The Metroid Prime: Federation Force petition is emblematic of a larger problem with gamers, the industry as a whole, and what we can expect companies to do with our beloved franchises.
Now first let me say that I am 100% ok with hating on this game, because it looks like a pile of street trash covered in vomiting rats, but that does not mean we should petition to stop the development. This isn’t some social injustice or lack of equality in legislation; this is a video game being made by a company we love that we don’t like the looks of.
Besides, they are probably too far in development to just stop it. But there are several issues here that should be discussed.
I want to first break the petition down to show just how misguided it is in this situation.
“For almost a decade, long time Nintendo fans have been waiting for a true Metroid game.” Let the record show that ‘true’ is a relative term and that Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime 3, the Prime Trilogy, and Metroid: Other M have all been released in this time period. I’d argue that, while those aren’t exactly the best games in the series, they aren’t exactly terrible games – even Other M.
Moving on, “With the release of the Wii U and its greater technological capabilities thousands of fans were expecting a new and improved Metroid game.” Expecting? Sure, who wouldn’t want that? Doesn’t mean we’ll get it though.
“What we got however is a disgrace of a game with the name “Metroid” slapped on the title.” Oh it definitely looks disgraceful, but to suggest that the Metroid name was ‘slapped’ on it is a bit misguided but more on that later. (Not that Nintendo hasn’t done that before. *cough* Star Fox Adventures *cough*)
“This is not the Metroid we asked Nintendo to make.” WE didn’t ask them to make anything. Merely wanted them to make it. Did anyone ask for Paper Mario? It’s their choice to make whatever they want and it’s not like they’ve not made great games from odd combinations before.
“Help us stop this atrocity of a game from bearing the beloved Metroid franchise name and make Nintendo halt production on it.” Hotel Rwanda depicts a real atrocity, this isn’t quite at that level. And this is the main problem with the petition, besides it offering little reason for them to stop what they are doing. They don’t need to halt production. All they need to do is tell us, the crazy, loyal, ever-patient fans, that there’s a new super awesome Metroid coming to Wii U or a classic 2d Metroid coming to 3DS. What we want from the Metroid series and this bizarre pile of garbage can exist at the same time.
But, let’s not assume that the Metroid Prime: Federation Force train has completely left the station. There could still be some time for it to change. Remember how Splatoon didn’t show or mention single player for many many months? And don’t forget that the multiplayer Zelda, Four Swords Adventures, ended up being great.
This isn’t an atrocity because it’s multiplayer, or that it is missing Samus, or that is doesn’t look like a Metroid game. It’s a big mistake because it looks like a bad game. A really bad one at that.
And herein lies the problem, Metroid games don’t really sell that well compared to, let’s say, Zelda. Even Zelda games don’t sell as much as you’d think (look at Skyward Sword compared to Mario Kart 8, two games on consoles with vastly different sales. Hint: they are almost equal).
Actually, let’s go into the numbers some more. Metroid Prime is the bestselling Metroid at just under 3 million units sold. Compare that to the worst selling Zelda, Spirit Tracks, which also sold just under 3 million.
Why does this matter? Why all the numbers? Super Mario Sunshine sold over 5 million. Super Mario 3D Land sold over 5 million.
The entire Metroid series has sold almost 17 million copies. That’s several million fewer than Mario Kart DS. One game. Versus an entire series. That’s why Nintendo doesn’t make Metroid games (and F-Zero games as well).
So what should we, the gaming public, do with this game? If we don’t buy it, will Nintendo think it is Metroid we don’t like and continue to keep it locked up in a vault somewhere? But if we do buy it, does that somehow encourage them that this direction for Metroid is a good one? It’s a bad deal any way you slice it.
As much as we want a brand new Metroid game, the money simply isn’t there. It’s hard to expect them to keep making classic Metroid games when each version does worse than the last.
So Nintendo, don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Do all the science experiments you want; just throw the fans a bone every once in a while. And try to make this game look, I don’t know, fun. You can only appear clueless for so long before we give up on you entirely.
Sidenote: It’s worth mentioning that two other petitions on the page are “Fight child sex trafficking in the U.S.” and “United States Department of Defense: DO NOT use the inhabited US islands of Tinian & Pagan as a HIGH IMPACT bombing range.” Those should put this little Metroid ‘disaster’ in perspective. So can we all calm down about stuff like this now? After all, Metroid Prime: Federation Force still has a chance to be a great game. And if we ever want to see more Metroid in the future, we better hope it is.