Games I've played: Metroid: Other M

I'm having a really hard time coming up with anything interesting to say about Metroid: Other M. My general attitude about it is one of ambivalence. The good stuff isn't great, and the bad stuff isn't terrible. It's an interesting game in a number of ways, but I can't say I'd recommend it.

The combat system was the single biggest drag on my enjoyment of Other M. It's severely lacking in depth, variety, and satisfaction; and the SenseMove (dodge) system is as close to broken as a game mechanic can get. I spent the first half or so of the game unaware of the degree to which SenseMove was abusable, but I hit a wall in the form of a giant bug boss that could take a quarter of my life with a single hit, did a bit of forum searching, and realized I could mash any direction on the d-pad and almost literally never get hit. It took me as long as it did to realize that fact because it was inconceivable to my gamer instincts that a game mechanic designed by a veteran developer could be so deeply broken.

Even setting aside that game-breaking (yet necessary in the latter half of the game) mechanic, there's just too little to the combat -- the vast majority of it consists of getting Samus facing in the general direction of enemies and releasing charge shots. I quite simply didn't find most of the game very fun. I didn't enjoy hunting for power-ups, I didn't enjoy the platforming, and I didn't enjoy getting stumped by way-too-subtle visual callouts of puzzle solutions as often as I did. I also didn't enjoy the way the story was so packed into the latter half of the game, leaving the first half with a series of arbitrary "go to this location" objectives.

It doesn't help that Other M (pre-credits, at least) ends on a couple of lame boss fights. The first is a boss that throws a Metroids at you simultaneously, all of which can grab you if you make one wrong move, and none of which can be damaged without forcing a dodge maneuver, hitting them with a charge shot, then going into first-person mode and hitting them with a missile without getting grabbed by another. The second is a forced first-person sequence in which you can see maybe 1/3 of the approach area, and hitting enemies requires locking onto an arbitrary point on their chest while they stand a foot away from your face. Both fights feel almost deliberately designed to expose the game's mechanical faults.

There is, especially at first, a lot of novelty to playing a game with just the Wii Remote, and the controls in general were snappy and predictable. I had my concerns about the 8-way movement and viewpoint switching, but neither ended up being much of a problem. The level of polish and general production values are commendable -- at the very least, it's kind of crazy to see two hours of cutscenes in a Nintendo game. The fixed camera, while necessitated by the design of the game, worked surprisingly well, at least when I wasn't firing blindly at enemies behind it.

Given that almost everything I'd heard about the game was complaining about the game's story and Samus' characterization, the story was pleasantly okay. Yeah, the way Samus needs authorization from Adam to use vital abilities is dumb, but if you take that as granted rather than insist on reading too much into it, what's left is passable by video game standards. I wouldn't say the story or writing was good -- even by the low standards of video games -- but it wasn't the irredeemable trainwreck I've seen described.

I think there's a lot to be said for Nintendo (Yoshio Sakamoto in particular, I think?) choosing to give Samus a more defined human identity. I've only ever played the Metroid Prime games, so I of course can't speak to the previous Nintendo R&D1 Samus characterizations, but I can say that I prefer Other M's imperfect Samus over Prime's robotic Samus. Real people get scared, act inconsistently, pine for approval, and regret past immaturity. Being a badass and being human shouldn't be considered mutually exclusive. Instead of calling a writer sexist for for depicting a mildly emotional female character, maybe we should be asking for similar levels of emotions in male characters. I also have a sense -- and this is idle speculation -- that Japanese game writing is more comfortable with dealing in emotion across the board, and the accusations of sexism are in some ways a result of the degree to which western developers have normalized emotionless, borderline-psychopathic video game protagonists. Again, yes, I know, some stuff in Other M is pretty hard to swallow -- that Ridley scene in particular struck me as out of character -- but I don't think everything about it was misguided.

In my eyes, the premise by which pre-Other M Samus has been deemed a Strong Female Character (or better yet, just a Strong Character) is flawed, or at least a relic of a time when video game writing consisted of a screen of badly-translated text and playing as a woman at all was extremely novel. Other M's writing and narrative presentation stumbled in a lot of ways, but I respect its attempt to drag Samus's character into the 21st century.

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Edited by Hailinel

Nice write-up. I personally didn't have the same issues with the gameplay that you did. The most frustrating aspect, for me at least, were the pixel hunts that would occasionally break up the action. As for the general combat, I never really saw Metroid as a game about combat. I mean, sure, you shoot lots of things, but there's also that exploration/puzzle element to it. And bosses more often than not come down to pattern recognition and knowing where the weak points are. Sensemove aside, it felt in a lot of ways like a 3D version of a 2D Metroid.

And I completely agree on Samus's characterization. The writing itself isn't good, but the aspects that the writing attempts to convey are great.

