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9 new things about Metroid: Other M

Yoshio Sakamoto is known as the father of Metroid. Not that he likes the title. “I feel resistance when people credit me for creating the series,” he explained. “Maybe you could say I’m the one who raised Samus. But the Metroids were born by the Queen Metroid!” So began a fascinating peek into the brain of one of Nintendo’s oddest minds. Coy on Other M specifics, Sakamoto’s thought processes give us a salivating taster of what’s to come later this year…


1) Metroid is inspired by obscure Italian horror

The biggest influence on Sakamoto’s creative style? The films of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento. Watching Argento’s Deep Red and Suspiria revealed the four basic tenets to which all his work adheres: mood, timing, foreshadowing and contrast. Fear is born from foreshadowing dreadful things to come and by contrasting tension with normalcy. And so it is that Other M finds Sakamoto laying the mystery on thick. A distress beacon! An abandoned ship! A face from the past! This is storytelling as lure. It’s worth noting that Sakamoto’s love of all things Argento doesn’t mean Other M will play out to a soundtrack by Goblin. Samus has enough to deal with without having to endure Italian prog rock.


2) Other M shares DNA with WarioWare

Don’t worry, you won’t find Samus picking her nose or shaking hands with a dog. Sakamoto described how, whether working on serious or comical games, his line of thought remains the same. “I use control, mood, foreshadowing and contrast. The experience of thinking something is funny, cool or scary is about having feelings moved. The method is the same and the process is the same regardless of the feeling.”

Preparing a scare follows the same process as setting up a joke: you wait for the right time, you foreshadow the event and you trigger the laugh/scream with a moment of sudden contrast. Yeah, just try telling that to the mom who mixes up How to Train Your Dragon with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


3) Other M wasn’t always a 3D action game

Sakamoto originally saw Samus on a 2D plane in a 3D world. Insistent on remote controls, he thought of moving Samus along “invisible rails”. “As long as the camera angle was controlled effectively, it might be possible to give it a good look,” he explained. The game hints at these humble beginnings: not only does the camera present much of the Bottle Ship in a side-on view, it also shifts mid-action to frame events cinematically. When Samus is walking down murky corridors, the camera edges in on her like a spooked kid clinging to its parent. Later, as Samus nears the boss, the camera slowly tilts, creating a lurid skew-whiff vibe worthy of the lurid skew-whiff beast to come.


4) Other M is a Famicom Game Plus

When Team Ninja suggested using the Nunchuk, Sakamoto insisted on the NES simplicity of remote-only controls. D-pad to move, A to jump, B to shoot (with A and B replaced by 2 and 1 on the Wiimote): what did for Samus in 1986 would do for Samus in 2010. It was Team Ninja’s idea, however, to still give Samus a 3D map to move freely through. Sakamoto admits he was dubious at first, asking himself, “If it was so simple, why had no one done it before?” As Sakamoto points out, Samus’s quick movements suit the system perfectly. Team Ninja’s Yosuke Hayashi refers to the scheme as Famicom Game Plus – the benefits of the latest technology married to the simplicity of the 8-bit days.

15 comments

  • crumbdunky - May 3, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    Still think the controls are contrived awkwardness and will ultimately RUIN a great series. I like my difficulty to be brought about through in game stuff and not cheaply because someone gimps us control wise through some stupid, misplaced nostalgia. If he wanted a 2D Metroid then fair enough but switching the Wiimote around mid game for no reason other than his rose coloured Famicon specs is shite, imho. I'm a MASSIVE Metroid fanboy and always have been since the very start but this control scheme has got me really concerned and I fail to see either any good reason for it or any benefit for designer or gamer. Crap. I'll be preordering, natch, but my hopes are lower than most and purely because of the controls they're forcing on it. Everything else sounds great(Samus looks crap in the cutscenes, mind), however, but that control scheme has really peeved me something rotten.
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 1, 2010 12:21 a.m.

    @Maynard no it's spelled plane. It's a matter of geometry. WTF!!! Reacptcha just tole me "grudging Thanks".
  • MaynardJ - April 29, 2010 9:47 a.m.

    I could be mistaken as a non-native speaker, but isn't it a 2D plain instead of plane? But I digress... As a big fan of Super Metroid, this game is turning to a wet fanboy dream. If this game comes bundled with a black Wii instead of crap like Wii Sports, I'll finally get one. Last weekend I was playing on my Gamecube and it crashed multiple times, looks like it's almost dead after 7 and 1/2 years.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 28, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Still waiting, mostly because of Brelston's side of the story. Otherwise, I would have liked it to be 2d on a 3d plane. C'mon, you had the chance to do what everyone wanted, and you threw it away.
  • Apollomon - April 28, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    @Ch3burashka Im also skeptical about that...you see in the videos how they change the remote from horizontal to vertical to change form third to first person...but do you never have to do that under pressure of enemies or anything? cause that could make it really annoying
  • n00b - April 28, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    I like monster and i like metroid. so the music should be a win. and i agree with samus i should get a life too
  • 510BrotherPanda - April 28, 2010 2:43 a.m.

    Wait, what about Gunpei Yokoi and the rest of Nintendo R&D1? I thought they worked on it/ supervised the creation of Metroid and Wario. You can't say Nintendo is only Miyamoto, Sakamoto and all the "lead designers". A lot of other important people spilled blood for that company.
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 28, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    I dunno, I'm still uber skeptical of the 2D plane which, apparently, can be changed in large 3D environments: I saw a ViDoc that showed Samus running straight through a jungle, then FPS aiming towards another direction which then changed her 2D axis of movement. I did not like that one bit: sounds very work-around-ish.
  • milesgregory - April 28, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    If the put some of those cool special moves like the art of oblitaration in ninja gaiden 2 in Metroid...I would be sold. Team Ninja arent my famous creators...but when they do something right they do it RIGHT.
  • Cyberninja - April 28, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    that guy has real issues if he wants to date samus
  • may.be.vital - April 27, 2010 11:53 p.m.

    I dunno about it! It looks really cool but the one called Brett Elston has stated that it is a clumsy beast of a game.
  • slimjim441 - April 27, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    Not gunna lie, the more I read about this game, the better it looks. I still don't like Team Ninja though. They better have given Samus the respect as the civilized, modest woman she is, or I'm gunna be uber-pissed.
  • Metroidhunter32 - April 27, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    This one I'm going to get, not just due to fanboy obligations, but because it looks good. Besides, they have nothing they can leave out like trauma team just did for me. (I will rage about that all day.)
  • johnthe5th - April 27, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    (Not) first! And I'm stoked as well!! But not like a goat... O.o
  • Tomsta666 - April 27, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    SWEEEEET! Stoked as a goat for this!

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