New info on Metroid Fusion from Nintendo's Fall Gamer's Summit.
Metroid Prime was not the only Metroid game featured at the Fall Gamer’s Summit. As impressive as the new GameCube Metroid seemed, its handheld relative was no slouch either. And unlike the GameCube demo, Nintendo allowed the media to play Metroid Fusion. In a nutshell, Metroid Fusion plays like an upgraded version of Super Metroid. If you need to be told that that’s a very good thing, you shouldn’t consider yourself a hardcore gamer or a Nintendo fan.
One of the most interesting additions to the game, though, is a strong story line told via cut-scenes that are interspersed throughout the game. The premise of the game finds the famed galactic bounty hunter returning to the planet SR388 from Metroid II: The Return of Samus. In the classic GameBoy game, Samus eliminated the Metroid from that planet but now, in Metroid Fusion, she has been called back in to deal with the consequences of exterminating the planet’s dominant predator. After Samus’ adventures in Metroid II, a team of researchers was brought in to investigate the Metroid’s original habitat. With the Metroid no longer at the top of the food chain, parasitic organisms known only as “X” have wrought havoc on the planet and become the planet’s dominant life form.
Samus is again called into service to investigate the X parasites. Unfortunately, Samus is quickly infected by the X and must undergo a procedure which removes the infected parts of Samus’ armor and introduces a Metroid-based vaccine into our hero. The end result is a new Samus Aran capable of absorbing the X but substantially weakened from her former self (don’t worry, as she absorbs more X parasites, her powers will return).
The infected parts of Samus’ armor soon develop into a full clone of Samus that plays a large role in the game. This clone is fully powered with all of Ms. Aran’s old abilities and can easily defeat Samus in her weakened condition. As if that wasn’t enough, X specimens have broken out of their containment unit and have begun to run rampant inside the researcher’s giant facility. The facility contains a variety of replicated environments used to study the native life forms from all over SR388, and it’s up to Samus to contain the parasites throughout the facility. This story nicely sets up a premise as to why Samus is not her usual butt-kicking self, how she is able to gain energy and ammo from X parasites, and how this interesting new adversary came into being.
New gameplay mechanics include a more direct, almost mission based, structure. This may seem contrary to the fairly open-ended gameplay of previous Metroid games, and in some ways it is, but the new style allows for a stronger flow to the game’s story. The structure also doesn’t inhibit exploration much, as all the objectives provide some leeway as to how that objective has to be accomplished. Someone known as Adam gives the game objectives to Samus through a computer in special Navigation Rooms. The objectives act more as a guide for what the player should do instead of giving a completely blank map and saying “Here you go, figure out what to do and how to do it.” Also, rather than force you to remember a certain door though which you could not pass, the game seems like it will clue the player in on what new areas are accessible.
In fact, given the possible size of the game, this sort of structure seems like a good idea. It’s hard to say exactly how large the map is, but there seems to be a central area where Samus begins the game and 6 elevators that connect to other new areas. That means that there are potentially 7 enormous environments for players to explore.
Another new gameplay element mentioned in the game involves the cloned Samus. At certain times during the game, a message from Adam, your computer guide, warns you that the clone is on the loose. The warning continues to tell Samus that she is too weak in her current condition to fight the clone and to run if the cloned Samus is encountered, using the bombs as an aid to escape. It really sounds like there will be multiple encounters with the clone throughout the game, some of which may require Samus to flee hastily.
Still, even with a few changes here and there, the gameplay in Metroid Fusion is largely unchanged from that of Super Metroid. It should take very little time for Metroid fans to get into the game. The basic running, shooting, jumping, bombing, ball rolling, speed dashing (horizontal, diagonal, and presumably vertical), and probably more moves from Super Metroid seem to be in place for the seasoned Metroid gamer. The diagonal speed dash was definitely in the Gamer’s Summit version of Metroid Fusion, and hopefully this is a sign that many other of the advanced Super Metroid moves made the transition to the GBA. If they didn’t, at least there’s the addition of a ledge-grabbing move and the ability to climb up certain walls or across select ceilings.
At the Fall Gamers Summit, Nintendo also mentioned that, contrary to previous reports, Metroid Prime and Fusion will somehow connect and interact. However, there are absolutely no details as to what the connectivity will entail.
On the whole, Fusion already seems to take a couple of strides forward beyond Super Metroid. Of course, even if it only builds slightly upon the established Super Metroid formula, it will be a great game. With new environments to explore, a strong story integrated into the game, and a few new gameplay elements, there’s little doubt that gamers should anticipate the game’s release on November 18th.