Edited by BisonHero

I think the issues people have with the story are pretty valid. Say what you will about the new Tomb Raider's weird obsession with gruesomely killing Lara Croft if you fail a QTE; at least she was a badass adventurer/explorer you could actually kind of respect. Samus (only in Other M) is kind of a useless ninny.

Question for you because you've played the game more recently than I have: does Samus actually accomplish anything that is relevant to the plot? She certainly blunders into various boss fights with creatures, in the sense that those boss fights have no greater relevance other than "Samus strolled by monster nest, now monster is pissed off". So putting aside those events that basically mean nothing, what does she do?

Does Samus save anyone? Nope, Adam dies, all of the marines die except for Anthony, who saved his own ass by using his own ice beam; MB also dies, so the only other named character Samus tangentially saved was Madeleine, which is debatable. Does Samus resolve the Deleter subplot in any way? Nope, she fends him off in that big power lifter robot, then MB kills the Deleter later. Does Samus get her vengeance on Ridley, the logical thing to do after you show Samus cowering in fear? Nope, they fight and Ridley retreats, then Ridley randomly gets killed by the Metroid Queen. Does Samus deal with the super top secret, super dangerous Metroid sector on the ship? Nope, Adam swoops in, shoots Samus in the back for seemingly no reason other than he's a dick, then goes into the Metroid sector and deals with it himself. Does Samus put a stop to MB's evil plan? Nope, the game makes Samus aim at MB at the very end, but then in the cutscene that follows, Samus never pulls the trigger, and instead some random trooper ends up gunning down MB. Does Samus in some way stop the corrupted Federation general who started this secret biological weapons program? Nope, Anthony magically calls in the cavalry after faking his death, and has that guy arrested.

Sure, you run around a lot as Samus and kill a bunch of escaped specimens on this ship that were really never a threat to anyone but Samus, but Samus might as well be a useless bystander when it comes to how the plot unfolds. Even the Metroid Queen boss fight didn't really mean anything; it was Samus saving her own skin, but Anthony had already called in the figurative cavalry, so the whole ship was going to get quarantined and destroyed regardless, and the Metroid Queen was never going to be a danger to anyone. The gameplay/story segregation is staggering; Samus seems pretty legit when you're just running around killing random monsters on this ship, but when you reach a pivotal moment in the story where stakes are high, she is suddenly the most ineffectual weakling to ever star in a video game.

Anyway, it would be one thing if the writing were passable but badly voice acted, but the writer didn't seem to even know what kind of point he was trying to make. The script constantly insists that Adam is this brilliant military mind, but he's just a prick for the entirety of the game. He tells his men to split up (leading to their deaths). It never really seems like he's two steps ahead of the enemy, or has some master plan. He seems to figure things out only like a minute or two before Samus, and really at no point does he ever pull any crazy Sun Tzu military mind games bullshit. Adam is just this abusive father figure with soap opera-level writing.

On top of a few small elements of the story being directly ripped from Metroid Fusion, even the basic script has numerous sequences that don't have any point to them. I'll just mention the worst one. There's a flashback to that incident where Adam's brother was in some engine room that was going to explode, and Samus asked if she could run out into space and rescue him before it exploded (basically a suicide mission). Adam denied the request, brother died, Samus cried. Flashforward to outside the super secret Metroid sector with Adam and Samus. Going into the Metroid sector is, once again, a suicide mission. Remember, that flashback earlier had no plot relevance to the current story, and existed only for character development. If you have a character development flashback, the whole reason you put that in a story is to show how the present day version of that character has since changed. The two obvious ways to handle that would be:

  1. Instead of flipping out on Adam like in the flashback, Samus grows as a person and acknowledges that it's a suicide mission, and this time respects and understands Adam's decision that she cannot be the one to go on the suicide mission. This shows that past Samus was immature, while older Samus is wise enough to know the right priorities. Still kinda lame, but whatever, at least Samus learned some kind of lesson.
  2. Instead of flipping out on Adam like in the flashback, or listening to Adam, Samus just says "FUCK ALL THAT" and fights her way through the Metroid sector, sets off the self destruct sequence, then makes a daring escape back to safety, leaving both Samus and Adam alive. This shows that past Samus was immature, while older Samus is A TOTAL BOSS who sees the Grim Reaper beckoning towards her and just flips him off because she is absolutely fearless. Frankly, this second option is how almost any game designer in the industry would have designed this sequence. To whit, this is actually how the similar sequence in Metroid Fusion with a secret Metroid sector plays out.
  3. BUT NOW FOR THE DUMB WAY OTHER M ACTUALLY DOES IT: Adam shoots Samus in the back because he's a dick, after which Samus flips out on Adam and cries a bunch, saying she should be the one to go. Her suit inexplicably destabilizes for like a minute, Samus kinda crawls around like a drunk while Adam lectures her, then Adam rides off into the sunset, sacrificing himself to destroy the Metroid sector. This shows that past Samus was immature, while older Samus is...the same? Maybe? Except this time she got shot in the back and was even less of a participant in the decision-making process?

