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Next Level Games Worked on a Metroid Game Concept

by Neal Ronaghan - September 8, 2014, 1:21 pm EDT
Total comments: 27 Source: Kyoto Report

A former artist's portfolio shows off the Luigi's Mansion 2 dev's concept of a Metroid game.

Next Level Games worked on a Metroid prototype before starting development on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, according to a former artist's portfolio.

The images show off heroine Samus Aran and a few enemies, appearing to have a more cartoony style. It's not known how far into development this concept got, but it is known that Next Level Games was working on a different project with Nintendo in between the conclusion of Punch-Out!! in 2009 and the beginning of development on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon the following year.

Next Level Games is currently working on a project with Nintendo. All we know is that some sort of development started on it in late 2012.

As for the Metroid series, back at E3 2014, Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi said the company has been having internal discussions about the series' future.

Images

Talkback

AdrockSeptember 08, 2014

Not a fan of that art, partially because it doesn't suit Metroid, but also because I've been spoiled by Retro Studios. In any case, it would have been nice to see what Next Level Games could do with Metroid.

StogiSeptember 08, 2014

I think the art is sick! I never thought about it but Metroid would do well as a cartoon.

KhushrenadaSeptember 08, 2014

Art style isn't the most important factor. It's all about the gameplay.

Of course, Ian Sane will probably want to post something about how Metroid is one of the few non-kiddie franchises Nintendo has and if they put a cartoony art style on it, then he'll no longer be able to face the bullies at school by being able to say that Metroid is mature. It will just further solidfy Nintendo's reputation as being a kiddie console and company. It will be like the Wind Waker taking the dark, gritty Zelda he wanted and replacing it with a colorful cel-shaded world and how that was the worst move ever because Metroid can only be dark. He'd think that Nintendo should have learned their lesson from messing things up with Other M and further re-iterate how Nintendo isnt the same company he grew up with. He could post that but now that I've covered it all, what's the point?

AwesomeUnicornSeptember 08, 2014

That concept art for Samus is giving me flashes of Guacamelee, and I'd imagine it would animate as beautifully.  I'd sure like to see that in motion in a new 2D Metroid game.

Ian SaneSeptember 08, 2014

What we're going to toon shade Metroid too?

Those of you who like cutesy graphics you already have Mario, Pokémon, Kirby, etc.  Why can't we have some variety from Nintendo franchises?  Why does every series of theirs have to be cutesy particularly when some of them weren't originally.  Somehow Nintendo was seen as kid friendly for years without Zelda and Metroid being as cartoony as Mario and yet Nintendo feels like they need to go further?  Assuming we discount Other M because it's embarrassing trash, right now the Metroid series is a great stylistic alternative to the more typical Nintendo style.  Why get rid of that?  And if you prefer a cutesy style are you already not significantly catered to?  Why take away a "mature" franchise from those that like it?

If the shoe was on the other foot, if they were making Mario all serious and "mature", there would be massive backlash.  But if it goes the other way those that don't like that something that is decades old being changed are just being insecure.  Give me a break.

Thanks Kim Possible, but not thanks.

So diid Ian not read Khush's post or was that some kind of ironic thing?

Mop it upSeptember 08, 2014

I'm glad they made Luigi's Mansion 2 instead, it's a great game and my fave 3DS game, and Luigi's Mansion was long overdue for a sequel. If something Metroid is their next project, it could be interesting, though it doesn't seem we have much details on what the idea was for it. I imagine it would be a 3DS game, which is fine, as the 3DS doesn't have a Metroid game either.

Not loving that art style, but I would like to see Next Level or PRETTY MUCH ANYBODY make a Metroid game.

AdrockSeptember 08, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

So diid Ian not read Khush's post or was that some kind of ironic thing?

I don't even think he read the article. Next Level Games worked on a Metroid prototype and Nintendo had them make Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon instead, meaning Nintendo themselves passed on that art direction. The end. I doubt their prototype even got very far. Ian's post was a waste even by Ian standards.

NemoSeptember 08, 2014

I don't like the Samus redesign. But the enemy art looks pretty sick!

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterSeptember 08, 2014

I don't think he reads anything on the forums, he just types his rants out and files them within the appropriate NWR thread.

I think he's got some kind of lorem ipsum thing going on where he just picks a couple keywords and the rest of the post generates itself.

KhushrenadaSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

So did Ian not read Khush's post or was that some kind of ironic thing?

I don't even think he read the article. Next Level Games worked on a Metroid prototype and Nintendo had them make Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon instead, meaning Nintendo themselves passed on that art direction. The end. I doubt their prototype even got very far. Ian's post was a waste even by Ian standards.

