Saturday, June 25, 2011

Metroid Revival

Today I remembered "Metroid Other M", probably the biggest disappoint video-game wise for me last year.... aside from "Final Fantasy XIII", of course.  But that already was the subject of a Fanwank Corner.  I don't think Metroid is a dead franchise, it just had the bad luck of having one utterly horrible game.  The biggest debate with "Other M" is not if its good or bad (pretty much all of us agree its bad) but whether or not its simply a bad game with a bad story, or something outright insensitive and sexist towards women*.  It can be saved - but only with my vision!  On today's Fanwank Corner, I save Metroid using nothing but common sense.

I think I was as disappointed as anybody else to see that Nintendo did not have a new Metroid title to announce this E3.  Because if there is any franchise they need to rescue stat, its Metroid.  They lost a huge amount of goodwill from just about every but the hardest of the hardcore Metroid fans with "Other M".  That's not good.  Sales were just plain bad too, because people heard all this controversy and stayed away from the game.  Nintendo doesn't have to openly declare "Other M" non-canon and set a copy of the game on fire at a press conference.  But they need to do something.  What they should have done is announced a classic 2D Metroid game at E3 for the 3DS, something to let the fans know that they aren't being abandoned.  Something unoriginal, uncontroversial, but properly "Metroid".

Of course, that would be a bit boring and wouldn't warrant a whole post, so I'm going to be more creative than that.

In the early trailers for "Other M" I remember seeing Samus outside of the abandoned space station setting she always occupies, and that, probably more than anything else got me excited for that game.  She was in a space station, seemingly having to interact with the outside world.  The first shots are Samus walking around a building on a well-lit planet.  Sunlight in a Metroid game?  Incredible!  That was promising to me that we'd actually get to experience the larger SciFi civilization which Metroid has taken place in.  The entire universe can't be abandoned dark planets or space stations filled with evil aliens, right?  Well, it turns out that the scenes of Samus in the Sun in human society are all cutscenes, totally unplayable.  "Other M" actually is just the same old Metroid story as the rest of them, only with really bad narration added in and a few flashbacks.  It wasn't half as groundbreaking as it thinks it is.  Simply turning your protagonist into an emotionally disturbed woman with daddy issues isn't a revival of your franchise, its taking an old formula and fucking it up.

So for my Metroid game, I propose that we have a hub town.  Samus can't just live in outer space, she does need to interact with other human beings eventually.  Why not get the full space Bounty Hunter experience?  Samus has that space ship, let's finally get to use it and explore the cosmos.  I'm proposing a game world with multiple planets to travel across, with Samus going between alien-infested worlds and what are essentially Towns.  Since Metroid makes up the first half of the "Metroidvania" genre along with Castlevania, I think its about time to take some clues from "Order of Ecclesia".  "Ecclesia", by far the best DS Castlevania game, takes place not just within Dracula's Castle, but also shows the entire surrounding area, including a town.  You can travel to different locales and clear them of enemies, but also return to the hub town to take on sidequests - thus giving a reason to backtrack.  Metroid fans love backtracking.

I don't want to completely trample the old Metroid formula, simply make it larger.  This would be a game with not just one alien-infested planet to explore, but something like half a dozen.  You fight through whatever evil has attacked on world, then you can return to the hub town, restock in items, or take sidequests.  Samus is a Bounty Hunter right?  Shouldn't she be able to take on some freelance hunts?  I know Nintendo will probably be unhappy with the idea of Samus capturing other human beings - no matter how evil they are - so just make her Bounties monsters she has to hunt down.  You can return to the older worlds, find the creature that needs to be eradicated, then eradicate it.  Or just continue on with the storyline and go to the new world filled with monsters.

Personally I liked the gameplay of "Other M".  The story sucked, but I really liked how that game played, and I would like to play another game like it.  Sadly that probably won't happen, but I can dream can't I?  My vision for the hub planet is something of a 3D RPG town, but I could go 2D on this one.  But if the fans demand it, I guess this can be another FPS.  The Metroid Prime games are some of the most beloved games on the Gamecube, we could bring it back.  And this is just me, but I would kinda like some "Star Fox" rail shooter elements inbetween the planets.  I mean, Samus has that spaceship, can she fight with it?