In option 1, Samus learns to respect Adam's judgment calls. In option 2, Samus learns to respect her own judgment calls and trust in her own abilities. In Other M's dumb option 3, Samus learns NOTHING because Adam didn't even give her the chance to make the choice and made it for her. Adam essentially hijacks what could have been a badass moment of Samus demonstrating maturity/heroism, and turns it into this gross "Father Knows Best" moment where Adam gets his way again.

I can't even think of the last time a game undermined its own main character so badly.

Posted by Aetheldod

The one thing I didnt like was the authorization thing ... I mean why should a dickhead tell Samus what to use or not. Outside of that I found it ok and not as insulting as most people do , mayhaps its me and being more used to the anime style of storytelling ; yet I still think that Metroid Prime plays a whole lot better than the rest.

Posted by Video_Game_King

The one thing I didnt like was the authorization thing ... I mean why should a dickhead tell Samus what to use or not.

I know it's been a while since I've played Other M, but you'll have to tell me when Samus hands over power of her....powers specifically to the dickhead.

All I can really say about Other M is that I thought it was alright, albeit not perfect (that not-final final boss, Samus' high heels, etc.).

Posted by EXTomar

I could handle the game play but I do believe the mixing of 2D and 3D like this was kind of clumsy. What really irritated me was the story and dialog. There were seeds of an interesting story in there but it was completely flubbed. Elements of a grand conspiracy leading to solving a mystery and paranoia where abandoned so we could hear Samus' inner monologue that seems more like a FB post from a teenager.

Posted by Aetheldod

@video_game_king: >_< its not like that VGK!!!! (dang)

When she has to ask permission (or permission is given) to use Samu´s modules , like super misiles and the like by getting authorization by Adam , that what I found silly and stupid.

Posted by BisonHero

@video_game_king said:

@aetheldod said:

The one thing I didnt like was the authorization thing ... I mean why should a dickhead tell Samus what to use or not.

I know it's been a while since I've played Other M, but you'll have to tell me when Samus hands over power of her....powers specifically to the dickhead.

All I can really say about Other M is that I thought it was alright, albeit not perfect (that not-final final boss, Samus' high heels, etc.).

In the second or third room of the game, you run into the Adam and the troopers, and they can't open some door. Samus missiles the door open, after which Adam says "Hey, whoa whoa whoa, there are civilians (and my squad on this ship). We can't have you causing collateral damage with your Plasma Beams and your Power Bombs and your whojamathings."

At which point you gain access to missiles and regular bombs almost immediately (seemingly the most likely things to cause collateral damage given that Samus is a pretty good shot with her beams?), you need his later authorization to enable things like Varia Suit and Grapple Beam which really couldn't possibly cause collateral damage in the first place, and then you use a Power Bomb anyway at the end of the game even though there's a civilian somewhat nearby (you encountered Madeleine only like a few dozen yards from where you fight the Metroid Queen).

The authorization mechanic is great, by which I of course mean "super contrived and nonsensical".

Posted by Video_Game_King

@bisonhero:

I think you missed the part where I said "specifically to the dickhead". I don't remember Samus seeing the Galactic Federation Troops, running up to them, and then asking, "Which one of you is the dickhead? He will manage my equipment for me."

I also think you missed the part where I was joking.

Posted by BisonHero

@video_game_king: Frankly, the game would make more sense if it established that Samus has some psychological compulsion to give authority of her powers to the biggest dickhead in proximity to her. At least it would explain why she spends any time around Adam.

Posted by Hailinel


In option 1, Samus learns to respect Adam's judgment calls. In option 2, Samus learns to respect her own judgment calls and trust in her own abilities. In Other M's dumb option 3, Samus learns NOTHING because Adam didn't even give her the chance to make the choice and made it for her. Adam essentially hijacks what could have been a badass moment of Samus demonstrating maturity/heroism, and turns it into this gross "Father Knows Best" moment where Adam gets his way again.

I can't even think of the last time a game undermined its own main character so badly.

You forget the part where Samus would have strolled into certain death had Adam not stopped her, and that Samus was actually suspicious of Adam at that point because of information that MB (at that time pretending to be Madeline) had fed her. If he didn't knock her out, it would have been far more difficult for him to both explain his side of the story and prevent Samus from entering Sector 0, which was essentially a death sentence.

As for what Samus specifically accomplished on this particular mission, Madeline's rescue is certainly noteworthy. MB was a lost cause; she had flipped her shit and was intent on sicking the research Metroids on a GF space station. The only thing that Samus could do for her in the end was clear a path for Madeline to freeze her creation (which the GF soldiers immediately destroyed). But those same GF soldiers were there to capture Madeline in order to use her as a scapegoat for the project. She would undoubtedly face legal ramifications either way since the research she was conducting was illegal to begin with, but Samus was able to ensure her a fair trial, at the very least.

