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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Return of Samus

If Nintendo proved anything this past E3 it is that you can elicit quite the joyous reaction from people with just two words and a number, especially is said two words and number are "Metroid Prime 4." It has been ten years since the last console Prime entry and the teaser reveal that the game is in development for the Switch had fans jumping and screaming for joy.

Most are ecstatic that a fourth entry in the main Prime series is in being developed, there is, understandably some cause for alarm. Retro Studios, the team behind the original Prime trilogy, is not at the helm of Metroid Prime 4. In fact, most of the key players that worked for Retro Studios have since left the company. No doubt that has some read flags waving wildly in people's minds but once upon a time, Retro Studios were newbies to the Metroid series and initial fan response to Metroid Prime in the development stages was quite harsh. When the game did release, it blew people away. The Prime games are viewed as a natural evolution to the 2D Metroid games and although they play from a first person point of view and there is lots of shooting, the Prime games still involve tons of exploration and have been dubbed first person adventure games. Sure, the new team behind Prime 4 isn't Retro but they should still be given a chance.

Samus Aran isn't just returning to consoles, though. The game wasn't shown in Nintendo's E3 Spotlight video but during Nintendo's Treehouse live stream, Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of the 1991 Metroid II: Return of Samus on the Game Boy, was shown for the 3DS, making Samus triumphant return a one-two punch.

I have wanted an official remake of Metroid II for years. After seeing what Nintendo did with Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the original Metroid, I was dying to have Metroid II get remade. I actually played far more of that game than I did the original NES Metroid when I was a kid, but as an adult, I can see the blemishes of both the original Metroid and Metroid II very clearly. Both games lack an in-game map. The original Metroid allows enemies to get in far too many cheap shots and Metroid II's environments all look far too similar. Zero Mission is hands down the definite way to play the first Metroid and Samus Returns is shaping up to be the same for Metroid II.

No more samey looking areas for Samus to
explore in the re-imagining of Metroid II. 

Call me crazy, but I was never offended by the divulge Metroid Prime: Federation Force in the slightest. Fan reaction to that game was so overwhelmingly negative that it was akin to Toon Link's reveal in 2001. Oh, sure, Toon Link and the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker are much beloved now, but a year before the game came out, they were pretty much universally hated. Now I'm not saying you should shut up and take what you're given, but there is some irony in all of this. After Metroid: Other M and then the reveal of Federation Force, fans were petitioning for a "real Metroid game." Federation Force was revealed two years ago. What game has been in development for two years? Samus Returns. All the while fans were wasting their time to get a game they hated and (judging by the abysmal sales) never even played canned, a mainline Metroid game was being developed. A remake, sure, but a main series Metroid, nevertheless. And the entire time, Nintendo said nothing about it. I imagine Reggie and Yoshio Sakamoto were having quite the chuckle over this two years ago.

The Metroids in Samus Returns look more
intimidating than ever.
Something does trouble me concerning Samus Returns. I'm hearing that some fans of AM2R: Another Metroid II Remake are talking about boycotting Samus Returns, which is one of the stupidest things any Metroid fan could do. Yes, these people feel burned about Nintendo giving AM2R a cease and desist, but these same fans have been clamoring for official Metroid games for years and now that one is coming in a few short months, they want to boycott it? That makes zero sense and only helps to ensure that Samus will have fewer games to call her own.

Time for a reality check. The video game industry is a business. Whether fans wish to acknowledge that or not, the truth of the matter is that Nintendo and everybody in this business is out to make money. Metroid games have never brought in the money that Mario, Zelda and the Pokemon series have. The 1 million units that Metroid Prime sold in America, all of the aforementioned franchises bring in many times that amount worldwide. For fans to continue to be butthurt over Nintendo shutting down AM2R by boycotting Samus Returns, they are only helping to put Samus back in the grave. DoctorM64, the creator of AM2R was never angry with Nintendo for shutting his project down and after the reveal of Samus Returns, he tweeted that it was the Metroid II he's always wanted.

As a Metroid fan, I'm really looking forward to more information on Metroid Prime 4 and I cannot wait to play Metroid: Samus Returns. I was even able to preorder the special edition and I'll be picking up those amiibos on release day. While there is some uncertainty in the air, is is nice to have you back, Samus. I hope you'll be sticking around for a very long time.

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