Nate Bihldorff aka #NintendoGuy at the 21st DICE Awards
Nate Bihldorff aka #NintendoGuy at the 21st DICE Awards

Metroid: Samus Returns wins Handheld Game of the Year at 21st Annual DICE Awards #NintendoGuy

Last night, at the 21st Annual DICE Awards held by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in Las Vegas, Nintendo cashed in numerous awards for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Snipperclips, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Fire Emblem Heroes for a total of 10 out of 24 awards. As a special bonus, Nintendo veteran and legend, Genyo Takeda, received the lifetime achievement award for his massively influential contributions to the medium.

On top of all this, and most important to us here, Metroid: Samus Returns won the Handheld Game of the Year award! It was nominated alongside Dragon Quest VIII (3DS, Square Enix/Nintendo), Etrian Odyssey V (3DS, ATLUS), Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS, Nintendo), and Monster Hunter Stories (3DS, Capcom).

Unfortunately, the Handheld Game of the Year award was part of the award montage covering Family Game, Racing Game, Sports Game, and Mobile Game of the Year, which were all rattled off without an acceptance speech. This means we sadly did not get to see Nintendo of America’s Nate Bihldorff (from now on to be known as #NintendoGuy) run on-stage yet again to accept yet another award on behalf of the developers.

Congratulations from Shinesparkers to the developers at MercurySteam and Nintendo EPD!

You can watch the full show on IGN’s YouTube channel. The handheld category happens at 1h05m10s mark.

Full awards breakdown: Businesswire

Metroid remixer bLiNd needs your support as tragedy strikes

Jordan Aguirre, also known as bLiNd, is a musician best known for creating remixes of popular video game music through Overclocked Remix. Metroid fans may be familiar with an album called Reserve Tank: VARIAtions, an album put together by Jordan’s friends when he was very ill in hospital. He was able to recover and add his own track Jade Catacombs to the album, a happy ending to a group of friends who wanted him to recover and get well. bLiNd also released a Super Metroid remix album called Chozo Legacy.

Sadly fate has struck Jordan again, along with his wife Jennifer as their home in Las Vegas went up in flames a couple of days ago. They lost everything, including Jordan’s musical equipment required to make a living, priceless belongings from late relatives and all eight of their beloved pets perished in the fire.

We are saddened to hear about this loss, and we know that many fans in the Metroid community, myself included, have enjoyed his work over the years, and would love to do all they can to help. A fundraiser has been set up to raise $125,000 to cover the cost of the damage, which you can support by visiting the links below this news post. No amount of money will recover the loss of priceless items and life, but the money should help them get their lives back on track. We would really appreciate it if you could share it around!

We cannot imagine how difficult these times are for Jordan and Jennifer right now, but on behalf of the team at Shinesparkers, we are thinking of you, and hope you reach your goal.

bLiNd’s GoFundMe page

Chozo Legacy

bLiNd’s website

Rumor: Metroid Prime 4 Could Have Online Multiplayer

Excitement surrounding Metroid Prime 4 continues to grow, as further evidence is found regarding its development. Last week we reported that Metroid Prime 4 is rumored to be in development by Bandai Namco Studios Singapore, with development moving over to their main headquarters in Tokyo, originally reported by Eurogamer. A LinkedIn profile of a Senior Online Programmer working for the company, states that he has been relocated to the Tokyo HQ from the Singapore studio, which appears to line up the Eurogamer report, if this individual is indeed working on Metroid Prime 4. Could this mean that the game will have some sort of online feature, like multiplayer?

Update: We at Shinesparkers checked out his profile on LinkedIn, and while we won’t name the individual, we can confirm that the experience he has are consistent with the position he is covering.

Many of the skills are strictly related to low latency data transmission over the Internet, which are highly regarded in the development of a multiplayer game communication protocol.

With so few official details known about the title, it isn’t much surprise that these kinds of rumours and speculation are coming to light. Only time will tell!

Source: Doctre81

Former Metroid Producer Takehiro Izushi Retires

Former Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission Producer Takehiro Izushi has retired from Nintendo, after forty three years with the company at the age of sixty five. He began his career as an engineer on Beam Gun Custom, and has worked as a Programmer, Producer and Advisor on a substantial number of titles. In 1997 he was promoted to R&D1’s General Manager, taking over from the late Gunpei Yokoi after his departure from the company. In his final years at Nintendo, Izushi took a role in the General Affairs Division before retiring in early 2018.

