The Real Reason Nintendo Snubbed ‘Metroid’s’ 30th Anniversary?

Forgotten Child. Black Sheep. Anyone of these terms could be used. Even with an exceptional fan-base, it’s hard to understand why Nintendo snubbed Metroid‘s 30th Anniversary. This week’s Nintendo Voice Chat presented by IGN attempted to answer that question.

The Metroid series has done nothing over the past 30 years but churn out one hit game after another. Super Metroid still ranks among one of the best Super Nintendo games to ever grace the system. As gaming has evolved, so has the property. In 2002, Rare took the heroine Samus Aran into the first person world. At first, fans were skeptical, but Metroid Prime revolutionized the way people see and play first person games.

Metroid Prime scored an amazingly high 97 from Metacritic. It’s two sequels, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, scored 92 and 90, respectively. Yet, despite all of this success, the 30th Anniversary of Metroid has come and gone without so much as a mention from Nintendo.

Image via Nintendo

The hosts of Nintendo Voice Chat, Jose Otero, Peer Schneider, and Brian Altano, along with special guest Andre Segers of GameXplain, tried to make sense of Nintendo’s snub as well as some of the qualities that first person shooters possess today that were first introduced by the Metroid Prime series (11:30 mark).

“Making a game from 2D to 3Din the way that like Super Mario World went to Mario 64, you gained a lot, but you did lose a lot. It’s not just a direct one-to-one. You are so right in that Metroid Prime really does feel like the classic Metroid games.”

Isn’t that the mark of a good series? The mark of a good anything with longevity? Take, for instance, a group like the Rolling Stones or Bon Jovi. There continued success has to do with the fact that the bands have evolved over the years, but they have still kept that sound and feel of what has made them popular.

The group continued touching on the influence of Metroid in the gaming industry. Samus Aran was the first female lead in an action game. To that point, males had dominated gaming. The level of detail in the first person genre from the reflection of your surroundings in the visor to the way your vision might be clouded by falling water were all done first in Metroid Prime.

Image via Nintendo

Ultimately, when trying to figure out what the real reason was, Nintendo shying away from Metroid seems to have to do with culture more than anything else (3:42 mark).

Metroid is one of those rare examples of a franchise that was bigger in the U.S. than it was in Japan that was Japan-made.”

This idea was actually reinforced in an interview IGN did back in 2010 with Metroid designer Yoshio Sakamoto. They asked Sakamoto why Metroid wasn’t as popular in Japan as it was in the United States.

“In Japan, the people who are into Metroid tend to be hardcore game fans. It’s not a series that’s necessarily found acceptance in Japan outside of that niche. You can also say that it’s the same as how science fiction is embraced in the United States compared to Japan. Science fiction seems to be a niche genre in Japan as a whole, where it seems to have found more mainstream success in the US.”


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So, what could this mean for the future of our favorite space bounty hunter? Does Nintendo’s snub of Metroid’s 30th Anniversary mean Samus is done for the foreseeable future? Could Nintendo be waiting to launch a Metroid game on the NX for the United States’ 30th Anniversary of the release of the original? Regardless, it is safe to say at this point, Metroid Prime: Federation Force will not be considered by most to be satisfactory of a true Metroid game experience.

[Image via Nintendo]