So no, Samus didn't do everything of note in the story, but she wasn't meant to be this all-powerful problem solver.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@bisonhero:

I feel I should point out that I'm actually joking in an attempt to keep my distance, since I know I'm not equipped to handle this discussion, seeing how I last played it three years ago.

Posted by TruthTellah

@bisonhero:

I feel I should point out that I'm actually joking in an attempt to keep my distance, since I know I'm not equipped to handle this discussion, seeing how I last played it three years ago.

Stop joking around! This is videogames.

Edited by Video_Game_King
Edited by BisonHero

@hailinel said:

You forget the part where Samus would have strolled into certain death had Adam not stopped her, and that Samus was actually suspicious of Adam at that point because of information that MB (at that time pretending to be Madeline) had fed her. If he didn't knock her out, it would have been far more difficult for him to both explain his side of the story and prevent Samus from entering Sector 0, which was essentially a death sentence.

But the whole part where she's suspicious of Adam is also incredibly forced. There is a line early on about Adam having a direct feed of everything Samus sees and hears (which, among other things, serves as a way to explain why Adam knows what Samus is doing and when to authorize Samus' weapons, given that Samus otherwise does not really use the comm very much to tell Adam what she is doing). Given that Adam should've been aware of everything Samus had encountered, he would've heard all of the stuff Samus heard related to the Deleter.

The prudent thing for Adam to do would be to have a nice little chat with Samus establishing "Hey gurl, I'm not the Deleter". Or if he was watching some other feed at the time and somehow missed the time when people told Samus about the Deleter, the prudent thing for Samus to do would be to ask "Hey Adam, what's all this Deleter business about? Who is the least trustworthy on the squad?"

Instead, let's never address it ever and then I'll shoot you in the back later just so I seem like more of a dick.

Also, as @truthtellah says, this is video games. The main character, more than anyone, has the ability to face something that should be a "death sentence" and come out alive on the other side of it. They could've written a scenario where Samus goes into Sector 0, does her business, and escapes successfully, and it would've been much less condescending to Samus and been totally fine.

But then that means they wouldn't know what to do with Adam, because clearly like 90% of the game is building up to killing him off to make him into this tragic (abusive) father figure who sacrifices himself for the greater good. Except most players I've spoken to didn't find it tragic because when does the game ever make Adam a character you care about whatsoever?

At no point is Adam an interesting character. Maybe I would've liked the game a bit more if the game wasn't so busy sucking off Adam and thinking that the player would like a turn as well.

Edited by EXTomar

Video games are serious business. But maybe that was part of the problem where those guys seemed so eager to show us how serious and grown up they were making Other M when a much simpler, straightforward story about Samus kicking pirate ass would have been more than enough.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

@bisonhero: Wow, thanks for the longer-than-my-blog comment! A handful of minor nitpicks:

- I think the point of Adam shooting Samus was to prevent her from stopping him, not just to be a dick.

-Did the general at the end get arrested, or did Anthony just manage to prevent him from taking custody of Madeline Bergman? I'm pretty sure its the latter.

- I think you're reading way too much into the abusive father figure angle for Adam. I saw him more like, I don't know, a high school teacher with a favourite student or something. He had a (non-romantic) affinity for (pre-bounty hunter) Samus, but in an official capacity, he had to treat her in a very cold, hands-off way because she was just another subordinate. Her immaturity shone through in the brother incident, but he knew that she was a child and it couldn't be helped. Other M was an unexpected retread of that scenario for both of them, and when Adam acted the same way, maybe some part of Samus reverted as well? Maybe if Adam wasn't there and watching, she would have been colder and smarter? I suspect I'm giving Sakamoto way too much credit, but it's at least a fun intellectual exercise.

- Is it absolutely essential that plot arcs have satisfying/predictable payoffs? I'm being a bit contrarian here because I agree that this game is notable in its almost-total lack of payoff, but I think a case can be made for Samus making the same immature mistake of questioning Adam's correct judgement call, and her (and the player) realizing she hadn't actually matured as much as you might assume. Who says Samus has to be an infallible hero? Frankly, I find that more compelling than your video-gamey "fuck the odds, I'll save everyone!" option. I sort of like the idea of a professionally capable bounty hunter full of regrets, insecurities, and general social frailty.

- Similarly, does Adam really have to be perfect? I mean, even setting aside the way the Deleter threw a wrench in his mission plan, what if he just plain fucked up? What if he is incapable of relating to Samus in any non-snippy way because of his own social hang-ups? There's an undercurrent in some of your criticism of expecting characters to always do the Right Thing, and I don't really agree. (Again, more of an intellectual exercise than a defense of the actual story.)

You're totally right about a lot of the plot inconsistencies and non-payoffs, and if I was really asked to take a stance, I think I'd agree with a lot of what you're getting at. I'm in no way trying to argue the writing and narrative in this game are defensible as a whole -- just that I think there's some kernels of interesting ideas wrapped in the nonsense.

