Metroid Other M

For the grand finale of Nintendo's Press Conference yesterday, Reggie asked the rhetorical questions, "Could a new edgier game, also be coming from us? ... We've partnered with a development team with a proven track record in the mature space to give us a fresh take at a storied franchise. .. Here's the preview."

They rolled the clip, which immediately began with Team Ninja's company intro. "Project M presents" emerges from a space field of meteors. "Project M" had been a secret project or team floating around the Wii for a while. Some stuff in the trailer happens, Samus appears, and title "Metroid Other M" materializes before our eyes.

Even though most people figured that the M in "Project M" probably stood for Metroid rather than Mario, it's nice to see some confirmation. ^_^ But the addition of Team Ninja is a bit of a shocker. Team Ninja is about as un-Nintendo as you can get. They're the development team behind such hits as Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series. They pride themselves on flashy over-the-top Anime-style action gameplay and sequence. Where as Nintendo is pretty traditional and conservative about their games. I don't think you could get a "fresh"er look than that.

The trailer showed a whole lot of action with Samus flipping and hopping around the areas physically beating up enemies, as well as firing them down with her plasma gun. The trailer also showed several clips of full-fledged cutscenes, which is something Metroid has never done before.

My immediate gut reaction was not very pleasant. The Metriod series has always stood for exploration. Adding in all these action sequences feels like they're cheapening the name.

To the rescue!

Luckily, Jeremy Parish conducted an interview with Team Ninja's Yusuke Hayashi and Project M's Yoshio Sakamoto and asked the hard hitting questions:

His asked a question that dug into the heart of what I wanted to know. "How do your two completely different game design patterns fit together and still keep Metroid faithful?" They assured Parish, that Metroid Other M is definitely an exploratory game. It's just the fire fights have been choreographed with the precision we'd expect from Team Ninja.

Having Project M head the actual game planning put me at ease about the whole Team Ninja thing. It sounds like they've wanted to (or were pushed into) develop a "true" 3D Metroid game, but had a little trouble with how they were to implement they actual gameplay. That's where Team Ninja helped them out. ^_^


Parish went on to ask Sakamoto about where Other M falls into the Metriod timeline, to which he replied, "It's part of the flow, story-wise, between Super Metroid and Fusion." Which makes sense since the trailer ends with a cinematic of the final scene of Super Metroid.

The actual chronological order of the Metroid games is all over the map. It's used to be so easy, but then Metroid Prime was thrown in the mix between Metroid 1 and 2... and then the subsequent releases could do whatever they wanted.

Here's what it looks like now, as taken from the Metroid Wikia:

Metroid (NES, 1986) / Metroid Zero Mission (GBA, 2004)
Metroid Prime (GC, 2002)
Metroid Prime Hunters (DS, 2006)
Metroid Prime 2 (GC, 2004)
Metroid Prime 3 (Wii, 2007)
Metroid 2 (GB, 1991)
Super Metroid (Snes, 1994)
Metroid Other M (Wii, 2010)
Metroid Fusion (GBA, 2002)

Project M explained

To end with, Sakamoto returns to explain what is Project M. It turns out that Project M is a collaboration of 3 companies working on Other M. There's the Nintendo team, headed by Yoshio Sakamoto, co-creator of the Metroid series. There's Team Ninja, headed by Yusuke Hayashi. And a Third team responsible for the cinematic and game visuals.

Crisis Averted

After reading that interview, I'm totally excited for Metroid Other M. It's a new Metroid game designed by the core Metroid team! Finally!

Though, they've mentioned Metroid Fusion quite a bit in this Interview. When released, Metroid Fusion had some mediocre reviews. Personally, I never got around to playing it, but I've heard the progress is fairly linear. Hopefully Metroid Other M will stick to its full exploratory roots that they claim it will.

The sequel curse

Come to think of it, the Metroid series has a very interesting patterns emerging from its sequels, not unlike the Star Trek series. All the odd numbered releases are amazing, but the even releases miss the point, or aren't as fun. Let's see here...

1986: Metroid 1 ++ new and different!
1991: Metroid 2 -- linear and weird
1994: Super Metroid ++ Best game ever made
2002: Metroid Fusion -- linear again and kinda weird
2002: Metroid Prime ++ Fresh!
2004: Metroid Prime 2 -- horribly unoriginal and dumb
2004: Metroid Zero Mission ++ Excellent!
2006: Metroid Prime Hunters -- forgotten and weird
2007: Metroid Prime 3 ++ Not Bad!
2010: Metroid Other M +/- thumbs down?!

So... does that mean in 2010 we'll be dissapointed? Pfft.. it's just a silly curse. Star Trek XI (aka JJ Abrams' Star Trek) is an odd numbered Star Trek and it's pretty damn spiffy. Curses are meant to be broken. (or was that "promises are meant to be broken")