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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Metroid Fans on Federation Force: We're Mad!

At this year's E3, Nintendo showed us a trailer for Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the first new Metroid since the 2010 Metroid: Other M. The trailer alone sparked such a venomous response from fans. No hands on time with the game from the press or anything, just a trailer and the fandom is furious, calling for the termination of Federation Force. OK, so it goes a bit deeper than that, but I still find the reaction to this game reveal quite silly.

"Kill it! Kill it with fire!" - Overreacting
Metroid Fans

Federation Force from what we've seen doesn't appear to be your father's Metroid game. Being a spin-off, that can be expected, but that still doesn't sit well with series fans. One of the main sticking points is the absence of series protagonist and bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Our leading lady seems to be MIA in Federation Force and in her place are some no name (at this present time), galactic fighters with multicolored face plates on their helmets. Will they have speaking rolls? Will story be a key part of the game? We don't know yet, but the last time Samus did a lot of talking that wasn't purely texted based, fans threw a hissy fit.

The game's very title serves to link it to the Metroid Prime universe, and this is something a lot of fans believe Federation Force does not deserve. The main focus seems to be on co-op multiplayer and that's kind off all we know at this point. But what little we know is enough to have fans trying to get Nintendo to cancel the game via petition. Yes, this is a thing.

As for Samus not being in the game, well, yes, this does surprise me a bit, but this is a spin-off game, but apparently fans saw the "Prime" in the title and forgot to take that into account. People do know what spin-off games are, don't they? These are games that sometimes feature the main characters and sometimes they don't. Since this isn't a game in the main series, I can't find much fault for the lack of Ms. Aran.

I think most F-Zero fans remember the third game in the series, F-Zero Maximum Velocity. It was a GBA launch title that returned the series to its Mode 7 racing roots. You know what it didn't have? Captain Falcon. He wasn't a hidden racer or anything. The good captain just wasn't in the game. At all. Nor was Pico, Dr. Stewart or Captain Falcon's arch rival, Samurai Goroh.  Heck, not even any of the additional 26 racers from F-Zero X were in Maximum Velocity. The racers for the first F-Zero GBA outing were entirely new and it didn't dampen the enjoyment of the racer in the slightest. The Super Smash Bros. games give Captain Falcon more screen time outside of his Blue Falcon race machine than his own series does. I'd argue that most people probably wouldn't even know what Captain Falcon looks like had he not been a character in Smash.

Maximum Velocity was a fantastic racer even
without the presence of Captain Falcon.

Federation Force can still be a competent game without Samus. Although from the way fans are raving like a bunch of lunatics, I don't think including Samus would make them change their tone much, if at all. The SD look of Federation Force in contrast with Metoid Prime's more realistic character designs has also caused a big stir. I don't think anyone batted an eye when Samus was, once upon a time, the same size as Ridely and Kraid in the original Metroid. I guess the fandom unknowingly made up a rule that all Metroid games, even spin-off titles have to use realistic looking character models. The earlier Final Fantasy games had plenty of serious plot points in their stories but your star characters were of the SD variety. Those titles certainly weren't lesser games for it. Meanwhile, the current brand of Final Fantasy outings are all super dark and serious with realistic body types, but continue to be a laughing stock for all the wrong reasons. But that's a topic for another day.

He used to be universally despised. Now?
Everyone loves him.

When Nintendo had demos to show off the graphical power of the GameCube in 2000, we saw, at the time, the most realistic version of Link getting ready to throw down with Gannondorf. Then the summer of 2001 rolled around and we got a Link that looked nothing like the late teens, battle savvy warrior we saw in that tech demo. With his unique cel-shade look, fans dubbed the game that would be titled the Wind Waker, Celda. Response to Toon Link was not unlike the reaction to Federation Force. My, how things changed when the game was released in 2003 and more than a decade later. The Wind Waker is now looked upon as a classic and its visual style being one of the game's best attributes. It received an HD remaster on the Wii U and Toon Link has more personality than any other Link, which is remarkable for a character that pretty much says jack squat. Metroid fans are losing their crap over a game that "doesn't look like Metroid" in the same manner that Wind Waker did not look like a Zelda game.

"Boo, its 3D!"
"It doesn't look like Metroid!"
Yes, we're really doing the same song and dance
for Federal Federation that we did with Metroid Prime, a
game that is now adored by many.

Lastly, does anyone remember the time before Metroid Prime released? Hoo boy, everyone under the sun had no faith in the game. It wasn't going to be a 2D adventure fans were expecting and its development team, Retro Studios was having a devil of a time trying to make the 3D transition of one of Nintendo's iconic franchises. When Metroid Prime was finally released, the game received wide spread critical acclaim, keeping many of the classic Metroid elements despite being a 3D game. What originally "didn't look like a Metroid game" is now viewed as a masterpiece. It really is ironic how Federation Force's reveal is strikingly similar to how people felt before Metroid Prime came out. I wonder how many of the people wanting Federation Force to be crucified can recall how they once felt about their beloved Metroid Prime. You need only scroll down in the comments section on the reveal trailer or any news article talking about the game and see that the level of butt-hurt is strong.

The development team behind Federation Force instills me with confidence. The team is Next Level Games, the same company that brought back Punch-Out!! on the Wii and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, a very worthy successor to the original game. Nintendo didn't just throw anyone onto this project and I loved what they've done with the company's properties. It may not look like it belongs in the Metroid Prime universe, but given how Nintendo is always watchful to whom it lets touch it's game licenses, I like to think Metroid Prime: Federation Force won't be the bomb so many are already writing it off to be. 

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