@hailinel said:

Nice write-up. I personally didn't have the same issues with the gameplay that you did. The most frustrating aspect, for me at least, were the pixel hunts that would occasionally break up the action. As for the general combat, I never really saw Metroid as a game about combat. I mean, sure, you shoot lots of things, but there's also that exploration/puzzle element to it. And bosses more often than not come down to pattern recognition and knowing where the weak points are. Sensemove aside, it felt in a lot of ways like a 3D version of a 2D Metroid.

And I completely agree on Samus's characterization. The writing itself isn't good, but the aspects that the writing attempts to convey are great.

Oh yeah, those pixel hunts were frustrating. I came within very close to opening up a walkthrough on one occasion.

Yeah, it's not really a game about combat, but this game seemed more combat-heavy than the Prime games at least, and considering the game was developed by Team Ninja, I had some expectations of at least mechanical solidness. It's not just that the combat is forgettable, it's that it's so easily breakable, and way too simple. Aside from a few bosses with AoE attacks, there's no real sense of challenge or satisfaction.

I didn't get to this in the blog, but I also thought the exploration was pretty unsatisfying. I think colour-coding the collectible pings with the ability required to get them would go a long way, because at least then I wouldn't feel like I was wasting my time trying to grab them when I wasn't able to. Looking back, I'm not sure I actually liked the Prime games that much, so this may be more of an issue of my preferences.

Posted by BisonHero

@grantheaslip: You're right, the basic premise of Other M's story (learning about this "Adam" guy who vaguely introduced back in Metroid Fusion) is valid. Agreed on the "kernels of interesting ideas wrapped in the nonsense". But pretty much all of the events on the Bottle Ship are just...boring, and you don't even learn what the villain's plan is until an infodump at the end, and even then it's a pretty mundane plan.

Adam could've been interesting, if either he wasn't ALWAYS right (basically every scene with Adam and Samus has Adam bossing her around or her doubting herself compared to his judgment), or he can be right all the time but at least at the end some of his ability to make judgment calls had clearly rubbed off on Samus (which would've pretty much required that Option 1 I gave earlier; the game can have Samus inner monologue all it fucking wants, but I wasn't convinced that she learned a damn thing from Adam or his death, given her pitiful display outside the Metroid sector).

Posted by Hailinel

@grantheaslip: You're right, the basic premise of Other M's story (learning about this "Adam" guy who vaguely introduced back in Metroid Fusion) is valid. Agreed on the "kernels of interesting ideas wrapped in the nonsense". But pretty much all of the events on the Bottle Ship are just...boring, and you don't even learn what the villain's plan is until an infodump at the end, and even then it's a pretty mundane plan.

Adam could've been interesting, if either he wasn't ALWAYS right (basically every scene with Adam and Samus has Adam bossing her around or her doubting herself compared to his judgment), or he can be right all the time but at least at the end some of his ability to make judgment calls had clearly rubbed off on Samus (which would've pretty much required that Option 1 I gave earlier; the game can have Samus inner monologue all it fucking wants, but I wasn't convinced that she learned a damn thing from Adam or his death, given her pitiful display outside the Metroid sector).

It's not that Adam is always right. It's that, for the purposes of the mission, he's her CO again. It's not a mission where she's allowed to act independently of the soldiers already present with jurisdiction. Hell, the jurisdiction aspect plays a role in the end, when Anthony's presence as the lone remaining team member is enough to get the asshole general and his men to back off. And she did learn. It's just that, as it came about with the death of Adam's brother, she can be a bit too sure of her own abilities.

Complicating things is the fact that getting rid of the Sector 0 Metroids was a suicide mission. Samus isn't suicidal, but while she recognizes that something has to be done, she doesn't want Adam to be the one to do it. As I recall (and it's been a while since I've played the game, so my memory of the scene isn't perfect), what made Samus upset was that Adam was essentially killing himself, which is a not unnatural response to that kind of situation assuming that she had any respect for him, which she does.

Posted by Sinusoidal

I just replayed Super Metroid for the I-don't-knowth time since it came out. It's still an awesome experience.

The Primes are also some of my favorite games ever.

I quit about an hour into Other M and never picked it back up.

The only redemption for Metroid as a series now is the entire retcon of Other M. Wipe it from canon, forget it exists, pretend it was all someone's delusion, anything! It defined Samus in a way no one wanted her to be: A sexed-up, whiny, overly emotional, useless turd. If the next game (provided there is one and Other M hasn't wrecked the franchise completely) features the Samus of Other M, I will not be purchasing.

Posted by EXTomar

My memory is fuzzy as well but I recall feeling I had no idea reason why Adam killed himself like that. Something had to be done but was it clear that Adam going in would have worked? From what I remember it seemed to me just as likely he would have gone and failed. If all Adam had to do was go in then there probably was another plan they could have come up with.

