Tons of people are excited to see the Metroid franchise finally return with Metroid Prime 4. I’m excited too! But honestly, I’ve never played the Prime games. Actually, I much prefer the 2D Metroid games. Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion are two of my favorite games of all time. And of course, nobody can deny the powerful legacy of Super Metroid.
So with how wonderful these games are, you would think Nintendo would be raring to make more of them. But we haven’t had an original 2D Metroid game since 2002.
Well, if Nintendo is ever going to make one, now would be a perfect time. Nintendo has all the right cards, but I don’t think they’ve realized it.
Why is now the perfect time? What’s going on that makes a 2D Metroid revival so important in 2019 or beyond? Well, it all starts with the hype machine.
The hype of Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime 4 has Nintendo fans riled up. I’m riled up and I’ve never even played the Prime series. This is important ammunition for Nintendo. They know that Metroid Prime 4 is incredibly important to their fans. They’ve been so careful that they scrapped the project entirely when it wasn’t going well.
Nintendo knows the future of Metroid is riding on the success of this new installment. So the hype surrounding it is crucial. If Nintendo succeeds and Metroid Prime 4 lives up to the expectations of fans and outsiders alike, the series will reach new heights of popularity that it hasn’t had in a long time.
But Metroid Prime 4 isn’t enough to make 2D Metroid successful again. Fans need to want a game like that again. Thankfully, I don’t think this is an issue at all.
The indie explosion
Indie developers have shown incredible passion for old 2D Metroid games. There are countless “Metroidvania” games you can play to fill your needs from numerous indie devs around the world.
Most of these games are met with critical acclaim and are released across multiple platforms throughout their lifetime. Some incredible examples are Timespinner, Axiom Verge, and Ori and the Blind Forest.
The revival of 2D exploration platformers is a sign Nintendo should not ignore. These games are fantastic, and more importantly, they sell well.
We are now living in a time when the original players of Super Metroid are grown up and would love to make their own version of it. There are plenty of talented, professional game developers that would absolutely die at the first chance to make a 2D Metroid game.
But, of course, I can’t ignore the fact that Nintendo did make a 2D Metroid game recently… sort of.
A perfect Metroid remake
Metroid: Samus Returns released on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2017, the same year Metroid Prime 4 was announced. This was an incredibly smart move. Nintendo knew they could play off the hype from the Prime 4 announcement by remaking one of the least accessible entries in the series.
Now, why am I complaining about 2D Metroid games when Samus Returns isn’t even two years old yet? Well, it’s not really a new 2D Metroid, is it?
While I love that Nintendo revisited a retro game that no modern gamer is ever likely to touch a Game Boy to play, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Personally, I think Samus Returns seemed to be more of a remake for fans than it was a revival of 2D Metroid.
Samus Returns almost felt like Nintendo was testing the waters. I think they wanted to see if Metroid fans still wanted the 2D games. If the reception of Samus Returns is anything to go off of, I say we’re more than ready for a brand new 2D game. But this time, it needs to be on the Switch.
2D Metroid makes the Switch
With the exception of Metroid and Super Metroid, all 2D games have been on a Nintendo handheld. But the Switch would allow Nintendo to bring Metroid back to console glory while keeping it in its comfort zone on a smaller system. The portability alone makes Switch a worthy candidate.
But think of all the other features Nintendo can take advantage of as well. HD Rumble could give Metroid a whole new layer of immersion. Could you imagine a different vibration pattern for each weapon upgrade to make them feel unique? Nintendo could further include the ability to mark areas of interest on your map via the touchscreen in handheld mode.
The Metroid community also loves to speedrun the games. How about a feature that lets you share your fastest time with friends? You could likewise easily share secrets you found via social media with the Switch’s screenshot and video capture features.
While none of these features are super groundbreaking, the Switch could add a whole new layer to how we play 2D Metroid games. It’s the perfect system for this amazing franchise.
So Nintendo, the stage is set. The time is right. You only have to play off of the hype of Metroid Prime 4. Your fans are ready. We love the indie “Metroidvanias” we’ve been playing in the meantime, and we’re ecstatic that you decided to remake an old classic. But now we have the perfect console/handheld hybrid system, so it’s time.
Metroid Fusion came out in 2002. We haven’t had a single brand new 2D Metroid game since then. Nintendo, bring back 2D Metroid games.