In addition to his Producer roles for Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission, Izushi is also credited in Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid and Metroid Prime under “Special Thanks”.

On behalf of us at Shinesparkers, we wish to thank Izushi-san for his huge contribution to Nintendo, and wish him a long and happy retirement.

Community Spotlight: The Orpheon (YouTube video series)

A brand new Community Spotlight is now available, focusing on the YouTube video series The Orpheon. The channel shares a deeper view of the worlds and characters of the Metroid games, with great artwork and familiar characters from the Metroid series with their own distinct personalities. It is another great example of the talented people in our community, and we encourage you to check it out by clicking the link below. As always, we are constantly looking to feature more great projects in our Community Spotlight feature, so if you or someone you know has a project focused on Metroid in the areas of art, speedrunning, cosplay, music or something else that is worth sharing with the wider community, we would love to hear from you on our social media channels!

Check out the Community Spotlight here

Multiple sources confirm Metroid Prime 4 is in development by Bandai Namco Studios Singapore

This week, rumors have been swirling around the internet that Bandai Namco Studios Singapore, composed of veterans from LucasArts and the Far Cry series, is in fact the “talented new development team” that is working on Metroid Prime 4. Today, Eurogamer has published a report with multiple sources corroborating the rumor. Nintendo and Bandai Namco have declined to comment. As with any rumor, you should take this with a grain of salt until either Nintendo or Bandai Namco announce it themselves. However, this once unlikely murmur is quickly growing louder and more believable. It’s only a matter of time until we find out who the developer really is, and more about Prime 4.

UPDATE: Eurogamer is now reporting that Bandai Namco Japan is also working on Prime 4, and will take over its development while the Singapore studio moves to another project for Nintendo Switch (likely Ridge Racer 8 exclusively for the platform, also mentioned on the LinkedIn profiles).

Source: Eurogamer/GameSpot/Polygon

Metroid Prime 4 might be developed by former LucasArts & Far Cry designers at Bandai Namco Singapore

Last night, new hints at the possible identity of the mysterious “talented new development team” working with Nintendo EPD’s Kensuke Tanabe on Metroid Prime 4 (working title) have surfaced. This comes via a LinkedIn page dug up by YouTube’s own DocTre81. The profile by the “lead designer” mentions an “Unannounced IP (First Person Shooter/Adventure Exclusive to the Nintendo Switch).” We have confirmed that this LinkedIn profile actually exists and it contains further details that strongly point to Metroid Prime 4, such as “[creating] many design concepts in order to meet Nintendo’s exacting requirements” and “regularly present[ing] pitches, storyboards, design directives, and gameplay to both Nintendo Headquarters and Bandai Namco Entertainment Group.”

Over the last few weeks and months, there had been hints from insiders that Bandai Namco might be behind the development wheels for Metroid Prime 4 already but the pairing has always seemed highly unlikely given Bandai Namco’s development portfolio not really aligning well with the foundations of the Metroid Prime series.

This has now changed with the new information suggesting that said Unannounced FPS/Adventure IP is indeed Metroid Prime 4 but being developed by Bandai Namco Singapore. Now, why does this change things? Well, Bandai Namco Singapore was founded in March 2013 and has thus far only lent development support to Bandai Namco projects such as Mario Sports Superstars or Tales of Berseria, for example. However, digging deeper into the people working at Bandai Namco Singapore now, there are several Western industry veterans from LucasArts (the canceled but highly sought after Star Wars 1313, SW: The Force Unleashed, etc) and Ubisoft Shanghai/Eurocom (Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, 007 Legends). These development credits along with the aforementioned FPS/Adventure IP exclusive to Switch complete the puzzle quite nicely as it aligns with Nintendo’s official description form their E3 2017 Fact Sheet and the existing rumblings about Bandai Namco being involved in Metroid Prime 4.