Edited by Hailinel

The only redemption for Metroid as a series now is the entire retcon of Other M. Wipe it from canon, forget it exists, pretend it was all someone's delusion, anything! It defined Samus in a way no one wanted her to be: A sexed-up, whiny, overly emotional, useless turd. If the next game (provided there is one and Other M hasn't wrecked the franchise completely) features the Samus of Other M, I will not be purchasing.

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

Posted by stubbleman

@hailinel said:

@sinusoidal said:

The only redemption for Metroid as a series now is the entire retcon of Other M. Wipe it from canon, forget it exists, pretend it was all someone's delusion, anything! It defined Samus in a way no one wanted her to be: A sexed-up, whiny, overly emotional, useless turd. If the next game (provided there is one and Other M hasn't wrecked the franchise completely) features the Samus of Other M, I will not be purchasing.

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

To be fair, expecting them to keep it is way more selfish, considering how pretty close to everyone did hate what they did with Samus in Other M. Or should I say, M.O.M. M-Other M.

Posted by Hailinel

@hailinel said:

@sinusoidal said:

The only redemption for Metroid as a series now is the entire retcon of Other M. Wipe it from canon, forget it exists, pretend it was all someone's delusion, anything! It defined Samus in a way no one wanted her to be: A sexed-up, whiny, overly emotional, useless turd. If the next game (provided there is one and Other M hasn't wrecked the franchise completely) features the Samus of Other M, I will not be purchasing.

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

To be fair, expecting them to keep it is way more selfish, considering how pretty close to everyone did hate what they did with Samus in Other M. Or should I say, M.O.M. M-Other M.

What's more selfish: A creator continuing work they've already done, or people screaming at them to change it?

Posted by Sinusoidal

@hailinel said:

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

Yeah, sure not everyone hated it that much, but even the highest of opinions of the game seem to be along the lines of "it wasn't so bad..." especially concerning the story.

It doesn't necessarily need to be entirely retconned. Maybe that Samus was an inferior clone of the original? It was all some random space pirate's dream? Why not? Neither of those explanations is any more ridiculous than Other M's excuse for Samus not using her powers.

Edited by stubbleman

@hailinel: Probably the people screaming at him to change it. But which of these two is more selfish? One guy saying a game almost everyone hates should be blacklisted from the series' continuity, or another guy saying they should keep it in there because he, and a couple other people, actually like it?

Honestly though, the best case scenario is that Sakamoto learns that what he wants for the series is seriously at odds with what fans love about the series, and takes those ideas to some new project that doesn't have the Metroid name attached to it. If nothing else, people would be much more conducive to seeing these ideas explored on characters that they don't already have such firmly set preconceptions of.

Posted by Hailinel

@hailinel: Probably the people screaming at him to change it. But which of these two is more selfish? One guy saying a game almost everyone hates should be blacklisted from the series' continuity, or another guy saying they should keep it in there because he, and a couple other people, actually like it?

Honestly though, the best case scenario is that Sakamoto learns that what he wants for the series is seriously at odds with what fans love about the series, and takes those ideas to some new project that doesn't have the Metroid name attached to it. If nothing else, people would be much more conducive to seeing these ideas explored on characters that they don't already have such firmly set preconceptions of.

If a fan has preconceived notions, and a game goes against those notions, who is at fault for the disappointment? The creator that didn't match what the fan had built in his or her head, or the fan for expecting the creator to follow their own personal vision for how things should go? Shouting down a creator and demanding they change something is not a constructive use of time. Screaming at George Lucas for over a decade did not make the prequel Star Wars trilogy any better; it's only convinced him to retire, because the fanbase is impossible to satisfy. Someone else can take the heat for Star Wars VII through however many Disney makes while wrenching every last dollar they can out of the franchise.

@hailinel said:

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

Yeah, sure not everyone hated it that much, but even the highest of opinions of the game seem to be along the lines of "it wasn't so bad..." especially concerning the story.

It doesn't necessarily need to be entirely retconned. Maybe that Samus was an inferior clone of the original? It was all some random space pirate's dream? Why not? Neither of those explanations is any more ridiculous than Other M's excuse for Samus not using her powers.

Is it more or less ridiculous than requiring Samus to repeatedly collect the same power-ups from Chozo statues and the like game after game? Does she just lose her morph ball power on a regular basis? Is the component held in with bubble gum and scotch tape? Does she finish an adventure, say fuck it, and then toss all of her weapon upgrades out the airlock of her ship?

Posted by EXTomar

Again my memory is fuzzy but in Other M, she had just defeated MB so couldn't they use the excuse that her gear is still being repaired? And since Bottle Ship is a research vessel, finding parts to supplement and repair could have been woven in. Instead it is some flimsy thing where she "choose" to follow Adam's orders.

Posted by Hailinel

@extomar said:

Again my memory is fuzzy but in Other M, she had just defeated MB so couldn't they use the excuse that her gear is still being repaired? And since Bottle Ship is a research vessel, finding parts to supplement and repair could have been woven in. Instead it is some flimsy thing where she "choose" to follow Adam's orders.

No, there's a pretty significant time gap between the end of the Super Metroid mission on Zebes and the Bottle Ship mission. There was no reason for her to head to the Bottle Ship without all of her gear in good shape. Now, what could have been done as an alternative to what they did do was have an early encounter (such as the enemies in the power station shortly after the game's start) cause an electrical short that temporarily disabled her suit's Varia and Gravity powers, then have them do an auto-diagonostic/repair that would have taken time. At the very least, it could have been a better way to account for her not being able to use her armor upgrades.

Posted by stubbleman

@hailinel said:

If a fan has preconceived notions, and a game goes against those notions, who is at fault for the disappointment? The creator that didn't match what the fan had built in his or her head, or the fan for expecting the creator to follow their own personal vision for how things should go?

There's a big difference between a handful of raving nerds freaking out about their headcannon to the creators, and a long-running series, with a very well established identity like Metroid, suddenly turning away from what the series' fans have very publicly made known to be its most defining aspects. The vast majority of people who love Samus, love her for being a laconic badass who gets shit done, not for being the blubbering baby from the manga or whatever.

And one man's creative vision is not worth more than the public's shared experience. The Metroid series has touched a lot of hands in the years it's been around, and to hoist all of that onto Sakamoto's back like he knows best doesn't work. He brought us his version of Metroid with Other M, and pretty much anyone who had any kind of vested interest in the Metroid series found it wanting.

Edited by EXTomar

My memory is pretty bad about those details but this is also an issue with every other "Metroid-vania" out there where the creator/writer feels compelled while the player demands some contrivance on why the biggest hero in the universe has to be stripped of power. Maybe this is an indication that they need to abandon that concept all together because there is no real reason why Samus would have walked into that situation not using her best gear.

Edited by Hailinel

@stubbleman: There's really no difference at all. You're free to not like it and disagree with the creator, but telling the creator how to do their job is childish whether we're talking Star Wars or Metroid.

Posted by stubbleman

@hailinel said:

@stubbleman: There's really no difference at all. You're free to not like it and disagree with the creator, but telling the creator how to do their job is childish whether we're talking Star Wars or Metroid.

I don't think anyone here is telling Sakamoto how to do his job. They're just speculating on why he's so bad at it.

Posted by Hailinel

@stubbleman: When you're demanding retcons or that they ignore the game, you're telling them how to do their job.

Edited by Video_Game_King

I don't think anyone here is telling Sakamoto how to do his job. They're just speculating on why he's so bad at it.

Aren't they the same thing, at least in some form? Saying somebody's bad at a job is telling them how they should do their job, since you're saying that what they're doing is wrong and that they should no longer be doing it (unless you'd somehow like to make the argument that somebody should perform their job poorly).

Posted by Tireyo

Been a while since I've played Other M. I kinda forgot about it as it didn't really hold my interest too well.

Posted by stubbleman

@hailinel said:

@stubbleman: When you're demanding retcons or that they ignore the game, you're telling them how to do their job.

Well, getting back to my original point, when a game is as much of an escapade as Other M, in terms of both sales numbers and general public opinion, it's reasonable to believe that Nintendo might ignore or try to retcon Other M out of the series in the future. And while @sinusoidal was being a bit melodramatic, his points are fairly grounded. I know I won't want to throw my money in if they continue in the Other M direction with Samus in the future.

Posted by Hailinel

@stubbleman: And you don't have to. But if they do, I will. Flaws being what they were, I enjoyed the game and its interpretation of Samus. And I'm not alone in that.

Posted by stubbleman

@hailinel: You seem pretty alone in that. But do you specifically want the Metroid series to continue in the Other M direction, as opposed to, say, some new franchise and characters picking up from those same ideas and themes?

Posted by Hailinel

@stubbleman: Yes. Maybe it's just because I'm more familiar with things like the manga canon or just my general desire for Samus to have a distinctive, human personality. But by all means, yes.

Posted by BisonHero

@stubbleman said:

@hailinel said:

@sinusoidal said:

The only redemption for Metroid as a series now is the entire retcon of Other M. Wipe it from canon, forget it exists, pretend it was all someone's delusion, anything! It defined Samus in a way no one wanted her to be: A sexed-up, whiny, overly emotional, useless turd. If the next game (provided there is one and Other M hasn't wrecked the franchise completely) features the Samus of Other M, I will not be purchasing.

Not everyone that played Other M sees Samus that way. And to insist on a retcon of something that not everyone hated seems just a tad selfish.

To be fair, expecting them to keep it is way more selfish, considering how pretty close to everyone did hate what they did with Samus in Other M. Or should I say, M.O.M. M-Other M.

