August 6, 2016 was a momentous date in gaming history if you're a Nintendo fan, especially if you're a Nintendo fan that has been following the company since the '80s. August 6, 2016 was the 30th anniversary of the original Metroid, which was released on the Famicom in 1986, and later on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the west.
If you follow Nintendo on social media though, you would never have known this. Nintendo said nothing about it at all. Not even a Facebook post or tweet. No acknowledgment from Nintendo about the birthday of one of their most influential and acclaimed game series. Nothing.
However, something of significance did happen on August 6th for Metroid fans. The long-awaited fan passion project, Project AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake), was released to the public. Project AM2R is a fan remake of Metroid II: Return Of Samus, which originally released on the Game Boy in 1991. Metroid fans the world over rejoiced. For once, Metroid fans got something they had long been asking for; a remake of Metroid II. And on Metroid's birthday no less! After six years of no Metroid games and being ignored by Nintendo, Metroid fans were happy. AM2R was getting great buzz and all was right with the world.
And then that rejoicing was silenced. DMCA notices were issued by Nintendo to websites hosting or linking to the game. The game was taken down from Project AM2R's website.
The next day, Nintendo released another trailer for Metroid Prime: Federation Force for 3DS.
As I talked about in my first Metroid piece, Nintendo seems consistently tone deaf to what Metroid fans want, and the last few days are the latest chapter. Legally, Nintendo is well within their rights to have Project AM2R taken down. However, if this had been Blizzard or Valve, not only would they likely not have had the game taken down, they might have hired the people who worked on it. I have not played AM2R yet, but it's supposed to be fantastic. The work and the passion that went into making something like this as an indie-fan project deserves some recognition or acknowledgement. If Nintendo will not give it to them, Metroid fans certainly will, as this remake is being celebrated by every Metroid fan on the planet. Me included. Certainly much more than Federation Force.
What Nintendo has been doing with the Metroid series these last six years is not new. Outside of the 2000s, Nintendo has consistently treated Metroid like a second-tier series. Metroid fans are tired of it, and this is where a lot of the frustration towards Federation Force is coming from. While I'm not a Federation Force hater, I'm not enthusiastic about the game either. It's not the game Metroid fans want. They don't want a multi-player shooter. If they did, they would buy a game like Splatoon, which was made from the ground up to be a multi-player shooter.
Metroid fans want exotic, alien worlds to explore while taking down Metroids, Space Pirates, and massive bosses. A remake of Metroid II is something fans have been wanting for years and would have been a great way to celebrate Metroid's 30th birthday – a birthday Nintendo didn't even acknowledge. Instead, they have AM2R taken down and release another Federation Force trailer. It seems almost borderline spiteful. Personally, I don't get mad about this kind of stuff, but it does make me shake my head and wonder how a video game company can be this tone deaf about a series that has the devoted fanbase Metroid has. Fans of Metroid have every right to be upset when Nintendo either seems incapable or unwilling to listen to them.
Project AM2R will continue its existence on torrent sites and receive updates and patches by its developer as they're needed. I really hope Nintendo has something up their sleeve for Metroid with NX, as their apathy and indifference towards the Metroid series and its fans is reaching an all-time high. Metroid fans are making their voice heard on YouTube as to how they feel about Federation Force. It will be interesting to see if that carries over to sales and how Nintendo reacts.
In the meantime, if you're a Metroid fan, don't be angry. Remember the games we have and treasure them. Metroid Prime turns 15 years old next November. Maybe it's time to dust it off and give it another play through.
Metroid fans, what do you think Nintendo should do?
Do you want a new Metroid Prime game? A new 2D Metroid game? What's your preference? Do we unite and storm the gates of Nintendo Of America and demand they make Metroid great again? Leave your thoughts below!