In an interview following E3 with Kotaku, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime voiced his thoughts regarding some of the more controversial announcements made at the expo. Among the list of covered topics were his take on the fanbase’s response to Metroid Prime: Federation Force.
In case you missed my previous coverage of this game’s announcement, a fan began a petition against the title’s release on the grounds that it deviated too far from the source material to call itself a Metroid game. This backlash was brought up in Totilo of Kotaku’s interview, and Fils-Aime responded thusly:
Fils-Aime: Here’s what I would state: we know what our fans want. We will also push the envelope in developing something that we know is high-quality and that we know will deliver in the marketplace. The best example I can give you of this, and I think you will appreciate it, is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Remember when that art style was first shown. The uproar from the Zelda community was intensely negative. If there had been social media then, there probably would have been a petition to make that game go away.
Totilo: I guess you’ve seen the Metroid petition.
Fils-Aime: So, the game is developed, becomes one of the most beloved games of all time, one of the most highly-rated games of all time, so I use that example to say: ‘We know what we’re doing, trust us, play the game and then we can have a conversation.’
Reggie had mentioned earlier in the interview that he plays all the games he endorses as confidently as he clearly does with this controversial Metroid title. He wants us to trust them the way he does. The question everyone has about the franchise, though, is one Totilo asked Reggie:
Totilo: I think the question for me, which is a little different than what I’ve seen from some of our readers, I’m not so convinced that this game is going to be bad just because it doesn’t look like what I want. But my curiosity is: Do they [Nintendo] know that people still want a Samus Aran adventure?
Totilo: I was surprised there was no messaging that said, ‘Don’t worry, we know you’re interested in this as well….’
Fils-Aime: Look, we know that the fans want a straight Samus Aran game. We also know that the best way to launch a game like that is to surprise and delight them, to give them a launch date, in an environment like this let them play it vs. what other companies do which is to announce a project that you may not see for five, six years. It’s just not the way we do things. We know the community wants to see a straight-up Metroid game. We know it.
Hallelujah, they aren’t ignorant. They know it, gotcha. In the same statement, Reggie even mentions a company-wide philosophy against premature announcements for potential titles. And in line with these statements was the overall tone and focus of the interview on the fact that Nintendo is listening. This could be seen in the discussion of every topic Totilo pursued, such as when Earthbound sales came up.
Totilo has made a sort of tradition of asking Fils-Aime about Mother 3, especially so since Mother 1 was released on the North American eShop,so after trading friendly banter, Reggie stated that “…I think this is an example that demonstrates we’re constantly listening. We’re hearing what the fans say. And we thought it was great to bring back the very first Mother, Earthbound Beginnings here in the market. It’s been out for sale and doing quite well in the eShop. Again, we’ll never say never, but there’s nothing to announce right now.” More and more emphasis on Nintendo’s ability to respond to consumers’ wishes.
Unfortunately, the best they can offer is the certainty that they won’t promise games that won’t be developed, but fans are still left without a Samus Aran game. Regardless, Reggie’s point is solid: wait until the game comes out, then make your judgments.