Canon-wise I have no idea where this would fit in with the other Metroid series.  I don't think it matters - "Legend of Zelda" proves that finding canon placement for stories is completely irrelevant.  Of course, the game needs a storyline, I guess.  But what it doesn't need is whoever wrote "Other M".  All the people who wrote "Other M", and all the people who directed the dead-pan meaningless narration all need to be fired.  Summarily discharged and put on the streets where they belong.  You are failures.  So yeah, Samus is probably going to talk a whole lot less this game.  I don't think we need to go so far as have a silent protagonist, but we don't need a boring narrator telling us things we already know.  And we definitely don't need a Samus that breaks down and cries when she runs into a boss she's fought like six times already.  Nobody wants a protagonist with PTSD, and those people who do don't actually like to play games - they like to watch shitty animes that pretend to be games.  Samus was forever a figure of strong almost silent power that just happened to be female so that she could be the fanservice in "Super Smash Bros Brawl".  She shouldn't cry, she shouldn't whine, she shouldn't have to take orders from some asshole.  As a matter of fact, the first scene of the new Metroid should be Samus getting an order from a military officer, then her response being some kid-friendly translation of "go fuck yourself, I'm Samus".  We're going to reconstruct this character.

By the way, if I could, I would totally make Adam from "Other M" the main villain in this game.  The only real way to redeem Samus's independence is to have her kill the man who stole it from her in the first place.

I have a few ideas for the plot, as evidence by Samus's armor in my sketch above.  (I figured that Samus needed something of a new look, kind of a mix between Armor and Zero Suit.)  Samus's armor has been infected by the newest creation of the corrupt Galactic Federation**, which means that its slowly beginning to mutate beyond her control.  What you can see above is that her right shoulder pad is growing an eye and a wing - Ridley's wing.  Samus's suit has taken in his DNA, and is beginning to mutate to use his powers.  In the story, Samus is fighting against a new galaxy-wide Metroid attack, seemingly coming out of nowhere.  This is naturally the result of some SciFi Original Movie-style evil government experiment, and taking down the mad scientists who unleashed this threat is the final act of the game.  But before then, whole planets filled with people will be devoured, allowing Samus to fight monsters in typical Metroid environment of dark labyrinthine space ships.  Also there should be a Space Pirate or two.

I'm of the opinion that Metroid is completely stagnant with its skills.  How many games can you make with just Spin Attack, boost shot, and gappling hook?  So I've devised a whole battle system based upon solving this problem.  Those skills will be included of course, along with whole new ones.  Such as fire breathing like Ridley, or grabbing your enemy and sucking their health out like a Metroid.  Samus is able to steal the DNA of enemies using the mutated suit, so every enemy she kills opens up a whole new way to fight.  Naturally the more you use each monster's DNA, the more mutated the suit becomes and the more powerful your skill set grows.  Those protrusions growing off the suit are a sign that the suit is growing more power and so covering more of her body.  A mastered Ridley would have two wings and the ability to breath fire.  Of course, you can take the suit off and shift to different monster DNAs, and then level up different forms.  Finding the right monster form for each situation is the real meat and potatoes of the gameplay.  By end game, when Samus's suit is really beginning to go crazy, you can fully customize the suit assuming you mastered all the monster forms.

Then you get the Mother Brain DNA... that's when walls hit the balls.  In that exact order.

I'm personally very excited about this project, but of all my schemes, I think this one has the least chance of being made.  Nintendo will never admit that Yoshio Sakamoto, the long-standing Metroid director failed at "Dissidia"-scale when it came to story telling.  Also the plot is similar to "Metroid Fusion", not that I really care.  And again, I'm just a guy on the Internet who doesn't have the testicular fortitude to just make up his own story or games.  Who will listen to me?

Fun pretending though.

