Remember Nintendo’s 2015 E3 Direct? I know this is the Internet, where news has the lifespan half that of the common housefly, but think back. It was then that Nintendo announced to the world that the 3DS would be getting a new game called Metroid Prime: Federation Force.
The video above, which has over 1.2 million views to date, is sitting at about a 90% dislike rating. People weren’t happy about Federation Force last year. People aren’t happy about Federation Force today.
Yesterday, Nintendo aired a lengthy Nintendo Direct to the world which detailed upcoming titles for the Wii U and 3DS over the coming spring and summer, and even announced a couple of new ones. Among things shown in the Direct was an update on Federation Force. Like for most things featured, after the Direct aired, Nintendo uploaded the new preview by itself to its YouTube channel. That’s what the following is.
The difference between last year’s trailer and this year’s? The ability to like and dislike the video has been disabled. Was the same done for anything else posted yesterday? No, of course not. It was done to silence the negative reaction to Federation Force and nothing more.
Just in case you’re confused by all of this, allow me to explain why Federation Force is so unpopular. Metroid fans are starving for a proper new installment. The last major title was Metroid: Other M for the Wii in 2010, and even that game was met with a lukewarm reception. The Metroid Prime line of games, which Federation Force is borrowing its full name from, last saw an entry with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption all the way back in 2007. For players, a casual spinoff game like Federation Force is an insulting response to the demand for a new, full-length adventure starring Samus Aran.
Fans haven’t been shy to voice their displeasure about the game. Nintendo’s attempt to silence them is, in a word, pathetic. I guess Nintendo of America still needs some public relations improvement, which, as someone who regularly keeps up with NOA’s movements, is hardly a surprise. Silencing your customers’ grievances is rarely a good idea.
Federation Force may be a good game when it does release. However, this has been a lesson in timing and understanding your audience. Sadly, for franchise director Kensuke Tanabe who appeared in the Direct and seems very dedicated, this game may end up bombing in sales at this rate. The reality is that a game like this should only be released when the public’s desire for a main title has been satiated. Had the Wii U received a Metroid game in the first few years of its lifespan, I don’t believe we would be seeing the kind of reaction to Federation Force that we are.
Federation Force can truly be seen as a microcosm of Nintendo’s overall dilemma with its release lineup. Both platforms, the 3DS and Wii U, lack third party support – much more in the Wii U’s case. There’s a demand for quality titles from owners, but with the exception of a few major third-party 3DS releases here and there, Nintendo has had to fill the libraries themselves. Even with all of their manpower and the third-party studios they work with, there’s only so much that can be developed and published in such a small amount of time.
So what ends up happening is you get games for the Wii U like Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash instead of a proper Animal Crossing or Mario game. The same can be said for Federation Force on 3DS. All of this is concerning with the Nintendo NX looming on the horizon. I’m as excited for Nintendo’s next step in its lineage as anyone else, but I don’t know much I can stomach another stretch like Nintendo’s been on since last year’s E3.