What better way to end our year than to recap our thoughts on a year of Metroid and look back at what the website has achieved in 2018! While it may have been another quiet year for Metroid, we did have some reasons to celebrate. For this year, we have decided to bring the team together to talk about their thoughts on the year gone by, and we also look ahead to 2019 in anticipation of what we hope will be announced!
Our favourite Community Spotlight features of 2018
While I loved all of the Community Spotlights we featured this year, my favourite has to go to Xephyr Cosplay and his award-winning Varia Suit cosplay. I admired how he gets inspired by technology and artwork and that cosplay is a natural fit for his two passions. I am eagerly anticipating his future work, I can’t wait to see what other creations he comes up with in the future. Best of luck David!
Having been in charge of constructing the Community Spotlights, I’ve generally had a closer look than most of us here, which makes it tough to really choose. Each and every individual we’ve had the chance to feature has had wonderful passion and stellar creative output. However, my choice was fairly simple in the end, I could only really pick Kabutroid. I remember eagerly awaiting the chance to boot up dial-up after school to read up on the crazy adventures she had cooked up. It was honestly quite the nostalgia rush working on it and I was most certainly happy to have written the Our Thoughts section for it. Nonetheless, I wish all you the best of luck for 2019!
As the latest addition to the team, it was very fun to read and go through every single article from our community around the world. I have to go with the freelance artist Neal Anderson. As an ever-improving artist myself, I enjoy seeing how different the artwork is from someone else and he is very different from mine. I could learn one or two things from just observing his style and I particularly like the various Metroid pieces.
Metroid fans are some of the most creative and talented people I have ever seen, and I always enjoy watching new creations come to life. All fourteen of the creators we showcased this year should be very proud of themselves. It’s really hard to choose a favourite, but for me it’s a toss-up between Kabutroid’s Planet Zebeth and Pennaz’s Metroid: Zero Mission animated shorts, both of which have nostalgic value to me. I used to read and watch their comics and shorts for hours, laughing so hard I fell out of my chair. As I said in Pennaz’s Spotlight, I’m dying to see his Fusion shorts, which I know are going to be even more hilarious. All the best to Kabutroid and Pennaz, you’re both doing amazing things!
Our favourite published Features
I massively appreciate the contributions from our team and our special guests this year, who put together some great written pieces for Shinesparkers. From our team, I loved Amanda’s piece on how Metroid Fusion taught her the importance of self-worth, and of our special guests, it was wonderful to hear about Sonny Santa Maria’s journey to becoming an animator for Retro Studios, and the benefits that experience brought him in his future career.
Easy peasy for me, it just had to be the Metroid Prime 2 Q&A. I love these little bits of trivia that the devs come out with, especially when pressured for an answer from an eager fan. It’s also incredibly uplifting to see so many enthusiastic Japanese fans, particularly seeing as Metroid isn’t so popular over in the land of the rising sun (and first-person games for that matter, due to high motion sickness reports). I still think the most amazing detail was how they so casually name-dropped Phaaze years before Metroid Prime 3 would introduce it. It’s a wonderful piece of archival importance and you should definitely give it a read.
I personally have to go with the feature Metroid 32 Years On. Not because it is better or worse than the rest of the articles but because it is fascinating reading why fans globally started liking Metroid and how similar yet distinct reasons every single one of us has for our love to the Metroid games. I think we can all agree that in 2019, it will most likely be an important and enjoyable year for us fans due to Metroid Prime 4.
This year saw a lot of great features go up on Shinesparkers. Our three interviews with Jack Mathews, Clark Wen and Hirokazu Tanaka stand out to me in particular, as they answer questions I’ve long had about unused content, atmosphere, the music of the very first Metroid and voice acting in the Prime series, and the identity of Samus’s voice actress in particular. I greatly enjoyed Sonny’s feature as well and Sammy Hall’s, our translation of the Metroid Prime 2 Q&A, and the community-involved features like A Very Metroid Thanksgiving. I know we’ll have more content to share with you in 2019.
Metroid in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
While the year has been fairly quiet for Metroid, it was wonderful to see two new characters added to Super Smash Bros. series with Ultimate. There has been a huge outcry for Ridley as a playable character for years, and I am so happy that he is finally in the game, and no longer considered too big for the game. While Dark Samus may only be an echo fighter of Samus, it’s great to see her in the game too. She is clearly a worthy addition to the game with some impressive looking moves. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the amount of Metroid representation in this game.
We did it, everyone! We got Ridley! That was honestly the biggest rush of the year for me, second only to…well, Joker in Smash actually. Funny how things work out like that. The references run deep in the game though, with many of the Spirits being very faithful to the source material. I found it particularly amusing for the Adam Malkovich Spirit where it was Snake and Zero Suit Samus and Snake kept running away. My favourite reference has to be the Kraid dojo master who can only speak in guttural screams, accompanied by an awkwardly posed translation underneath (That’s a…happy noise?).
The second they showed the narrow metallic bridge and the silo-like environment, I knew straight away that it was Metroid related and I was ecstatic once I saw Samus walking in front. I mean, her inside an enormous futuristic silo like construction? Yeah, that screams Ridley so much I could hear it from across the universe! I don’t think we need to convince any Metroid fan that Ridley deserves to be in Smash Brothers because he is one of the most important, sadistic and infamous villains regarding Nintendo and especially Metroid.