Plus, these are just drawings. I mean, Retro Studios will have unlockable art in their games like Metroid and Donkey Kong where they show off some of the behind the scenes sketches that were developed when making the game. A lot of times, that artwork is very different to the finished product or quite a different style. It's just there to give ideas. Just because this artwork is cartoonish, there's no indication in the article that the prototype was made looking cartoonish also.

However, knowing what Ian Sane would post means I already have an argument ready. (I really didn't think he would post what I predicted. Even I was shocked by that.)

Quote from: Ian

What we're going to toon shade Metroid too?

Those of you who like cutesy graphics you already have Mario, Pokémon, Kirby, etc.  Why can't we have some variety from Nintendo franchises?  Why does every series of theirs have to be cutesy particularly when some of them weren't originally.  Somehow Nintendo was seen as kid friendly for years without Zelda and Metroid being as cartoony as Mario and yet Nintendo feels like they need to go further?  Assuming we discount Other M because it's embarrassing trash, right now the Metroid series is a great stylistic alternative to the more typical Nintendo style.  Why get rid of that?  And if you prefer a cutesy style are you already not significantly catered to?  Why take away a "mature" franchise from those that like it?

If the shoe was on the other foot, if they were making Mario all serious and "mature", there would be massive backlash.  But if it goes the other way those that don't like that something that is decades old being changed are just being insecure.  Give me a break.

Let me use your avatar for a moment, Batman. What kind of atmosphere and world do you think of if you have to picture or describe Batman to someone? It's probably darker stuff. Heavy and serious. And yet your avatar shows a Batman written at a time when he could be goofy and comical. There's the Adam West Batman full of laughs and jokes. The version of Batman in the Lego Movie created humour out of him being the dark and serious night. Sure, the majority of Batman comics today are of a serious tone and yet there are still a couple done with a comedic slant and cartoonish illustrations for kids. Has this ruined Batman? Far from it. In fact, many people like the comedic and cartoonish stuff since it represents a break and change from all the heavy and over serious nature of the other stories being produced. Sometimes that less mature stuff is even higher rated than the very mature world it is often set in. You see, different variations of a character or series can work. A change in tone and atmosphere isn't always something to treat with hostility.

Is one game suddenly going to change everyone's perception of Metroid when there are 10 other games in its natural style? Frankly, if Nintendo were to make a mature and gritty Mario or Kirby, you could be right. There could be a backlash. Of course, there might not be. It really depends on what the product contains both in gameplay and its actual aesthetic look. Then it can be properly judged. I never knew about the Wind Waker controversy. I just went into the game wanting to play another Zelda title after A Link to the Past and the theme of sailing appealed to me along with the colorful world. Since then, I've played many other Zelda games. It really got me into the series. But Wind Waker is the only one I've played multiple times all the way through. The art direction did nothing to harm the series as far as I'm concerned.

Likewise, a different style for Metroid may help bring in other gamers to try it out and if it grabs them like it should, they'll then want to play more and seek out those other realistic titles. If the mature type graphics are better, then they should like those games even more and suddenly you have more fans of the franchise than you did by sticking to the same style. It's common knowledge that the Metroid franchise does not sell as highly as others in the Nintendo line-up. Your commitment to sticking with something you like as it currently is done is understandable but it means that the franchise stays niche and sales stay low. Refusing to experiment or find a way to make it more appealing to others also seems like a stupid course. If it is still done well and has the normal Metroid style gameplay and conventions, isn't that most important? Other M had the "right" artstyle yet how many people praise that game? Get the priorities right.

Quote:

But if it goes the other way those that don't like that something that is decades old being changed are just being insecure.  Give me a break.

As for this comment, you are so right. Movies were made for decades without sound. I'm happy with the way silent pictures are being made. Movies have been made for decades without color. I'm happy with the way black and white pictures are being made. Movies have been made for decades without a widescreen picture. I'm happy with the way pictures are being made at a 4:3 resolution. Metroid games have been 2D for a decade. We don't need in 3D. This will ruin the franchise. Oh wait. Sometimes change is positive. So many examples one could use to counter this statement.

Feel free to now use your WWE and RAW examples of how bad change is I guess.

ThePermSeptember 09, 2014

if i were nintendo i would just have activision work on it. or id software ,or some popular fps devloper.  I recently got a bargain price of  wii u call of duty games, i had never liked them prior, but these were fun. They looked really good too, im sure Nintendo would benefit from a really good devloper that knows what their doing technically, of course like retro they could throw in some oversight. Those games were huge though, but linear.

Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2014

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.  I felt the need to point out that it's perfectly legitimate to have either opinion on a graphics style change.  I'm not making the same post he said I would.  I'm pointing out the hypocrisy of mocking those that wouldn't like such a change when if the same change happened to the cutesy franchises it would be the biggest deal.  If Nintendo ever does that should I satirize the posts of those that wouldn't like it and imply that they have no right to their opinion?

After Other M everyone is on pins and needles in regards to where the series is going next.  I fear Nintendo's infatuation with the series being popular in Japan is going to ruin the franchise, if it isn't already ruined.

KhushrenadaSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

Is it? I mean, of course, anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as me is invariably wrong. But besides that, did I ever express that I liked the art style?

AdrockSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

But... that's what you do... like all the time.

Quote:

After Other M everyone is on pins and needles in regards to where the series is going next.  I fear Nintendo's infatuation with the series being popular in Japan is going to ruin the franchise, if it isn't already ruined.

Everyone? I'm not. I didn't hate Other M. Also, it's been four years. Nintendo clearly isn't rushing things. If they were, we would have Metroid: Star Waker from Next Level Games by now. That said, your trepidation is already unnecessary. Nintendo nope'd Next Level Games' prototype. The only story here is a former artist of Next Level Games is like "Hey, errbodee luk wut I drawed."

Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

But... that's what you do... like all the time.

How so?  Where do I imply that others aren't allowed to have their opinion?  Where do I pre-emptively mock another poster by name as if his opinion on matters should be completely disregarded?  I may disagree with a point but don't try to discourage the point from being made in the first place.

AdrockSeptember 09, 2014

That isn't what I quoted. You act as if anyone who doesn't share your opinion on certain matters has an invalid opinion. You do this all the time.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

http://www.calldrmatt.com/strawman_kit.jpg

KhushrenadaSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Khushrenada

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

Is it? I mean, of course, anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as me is invariably wrong. But besides that, did I ever express that I liked the art style?

I asked a question to you, Ian. When are you going to answer my question instead of going off on Adrock? :( 

AdrockSeptember 09, 2014

I thought your question was rhetorical.

More importantly, no one should go off on Adrock. He's so witty, lovable, and handsome. Really, just a joy to have at social gatherings.

Mop it upSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Ian

if they were making Mario all serious and "mature", there would be massive backlash.

This already happened with Mario Strikers Charged, and nobody seemed to care. To a lessor extent, this also happened with Super Smash Brothers Brawl, which has a dull, drab, more serious art style and tone, and most people seemed okay with that also.

Coincidentally, I didn't like either of those games.

Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2014

Quote from: Khushrenada

Quote from: Khushrenada

Quote from: Ian

Khush's argument is basically that anyone that doesn't like that art style for Metroid, in other words anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him on the matter, has an invalid opinion.

Is it? I mean, of course, anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as me is invariably wrong. But besides that, did I ever express that I liked the art style?

I asked a question to you, Ian. When are you going to answer my question instead of going off on Adrock? :( 

I assumed the question to be rhetorical.

I figured since you immediately made fun of those that would dislike the art style ("he'll no longer be able to face the bullies at school") that you liked it.  Why would you stick it to me about disliking it if you also did? Or you just don't care what it looks like either way.

Quote from: Mop

Quote from: Ian

if they were making Mario all serious and "mature", there would be massive backlash.

This already happened with Mario Strikers Charged, and nobody seemed to care. To a lessor extent, this also happened with Super Smash Brothers Brawl, which has a dull, drab, more serious art style and tone, and most people seemed okay with that also.

Coincidentally, I didn't like either of those games.

I was thinking more like Luigi Dude's avatar where the Mario Bros. are drawn to resemble real people.  The style of the two games you mentioned always just looked like typical Mario design to me.  SSB has a more serious look than NSMB but Mario still looks quite cartoony compared to Solid Snake or Samus.

nickmitchSeptember 09, 2014

Strikers was more of an "extreme" Mario than "adult" or "realistic" Mario.

Mop it upSeptember 10, 2014

Quote from: nickmitch

Strikers was more of an "extreme" Mario than "adult" or "realistic" Mario.

Ian Sane used the terms "serious" and "mature," which are kind of vague, but I still argue that Mario Strikers Charged is no less so than the likes of Zelda and Metroid, which are both still far away from something like Call of Duty.

Furthermore, Samus still has her same human proportions in this concept art, and doesn't have exaggerated ones like Mario, so I don't see how this look is more cartoony.

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