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Metroid: Other M To Show Human Side Of Samus

Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto has revealed new details on the upcoming new Metroid: Other M for Wii. Sakamoto says Other M will be different than any other Metroid because it will show the human side of Samus.

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IanCube2871d ago

Sounds interesting, I wonder what is up with these movies they keep referencing?

Anyone know?

ScottBarkman2871d ago

queue 40 minute cutscenes ala metal gear. lol I gotta tell you though - that art makes me wish this was in HD

IanCube2871d ago

Did you HAVE to mention HD? haha

It should be an interesting title with a darker feel I think.

eagle212871d ago

The teaser website looks and sounds amazing. Nintendo looks like it has yet another hit on their hands. :)

IanCube2871d ago

Has there even been a Metroid that WASNT a hit? haha

eagle212871d ago

Of course not, hence the "yet another hit" in my comment. :)

EvilTwin2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

Metroid has a dedicated following and always sells well, but it's never been a blockbuster series. But Nintendo sounds like they'd rather Other M appeal to a wider audience than the last two Primes did:

http://www.joystiq.com/2009...

IanCube2871d ago

Do you guys WANT to see a human side of Samus?

EvilTwin2871d ago

Hmm...

It's gonna be tough to balance a cinematic-heavy story with "the ideal form of the old Metroid," (which is all about isolation, not interacting with characters in cut scenes).

But it's Sakamoto-san. He directed Super-freakin'-Metroid. I trust him.

asdr3wsfas2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

I wonder when video game designers will learn they can't write as well as novelists or movie makers and hire actual talent? The reason metroid prime and shadow of the colossus do so well is that they inspire your imagination to question what happened before you arrive and you naturally fill in the details with a story that makes sense to you. Which is far better than some programmer acting like he knows style, plot arc, etcetc.

When I read that he wanted to explore Samus' maternal instincts towards the metroid I gagged. I will love this game and probably skip every cutscene barring good fortune that results in a decent script. I'll just fill it in myself.

I was an english major before selling out and my dad taught the subject for years/wrote in his free time and this is my biggest pet peeve with video games. I'm nothing special but when I read video game dialogue it's very easy to clean it up to passable. My gf is finishing her english major and she cringes at the writing in *mass effect.* By all accounts it's exemplary for a video game.

Notable exceptions Fallout, Fallout 2, and chrono trigger. The last one didn't have great writing but it was good writing with a fantastic plot.

IanCube2871d ago

I totally agree with the balance issue, couldn't have said it better. I really wonder how they're going to pull this off...

EvilTwin2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

bob -- I definitely agree with you on the storytelling of games (NMH only works because it's so cheesy; almost every other game that tries to be dramatic ends up being pure Velveeta, and it's hard to think of exceptions...I guess I might toss in Mafia, save for its ridiculous sex scene). Prime worked wonderfully by simply downloading lore, which you just read as history. The weakest parts of Corruption were the NPCs at the end. My degree is in journalism, so I gag quite often while playing games and listening to the dialog. ; )

However, one wrinkle is that Nintendo isn't working on the cinematics. Neither are Team Ninja. D-Rockets (the barely discussed third part of Project M) are the ones tasked with that part.
http://www.wired.com/gameli...

The end of Super Metroid kinda dictates there be some discussion of maternal issues. Plus, Samus was raised an orphan, and her chief antagonist is "Mother Brain," so there's a definite theme that's been afoot for some time. But it's going to be REALLY hard to not screw this story up. Sakamoto is responsible for, IMO, the greatest 2D game ever, but I'm not sure if even he can be up to this challenge. I hope I'm wrong.

Ian -- On first blush...I don't think they can do the balance correctly. At all. I trust Sakamoto, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get a Corruption-esque setup. Lots of dialog at the beginning and end, not much in the middle.

asdr3wsfas2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

I don't know how a journalism major stands it. The faux philosophical writing ends up being obfuscated and abstract enough to lose all meaning. For fun in Assassin's creed 2 I'd revise the journal articles of Altair and you could actually make them powerful if you just cleaned up this aspect of the language. This doesn't even get to issues of timing, rhythm, and structure that are beyond the depth of most programmers. Ever play MGS4? I returned that game after an hour of play, by which I mean 20 minutes of game and 40 minutes of cutscenes.

