the spinoff to gain more revenue. The ‘Prime’ name comes with a certain amount of pedigree and this isn’t holding that up. The name stands for more than just a simple perspective shift, it’s the fact the first person adventure game pushes all the elements of a Metroid game in your face. Desolate planets that seem to be uninhabited until you step foot on the surface only to witness a whole world littered with Space Pirates, the series’ main adversary. Manzanarez believes that foundation makes a great Metroid game.
“The foundations of isolation, atmosphere and exploration in unknown planets are what made Metroid great.”
And this game, judging from the debut trailer, is deviating away from that. Now those that want to make the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker comparison, I’m going to tell you why this is nothing like that. Wind Waker was announced in a time when people couldn’t accept a new art style change. Now the arts style is being used all over the industry and is being praised. Wind Waker also didn’t change the formula or try to incorporate some silly minigame for ‘fun’. Wind Waker was simply a fresh departure for the Legend of Zelda series and is actually cannon to the Legend of Zelda lore. This game, however, is going off the beaten path with a whole new take. Metroid only works in a hardcore sense. Nintendo has plenty of other franchises they can go with this silly route.
Now, I believe the concept for the game would have been accepted if it shared the same look or if it was given a graphical upgrade from Metroid Prime 3. The look of the game screams lazy; the 3DS is definitely capable of producing better graphics than what is shown here. What’s also appalling is the game is coming from a developer that brought to the market what’s arguably the greatest looking game on the device: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Just on the graphics alone, it is hard to take this game seriously. The game’s protagonists look like midgets that got lost in space.
It may not sound like it, but I actually wanted to play as the Galactic Federation and thought they could branch off to create their own sub-franchise shortly after the last Metroid Prime game, but this isn’t what I envisioned. As a Metroid fan, it pains me to say this, but I do not want to play this and I hope this gets brought back to the drawing board, as this game has committed too many sins to be brought to the market.