Nintendo surprised every today during the company's E3 2017 showcase by announcing two new Metroid games. Metroid Prime 4 for the Nintendo Switch was revealed with a logo and a statement that the game is in development, while the Treehouse Live broadcast spent nearly an hour discussing Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS which is an updated remake of 1991's Metroid II: Return of Samus from the Game Boy era. Not since the coming of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion fifteen years ago have Samus Aran fans had so much Metroid on the way. Here's the bullet points from Samus Returns:
- This intense, side-scrolling action platformer has been completely remade with engaging and immersive 3D visuals and a rich, atmospheric color palette.
- Classic Metroid II: Return of Samus gameplay is joined by a wealth of new content, including a set of brand new abilities that utilizes a mysterious energy resource called “Aeion,” a powerful melee counterattack, and 360-degree Free Aim Mode.
- There are plenty of secrets to find—and if you uncover enough of them, you may even start to unravel the mystery of Planet SR388’s past.
- Two new amiibo™ figures*—Samus Aran and Metroid—will be released as a set alongside the game. This game is also compatible with the Zero Suit Samus and Samus amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. series. Functionality details will be revealed at a later date.
- While supplies last, fans will be able to purchase a special edition of the game, which includes a physical copy of the game, a sound-selection CD featuring 25 tracks from across the Metroid franchise, and a reversible title-sheet insert for the game case.
Developer MercurySteam is behind this one and you may remember them from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and its 3DS spinoff, Mirror of Fate. I wasn't happy with any of their Castlevania work, but Mirror of Fate was very much in the Metroid/Castlevania: Symphony of the Night style, so they have the skills to pull this off. They are talented people, but they seem to have a bad habit of letting their games wander away down the path without proper guidance and oversight. Each of their Castlevania titles started strong and then ended up in the weeds, becoming long slogs where the immediate goal was easily forgotten. Nintendo is surely keeping them close to help move Metroid in the right direction.
I've been waiting and hoping for a new side-scrolling Metroid title for the 3DS for years now and am glad to see that it's happening. It seems that Metroid didn't truly become popular in the gaming community until the Prime series took it into first person perspective, and while that's fine, I'm a much bigger fan of the old fashioned 2D side-scroller half of the franchise. Even now if you browse around the gaming community's reactions to Samus Returns, in addition to the expected excitement you'll find that some people are angry that Nintendo is "wasting time" with a traditional Metroid for the 3DS and are eager for both the side-scrollers and the 3DS itself to be permanently retired. Calm down, angry guys. You're getting your new Metroid Prime too. There's something for everyone here. Meanwhile, other people are upset that this remake of Metroid II seemingly explains why Nintendo was so quick to copyright crush the fan-made remake of the game, AM2R, last year. If the fan community's indie games based on Nintendo properties has taught us anything, it's that Nintendo will strike down your game if you make your own Pokemon, Metroid, Mario, or Zelda game. Don't be surprised when this happens.
Enough negativity. Enjoy this trailer and watch Nintendo's YouTube channel for a previously recorded Treehouse Live segment that covers a decent chunk of what to expect in Samus Returns when it releases on September 15, 2017.