Now that the dust has settled from an amazing Nintendo Direct, where we saw a new Mario Golf, more Smash characters, a remake of a Wii Zelda, and even the announcement of Splatoon 3, it is time for us to acknowledge the elephant in the room. And by in the room, I mean not in the room. And by elephant, I mean bounty hunter. Yeah, you guessed it. Where in the world was Samus and the Metroid series during the Nintendo Direct?
I know, I know. This is the current state of things when it comes to Nintendo and their relationship with Samus Aron, but c’mon. This was the moment. This was the time to strike, as the iron is red hot. The Metroid series is currently in its 35th anniversary year, alongside The Legend of Zelda series, and it is in desperate need of celebration, especially with Metroid Prime 4 somewhere along the horizon.
Metroid Prime 4 is a major title for the series, and I have a bad feeling that if sales underperform when the game ultimately releases, it could be the end of the series as we know it. Let’s talk about why.
The last major release for the series was Other M which released on the Nintendo Wii back in 2010. Although the game got above average reviews, fans of the series felt insulted by how Samus was represented in the title. Gone was the stoic lonewolf, and instead we were shown a side of Samus that we have never seen before; a timid and pathetic woman looking to please her male superiors at all costs. Our hero was belittled to a point where people just didn’t care any more, and the poor female representation by Team Ninja cut the series in a way that seemed outside of repair.
Other M‘s sales speak for themselves, as the game failed to even meet minimal expectations, and fans rightfully protested by not buying the game. For a Wii title, this is especially telling, as the system sold well over 100 million units in its lifetime. Other M could barely sell over a million units on the super-successful console, and this is what has caused Nintendo to be rather reserved when it comes to the Metroid series.
Since Other M, we have only seen two games for the series release: a Prime spinoff called Federation Force and a remake of Samus Returns, both for the Nintendo 3DS, and once again, both sold poorly on a system that boasted 76 million units sold worldwide.
It seems like Nintendo’s trust in the series is clear. Long gone are the days where gamers leaned on the two franchises that coined the game style metroidvania. Now, if people want their fix, they will play indie titles that do a significantly better job than Nintendo has with the series that made the genre famous. Games like Guacamelee, Hollow Knight, and Axiom Verge have stepped in and taken the position of best metroidvanias on the market, with all three of those games selling extremely well (Hollow Knight alone has sold 2.8 million copies, more than any Metroid game ever).
Which brings me back to Metroid’s 35th anniversary. It may come as a surprise that the original Metroid is one of the best selling games in the series, especially thanks to its re-release on the GameBoy Advance. Actually, with the exception of Metroid Prime, the 2D Metroids are the best selling games in the series, and I think a 2D collection would be the perfect and safest way to celebrate the series and guarantee big sales for Nintendo.
Think about it. Putting Metroid/Zero Mission, Samus Returns (original and/or 3DS remake), Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion on one Nintendo Switch cartridge would cost Nintendo much of nothing and would easily sell 3 million copies, if not way more. Mark my words.
The games are already made, and fans of the series are begging Nintendo to let them repurchase games they already own. This is, in my opinion, a no-brainer.
Look, we know Metroid Prime 4 is nowhere remotely close to finished, so why not step away from the Prime series during this 35th anniversary and focus instead on the 2D games that cemented Samus’s legacy? Nintendo can save the Metroid Prime Trilogy re-release for when we get closer to a date for Prime 4, but we still need something to celebrate a series that means so much to the gaming world. Doing anything less than a 2D collection would be a slap to the face of fans.
C’mon, Nintendo. We are not asking for a whole lot. We just want you to remember why gamers love this series so much and why they want to support it with their every being. Let older fans buy these games again, and let younger fans experience the brilliance of these titles for the first time.
Samus Aron is an inspiration to so many players out there, and she deserves to be recognized. Her series deserves to be remembered, and her fans deserve to show their support.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope Retro Studios knocks it out of the park with Metroid Prime 4, but we are celebrating 35 years of Samus and Metroid. We don’t want some weird homage to the series. We don’t want an HD re-release of Other M (PLEASE GOD, NO!). We simply want the games that made the series, and we would gladly pay premium price for them.
The ball’s in your court now, Nintendo. Make it happen.
But… we all know that it won’t. Prove me wrong.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for one of our feature pieces. What do you think of the lack of Metroid during the Nintendo Direct? Were you disappointed? Or has this simply become normal for you? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.