* I've heard a lot of claims that the "new" Samus is somehow a representation of Japanese sensibilities.  These claims usually go further and imply that by despising Whiny Bitch Samus that I'm being culturally ignorant.  I call bullshit on this immediately, just like I call bullshit on the claims that Samus has PTSD.  Japan is home to more fictional badass females than any other country on Earth.  Name one anime.  Any anime at all.  Guess what?  You'll find a strong female character in there.  This is the country that brought us Major General Armstrong, they aren't exactly opposed to strong females.  Hell, Samus herself wasn't an invention of the West.  And if Japan likes her better as a weak flower, then Japan is plain wrong.  Samus isn't a flower, she's a slab of concrete.  If you don't think concrete is a compelling character, than well, that's your deal.

** One thing I don't get about "Other M" that I didn't cover in my first review:   Why does Samus just let the bad guys get away with their crimes?  The Federation caused the entire mess on the spaceship, and not only that, they sent an assassin in there to kill off the entire Space Marine team.  Samus was almost murdered by the very Federation she's usually fighting for.  She even runs face to face with this evil bastard who immediately starts covering up the entire event.  Why didn't she just shoot the man in the face?  He's only going to start a whole new bio-ship filled with Metroids, Samus is failing in her duty to kill all Metroids by not killing this man.  Its all another symptom of a story filled with plotholes that went out of its way to make Samus as weak of a lead as possible.  I think they sabotaged her on purpose.


  1. Wow, now you're starting to get quite good at this drawing business. Totally badass

  2. im a metroid fan see fusion for way it you cant have adam as the vilain. its linar. 2 hub sounds great. well to be fair whiny voices causes people to think that they whine even more tidus effect theres a metroid manga where her character is handled way better. about te galactic federation thing she didnet know about it until fusion. and zelda game placement gakkkkk brain bleeding

  3. ever thougt of mailing your post to nintendo and square?

  4. oh but blue any character can not be baddass no emotion if your going to that you might as well
    let her get kidnapped


  5. Isn't it Metroids 25th Anniversary this year? And their not doing anything with that? Kinda sucks for Metroid fans.

  6. @Spellfail: I have no idea what you said. Try again.

    @YKP: Its Zelda's 25th anniversary too this year. Nintendo seems to want to focus more on that. But I also get the sense that the entire "Other M" fiasco makes them want to keep hushed up about Metroid for awhile. Its also Dragon Quest's 25th anniversary, and for that Square Enix is releasing "Dragon Quest I, II, and III" on the Wii. It will probably be Japan only because Nintendo of America hates RPGs and sucks balls.

    They could have at least said something for Metroid though.

  7. right i said that she cant be all badass and no emotion she might as well be kidnaped by a dragon. and about zelda 25th anevesary my brother always wondered why they dinet do that.
    alos in japan she isnet a bounty hunter well she is but thhey dont seem to aknowlegde that apparently its too hard for her so apaerently there shes federation spectre

  8. hey theres a game coming out next year called "prey 2" that as soon as i saw it I though "this is what metroid should be" you are a guy in a bladerunner style alien city doing freelance bounty hunts! he even has a type of power suit. i'm totally going to use that to replace metroid, next year *replays metroid prime*

  9. So now Samus will be some combination of Sephiroth with the one wing and a Blue Mage? This is getting kinda fanfictionish to me...


  10. @XYZ: I don't know when it didn't get fanfictionish.

  11. @Blue:
    I believe I may have stated this on your other Metroid Other M post, but I'll state it incase I did not.

    This game is not unsalvagable. Merely, what it needs, is someone to hack it, and re-write it. Sometime within the next 7-10 years (sadly so long that it won't matter anymore) some game hacker will hack the game, and rewrite it.

    Also, Other M isn't that bad game-wise, like you said. If you want a sheerly terrible Metroid game, play Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance. I swear to god, that game is terrble. It's gameplay is linear. Yes, linear. You can't explore around and get things whenever you please like in most Metroid games (in general that is). In this game, you have to progress in the story to enter an area/get an item or an upgrade.
    -- SilverShadow

  12. having re read th metroid manga i can safely say what the fuck why didn't they write on other m adam was better written. look it up.

  13. blue
    there is a reason why samus froze ridley killed her parents right in front of her. but see got over it even mocked him.
    the japanese ranked fusion fairly high
    check this on germans love david hasseloff