OPINION: In Defense of Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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Metroid Prime: Federation Force | oprainfall

Easily the most polarizing moment of E3 this year was the announcement of a new sci-fi themed co-op FPS for the Nintendo 3DS with simple, almost chibi-like graphics. Its title? Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

Though we didn’t know it at the time, we actually got our first look at the game at the Nintendo World Championships on Sunday, where it was introduced as Blastball. Many were quick to notice Blastball‘s HUD had a striking (pun not intended) similarity to the HUD seen in the Metroid Prime series, and debate quickly ensued–was Blastball a Metroid spin-off, or was it a new IP that simply borrowed from Metroid? Of course, we all know now that Blastball is simply another play mode in Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

But it’s odd: People seemed a lot more receptive to the idea of that game being Metroid on Sunday than they do today.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force | Blastball 3DS

Looking around the Internet, the game has received almost nothing but vitriolic hatred. It’s “too kiddy,” “not a real Metroid game,” “some stupid soccer crap,” and many more colorful comments. The official trailer on YouTube, at the time of writing this article, has over 35,000 dislikes as opposed to about 3,600 likes. Incredibly, this has even culminated in a change.org petition for Nintendo to cancel the game.

If you’re old enough to have concerns about the more family-friendly look of the game as opposed to the darker Metroid games of the past, you’re probably old enough to also remember the absolute maelstrom hurled at Nintendo when they first showed off The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It, too, was met with rage and disappointment and more rage over the “childish” and “cartoony” appearance of the game. Today, however, it’s lauded as one of the best entries in the franchise. Besides, catering to a younger audience will bring new blood into the fanbase, helping it to grow, rather than remain stagnant and slowly die out.

The most cursory watch-over of the Federation Force trailer will tell you that Blastball is only a secondary multiplayer mode within the game. The game’s main focus is as a cooperative shooter, and Nintendo’s Treehouse presentation did a great job of showing that off. People more or less liked Blastball well enough on Sunday, but now it’s suddenly the highest offense in the history of gaming now that it’s an optional mode in a Metroid spin-off.

To those crying “METROID IS RUINED FOREVER NOW”: How childish can you be? The existence of a spin-off that isn’t all grim/dark doesn’t at all preclude the possibility of more Metroid like what you want in the future. Wanting this game cancelled because it’s not what you want is such a supremely elitist and whiny attitude to take. If you don’t like or want a game, show it with your wallet; there’s no excuse for wanting it to be unavailable to everyone just because it’s not what you want.

I admit, I am not generally a fan of FPS games, and I haven’t ever really played a Metroid title, despite wanting to get into it. Watching the Treehouse presentation on the game, however, has gotten me interested in picking it up, since it’s for a system I own and use frequently, besides just looking fun.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force has only just been announced, being revealed less than 48 hours ago, and it’s due in 2016. There’s still so much we don’t know about the game. Such harsh judgment on the game is extremely premature. Take a deep breath. Step away from the keyboard for a bit. Try being more optimistic about the game and about Nintendo. The company hasn’t survived this long based on luck, and neither has the Metroid franchise. It’s OK to be skeptical or concerned about the game, but be reasonable about it.

About Ben Hafen

Ben is a 20-year-old college student who joined the Operation Rainfall crew in 2015. Amongst his hobbies are writing stories, singing, raging against post-game bosses in Etrian Odyssey Untold, and biking everywhere in the hopes of hatching a shiny Carbink.

  • Raymond

    I really enjoy co op games and this game looks really fun to play with fun. The nintendo tree house really did a great job showing off the co op as well.

  • Vinicius

    I’m not even mad, mostly because it was something I wanted for a while, to see more of the Metroid universe and maybe a game with the galatci federation.

  • Stephanié Colette

    Finally, someone who got some sense! Thank you, all this hatred on this game is so damn immature! As a loyal fan of Nintendo and other game companies, lashing out on a game you don’t like, and DON’T have to buy or getting all upset just because a certain game you want will only be available exclusively on the other console (when there are some games you can get on the PC like the new Street Fighter) is utterly ludicrous! Gamers who act out like that embarrass me greatly to be a gamer.

    • JDobbs

      I miss the days when the biggest issue was console preferences and not the divisions we see too often today.

  • Hogtree Octovish

    Comparing it to Wind Waker is a bit apples and oranges to me. At least WW had a Link, a Zelda, and Ganondorf as the main bad guy. And the dungeon exploration the Zelda games are known for,

  • MrPsygo

    The only two things that makes it different from past titles is co-op and no Samus. If they are fans of the series then those things shouldn’t matter. I’ve owned Metroid Pinball, Hunters, and Prime series and they were all different from the ones before them. Those were all good games. These haters are shortsighted.

  • PanurgeJr

    Let us also remember that Next Level is making this. They’ve earned their place as one of Nintendo’s top western partners. Not that that matters; no studio deserves the vitriol they’ve had to endure this week.

  • JDobbs

    As a Metroid fan, I was disappointed with the announcement because it was not what I was expecting, but the response by some in the Metroid fanbase is embarrassing. The behavior I am seeing from them is what I expect from 4 year olds, not full grown adults. Its makes all the sensible Metroid fans look bad. Nintendo has the right to create and release games and in exchange we have the right to buy it or not buy it.

  • Michael Fontanini

    I agree with this article completely, and I’m a huge Metroid fan who’s played every game in the series. Sure, its disappointing that this game is not say Metroid Prime 4 or something like that, but that doesn’t mean its this horrible abomination that should be killed outright! There will be another great Metroid game, I’m sure of that. Until then, we have plenty of great Metroid games from the past we can replay. It’s kind of funny to see people getting so angry about this simply because its different, when on the other hand, change is required for a game series to grow and evolve too. At least give them a chance. It’s not fair to pass such harsh judgement on a game that isn’t even out yet!

  • I was really hoping that someone else would post this so I could upvote and move on but no one has so I will.

    While I had no clue that the backlash was this bad, and the petition to cancel the game is absolutely stupid, it is not fair to compare this to the backlash against Wind Waker. The biggest difference is a matter of timing.

    Looking back at when Wind Waker’s release, the game came out less than a year after the last Zelda game (A Link to the Past/Four Swords) and a little over 2 years since the 3D Zelda game (Majora’s Mask). The backlash was over a change in art-style and a percieved “kid-ifying” of the series. Perception started changing once gameplay was made available. In summary, the backlash was over just art-style, with several games released within the past few years and the backlash settling down once gameplay proved itself.

    On the current hand, there are a lot more things about Federation Force, primarly having to do with Nintendo’s percieved attitude rather than the game itself. First, a timeline: unlike Zelda, which had entries within the past year of Wind Waker’s release, Metroid has not had a real game in 8 years, 5 years if you want to count Other M. (Disclosure, I have not played Other M, but I think it can be agreed, regardless of personal opinion, that it was not well recieved and a disapointment to many fans) The time since the last 2D Metroid on the other hand, something fans have been asking for for a long time, has been 11 years (Zero Mission, a (Very good/expanded) remake of the first game, but not a new game). I think it’s understandable that people are upset about not getting a new Metroid game, 2D or 3D, in a long time, compared to Wind Waker, which was not released in any kind of drought.

    To make this even worse, Nintendo hasn’t exactly shown itself to care about the series, mentioning and releasing games for every one of their franchises EXCEPT Metroid in the past few years, outside of the Metroid party game in Nintendo-Land (which wasn’t really what fans were looking for). In essance, a lot of people, including myself, felt like this was Nintendo giving Metroid fans a continued middle-finger for the past few years.

    To close I would like to reiterate that the petition to cancel the game is absolutely stupid and helps nothing. Canceling the game will not *MAGICALLY* convert the development time and resources that have already gone into it into a new real Metroid game, this game will just be lost, nobody wins. As for my own opinion of the game, it looks dull to me, which just means I won’t buy it, but I don’t want it to stop existing for those who do think it looks interesing. If you do think it looks cool then please buy and enjoy it. I also think it would interesting to explore the Metroid universe, the Federation having been an ally and employer for Samus many times before, it would be interesting to learn more about them.

    TLDR: To everyone who is upset because of the art-style, it’s a spinoff, they can do whatever they like with it. To everyone else, it isn’t accurate to compare to the Wind Waker backlash, the problem is a matter of timing and percieved attitude of Nintendo.

  • Steve Baltimore

    While I feel they went a bit overboard with the whole petition deal, I do feel they had every right express their dissatisfaction with this product.

    • Jahu

      Expressing dissatisfaction is fine in and of itself, but the way the community’s been handling it has been atrocious.

    • JDobbs

      As I like to say, It is fine to not like a game. It is fine to be disappointed, but handle the situation in a respectful mature manner. Vote with your wallet and share your dissatisfaction in customer surveys and feedback.

  • Seis Siete

    I’m honestly sick of the whiny little kids complaining about this game. We barely know anything yet people assume it’s gonna be bad because it’s different.

  • Josh S.

    My biggest complaint is simply that they call it Metroid. The chibi nature doesn’t fit the series IMO. And in regard to Wind Waker, while a distinct stylistic choice, it still primarily looked and played like Zelda. That said, I do agree people are overreacting. I probably will buy the game even, though it won’t be when it launches, mostly cause I want to know a lot more about the game first.

  • Ninty

    I wonder how Next Level Games is taking all the backlash (hopefully in stride)? It’ll be interesting to see how the game develops after all this. While I’m not that interested in the game, I do hope they reach their goals and put out something they are happy with.

    Perhaps a title change would’ve helped, like Federation Force Prime or something.

  • Razorfall

    No Samus, no interest.

    That is all.

  • Santuli

    This article, and most of the comments, are a refreshing chance of pace for this. I honestly felt underwhelmed when I saw the reveal during the Digital Event. It didn’t quite LOOK like Metroid to me at all. And, yes, I’ve been hoping, much like most of the fanbase, for a true installment on the Wii U.

    Beyond that, the response was beyond embarrassing. Especially when people are raising the pitchforks and torches when they clearly can’t tell the difference between the actual game, and Blastball. Or when they clearly haven’t see anything about the game, cause they don’t even know what it is, how it plays, that it actually looks solid.

    This isn’t the game I wanted, at all. But man, at least I’m willing to give it a chance to impress me before I write it off. It’s unbelievable how childish and immature the gaming community is.

  • Adam Boucher

    This game does look fun, and I am excited. I just wonder why we aren’t also getting another Metroid platformer on 3DS. We haven’t gotten a Metroid platformer in way too long.

  • Laurence J. Nguyen

    I will not sign the stupid petition in regards to people’s whiny complaints on this game. Uh uh. No can do! A lot of people take things way too seriously! Jesus Christ Superstar Almighty! Besides, if this Metroid game is not what a lot of the fans want than just don’t waste money on buying this game, at all. Just avoid bad games like the plague they are even though they are there. I’m definitely not going to buy this game, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Shattered Crystal, Fire & Ice, Destiny, or any other games that do not interest me for that matter, just like with (ahem) The Order: 1886 and Watch Dogs. There are other games that interest me even more: Fatal Frame for Wii U, Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Ultra Despair Girls, The Unfinished Swan, etc. I’m saying that because I have my own preferences and I stand by them while others should also do the same by sticking with their own preferences and don’t let other people’s opinions, thoughts and feelings get the better of them.

    This article is very well thought out, same thing with some other article on that Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem game but that’s just me. Even people like myself should never ever judge a book by its cover especially when that crossover game is still in development and not yet ready for release in the west until some time next year, hopefully. We know nothing about this game. We just wait for it to come out on store shelves, check the reviews and decide whether or not you want to buy the game. It’s that plain and simple to me, at least.

    That’s enough out of me giving out my “two cents” as thoughts, I guess.