Things X 5 Special – 5 developers for Metroid

by Francois Joron

It will soon be 3 years since Nintendo released its last entry into the Metroid franchise. Co-developed by Team Ninja and directo Yoshio Sakamoto, Metroid: Other M failed to meet both Nintendo’s sales forecast and the fan’s (possibly unrealistic) expectations. I for one really enjoyed Other M and found that it was a fresh take on the Metroid universe with a nice atmosphere. Even if the story led to some questionable moments, I found it to be overly charming in a odd, Japanese way – which might very well be why I’m having so much fun with Yakuza series.

But, as much as I would like to see Team Ninja developing another Metroid I must accept that I might very well be one of the few. So what’s ahead for the Metroid series? And perhaps more importantly, who will bring back Samus’ adventures to the big (or portable) screen?

1

Retro Studios
Related titles: Metroid Prime Trilogy (GameCube/Wii)

Let’s start with the most obvious. Since Other M did not live up to many’s expectations, especially in North America, Nintendo could simply bring back Retro Studios to handle a brand new chapter in the Metroid Prime series to the Wii U. That would be a wise move, a safe bet, and perhaps what many of us want. A new Prime game could really benefit from HD graphics and the Wii U Gamepad could serve as a handy navigation system as well as an interesting take on the series scan visor mechanic.

Metroid Prime

2

Platinum Games
Related titles: Vanquish (PS3/Xbox 360), Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (PS3/Xbox 360)

With both Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 coming to the Wii U as published by Nintendo, I would almost bet that Platinum Games is handling the next Metroid. At the very least, I’m certain the Japanese studio is a prime candidate on Nintendo’s list. The studio’s trademark over-the-top action combined with its graphic flair would certainly inject a new dynamic into the Metroid series. I see a game that would take the Other M core ideas as a starting point and push them forward in bold new directions, both stylistically and artistically.

Vanquish

3

Gearbox Software
Related titles: Borderlands 2 (PS3/Xbox 360/PC), Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3/Xbox 360/Wii U)

Let’s think about Metroid Prime Hunters for a moment and what Nintendo was aiming for with the handheld game. It was more or less a first-person shooter setup in a Metroid world with a emphasis on multiplayer. What if Nintendo wanted something similar for the Wii U? They would have their very own title that could tackle the tastes of Halo and even Call of Duty audiences. Not that I’m saying this would be the best move, but if this was to happen, they better bring an experienced, and proven, developer on board. In that resepct Gearbox software could certainly fit the bill. Imagine the scale of Borderlands with a sci-fi theme not too different from Aliens and you could have a very special Metroid title. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a sleek cel-shaded look to it too.

Borderlands 2

4

Nintendo EAD – Tokyo
Related titles: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii), Super Mario 3D Land (3DS), Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GameCube/Wii)

Another plausible scenario is that Nintendo brings back the franchise into its very own Nintendo EAD development studios and let the Super Mario Galaxy team handle a brand new entry in the Metroid series. What kind of new ideas or game play tweaks could the team bring into a new Metroid game? Could the morph ball mechanic occupy a central role in the game play? Given their track record, they would certainly make it terribly fun! How about a traditional 2D Metroid but with an emphasis on gravitational forces? Whatever the team would bring to the table, having them developing a new Metroid title would certainly be one of the most exciting possibilities.

Super Mario Galaxy

5

WayForward
Related titles: A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Alien: Infestation (DS), Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (DSiWare / Nintendo eShop)

But what about a smaller scale classic Metroid? With Super Metroid often seen as the  best title in the franchise and serving as a foundation for many of today’s 2D exploration games, a return to the classic formula would certainly be welcomed. Perhaps it could be a premium downloadable 3DS title? If such a game were to be made I think WayForward could be a great prospect. The studio, known for its stellar 2D sprite animation and hand drawn graphics, could definitely handle the intricacies of the series’ art style and gameplay – even Shantae, WayForward’s cult series, shares similar gameplay ideas. Maybe Samus could even hug her Metroid buddy.

A Boy and his Blob

And you? Who would like to see handling the next Metroid? A story driven sci-fi soap opera by Bioware? A crazy, even humorous, combo-based game by Sakurai? Perhaps a cyberpunk dystopian take on Samus Aran’s adventures by Suda51 and his Grasshopper punk videogame band? Let me know!

Don’t forget, you can drop me hints on my Twitter account. Also, you are welcome to send me a friend request on my Wii U, my Nintendo Network ID is Jorf-Jorf. Have a great week!

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