There were a lot of amazing games on display at E3 2015 last week. Fallout 4 got fans amped and ready to return to their favorite post-apocalyptic wasteland. Star Wars Battlefront looks even better than anyone hoped. Sony even dropped the mic by announcing both the Final Fantasy VII remake and that The Last Guardian are not dead. And then, there was Nintendo, which had Metroid Prime: Federation Force.
There are a lot of reasons why Nintendo has been showing up on the "losers" side of quite a few "winners and losers of E3 2015" breakdowns, not the least of which is because there just wasn't enough love shown to their core franchises. On top of the much-anticipated Zelda Wii-U skipping E3 entirely, fans hoping for a new full Metroid game were disappointed that Nintendo instead rolled out the co-op 3DS title Metroid Prime: Federation Force. But Nintendo of American president Reggie Fils-Aime has a message for Metroid fans feeling spurned: "Trust us."
Federation Force is a co-op first-person shooter developed by Next Level Games under the guidance of long-time Metroid Prime producer Kensuke Tanabe. Federation Force won't put gamers back under the iconic helmet of Samus Aran, but instead will cast them as Galactic Federation Marines. In addition to the standard co-op missions, Federation Force will also incorporate a new multiplayer mode known as Blast Ball. It all may prove to be a perfectly entertaining game, but it wasn't what most Metroid players were hoping to see out of Nintendo at E3 this year.
In a new interview, Nintendo of America's Fils-Aime addressed fan disappointment over the lack of a "true" Metroid sequel announcement at E3. Speaking to Kotaku, Fils-Aime suggested that the time just wasn't right for an announcement on that front. And given that Nintendo has since said there will be no more "true" Metroid games until the arrival of their next console, the Nintendo NX, fans could be waiting a while. Fils-Aime told Kotaku:
"Look, we know that the fans want a straight Samus Aran game. [Other companies] announce a project that you may not see for five, six years. It’s just not the way we do things. We know the community wants to see a straight-up Metroid game. We know it."
That's not a message that's likely to assuage Metroid fans eager to see the franchise return to top form after the disappointing Other M. Some particularly irate gamers even started an online petition to straight-up cancel Federation Force, dismissing the game as "a disgrace of a game with the name Metroid slapped on the title" that features "no elements at all of what Metroid is about."
Fils-Aime, however, compared the Metroid Prime: Federation Force situation to that of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Walker, another installment of a beloved franchise that was initially met with skepticism by some fans. That game went on to receive critical acclaim, spawn a sequel, and eventually get an HD remake for the Wii-U. Speaking of Wind Walker, Fils-Aime said:
So, the game is developed, becomes one of the most beloved games of all time, one of the most highly-rated games of all time, so I use that example to say: 'We know what we’re doing, trust us, play the game and then we can have a conversation.'
Federation Force is in an unenviable position coming out the starting gate. It's been five years since Other M left a bad taste in many fans' mouths, and nearly a decade since the well-received Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Fans are hungry for a full-fledged new chapter of the Metroid saga, and so Federation Force is inevitably going to feel like cold comfort, if not an outright insult. That may not be fair to Nintendo, or give Federation Force a fair shake on its own merits, but neither is it surprising. Hopefully, Federation Force will be solid enough to silence its detractors and help make the wait for the next full Metroid game ever so slightly more bearable.
And hey, if not, there's always Star Fox Zero.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force will release for the 3DS sometime in 2016.