Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Is Metroid Prime 3's lack of online really that bad?

Judging by this thread on the Nintendo forums, gamers are fairly divided when it comes to whether or not online multiplayer would have been right for Metroid Prime 3. Seeing this great divide, I decided to write up an article stating why I think Corruption is better off without it.

The Metroid name has been around since the early days of the NES, and it always offered an amazingly deep and extensive single-player campaign. The franchise has appeared on nearly every Nintendo system ever made, with the N64 and the Virtual Boy being the only exceptions. And, almost always, these games shared one major defining feature: They were single-player only.

Even as time went on and consoles had more and more controller ports and processors were able to render more and more characters on screen, Nintendo kept to the way things have always been, leaving Metroid a one person adventure. That is, until Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the first ever game of the series to offer multiplayer. How did it fair?

Sadly, not too well. Critics seemed to universally dislike the multiplayer mode. Also, all the extra time and resources taken to make Metroid Prime 2 multiplayer had a significant impact on the core game. It was significantly shorter than it's predecessor, and locations were used over and over repeatedly, resulting in never-ending backtracking. In the end, Echoes was significantly less well received than Prime.

Then, in 2006, Nintendo once again tried to appeal to those wanting more than just a single player campaign, and they did it in the form of Metroid Prime: Hunters on the Nintendo DS. The controls were precise, the weapons were greatly varied, there were seven different bounty hunters to play as, and the online play was smooth and generally lag-free.

But, at what cost? Sadly, all the attention payed to the online aspect resulted in a very poor single-player adventure. The story mode of Metroid Prime: Hunters was short, and bosses were recycled over and over again.

So then, it seems that we either get a quality single player experience, or we get multiplayer, and there is little middle ground. Many argue that the Metroid Prime label would lend itself quite well to online fragfests, but I hold firm in my belief that Metroid should always be single player. As I've said before, adding multiplayer would subtract significantly from the main game, as the developers would have to spread their workforce thin in order to achieve it all. Also, there is the matter of how much space is available on the Wii's DVD format. If Retro has made Metroid Prime 3 as extensive a game as they've wanted, little space will be left on the disc for multiplayer modes.

No, multiplayer in any form is NOT right for Metroid. Maybe one day Nintendo will make a 100% multiplayer Metroid, with all resources focused on multiplayer and multiplayer alone. But, as of now, fragfest lovers will need to go elsewhere for their fix. Metroid Prime 3 is single-player only, and no amount of griping will change that.

The Duck Has Spoken.


ryanrab1 said...

U know i use to think u where a babbling idiotic moron when i use to read your comments on gonintendo but then i came into temptation about 3 weeks ago and went to your blog, i found out something good about u. U r not a babbling idiotic moron and i love your post. I added u to my favorites and i made sure to vote for u. Stay blogging

ModestMr.Green said...

Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you.

Unfortunately for the O So Holy Internet's unrealistic expectations, Metroid Prime 3 is not constructed to have online.

Retro is faced with a number of critical choices in development. Considering that Metroid has classically been a single-player experience, along with the fact that incorporating a multi-player component can take away development resources from the single-player campaign, and a variety of other factors, it only makes sense to not have an online component, and instead, focus on the series and the team's strength, which is to create a stunning single-player experience.

The problem here is not that Metroid Prime 3 does not have online, the problem is that fans' and non-fans' expectations are unrealistic, and simply because the concept of multi-player has been explored and arguably successful in the NST developed Metroid Prime Hunters does not mean that it should be included in a Wii game that is of an entirely different focus.

ModestMr.Green said...

Wow...sorry for the double comment, but I just realized that my previous remarks have some horrible sentence structure. I apologize.

J.Boc said...

I agree 110% with you, metroid doesnt need multiplayer period. At least we are getting WiiConnect24 content, which will do a good job of expanding the replay value of whats sure to be another nintendo timeless classic.

check out my blog

vgsensei7 said...

Hey Duck! I took time away from the Ninty boards and clicked on your sig link. You have lots of good ideas here, but I mainly noticed the MP3 online. I totally agree. My identity on IGN is vgsensei7. I don't have many posts on my blog so far, but drop by sometime and take a look.

Nick said...

you are missing something big - 2D side-scrolling metroid should not be online multiplayer --- only the FPS metroids should be. Prime being an FPS without online multiplayer is a friggin' joke! let us not forget MP3 was supposed to launch with the system. Almost a year later and what do we get? I'll be skipping this game.

PsychoDuck said...

You see, Nick, just because a game is in first-person view and has a gun doesn't make it an FPS. Metroid is a first person ADVENTURE, or FPA.

Anyways, there are just so many reasons why online is NOT right for Metroid. It was never announced to have online play, that was merely a small tidbit that got out of hand. What the developers were saying when they mentioned online was the possibilities of new weapons and such being released periodically, not online play.

Nintendo never, EVER said Metroid was online, that was all the fans' doing. Why was it pushed back? To make it the best damn adventure game it can be.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Nick said...

okay - call it an FPA - I will agree with you on that one. so what would Halo be? an FPA as well I would guess. Even if it is an FPA it is still in First Person Shooter mode regardless of how much exploring/ back tracking you have to do. Metroid is a great game - it could be an even greater game with online multiplayer. Halo did it in part 1 and 2 just fine. Halo's single player was also one of the greatest --- why do so many anti-online Metroiders think Nintendo couldn't make this happen without the game sucking? that is little faith in nintendo

Nick said...

BTW --- i am really enjoying your blog!

PsychoDuck said...

Alright, Nick, lol. I guess it's cool to like my blog and still disagree XD

The Duck Has Spoken.