Last updated: 05/21/2002 by Jonathan Metts
Metroid IV, a game shown on video at E3 2002 and then not talked about at all for an entire year, is still very much alive and now called Metroid Fusion. The name is obviously related to Samus being fused with a Metroid, which was revealed in the video footage last year. Anyone who was disappointed with the graphics last year should lay their fears to rest now; the game looks absolutely Super NES quality and in some places, actually better. The brief scenes shown at Nintendo’s Pre-E3 Media Briefing were highly similar to locations and situations in Super Metroid. We saw Samus use a Super Bomb to clear out multiple enemies and a large destructable bridge. In fact, the unusual wall-crawling gameplay so prominent last year was absent altogether in this video. The footage shown today looked more like a graphically updated Super Metroid with new areas to explore, but our glimpse was brief and more differences are sure to arise in the game’s presumably playable demo at the show later this week.
Now that Metroid Prime has been placed in the series storyline immediately after Super Metroid, Fusion’s role in the overall franchise plot is unclear. Look for MUCH more info on Metroid Fusion this week!
Last updated: 03/24/2002 by Zosha Arushan
The Metroid team is Yoshio Sakamoto and the R&D1 team which is located in NCL's Corporate HQ alongside R&D2, IRD, EAD, and several other Nintendo groups. Intelligent Systems is located a few miles East and is a separate studio.
There was confusion before about Intelligent Systems and R&D1 being the same team, but they are not. Intelligent Systems' only Metroid involvement was in part 3 where three programmers from IS worked with R&D1 on the title.
Last updated: 03/23/2002 by Jonathan Metts
In the newest issue of EGM, the magazine has a brief interview with Shigeru Miyamoto about Metroid Prime for GameCube. However, the interview contains a few interesting comments about Metroid IV too:
EGM: Any chance Metroid Prime and Metroid IV will hook up via the GBA/GC link cable?
Miyamoto: There is no definite plan, but if we can I'd like to include little bonus extras like that.
Elsewhere in the interview...
Miyamoto: The old Metroid team isn't directly working on (Metroid Prime). They are working on Metroid IV (GBA) right now.
Obviously, this is the once-and-for-all confirmation that Metroid IV is indeed being developed at Intelligent Systems in Japan. Previous reports were very unclear on that topic, and this interview is practically the only new information Nintendo has released on Metroid IV since last year's E3 show. We should have much more info on the real sequel to this much-loved series leading up to E3, and the title is fully expected to be playable at this year's show. Check out EGM issue #154 for the rest of the Metroid Prime interview!
Last updated: 06/19/2001 by Max Lake
The GIA has posted its preview of Metroid IV which states that Intelligent Systems is handling the development on Metroid IV. However, no explanation is given for naming IS as the developer, so this isn't necessarily a confirmation. We're still keeping out eyes and ears open for an official confirmation. Normally it wouldn't matter so much who was making the game, but in the case of Metroid...heh, well you understand.
Last updated: 05/21/2001 by Jonathan Metts
Nintendo's booth at E3 2001 featured a very large Game Boy Advance whose screen was showcasing footage from several upcoming GBA games. Pretty much all of the stuff shown was old hat, but one particularly lengthy clip generated quite a bit of buzz: Metroid! Yes, Metroid IV (not 4, as we now know thanks to the game's logo) is a real game, and if you had any doubts as to its originality, toss those out the window NOW. The newest adventure of Samus promises to change the character and the direction of the series forever.
The video clip starts out with some very nice FMV. First you see the legendary "S" logo twisting into a new, more organic and rounded version of itself. Then the camera is out in space and zooming in on a sleek spaceship, presumably the one belonging to Samus. Then a computer loading screen comes up, showing a fusion program being loaded. A body diagram for Samus is on the left, and on the right...a Metroid! The two merge together, and then the FMV kicks back up again, showing an all new Samus. She's wearing a new black suit with Wolverine-style claws on one hand, and after an awe-filled second to stare, she jumps right off the screen like some kind of superhuman.
Then the gameplay footage starts, and it's nothing if not surprising. First, the graphics are somewhat GBC-ish; Andres speculated that the game started out on that system and still has some visual upgrading to be done. Samus, wearing her black suit, is shown using a handful of new powers. First, she uses a weirdo grappling beam against a Metroid-like alien. Even odder, her beam seems to have another of the aliens on the end of it, or it's projecting an illusion of one. Then we see Samus running very fast and jumping up to the ceiling, where she latches on with magnetic boots or something and proceeds to run on the ceiling upside-down! Finally, we see her again using those wall-clinging abilities, this time walking down a vertical wall. She jumps out away from the wall, goes below it through a narrow horizontal passageway, then unexpectedly curves back away from the floor and onto the wall again, just exactly on the opposite side as she started. That's the end of the demo, perhaps minus a few unmemorable details.
