Between the barrages of new Amiibo figures, Nintendo unveiled a handful of titles featuring heroes from long-running franchises like Yoshi and Link. Of those franchises receiving a dose of vigor in the form of a new title, Samus has been left out.
During E3, Nintendo gave us a sneak peak at their upcoming Metroid game, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, for the 3DS. Take a minute to see the trailer that was shown, below.
The game is multiplayer-focused and features various game modes, such as Blast Ball seen in the video. Of what little is known of the story, it is known that the opposing sides are pirates and bounty hunters at one end and the Federation on the other, acting as a sort of galactic police department.
Federation Force is still being developed by Next Level Games, the developers responsible for Metroid Prime Hunters, and produced by Kensuke Tanabe, the same producer that worked on all the previous Metroid Prime titles. These facts make the reactions of many fans come as a surprise.
For avid fans of the Metroid series, this trailer has proven a jarring shift in tone from the series as it has been. Metroid fans have liked the quiet solo exploration of desolate and exotic locales, all the while defending themselves with Samus’ handy Varia suit. This new game lacks all of that, including the isolated solo play and even Samus herself.
In response, fans have cried out in resistance. Almost immediately after the announcement was made, a fan went ahead and began a petition against the title’s release. The primary complaint is that this game appears to be another low-budget shooter for the 3DS, lacking anything that resembles a celebrated Metroid game besides the art assets. In an interview with IGN, Tanabe revealed different intentions. He was quoted saying,
The focus on the battle between the Federation Forces and the Space Pirates was an idea I had since I was involved in Metroid Prime 3…We wanted to make something that would show the fight between the Federation and the Space Pirates.
So while the fans assuming the Metroid brand was shoehorned into the project as an afterthought have been proven incorrect, this statement likely isn’t the response they were hoping for. Even more insight was given during a similar interview with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo. Totilo asked about how much different the game seems, and Tanabe had the following to say:
Based on the things I’ve been hearing, there are a lot of people talking about the Blast Ball being sort of a mini-game almost, a sports type of thing. But I do believe that once everyone gets a chance to play the actual main game, you will definitely be able to experience the universe that everyone is looking forward to. [Also,] in Metroid Prime, because you have the first-person view, people actually don’t see Samus because they are being Samus themselves. So in that way you’ll have the same standpoint. You’re part of the galactic federation and seeing the world in the first-person. So in a way you get the same feeling.
Whether or not this is the kind of feedback the disappointed fans were expecting, they will likely be upset that Samus is missing, regardless. When asked by Totilo about any possible plans for 2D Metroid titles, Tanabe pointed him in Yoshio Sakamoto’s direction, saying:
He is sort of the keeper of the Metroid series…For me, I’m more on the side of the Metroid Prime with the first-person view. To be honest, since Sakamoto is on the side of the 2D games, I can’t speak for him at this time. I won’t be able to tell you what’s in his mind.
This means no word on a 2D Metroid any time soon. At least Federation Forces will be playable on both the original and New 3DS systems. There is no official release date more specific than 2016 as of now.