Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Future of Metroid

We are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Metroid and despite its name, Hyrule Blog is currently focusing on the Metroid series. But Metroid always was the younger Sci-Fi sister of the Zelda franchise, this site was even named "Torvus Blog" at the beginning and is run by a guy named "TourianTourist", so it shouldn't be all that surprising, if we're taking a little pause from Zelda every now and then and talking about Metroids instead.

And this always would have been the case, if Nintendo had given us anything to talk about. Since the foundation of Torvus Blog in 2008 the Metroid franchise hasn't seen much love. In these eight years only Other M and Federation Force have been released, both not the most favorable titles of the series. But let's take a brief look of what could await us in the future with Nintendo's upcoming system, the NX.

Warning: this post will contain SPOILERS about the endings of various Metroid games, including Fusion, Corruption, Other M and Federation Force.

The multiplayer outlet Federation Force aside, there hasn't been any new Metroid game in the current generation, on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. It was similar with the era of the Nintendo 64 and GameBoy Color, where they didn't even release the planned GameBoy Color version of Metroid II - Return of Samus. But in the following generation, on GameCube and GameBoy Advance we saw four excellent Metroid titles: Metroid Prime, Metroid Fusion, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid: Zero Mission.

While we probably shouldn't expect as much from the NX, it's entirely possible that the NX will see two different Metroid games similar to the Wii - one new Metroid Prime experience by Kensuke Tanabe and Retro Studios and a more traditional Metroid experience by Yoshio Sakamoto, Nintendo and Team Ninja (the "Project M" team). Both could even tie in together. It's also thinkable that the Nintendo 3DS still might get a proper 2.5D Metroid, because Nintendo isn't finished with the system just yet.

At least Metroid Prime 4 seems to be on the table following the endings of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Metroid Prime: Federation Force, where Sylux is pursuing Samus and gets his hands on a Metroid. Kensuke Tanabe already talked about his ideas for Metroid Prime 4 on last year's E3, where he explained that the game will focus on Sylux and his hatred for both Samus and the Galactic Federation (source). And Federation Force now gave further evidence that this is a story that we're going to see in the future, probably even on the NX.

And this could tie nicely with the classic Metroid series. Maybe Sylux and his actions were the last straw that broke the camel's back and led to the events of Metroid II - Return of Samus, where the Galactic Federation ordered Samus to terminate the Metroid threat on SR388. And a new game by Sakamoto in the style of Other M could very well be a remake of the GameBoy Classic, where you get to see the "Baby's" origins and the evolution of the Metroid species in full 3D glory, while fighting them with the smooth Sense Moves and auto aim system of Other M.

In fact a game in the style of Other M would be well suited to remake SR388 and its Metroid life cycle. The Metroid Queen looked amazing in Other M and it would interesting to experience the other Metroid iterations in the same style. Also, the eerie atmosphere of the Bottle Ship would be a nice match for recreating the ambience of SR388. And while Samus gets to see her "Baby" for the first time, the story probably wouldn't end in the same disaster that Other M offered. In the very least, items should be found and not be authorized.

It would even explain, why Nintendo is so interested in taking down the excellent fan project AM2R, if they are having similar plans for a remake... In any case it wouldn't be the first Metroid remake, because Sakamoto and his team already remade the first game with Zero Mission on the GameBoy Advance.

But that's just a possibility and in general it would be interesting to do something with the life cycle of the Metroids again, because the full thing only ever got featured in the GameBoy classic. Only an Omega Metroid at the end of Fusion and the Metroid Queen in Other M provided a taste, while the Metroid Prime Trilogy focused on dealing with new Metroid mutations caused by the Phazon. But maybe Metroid Prime 4 already deals with the classic life cycle again and lets us fight all Metroid variants in first person.

And Sylux is not the only open end in the series, because ever since Fusion in 2002 the story of the Metroid universe never went forward. After the events of Fusion Samus and the Galactic Federation probably parted ways, since the Federation tried to exploit Metroids as biological weapons. This theme was further explored in Other M, but we ultimately never saw the consequences of Samus' actions against the Federation. And if there's ever going to be a new story after the events of Fusion - a true "Metroid 5", it probably will be developed by Sakamoto and his team(s), where "Metroid Dread" was brought up several times as the next title and even got teased in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

In any case the Metroid series offers enough potential material for new outings in the future, where we'll hopefully get something on Nintendo's upcoming system, the NX.

See you next mission!

1 comment:

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Speaking of Metroid, after years of frustration, I was finally able to do the flawless escape sequence on Norion, dodging every single attack from Ridley while in Morph Ball mode. This was worse than doing the aeropirate challenge and protecting the marines, amongst other potential Friend Vouchers. I'd even argue this was harder than fighting the Spider Guardian on MP2.

As soon as I finish Prime 3 (it will be my first time), I'll finally play through Other M before tackling Fed Force and the Metroid 2 remake.