So what does all this mean? We figured the best people to ask were the developers, so your loyal PGC staff set out to find the game's creators. Unfortunately, no one seems to know, or they just won't say. We originally all thought/assumed/hoped that Intelligent Systems would be behind it, but at E3 we heard the names Retro Studios and Nintendo Software Technologies also thrown around as possible developers of Metroid IV. One employee of Retro said it isn't being made there as far as he knew. NST seems to hold more promise; their people were very cryptic on the subject, and one NST developer claimed to know Metroid IV's developer but said he wasn't allowed to tell us. Until we can get any new info on this most unusual mystery, we're calling it for NST.
Last updated: 05/16/2001 by Max Lake
It looks like the name for the Metroid Advance game is indeed Metroid 4. We’re expecting to see the game tomorrow, so stay tuned to see what this game will be like!
Last updated: 05/15/2001 by Max Lake
If you read our the newly renamed Metroid Prime preview, you probably caught that Metroid Advance has been confirmed to be the true Metroid 4 and serve as a sequel to Super Metroid. PGC has also confirmed that the game will be a side-scroller and be shown at E3 in some form.
This turn of events also makes it pretty obvious that Metroid Advance will be released far before Metroid Prime. Retro’s struggles are well documented and there is nil chance that Nintendo will let the second-party fumble a game this big. Meanwhile, Metroid Advance might just be playable at E3 and will definitely be on display. So we’ll get a teaser of Metroid Prime for NGC while Metroid Advance will provide us with the sequel we’ve waited for, for oh-so-long. Sounds good and factoring in Samus in Smash 2 and you’ve got the icing on the cake.
There’s also a chance Metroid Advance might be called just that. We had switched the name to “Metroid GBA,” though PGC ran a story just yesterday reporting Nintendo had registered the domain. We can’t complain as long as “Metroid” is in the title. (Although “Metroid 4” certainly does have a nice ring to it after all these Samus-less years!)
Still no word on who is doing the development, though we’re guessing Intelligent Systems (formerly R&D1, who worked under Gumpei Yokoi to produce the previous Metroid games.
We’ll have more details on any/all Metroid when we get to E3.
Last updated: 03/24/2001 by Max Lake
Metroid GBA will not be a rehash / "special edition" of the other Metroid games but an all-new game. Nintendo of America has finally confirmed this info, giving credit to the rumors we heard as early as the first mumblings of "Metroid Advance." (Kind of makes you wonder if Golden Sun 2 is in the works as well...See below for details). This doesn't completely rule out updated versions of old Metroid games in the future, though for now it seems like Nintendo will be bringing back Samus in a big way for its next generation.
At this point, no developer has been announced, so we're not sure if Retro or a Japanese Nintendo team is handling it. Like the NGC Metroid, we don't know what the story will be either, or if the two games will interact. Confirmed & new, Metroid for GBA is looking better all the time.
Last updated: 03/07/2001 by Max Lake
Just before the launch of PGC, we get an official confirmation of the game nobody (seemingly even Nintendo of America) believed in -but wanted. No, we still don't know what it is yet. The game is listed as "Metroid for Game Boy Advance" so it could be an updated classic (Metroid, Metroid 2 or Super Metroid) given the Mario Advance treatment (why not give it to all 3? Hmmm). The other possibility it will be an all-new game, one that could somehow interact with the NGC Metroid. Maybe the GBA could work like a "Metroid detector" a la aliens. Too derivative?
Either way, we don't know what it will be. Still, after venturing to post a preview/profile on this mysterious title, we're glad that the game has now been confirmed. Furthermore, we can't wait to see what happens; the more Metroid, the better.
Last updated: 02/17/2001 by David Trammell
The oddity that was the "Metroid Advance incident" seems almost mind boggling. We originally heard of this game in a Nintendo of Europe press release. NOA immediately denied rumors of a Metroid GBA. There were a few other developments in which we heard that the game would be new material, not a remake.
I see four possibilities.
1) Nintendo of Europe is dumb: They accidentally released info about a secret game in development.
2) Nintendo of Europe is really dumb: They accidentally released info about a secret game that doesn't actually exist.
3) Nintendo as a whole is very tricky: Perhaps Nintendo wanted to release this info as pre-hype. This way when the real info is released with screens and all, you have a hype explosion!
4) There are rogue factions in NOE: Let's say you're a die hard Metroid fan. You want a new 2d Metroid game. What do you do? Simple, promise the world a new 2d Metroid game. Then Nintendo has to actually make one because you got everyone excited.
Ok. You'll probably agree that numbers 2 and 4 aren't very likely. That leaves numbers 1 and 3. Either an accidental or calculated release of info about a game we'll be playing soon. Come 'on.. hope with me now. Otherwise we'll all be looking at this sorry excuse for a game profile until we remove the rotting thing from our files five years from now.