Man, you guys have been busy with this little back and forth over who's more selfish. I'm quoting this post since it includes the 3 people most involved.

A NeoGAF user wrote a super detailed explanation of Metroid's story and lore, and it eventually got posted on Kotaku with the author's permission. This is the second half, and it has a link to the first. I thought this note at the end was relevant to your current discussion:

The lore, speculation and theories above use the Metroid games as their primary sources. Secondary materials such as manga, strategy guides, developer interviews and instruction manuals are often in conflict with each other – and the games themselves – and are therefore not included. The article also does not include the events of Metroid: Other M; since that game was released, its story and characters have become impossible to resolve with the rest of the franchise.

Sick burn.

Anyway, this discussion of whether it's more selfish to retcon or not retcon Other M is silly. Obviously, whatever, it's Sakamoto's work, and he should be allowed to make whatever work he wants, so it's not selfish on his part. But wait! Nintendo is a business, and Other M sold pretty terribly. I can't be bothered to look up all of Nintendo's full fiscal reports, but Other M sold below Nintendo's expectations (they wanted a million copies sold, it sounds like it never reached that though it may have barely broken 500,000 months and months after release). Metroid Prime 3 sold 1.3 million within 7 months of release.

Who can say whether that was because by 2010, way less traditional gamers were still interested in buying Wii games (Metroid Prime 3 came out in 2007, a time when opinion of Wii software was much higher), or because bad word of mouth shot Other M in the foot, but I'd like to believe it's a combination of both. The fact that Other M also made plenty of gaming sites "Worst/Most Disappointing of 2010" lists, and that fan backlash has been...significant, means I think it would be a crazy business move to just carry on from Other M as if nothing had happened. It's not beloved, and even for people that really like it, you have to admit it's the most uneven Metroid game in terms of quality, between "pretty good graphics" but "terrible voice acting" and "terribly broken dodge mechanic".

I doubt they'll go out of their way to give Other M the full CDi Zelda treatment where Nintendo completely disavows the game for all time, but at the very least I expect the next Metroid game to not reference any characters or events from Other M specifically. They could either make a sequel to Metroid Fusion (chronologically the last Metroid game to occur in the timeline), or pull a Metroid Prime and just create a game/trilogy in the middle of the timeline somewhere.

Alternately, maybe Nintendo will just shitcan Metroid for a few years, like when we had the 8-year gap between Super Metroid and then the release of Metroid Prime/Fusion. I really doubt it, though.

Posted by Hailinel

@bisonhero: Not that this means much, but Samusin the next Smash Bros. is based on ber Other M design. There also appears to be an Other M inspired stage. They're not hiding it away.

Edited by EXTomar

So lets ask this: What is "salvageable" out of Other M? What characters or events would be worth keeping around for a future video game? Are there interesting villains or other characters here worth hanging on to for a future story or game? I have to answer "Nothing is worth keeping" so it seems safe to keep or retcon away.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@extomar said:

So lets ask this: What is "salvageable" out of Other M?

Her time at the academy, her characterization in regards to Adam, her suit's stability being tied to her emotional state of mind, some other stuff I'm probably not remembering, etc.

Posted by BisonHero

@extomar: They could bring back Anthony or something, but yeah, the whole thing is so self contained and basically no new enemy faction or creature is introduced aside from "crazy AI bitch who is dead by the end of the game". There isn't really any other surviving character aside from Madeleine, who there would be no point bringing back now that MB is destroyed. They could even just say in the opening cutscene "After the events on the Bottle Ship..." or something, but I just don't see the point because I don't see how they could continue that plotline in any meaningful way.

@hailinel: Eh, most Smash Bros. character designs are based on the most recent game the Smash team has to work with. Brawl Mario has the F.L.U.D.D. since Galaxy came out too close to Brawl for them to use anything from that, and Super Mario Sunshine isn't exactly the high point of 3D Mario games. Brawl also used the Star Fox Assault character designs for Wolf (and Falco and Fox, I think), and let me remind you that Star Fox Assault: ALSO NOT THE HIGH POINT OF ITS RESPECTIVE SERIES.

I still have mad doubts that the next Metroid game will acknowledge the events of Other M.

Edited by stubbleman

@extomar said:

So lets ask this: What is "salvageable" out of Other M?

Her time at the academy, her characterization in regards to Adam, her suit's stability being tied to her emotional state of mind, some other stuff I'm probably not remembering, etc.

The platform heels on her Zero Suit?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@stubbleman:

................Damn it. There's no response to that.

Posted by Hailinel

@bisonhero: But they, as a company, are not so down on it that they'd disavow its existence, as some seem to want.

Posted by Hailinel

@video_game_king: Sure there is. It's an aesthetic element that can be ignored in later entries. @stubbleman's sarcasm is pretty blatant, anyway.

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