Metroid could get the attention it deserves if Nintendo does it right
Metroid is something of a contradiction. The Metroid franchise is one of the most influential of all video games, incorporating a side-scrolling discovery-based design that, alongside Konami-owned Castlevania, created the informal genre known as “Metroidvania.” . Even so, the franchise hasn’t been a big hitter for Nintendo, far from it, as several games struggled to reach over a million copies sold, even with the introduction of hand-to-hand shooters. Premium first-person from Retro Studios.
However, with the launch of MercurySteam’s Metroid Dread, that may change. Metroid Dread is selling faster than any other Metroid game in history, with over 854,000 copies sold in October 2021 alone. It is also the first game in 19 years to advance the history of the series, a prospect that has undoubtedly helped the game become successful not only among franchise devotees, but curious newcomers as well.
After all these years, there is a lot of potential here for the Metroid franchise, but it will require investment and attention from Nintendo. It can’t just be new games, either.
Focus more on moving forward and backward
Now, more than ever, it’s time for Nintendo to pay more attention to Metroid. The success of Metroid Dread is a great start, but there is still a long way to go. Metroid Prime 4 is in development, so with the strong sales of the Nintendo Switch, it’s strange that fans can’t play any of the previous games. Nintendo has shown its willingness to bring fairly straightforward ports from the Wii and now the Nintendo 64 to the Switch, so why not the Metroid Prime trilogy?
Now is the time for Nintendo to pay more attention to Metroid.
Nintendo’s Game 1 is more successful on the Switch across the board than on previous consoles, so Nintendo should look into that for Metroid. Embracing at least some of Metroid’s past and adding the Prime sub-series to the list of the best Nintendo Switch games available will, in turn, pave the way for greater success in the previously announced Metroid Prime 4.
It’s also time for Nintendo to start delivering updates on Metroid Prime 4 itself. We understand why the publisher has decided to keep things fairly secret until now. After all, the game, first announced at E3 2017 as being developed by Bandai Namco, essentially resumed development in January 2019, with Nintendo confirming that the game will now be run by longtime series veterans of Retro Studios. Losing two years like that probably set the plans back, and it’s before the COVID-19 pandemic forever changed the gaming industry and caused massive delays. Analysts warn that these delays will continue until 2022, so certainly, there are aspects of this that are beyond Nintendo’s control.
But even with these challenges, even a small update on the game would be appreciated. Even Nintendo is no stranger to first glances at the games, sharing snippets or details of the gameplay changes. What new ideas does Metroid Prime 4 bring to the franchise and first-person shooters as a whole, if any? Exploring this, alongside the introduction of older Metroid Prime games on Switch, would go a long way in keeping the excitement for the franchise alive.
What’s the next step for the franchise?
It’s pretty safe to say that interest in Metroid is at a high level at the moment. This can be maintained and developed with some solid disclosures and updates – if Nintendo thinks it’s important. If Nintendo isn’t taking the Metroid franchise seriously right now, I don’t think the company ever will.
Nintendo under no circumstances need do anything. Nintendo Switch sales are showing a truly incredible longevity, with over 90 million units sold and endurance renewed thanks to the new Nintendo Switch OLED. Games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continue to sell without any signs of slowing down, drawing impressive numbers even by Nintendo standards.
Metroid at its greatest success may be less important than other franchises, financially speaking. Still, Samus Aran is a staple and recognizable character in Nintendo’s staple, a character who hasn’t always been treated well in the series’ long history. Yet Metroid Dread understand her and it is fast becoming the most successful game in the 1.5-mile franchise. It is not a coincidence and it is not a lesson to be missed. I even hope that Retro Studios will use his portrayal in this latest release to better define his character in the future.
I want more Metroid games and given the answer to Metroid Dread I’m not alone. Frankly, Samus is really, really cool and it is high time that Nintendo understood that. Waiting years between matches, holding our breath to see if this will be a proper follow-up or a new Federation Force, isn’t exactly indicative of a fanbase that has received many offers in the past.
Samus was one of the first major female video game characters with recognizable power or agency. His games have helped define and create entire genres, inspiring countless others that few have come close to. She spoke in the same tone as the Doom Slayer, Gordon Freeman, Lara Croft and Master Chief. It deserves more attention than the poor sales of games in the past, and that opportunity is finally here, if Nintendo seizes it.
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Samus at his best
Metroid Dread is a great comeback and (we hope) the start of a new respect for one of video game’s most influential franchises.
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