Last updated: 01/24/2001 by Max Lake
Believe it or not, just after NOA denounced NOE's Metroid Advance mention, it seems the fun isn't over yet. Nintendo of France have issued another press release that not only lists Metroid Advance but Golden Sun 2(?!) as well. Announcing a sequel to a yet-to-be-released GBA launch title is almost more fishy than the new Metroid Advance mention. Something nutty is going on over at Nintendo's European branches - what exactly, we can only guess. Until we learn more, it's probably best to stick with NOA's official statement for now. Thanks to NintendoWeb for finding this confusing new bit
Last updated: 01/23/2001 by Max Lake
After a great deal of suspense, Nintendo has finally issued its promised (albeit delayed) official statement regarding Metroid Advance.
"NOE's news release that stated Metroid was being developed for Game Boy Advance was incorrect. Nintendo has not announced a Metroid game. Please visit www.nintendo.com for the official list of games in development for Game Boy Advance."
There you have it. So officially and for the record, there is no handheld Metroid in development. So why was it listed in the NOE press release? Why did it take Nintendo so long to respond (almost a week) when it was simply denying the title? Although we like to temper our Oliver Stone conspiracy theories with reason around here, this whole incident is too interesting to disregard completely.
Whether or not there is a Metroid Advance being worked on right now, it is very possible (even likely) that there will be a Metroid game for the GBA console at some point. It may be sooner than we think, though unless it is announced at E3 it probably won't have any connection to Retro's Metroid game for NGC.
Officially, we're not holding our breath anymore.
Last updated: 01/21/2001 by Jonathan Metts
A website called Consoles-France has posted a "confirmation" of Metroid GBA, and even goes on to say that the game is an original entry to the series and not a remake of any of the old games. We at the Planet are taking this with a grain of salt for now, because we're not familiar with the site and no concrete sources are named. Nintendo has yet to confirm or deny the Metroid mention by NOE this past week, and it all really depends on that. Anyway, if nothing else this new report is interesing. Here's a translation of the original story, courtesy of our lady Dragona:
Has Nintendo of Europe been deceiving us about the information concerning Metroid being developed for the Game Boy Advance? We don't think so, and here is the explanation. We are more or less responsible for the rumour of Metroid GBA which ran as a short news item on IGN, The Nintendo Project and many other American sites for the past few days, and even we've been doing the same since the reception of the news. An error? No way! Today, we still believe the truth of our information, as we affirmed again yesterday with one of the directors of IGN.com, with whom we were speaking with. There were new elements to push this news and as we confirmed a few days earlier, Metroid is definitely in development for the Game Boy Advance. Even better: We even think that Nintendo is not converting an older Metroid,, but that this, in fact, is a completely new game. Believe us, this game will be worth the wait :) ! Unfortunately, in the meantime, we can't publish screens of Metroid but as soon as it is possible they'll be online without the briefest of delays. You can rely on us to keep you up-to-date on the beautiful Samus Aran's next appearance!
Take that as you will. We'll keep you informed of any further developments, confirmations, or denials in this matter.
Last updated: 01/19/2001
Is there a Metroid planned for GBA or not? We don't really know but the possibility has dropped onto us like a bomb. Earlier this week, The Nintendo Project revealed that a "Metroid" title was listed as an upcoming release in a UK Press Release. The news spread like an infection; was it a new game? Or could it be a revamped version of Super Metroid, or another previous game, a la Mario Advance. No one had any idea but everyone wanted to. At the same time, the awkward nature of the information & its source (Nintendo of Europe, not exactly the Big N's hub of operations) alone made its validity questionable.
Being the Metroid freak that almost every Nintendophile is, our man Billy contacted our sources within Nintendo of America. Although he was unable to glean any official information one-way or the other, he was informed that an "official announcement" would be forthcoming the following day. Well, the next day came and went, without so much as a sneeze from the Nintendo. What the heck? Is a GBA Metroid coming or not?!? Not surprisingly, it's amazing how tense 24 hours can be when news of Metroid is on the line…
We were almost expecting a quick denial; something that put the issue to rest and out of our heads. Instead, we get nothing. Clearly Nintendo of Europe messed up… But how? Are they to blame for announcing a game not currently in development, or did they accidentally blow the lid off of one of Nintendo's many secret projects? The fact that the statement has taken so long to manifest suggests something serious is happening behind the scenes and Nintendo itself may be scurrying to provide the answers to these questions.
As for the validity of Nintendo's European branch, longtime readers will remember a time just before Space World 2000 when Nintendo of Sweden's website mentioned that the "Dolphin" would be called "Star Cube" (seemingly confirming longtime rumors) and would utilize an online network called "Star Road" (which was new info). Although in light of Space World 2000 the rumors turned out to be inaccurate, GameCube's original name was supposedly "Star Cube" w/the online service yet to receive an official name… Take it as you will...