I screamed my lungs out when Ridley was finally, finally confirmed for Smash. Ask Darren, I have no regrets. I’d wanted to play as Ridley for so long, and I got my wish. Dark Samus getting confirmed in the next Direct left me in disbelief. I’d nearly given up hope that either of them would become playable, and Dark Samus coming out of that wormhole instantly made up for my exasperation at Chrom’s reveal. (we don’t need any more Fire Emblem characters!) While I would’ve liked to see Dark Samus have her own moveset – she could turn into Metroid Prime for her Final Smash! – I’m overall very happy with how she and Ridley have turned out. Now, if I can just get Ultimate and a Switch with my Christmas money so I can actually play as them…
Our thoughts on Nintendo announcing Metroid Prime 4 early
While I understand Nintendo’s decision to announce Metroid Prime 4 in 2017, I feel that it was announced too early. I respect that Nintendo wanted to show that they were working on more than just traditional Metroid titles (Samus Returns), but I truly think that the long wait has made fans impatient and worried about its current status. Personally, I believed we would at least see a trailer this year, or at least confirmation of a re-release of Metroid Prime Trilogy in anticipation of the next game. I admit, during this year’s Game Awards I had stayed up all night in anticipation for some kind of Metroid announcement, only to be disappointed. If I could give one piece of advice to those eagerly anticipating to those waiting on an announcement like me, never believe online rumours, no matter how accurate you think they might be. I certainly learned the hard way!
I was certainly screaming when they made the surprise announcement that E3, but it’s been a year and a half of near radio silence. This is extremely uncharacteristic of Nintendo, as they much prefer to reveal stuff close to release. Even when they do reveal something early, there are usually at least regular updates on it at the major pillar events (take Breath of the Wild, it had a number of trailers and gameplay demonstrations prior to release). At this point, we haven’t any clue on any details for Metroid Prime 4. No developer, no window to expect it in, no gameplay, no trailers outside of the teaser. Many of us have even been expecting a Prime Trilogy re-release on Switch to tide us over, but that now seems like wishful thinking. We don’t know what Nintendo are up to, and it might be some time before we do.
I think it was the right move to announce it back then, not only did it become one of the most trending subjects at E3 but possibly the most surprising and satisfying moment I could ever get as a fan. Too early or not is debatable, as a fan, however, seeing how eager we all are to get our hands on it, the only “bad” thing about it, excluding any business point of view, is the long wait we have to suffer first.
I both loathe and admire Nintendo’s decision to reveal Metroid Prime 4 early. On the one hand, they knew we were expecting it after it skipped the Wii U, and we were all over the moon when it was announced (again, I screamed the whole time). I’m happy they gave the series attention, and Samus Returns that year to tide us over. But in true Nintendo fashion, they’ve gone completely silent for another entire year. They don’t have to be Kensington Palace about Metroid Prime 4. If they’re not satisfied with the gameplay enough to show yet, that’s fine. But they could’ve at least given us a trailer for it this year, told us who’s developing it, announced a port of Metroid Prime Trilogy like Darren said, shown us some concept art or given us a plot. I’m sure that showing any one of those things would shut us up for a while. We’ve had none of that, except for two vague reassurances that it’s still in development. The Game Awards was their last chance in 2018 to showcase it, and they didn’t even do that. I’ll be closely watching each Direct next year waiting for it.
Our hopes for Metroid in 2019
I believe we must see some gameplay footage for Metroid Prime 4 at the very least next year. I would also hope that Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Nintendo Switch will be announced to give new fans to the series the opportunity to play the games leading up to its fourth game. Additionally, since the Nintendo 3DS is still a supported console by Nintendo, I hope we at long last get to see the announcement of Metroid 5, a game set after the events of Metroid Fusion, and a return to the traditional Metroid titles showing us that Metroid: Samus Returns isn’t the last time we can expect to see a game in this style. This would be my dream scenario for 2019, please make it a reality Nintendo!
Echoing the sentiments of my peers, I expect Metroid Prime 4 at the very, very least. Not a release, mind you, just details. A release for 2019 would be fantastic, but at the rate things are going I’d rather not hold that expectation in case I get disappointed. If we can finally get a trailer, preferably even some gameplay, that would be great. There is so much room for visual improvement considering the last Metroid game on a console was still in SD resolutions and horsepower. Just imagine what HD fidelity can do to bring the world alive, especially seeing as Retro Studios had already successfully done this even without high definition. Finally, I hope we do at least get an idea of the plot and how it’s being handled. It should be pretty clear that Sylux is involved, after all the teasers, but how and why are major questions that need answering. Get to it, Nintendo!
At the very least, I expect a teaser trailer at E3 2019 since it would have been enough time to create such a thing. I think some of us remember the teaser trailer made for Metroid Prime 2 Echoes, it featured a Dark Luminoth but in the end, it was never implemented in the final version of the game. A similar teaser could be shown and then down the line, perhaps in the month of August, we get a dedicated Metroid Direct where they would finally show a real trailer and talk a bit about the game. I also seriously expect the soundtrack of the game to be in the same style as the previous three in the series, just with much better sound quality. All I can be certain about right now is that it will be a new chapter in our lives that will have us glued to our Switch for quite some time.
There has to be an update about Metroid Prime 4. Whether it’s the company developing it is revealed, screenshots, artwork, a trailer or a release date, it absolutely must make an appearance in a Nintendo Direct before, at or after E3 2019. The perfect way to reinvigorate interest in Metroid Prime is to port the Trilogy to the Switch with enhancements so that a new generation of fans can discover this brilliant series. I’d love to see Nintendo market Metroid Prime 4, and the general franchise the same way they do Mario, Zelda and Pokemon, making it one of their pillar franchises so that Metroid never goes on another decade-long hiatus again. While I’m reaching for the stars here, Metroid 5 being revealed would be euphoric for me. Now that Nintendo is (presumably) addressing one major cliffhanger in Metroid – Sylux chasing after Samus at the end of Corruption – it’s time we finally learn what happened to Samus after Metroid Fusion. Nintendo, are you listening?