After two decades of Metroid games, Samus Aran has evolved from an 8-bit superheroine to a 3-D bounty adventurer. In the course of these 20 years, Samus has received numerous suit upgrades and faced endless chain-effect villains caused by the defeat of a past adversary. With every passing foe, Nintendo pushed for more beautiful visuals, chilling music and morph ball mind games.
Now that the Metroid Prime trilogy has concluded, what would be next? Not only in terms of story, but the way the games are presented? What sort of tricks can the developing teams come up with, and would the developers continue with the Prime-esque gameplay? If that happened, where could the team go?
Below are among the many possibilities for future Metroid games, and are directions that Nintendo may want to consider in order to keep a healthy name for their favorite bounty hunter within the gaming community. Utilizing either the Nintendo DS and the Wii, development studios have an array of possibilities for this signature franchise.
Possibility One: Continuing the 3-D Adventure Universe
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has proven itself to be a worthwhile Wii game. Not only has the title scored an A, but the very design of the Nunchuk came from Retro Studios' suggestions and feedback while developing the Wii. The Nunchuk was made for Corruption, literally. Without the suggestions of Retro Studios, the Nunchuk may never have existed at all. In light of this, would Nintendo be shooting themselves in the foot with their own Wii Remote if the series did not continue this way?
In positive light, the Corruption has won more Wiire awards than any other for the first year of the Wii console. The game proves itself as a graded adversary to other console first-person shooters, defying the rules of high definition and pushing for more intuitive controls with little more than an arm cannon and a grapple beam. Not an easy feat by any means.
However, the game can also alienate people (no pun intended, until now) who hate first-person shooters. Retro Studios made a huge leap from Super Metroid to Metroid Prime, and the entire Prime series could not last at #1 on the gaming charts so long as Super Metroid lived on. While Metroid Prime and its successors holds a huge cult following, some gamers felt that the series pursued too radical a direction away from Metroid's roots.
What about a third-person Metroid title? Retro Studios stated that they want to take a break from the Metroid series, so could a new development team come up with a fresh way to look at Samus from outside of the visor? Camera angles have certainly come a long way, providing gamers with professional cinematic experiences that even major film makers could learn. Then again, history has also proven that camera angles can plague a game if not implemented properly. Developer Sonic Team, for instance, has yet to perfect their non-linear camera angles for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog titles, despite nearly a decade of practice.
Possibility Two: Bringing the Hunters to 3D
Metroid Prime: Hunters managed to inject a new style of gameplay into the trilogy using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. With first-party games working their way up through the online world, it's possible that an additional game could be spun off the Prime franchise. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption did not offer an online battle mode, or any multiplayer for that matter.
Would gamers give a Wii sequel a chance?
Rather than focusing on a new story line, developers could provide Wii with a multiplayer-centric shooter game in the Metroid universe. By utilizing the Wii Remote, battles could range from standard killing sprees to time challenges against other opponents or even a joint effort in killing old enemies like Mother Brain. Virtual training, if you will.
Sadly, most developers are afraid of an experiment such as this one. Many players look to the series for adventuring and searching the world for new items and energy capsules in a single-player campaign. Such a daring attempt on the Wii could be dangerous for a new developer, resulting in a loss of sales and lost respect for the franchise. The experience necessary to fully satisfy a gamer would have to be as rich and rewarding as the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
Possibility Three: Using 2D on Wii Disc
With storage space increased from cartridges to discs over 20 years, a 2-D Metroid could become a vastly detailed platform experience for the nostalgic gamer. The game could potentially hold far more stages, areas and detail, as well as be created in a fraction of the time without the need for 3-D artists and free-roaming beta testers to find those eerie pits in the walls. The game could also boast the orchestrated music expected from a next-generation game without being hindered by the Wii's disc space limitations. Cult followers of the Atlus and Nippon Ichi 2-D games would buy something like this in a heartbeat.
However, a 2-D Metroid has little to no place with the Nunchuk and the motion-controlled Wii Remote isn't designed for the old-school Samus battles. A couple swings of the Nunchuk might be fun for the grapple beam, maybe even some free motion controls of the arm cannon, but wouldn't that overcomplicate the basic feel of Metroid? On the other hand, would using just the Wii Remote be too simple for the game? Super Metroid alone needed twice the buttons found on the Wii Remote, posing problems of either too little without the Nunchuk or too complicated with the Nunchuk.
The idea isn't terrible, but there are other issues with taking the game to disc. This leads us to our next option.
Possibility Four: WiiWare Becomes WiiWorthy
The ever-enigmatic WiiWare system, intended to be accessible to those in broadband-enabled homes come early 2008, has received no announcements regarding first-party titles. Hypothetically, let's say that a 2-D Metroid, built off the Super Nintendo emulation software in the Wii and the existing work of Super Metroid, released online for download. Without a need of foreign development tools or downgrading software techniques, Wii could provide new content for the series in a fresh way.
While the game would be significantly cheaper than purchasing an entire disc, the limits of Wii's internal memory and downloads could restrict the creativity of the game. Without the power of new-generation technology, a new game on the service may seem like another portable addition with a larger screen.
Would the accessibility benefits outweigh the creative costs?
Also, a game appearing to be this cheap could be deemed a cheap experience if magazine and online reviews did not favor the idea. The experience may be no different than Nintendo suddenly releasing a new Super Nintendo cartridge. Would people buy it, or favor something of higher production value? And, hypothetically, would gamers really want to purchase a hard drive to free up memory limitations if Nintendo offered one before this game and severely limit sales to Wii owners with said hard drive?
The other issue would be availability to consumers. Buying a game from a store is a certain way to make the game accessible, but what about those who purchased a Wii because they couldn't afford all of the Internet upgrades seemingly needed to fully enjoy the next-generation consoles? Would Nintendo have to consider alternate means of distributing online software?
Possibility Five: Sticking to the Hands
Nintendo held a path for Metroid games over the era of GameCube: the platform shooters would remain on portables and the graphically intensive Prime games would stick to the consoles. The Zelda franchise seems to maintain this philosophy as well, keeping cel-shaded games to the portables while taking realistic expression on the Wii to a higher level. Does this system work, or was Metroid Prime: Hunters a hint for things to come?
The current system is a nice compromise, but it's not much more than a compromise. Keeping the 2-D games to the lower-powered systems is a way of suggesting that platform games, aside from Super Smash Bros. games, are a thing of the past. Without the power of new graphics and new awe, Metroid doesn't hold to the exciting feel it had for so many years. The Metroid series, in its original 2-D form, could be resurrected without the hefty restrictions of portables that look barely better than consoles of two generations ago.
Metroid Prime: Hunters, on the other hand, indicated that the console was capable of providing decent graphics in a very Doom-esque fashion. While the game arguably played well, the graphical limitations of the Nintendo DS began to rear its ugly head. If 3-D games on portables continue to grow, the technology would also have to upgrade. Remember: Hunters was not a bad game, but future 3-D games on the Nintendo DS may not look any prettier.
In the end, Metroid could potentially go anywhere. It could stay with Retro Studios (in which case, we won't see it for years, probably not until Wii 2); it could leave for a new company; it could take on any of Nintendo's options, break the rules or simply adhere to what we've expected in the last generation. No matter what the case, Samus will return.
I apologize for the length here is the source, and article
What is next though?