The maternal insticts are a theme in metroid but without competent writing those are better left to the player's imagination. Also, I don't play metroid to know about samus, I play it to solve puzzles and fight space pirates ;) There's something archtypical about leaving it broad and letting the player fill it in. It's like it appeals to a common sense of myth (like samus' orphaned childhood) as opposed to bad writing, which most myth is cliched enough to be when made specific. The odyssey and illad are great stories until you see adaptations of them several times a year for the first half of your life.

I really like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell as you can no doubt tell. There are many ways to tell a story but the archtypical appeal of some without heavy specifics to bog them down is a sure fire winner. IIRC Star Wars was made by considering Jungian archtypes and implementing them in space. I hate star wars but that's because of the indulgence in particular lore and alien races - the grand idea behind it is great. And everyone else likes it so obviously it worked.

Megatron D's post right below this makes my point well. Samus is a female Boba Fett. There's little told about Boba Fett in the original star wars, we imagine him and his character based on the archtype he appeals to and fill in the gaps, all of which are more salient as they come from our imagination. Fill it in and there's room for error - the new star wars indulges too heavily in the world Lucas created instead of letting us complete it through interaction with the film. Show me boba fett instead of telling me about him!

It gets to a problem with a lot of video games that they never consider the audience and instead treat the designer as an genius whose vision takes priority. All we studied in creative writing (and you studied in journalism) was how to communicate to an *audience* - that's what makes any form of media effective!

indiemike2871d ago

First off, I actually did read your entire post, so no tl;dr here! :P

I actually AM a Journalism Major, and I constantly do have problems with stories and writing in games, but it isn't in the way you think.

I actually have a problem with how stories are delivered in games. I think Nintendo has already proven that the Metroid series CAN have a good story, they presented a dead civilization pretty well in the first Metroid Prime. The approach wasn't to make Samus talk and interact with other characters, it was to discover the logs of different "people" (for lack of a better term), and learn the back-story through them.

I think games like Mass Effect prove that video games can have a solid place in delivering narrative, but it has to be tied to the game well enough.

I am excited yet hesitant about Metroid: Other M's story. As much as it has Nintendo on its side, it has Team Ninja, which screams "story cliches" to me. I want to know that the DELIVERY of the story will work well for me. I can settle with Samus talking and being in the flesh.

Maybe this is a good thing, it's the kind of change everyone thinks Nintendo will never make.

asdr3wsfas2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

I think we agree completely. Metroid prime presented a story well by not trying to make a movie without the writers and budget necessary for it to succeed. Data files from space pirates can be mechanically written and technical because that's what space pirates are like and they're field reports. Programmers are very technical people and they can write proficiently but often not creatively (I have a CS/math degree after I left english and they are often very bad at writing entertainingly).

All their programs are structured with the hard logic they learned in their discrete math courses, not the flexible logic of a text that depends entirely on the story created and axioms of creative human communication. Half of them can't communicate verbally at even normal levels let alone know that writing has a universal and specific logic in terms of both fundamentals of communication and the internal structure and logic of a story.

I spent 15 credit hours in creative writing undergrad at the U of Iowa (so our TAs were excellent authors), wrote constantly in high school hoping to be a writer, and worked on it with my dad before that to begin to understand this. The writers there and those my dad knew spend months revising, trimming, and editing their works after years of effort to even understand the medium. The inexperienced never understand how difficult something is if they're not good at it - they don't know what makes good writing because they never learned to write! (this is a proven psychological principle that those worse at an activity think they're much better than they are while the competent can accurately assess their flaws and rate themselves lower).

Not all but a lot of programmers think math is hard (it is) but then it means that since they understand that, they can understand something as easy as creative writing (they don't). One of my friends I was in grad school with for math used to be an english major before going to philosophy and math, we had many long discussions about the people in our department and their incompetence at communicating. