Wii

Other M: Deleted Plotline 

by Andrew Brown - May 26, 2012, 11:26 pm PDT
Total comments: 21

Beware, contains over analytical rambling! Oh, and spoilers.

Samus is no stranger to mystery.
Many of her adventures have placed her in situations where something nasty has obviously gone down and she has to use her deductive resourcefulness to quickly piece together the facts. While not explained in so many words, these mysteries often leave the player to figure things out. Some of these are subtle details that become obvious with a little logic, such as the crashed frigate in Metroid Prime being the same vessel Samus explored at the beginning of the game. Piecing together Ridley's continual cloning and rebirth is such a complex topic, on the other hand, that one could write their thesis on the reptilian Pirate leader.

Metroid Other M is arguably the most plot-driven game in the series thus far, and contains quite a few mysteries of its own to uncover. However, one plot point in particular fizzles out suddenly when more important facts come to light. Assuming all you readers out there have finished the game already, you'll know all the shady shenanigans the Galactic Federation was involved in aboard the Bottle Ship. In order to keep their plans from leaking to the public, they placed a spy on Adam's team of marines — someone to stop anyone from finding the truth, or permanently silence those who do. As the members of Adam's team disappear one by one, Samus figures out about the traitor, and names this person the Deleter.

While the mystery of the Deleter never gets any explanation or closure, and ultimately loses relevance in light of the facts revealed later (not to mention how only one marine survives the whole ordeal), it is still possible to piece the clues together and find out who it was, for curiosity's sake.

Ice to see you.

In the events of Other M, Adam Malkovich's 07th Platoon consisted of six members; Adam himself, Samus' old commander from her days in the Galactic Federation; 
Anthony Higgs; 
Lyle Smithsonian; 
Maurice Favreau; 
James Pierce; and 
K.G. Misawa.

As you follow along the game's storyline, things play out something like this:
Samus receives the call to the Bottle Ship and meets up with Adam's platoon.
-  With a temporary cooperation with the group formed, Samus begins her  investigation.
-  Upon entering the Exam Center, James is found using a computer terminal. As the others arrive, the computer malfunctions and some suspicious data is lost. The team attempts to fix it while Samus explores deeper and discovers the Space Pirate clones.
-  Samus heads outside with the marines to fight off an attack from an evolved Little Birdie.
-  Lyle is found dead outside the Biosphere Test Area with what looks like a blaster wound. Little Birdie feasts on his corpse until he's discovered.
-  After leaving the area, the research facility blows up.
-  Later, in Sector 2, Maurice is killed. Samus first learns of a mysterious traitor, who then attacks her. The individual escapes.
-  A short while later, we see one of the marines kicking another's corpse into the lava in Sector 3.
-  After picking up the trail of Little Birdie, Samus learns the creature is a Ridley clone. She and Anthony fight the monster, and Anthony appears to plunge to his death.

"Hey Samus, why haven't you friended me on Facebook yet?"

At this point, Samus surmises that Adam knew about the traitor in his midst. Communication with him is suddenly down, likely to disrupt the remaining marines' coordination. Samus begins trailing an unknown member of the platoon, who tries to hinder her progress by retracting a bridge and destroying the control terminal. As a side note, this is the first time in the game Samus actually does something of her own intuition without Adam's explicit permission—looks like she's gotten over that post-traumatic stress disorder from losing the baby Metroid and seeing Ridley again.

Shortly afterward, we see the Deleter approach Madeline, followed by the sound of a gunshot. Then there's the whole dramatic scene where Samus learns of Adam's involvement in the Metroid cloning program, and sees Adam sacrifice himself while blowing up the entire Sector Zero. There's a bunch of other stuff that happens relating to Madeline, Mother Brain and an android gone insane, which I'll omit for the sake of focus. Meanwhile, James Pierce is found dead at the spot where the Deleter had confronted MB, while MB remains alive! Suspicious!

Whodunnit: Space Edition

At the end of the game, Anthony is found to have narrowly escaped death during the scuffle with Ridley. Everyone else from the platoon is confirmed dead on the pause menu's character roster except K.G, who Samus writes off as missing. By process of elimination, K.G. must have been the corpse the Deleter disposed of in the Sector 3 lava. With everyone else's actions throughout the story, the only two candidates who had any chance of being the Deleter are Adam himself, and James. Given Adam's back story and the fact that he spends almost the entire game sitting in his command chair and gleefully watching Samus dehydrating without her Varia Suit upgrade, he is unlikely to be the culprit. Why would he go to the lengths of cutting incoming communication with his own radio, anyway?

The most likely scenario is that James was the spy the Federation placed onto Adam's team, who goes about sabotaging things and killing people. His actions at the Biosphere suggest he was the one who corrupted the computer and blew up the lab. As he was tasked with killing any survivors who may have known what the Fed was up to onboard the Bottle Ship, he eventually confronted MB, thinking she was an innocent researcher. Instead, she turned out to be a psychotic android with the personality of the Mother Brain uploaded into her memory, and he died for his mistake.

"My one dying regret... is that I didn't stay alive."

Why this was never explicitly revealed in the game is unknown, but while an odd choice not to give the proper explanation, it made for some interesting conversation topics around the time the game launched. 
Having to work things out for yourself is not only fun, but also fits in with the cryptic style of the Metroid series.

So there you have it. Are my deductions sound, or nothing more than insane conspiracy theories? Does it really matter?  Any theories of your own to share? What say you, fellow sleuths?

Images

Talkback

Pixelated PixiesMay 26, 2012

I've been among those Metroid fans who have tried to put things in perspective with regards Other M, and generally I feel that Other M was a fun game. Having said that, I could not care less about the characters or the story which are the epitome of forgettable. I guess it's cool that some fans out there care enough to spend time piecing the story together, because the developers sure as hell didn't.

Infinitys_EndMay 27, 2012

Uh oh... opening up another can of worms on MOM.  This has been discussed on our forums in great length, but I'll just add in my quick $.02. 

The whole Deleter sub-plot was completely botched.  The writing and timing of the scenes was done so poorly that people who beat the game still didn't understand that James was the deleter, since the game never flat-out went and said it, and there were even people doubting KG's death since the game says his body was "missing."  (facepalm)

MOM's biggest problem is the entire plot is completely worthless in the grand scheme of things.  Beyond Adam's death, MOM's plot never results to anything other than a sidestory.  (A gaiden perhaps?  :Q )

Samus never really does much of anything of importance in the game, other than destroying the Queen Metroid and stopping Melissa.  She doesn't even kill Ridley.  She also lets everyone around her die - including failing to protect Anthony Higgs, who is just too much of a badass that he can take care of himself.  It plays out more or less that Samus is there on the Bottle Ship, and all these events play out around her, with her only being important to the story at very few, short moments.  The whole mission is just worthless.  Even at the very end, Samus's "intrusion" didn't really get her very far, and the GFeds "take over" and then blow up the damn ship to try to erase their mistake. 

It might be why no one likes the game's story.  We're given bits of plot development while we play the game, but when all those bits are put together in sequence, it doesn't enhance that experience in the slightest.  Not even in an "icing-on-cake" sort of way.  Instead, the cake is kinda moldy, falling apart, and made with rotten eggs.  Even though it was baked by 3 different cooks!

(and for f---'s sake, they could have at LEAST let us play through Sector 0.  C'mon Nintendo, why don't you just dangle the carrot in front of our faces a little harder next time. :@ )

NinSageMay 27, 2012

Quote:

Having things to work things out for yourself is not only fun, but also fits in with the cryptic style of the Metroid series.

This.

Quote from: Pixelated

I guess it's cool that some fans out there care enough to spend time piecing the story together, because the developers sure as hell didn't.

That is your opinion and you're entitled to it.  But, if you have any questions, I'll answer them for you.

Quote from: Infinitys_End

The whole Deleter sub-plot was completely botched.  The writing and timing of the scenes was done so poorly that people who beat the game still didn't understand that James was the deleter, since the game never flat-out went and said it


Maybe I got lucky but I thought it was pretty clear.  Then again, everyone knows I place a lot of emphasis on plot and pay a LOT of attention to it.  I even have begun writing a monthly piece on narrative in games over at NegativeWorld.org.  I was also lucky enough to be invited to sit on a panel discussion of video game narratives at a near-by college last month.

That said, it's nice that every once in a while we get a game that doesn't feel it has to talk down to these dumb gamers and "flat-out went and said it."

Quote from: Infinitys_End

MOM's biggest problem is the entire plot is completely worthless in the grand scheme of things.  Beyond Adam's death, MOM's plot never results to anything other than a sidestory.  (A gaiden perhaps?  :Q )


Well, it's an in-between-quel.  Those games pretty much have to be self-contained stories or else they risk contradicting past or future chronological entries.

Quote from: Infinitys_End

Samus never really does much of anything of importance in the game, other than destroying the Queen Metroid and stopping Melissa.  She doesn't even kill Ridley.  She also lets everyone around her die - including failing to protect Anthony Higgs, who is just too much of a badass that he can take care of himself.  It plays out more or less that Samus is there on the Bottle Ship, and all these events play out around her, with her only being important to the story at very few, short moments.  The whole mission is just worthless.  Even at the very end, Samus's "intrusion" didn't really get her very far, and the GFeds "take over" and then blow up the damn ship to try to erase their mistake.


If you don't think much happens in Other M, that's your opinion, just remember not every plot development involves someone dying or something blowing up.  Other M covers an entire franchise worth of internal development, as well as the entire external plot this article describes.

Quote from: Infinitys_End

It might be why no one likes the game's story.

How many game's have plots that either make no sense or don't amount to much more than "destroy the core"?  Yet, no one seems to really mind.

No, people who hate Other M hate it because it took a character they thought they knew (regardless of what that was) and revealed that she had all these icky touchy feelings under the cold, emotionless exterior of a hardened bounty hunter. 

The result was a cognitive dissonance that caused heads to explode all over the interweb.  Meanwhile, the next testosterone roid-rage alphabet soup shooter is rolling off the production line as we speak... and it will be up for GOTY =P

broodwarsMay 27, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

Quote from: Pixelated

I guess it's cool that some fans out there care enough to spend time piecing the story together, because the developers sure as hell didn't.

That is your opinion and you're entitled to it.  But, if you have any questions, I'll answer them for you.

You realize that you just proved his point, right?  :P: : : : : :

Quote from: NinSage

No, people who hate Other M hate it because it took a character they thought they knew (regardless of what that was) and revealed that she had all these icky touchy feelings under the cold, emotionless exterior of a hardened bounty hunter. 

The result was a cognitive dissonance that caused heads to explode all over the interweb.  Meanwhile, the next testosterone roid-rage alphabet soup shooter is rolling off the production line as we speak... and it will be up for GOTY =P

Dude, we've been over this many times now.  The character in Other M is not the same Samus we've seen in any other Metroid game, not even Metroid Fusion.  Do I really have to pull the Ridley example for...what...the 7th time now?  If you want to say that people didn't like a horribly-written reboot Samus, fine.  But let's not pretend that this is the same character depicted by competent directors and writers in the other Metroid games.

And I'm also getting really tired of the constant demon-ization from certain folks on the internet of people who like shooters as moronic and beneath them.  Some shooter fans may fit your stereotype, but quite a few don't.

As for the Deleter sub-plot, it was just one of many things Sakamoto seemingly haphazardly threw into Other M without any real plan for it.  It just...exists...in that storyline, with neither development nor any kind of emotional or narrative payoff.  It probably could have been interesting if it had ever progressed beyond a faceless shadow who tried to kill her with a forklift.

NinSageMay 27, 2012

@broodwars

How did that prove his point?

Before Fusion, Samus barely said anything outside of the manga.  And I do recall citing many, many, many ways in which Fusion directly portrays Samus and Adam as they are in Other M and the manga. 

I don't recall, what was your response to that post? Feel free to just quote it below if you want ...

broodwarsMay 27, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

@broodwars

How did that prove his point?

Because if you have to explain it, the developer didn't do their job properly in conveying the story.  And considering how fond Other M was in vomiting exposition and inner monologues at the player, that's particularly sad.

Quote:

Before Fusion, Samus barely said anything outside of the manga.  And I do recall citing many, many, many ways in which Fusion directly portrays Samus and Adam as they are in Other M and the manga.

There are probably less than a thousand people worldwide who give a **** what the Japan-only Metroid manga did (and as you may have gathered, I'm not one of them), and most of those are probably in Japan where the franchise isn't popular.  You're skirting the issue anyway.  I specifically said Reboot Samus contradicts the other Metroid games.  Her inner monologues in Fusion might have been similar, but she still isn't the completely unreliable wreck or master of redundancy in that game that she randomly is in Other M.

Chozo GhostMay 27, 2012

Maybe this question could be answered in a sequel. For all we know Sakamoto and Team Ninja could be hard at work on it as we speak.

Pixelated PixiesMay 28, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

Quote:

Having things to work things out for yourself is not only fun, but also fits in with the cryptic style of the Metroid series.

This.

Quote from: Pixelated

I guess it's cool that some fans out there care enough to spend time piecing the story together, because the developers sure as hell didn't.

That is your opinion and you're entitled to it.  But, if you have any questions, I'll answer them for you.

I'll just quote what I posted on Nate's review which was posted earlier this month.


"Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I found the control scheme to be more heinous that the story or voice acting. That's not to say that I think the story telling in Other M was good, far from it. Despite being a huge Metroid fan, however, I've never really put much value in Samus as a character or the story generally. For me, Metroid is all about atmosphere, and exploration punctuated by action."


I actually don't have any questions because I honestly don't care all that much about the story which was told in Other M or, indeed, the Metroid saga more generally.


So, at least in my case, the reason I think Other M is one of the weakest entries in the series is not because Samus was portrayed as a woman with 'icky touchy feelings under the cold, emotionless exterior of a hardened bounty hunter.' I think Other M is a weak entry in the series for plethora of reasons, the story being just one reason among several. The decision by the developers to focus on story has meant, however, that gamers have also paid more attention to it (I mean it's hard not to when it's being shoved down your throat with slick looking CG cutscenes).


For me Metroid has been a series which was defined by it's subtle storytelling, much of which was left to the player. If Nintendo want to take Metroid in the cinematic direction hinted at in Fushion and brought into stark relief with Other M, then they're going to have to up their game. I was not too offended by Other M's story precisely because I never valued it much in previous instalments either; but I can completely understand why gamers would decry it. If Nintendo are going to choose to live by the sword they should also prepare to die by it.

joshnickersonMay 28, 2012

Quote from: broodwars

It probably could have been interesting if it had every progressed beyond a faceless shadow who tried to kill her with a forklift.

The whole game could've been made a whole lot better if there were three jerks in silhouette at the bottom of the screen making smart-ass remarks... ;)

Chozo GhostMay 28, 2012

Quote from: joshnickerson

Quote from: broodwars

It probably could have been interesting if it had every progressed beyond a faceless shadow who tried to kill her with a forklift.

The whole game could've been made a whole lot better if there were three jerks in silhouette at the bottom of the screen making smart-ass remarks... ;)

You know, someone really should do an MST3K equivalent for video games, and then they could put it on Youtube. That's an awesome idea! :)

broodwarsMay 28, 2012

Quote from: Chozo

You know, someone really should do an MST3K equivalent for video games, and then they could put it on Youtube. That's an awesome idea! :)

The Escapist has a feature somewhat like that (they only mock "bad" video game opening cutscenes) in Unskippable.  If you've never seen it before, I recommend starting with Eternal Sonata as it's one of their best ones.  The quality of the episodes varies, but generally the JRPG episodes are hilarious (especially Star Ocean: The Last Hope's, where Yahtzee joins in on the fun).

NinSageMay 28, 2012

Quote from: Pixelated

I actually don't have any questions because I honestly don't care all that much about the story which was told in Other M or, indeed, the Metroid saga more generally.

...

I was not too offended by Other M's story precisely because I never valued it much in previous instalments either; but I can completely understand why gamers would decry it. If Nintendo are going to choose to live by the sword they should also prepare to die by it.

This makes your perspectives perfectly understandable.

Quote from: broodwars

Because if you have to explain it, the developer didn't do their job properly in conveying the story.  And considering how fond Other M was in vomiting exposition and inner monologues at the player, that's particularly sad.

I was afraid that was your interpretation.  However, that's unsound logic.  If someone doesn't understand a math problem, and someone else can explain it to them, then the math is good.  Complex? Sure.  But not broken.  Some stories are complex.  The events of complex books, movies and TV shows are often discussed for years.

Quote from: broodwars

There are probably less than a thousand people worldwide who give a **** what the Japan-only Metroid manga did (and as you may have gathered, I'm not one of them), and most of those are probably in Japan where the franchise isn't popular.  You're skirting the issue anyway.  I specifically said Reboot Samus contradicts the other Metroid games.  Her inner monologues in Fusion might have been similar, but she still isn't the completely unreliable wreck or master of redundancy in that game that she randomly is in Other M.

Unfortunately for you, it wouldn't matter if that **** was given by 2 billion people or none at all.  The fact remains that Sakamoto is god in the Metroid universe.  The god in our universe may do things that you are confused by or that you outright hate, but to pretend they don't exist wouldn't make any sense.

Lastly, I'm not skirting a thing, your point there relies heavily on the fact that in earlier generations game characters simply weren't voiced and/or didn't have much text.  Nintendo has maintained that with many of its franchises, but took a risk by taking an unprecedentedly large step "forward" with the Metroid franchise (again, that's not to say it's a step you had to enjoy or not wish they hadn't done).

The same risk could have been taken and lost by Gears of War, or Halo, or Tomb Raider if they had been around since  the 8-bit era.

broodwarsMay 28, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

I was afraid that was your interpretation.  However, that's unsound logic.  If someone doesn't understand a math problem, and someone else can explain it to them, then the math is good.  Complex? Sure.  But not broken.  Some stories are complex.  The events of complex books, movies and TV shows are often discussed for years.

A math problem is not equatable to storytelling.  2+2=4.  No matter how you look at the formula, the outcome is the same.  It is a fact that only has value when the method for determining it is explained, because the formula's meaning is not otherwise self-evident.  If someone never taught you how our society thinks of and formulates addition, that formula is just a series of lines and symbols. 

By contrast, we human beings have an instinctual basic understanding of storytelling.  Stories can have layers, yes, but if you as a developer fail to convey the fundamental story of your product, you have failed as a storyteller.  As Other M makes the Deleter subplot a major focus of the story at several key points, I think it shows Sakamoto as a failed storyteller if supporters of the game have to cover for him.

Quote from: NinSage

Unfortunately for you, it wouldn't matter if that **** was given by 2 billion people or none at all.  The fact remains that Sakamoto is god in the Metroid universe.  The god in our universe may do things that you are confused by or that you outright hate, but to pretend they don't exist wouldn't make any sense.

Gods only have power so long as they are shown to be infallible and can inspire worship and fear in their followers.  Once someone runs up; sticks a knife in them; and makes them bleed, the people no longer perceive them as all-knowing and all-powerful because now they can be killed.  I think the general negative reception to Metroid Other M's story shows that Sakamoto can bleed quite a bit.

Quote:

Lastly, I'm not skirting a thing, your point there relies heavily on the fact that in earlier generations game characters simply weren't voiced and/or didn't have much text.

The silent and music-based films/cartoons of the 1930s say "hello" (watch Steamboat Willie and tell me that Mickey does not have a clear characterization when I don't believe he says an understandable word in the entire short).  Pixar's Wall-E also says "hello", a story where most of the characterization is done with only a handful of words and body gestures (by the point actual dialogue enters the picture, the main characters are already largely established).  You don't need heavy-handed exposition, monotone monologues, and eye-rollingly bad writing to have good characterization.  But, of course, when I specifically speak of Other M Samus' incongruity with the other Metroid games, your response is to jump to a Japan-only manga instead.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm glad Nintendo was willing to experiment with attempting more overt storytelling in Metroid Other M.  It just didn't work, and your "god" is primarily the reason why.  Pair a competent writer and director with Team Ninja next time, and maybe the experiment will actually work.

NinSageMay 28, 2012

1. Right, and the fact is that the Other M plot can be understood given what the game gave us.

2. I'm sorry if the god analogy confused the issue.  Plainly, this is Sakamoto's story and he's sharing it with us.  The likes/dislikes of the story's content are irrelevant to its existence.

3.  No one said you can't convey stories without words, but early games didn't try to convey the depth modern games do.  We knew Samus was brave enough to work alone and strong enough to triumph in the end.  Those elements have not changed.  Simply, as the medium has tried to and been capable of giving deeper, more nuanced information, we've seen more of the narrative of the universe.  The more you see, the more there is to like or dislike, approve of or not.  It's that simple.

Infinitys_EndMay 28, 2012

I pretty much agree with broodwars 100% on this.  Anyone who fails to see the complete mediocrity of Other M's storytelling is just in denial.  I, admittedly used to be in that camp myself.  But then I watched a few videos putting all the pieces together and it just made sense.  It's worthy of discussion only for being Metroid.  There are very few other franchises that would receive as much nitpicking attention as this one, that's for sure.  Other M could have had a competent story, but in the end, it just failed.


References:
Extra Credits takes on Other M
Metroid Other M by TheGamingBritShow (Beware: this video is quite exaggerated, but he does bring up some really good points)
EDIT: 3D Metroid Dissection (This one is a little better, and shorter than the one above.)

Don't get me wrong: I actually enjoyed the game!  But it doesn't make up for the fact that the story is a sophomoric attempt at best.  And the Deleter sub-plot doesn't really enhance it in the slightest.  People have equated it to a fan fiction and I would say that analogy isn't too far off.

NinSageMay 28, 2012

Careful, Infinitys_End, broodwars is saying that Other M's narrative betrays the past so much it qualifies as a "reboot" and that there are aspects of the plot that the game just plain does not give enough information to piece together.

On the other hand, though I happen to like what Other M contributed to the fiction, I believe people should recognize Other M for what it is, and then feel free to find that unsatisfactory if they so choose - not deny it outright.

Chozo GhostMay 28, 2012

Its too bad there wasn't a real life "Deletor" to delete Other M before it got released, am I right?

nickmitchMay 28, 2012

I think I actually liked Other M, the more I think about. Samus had NO personality in Metroids I through III. Fusion hinted at some insecurities of the character, but only paid off in the slight disappoint Samus felt at the end. I watched the first five minutes of that third video and thought two things: 1) that guy's voice is annoying and condescending. 2) The main thing he seems to be complaining about is the fact Other M added a personality to the character. I remember seeing a frozen Ridley in Fusion and I thought, "Shit, that looks intimidating." It's almost nice to know that the character feels the same level of intimidation as I do when confronted by a powerful boss. And everything he said about the character not walking in to the room the same or looking and acting awkward, I totally agree with. Except for the part that I'm pretty sure Adam's presence accounts for that. He just has that much of an effect on her probably because she's the only human being she ever looked up to as a parental figure.

Also, Zero Punctuation had it right when Yahtzee said how apparent it was that the deleter was the guy with the evil mustache. I didn't even know it was a "mystery" until just now.

nickmitchMay 29, 2012
Chozo GhostMay 29, 2012

Whenever something terrible happens its usually the guy with the mustache who did it.

nickmitchMay 29, 2012

http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m74/nickmitch889/dastardly.jpg

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