Generally, Nintendo fans are some of the best in the world. They love the company and its games, and want to see the company succeed. That support is especially important right now, as Nintendo begins to transition to the NX next year. But after yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, its fans have shown their vile side.
This week is E3, the biggest annual gaming conference in the world. This is when all of the hit new games are announced and upcoming exciting titles are demoed. Nearly every major publisher and console maker has a press conference—except Nintendo. Rather than do a traditional press conference, a few years ago Nintendo started doing Nintendo Directs: cool videos that would air that would show new trailers and release dates for upcoming games. Nintendo started the week out strong: there was a great reception to the Smash Bros. Direct on Sunday, and everyone loved the Nintendo World Championships later in the day. But it seems that the reception to what they showed on Tuesday has been less than stellar. For the first time I can recall, the entire 40-minute presentation has a less than 50% approval rating, despite announcing at least three new games; such as The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, a multiplayer co-op Zelda game in the same vein as Four Swords, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, a crossover between the Mario & Luigi RPG and the Paper Mario series, and a new Animal Crossing game. Each of these games’ individual games ratings have above 60% approval rating, so there has to be something else.
For the first time since 2010, a new Metroid game was announced: Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Many of you know that Metroid is my favorite video game series, so I was quite excited about this. However, it’s a spin-off that doesn’t seem to even include the main character, Samus Aran. This has not been well-received. It’s one thing to have a spin-off for a series that gets lots of love, like Mario, but it’s a little trickier for Metroid. It got no recognition for its 25-year anniversary by the company in 2012, and the series’ last game, Metroid: Other M, was not nearly as well reviewed as the Metroid Prime games of the 2000’s. Federation Force’s approval rating currently? Ten percent of 309,000 views—the most total views for any individual game shown in the direct, and the least positive rating. After six years of being ignored, Metroid fans only get a spin-off, with a release date of 2016? I can see the bitterness there. But some recognition is better than none, and I don’t see how that could cause people to start a Change.org petition in order to get the game cancelled. To make matters worse, no developer information about the game was given to viewers. We were just thrown a trailer, expected to be excited, and move on. Over at NintendoWorldReport, they mention Federation Force as a prime (hah!) example of the broader issues in the Direct: a lack of consistency and storytelling.
This is hugely frustrating to me. It sends the message of fans being snobbish and ungrateful to a company that can really only do so much. No, it’s not what we wanted, but it’s better than nothing. If anything, this game would help to get new Metroid fans and raise awareness for a series that is critically acclaimed, but doesn’t sell well. It’s very easy to see a new fan saying “Hey, I saw that Metroid Prime game on 3DS. What’s this Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii U e-Shop?” and bring in new fans to the series. The last thing any Metroid fan would want is for Samus to be the new Captain Falcon: well known in Smash Bros., and hasn’t had a separate game released in over 10 years. To start the petition is insulting to the developers that have already spent time developing the game, and tells Nintendo “We don’t want Metroid”. The developer is already contracted and should be paid for their work, so canceling is not something I foresee. These fans are forgetting to vote with their wallets: the best way to ensure more Metroid games in the future is to buy any that come out. Wanting it cancelled is completely counter to that notion.
With that said, is the game a true Metroid game? No. It shows none of the traits of any Metroid game before it. Do we have all of the details about the game? No; it could be great or terrible. But it is sad to see that so many people have rushed to hate it before anyone even gives it a try.