Metroid Prime: Federation Force walked away as the most despised game at E3 2015, and many have pointed the finger at Nintendo for being tone deaf as to what its fans really want. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime hears the complaints, but isn’t backing down without a fight.
Speaking with Mashable, Reggie addressed the fans who don’t like the look of Federation Force, including the 70,000 of them who have disliked the trailer on YouTube.
“What the fan at home saw was something in the Metroid Prime universe that they weren’t expecting. The reaction has been negative. There’s no sugar coating it.”
However, Reggie and Nintendo are not in any way about to cave in to fan pressure, and he makes his point clear that clone sequels are not in Nintendo’s longterm plans.
“We’re taking our great IP and transforming them and making them new again — making them fresh and appealing for the fan who feels they know the franchise.
We believe that in order to propel the franchises forward, we have to be the ones to constantly challenge the paradigms, challenge the conventional wisdom, challenge what we thought was the essence of the particular franchise, and a particular form of gameplay.”
I can appreciate the sentiment considering that the AAA market is flooded with sequels that deliver the same experience year after year. However, innovating for the sake of innovating is pointless if there is a drop in quality that irritates fans.
The problem with this situation, though, is not Nintendo’s over-reliance on innovation. The problem is the simple act of messing up communication with the fanbase that it often slips up on. I don’t think Nintendo did itself any favors with the reveal of Federation Force, showing it off first as an e-sports soccer title and then hyping it to be more like a Monster Hunter co-op experience. I can think of no better ways to turn off Metroid fans right off the bat, but that’s the exact route Nintendo took.
Further and deeper explanations of the game, like in Chris Kohler’s interview with Producer Kensuke Tanabe, describe it as something much more interesting than that, but the damage has already been done and fingers have been jammed in ear holes. Nobody wants to hear that Tanabe is already hinting that Federation Force is part of something larger. Nobody wants to hear that he thinks Metroid Prime 3’s ending very clearly leads into Metroid Prime 4. Nobody wants to hear that Samus is in Federation Force.
Everyone is just so angry that this game exists, partially at Nintendo’s own fault.
Bethesda said it best recrently, understanding that fans would be furious if it announced Fallout Shelter before it announced Fallout 4. Nintendo didn’t seem to get that memo. If it has any larger Metroid product in the works, now seems to be the time to show off what it really has behind the curtain.
However, Nintendo has been equally adamant since the end of E3 that it does not show off games that are still a year or two out, and dealing with this backlash is the price of sticking to that. Fans are cynically believing this to be the end of the line for Metroid as they love it, and Nintendo is digging in its heels, saying this is just the way it is, which I don’t find to be true. Both groups are in the wrong here, but Nintendo can’t make hot air statements like “we have to constantly challenge the paradigms, challenge the conventional wisdom, challenge what we thought was the essence of the particular franchise” and expect that to make everything okay.
Not while Mario Kart 8 challenges none of those things and sits on top of the Wii U sales charts. Scrapping a franchise’s established mechanics, starting from scratch, and calling it “fresh” is not forward thinking. Nintendo and Reggie know this. Something a little more genuine has to give for cooler heads to prevail.
Hey, did anybody else notice that Retro Studios has been awfully silent lately? Could it be working on something? Something that Metroid Prime producer Kensuke Tanabe has been confirmed to be producing for over a year now? Or is just that too much writing on the wall?
I don’t reject Federation Force, and I really want to give it a try. Next Level Games has turned out excellent work for Nintendo in the past. I’m also not discounting the possibility that this is just to hold us over until the next main Metroid release, but I think we’ll have to wait for the NX on that one.
Nintendo took Super Metroid and Metroid Prime to unheralded levels of perfection, and that formula still has value and plenty of chances to improve upon with how far games have come since 2002. But after all that time, the legendary Nintendo has decided that this is its next big leap up from those masterpieces? Sorry, I don’t buy it for a second. I said it before, and I still believe it. Nintendo is sitting on something else, waiting for the chance to show it off properly.
Good will come from this situation. You just have to trust that a company which has weathered worse storms than this knows what it is doing. And it falls on Nintendo to properly communicate that it messed up the reveal if Metroid Prime: Federation Force is indeed something better than what the fans see. Reggie has been talking and defending it a little too much. Give the man a gag, and show us more footage.
Let this game do the talking on its own.