Nintendo’s Metroid Prime 4 Fact Sheet from E3 2017 (click to enlarge)

Naturally, take all of this with a grain of salt until it is officially confirmed who is developing Metroid Prime 4. But everything seems to point to Nintendo EPD collaborating with a team of several sci-fi/action/first-person/adventure/puzzle veterans at Bandai Namco Studios Singapore.

Source: LinkedIn via DocTre81 & ResetEra (1 | 2)

Community Spotlight: Joe Heasman (Cutting Edge Props & Cosplay)

Our latest Community Spotlight is now available! This one focuses on costume and prop maker Joe Heasman (Jobiwan) who creates props and costumes on a small budget, proving that if you are willing to put in the hard work and effort, you don’t have to pay a fortune for a great looking cosplay. Among Joe’s creations is a Varia Suit, created on a budget under just £100!

We are constantly looking for creative people in the Metroid community who we can promote further. If you or someone you know is a musician, artist, cosplayer, speedrunner or something else that you feel our audience would be interested in seeing, be sure to get in touch with us!

Check out the Community Spotlight here

Metroid: Samus Returns total sales data from Spain for 2017

As we reported several months ago, Metroid: Samus Returns had a good launch week in Spain. Now, the cumulative sales for software throughout all of 2017 have been made available. While the game did not secure a spot in the year’s Top 20 (which are filled with all the usual AAA suspects ranging from FIFA to Mario to Zelda to GTA), we got some additional numbers for Metroid: Samus Returns and a few other titles as a bonus for the year-end round-up, courtesy of Hobby Consolas via Bruno MB.

Note that the following listing is not ranked or exhaustive and the other titles are listed solely for context comparisons:

INJUSTICE 2 (WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE) – 20,000 (PS4/X1/PC)
WOLFENSTEIN II: THE NEW COLOSSUS (BETHESDA SOFTWORKS) – 12,500 (PS4/X1/PC)
PERSONA 5 (ATLUS) – 11,000 (PS3/PS4)
NIER AUTOMATA (SQUARE ENIX) – 10,000 (PS4/PC)
METROID: SAMUS RETURNS (NINTENDO) – 7,200 (3DS)
PREY (BETHESDA SOFTWORKS) – 7,000 (PS4/X1/PC)
YAKUZA ZERO (SEGA) – 4,400 (PS4)
YAKUZA KIWAMI (SEGA) – 3,000 (PS4)
OKAMI HD (CAPCOM) – 2,000 (PS4/X1)

This covers up until week 51, 2017 which contains sales data as of December 23, 2017. Note that all of the higher performing titles in that list, aside from Wolfenstein II, came out very early in the year and are multiplatform releases (sales figures are for all available formats combined). These figures do not include digital sales.

Interesting to note is that in Spain, the sixth of January (Día de los Reyes Magos) is when the big presents are given as part of the Christmas holiday, usually celebrated with gifts on the 24th/25th of December across most European countries. This means that the first week of January also sees a big increase in sales, usually. We can thus assume that the game moved some more units between the cut-off for this sales chart and that date, but that’s ultimately just speculation. Take that as you will.

The full Top 20 can be found at the source link.

Source: Hobby Consolas via ResetEra’s Bruno MB

Bayonetta 1+2 for Switch includes support for Metroid amiibo

The official Japanese website for the Switch ports of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 has been made public and it includes details on the new amiibo support not present in the original Wii U versions. Various amiibo can be scanned to unlock special costumes and weapons, which includes three of the Metroid range of amiibo.

Samus (Smash), Samus Aran (Samus Returns) and Zero Suit Samus (Smash) have been confirmed to unlock costumes in both games. Originally, the Samus costume was a special unlock in Bayonetta 2 that you had to pay for with halos collected in the game, while Bayonetta had it unlocked from the start.

The full list of compatible amiibo are as follows:

Peach (Smash), Link (Smash), Fox, Samus (Smash), Bowser (Smash), Bowser Jr, Toon Link (Smash), Falco, Zero Suit Samus, Bayonetta Player 1, Bayonetta Player 2, Peach (Mario), Bowser (Mario), Daisy, Boo, Koopa, Goomba, Wedding Peach, Wedding Bowser, Link (OOT), Link (8-bit), Toon Link (WW), Link (BotW bow), Link (BotW horse), Link (MM), Link (TP), Link (SS) and Samus Aran (Samus Returns).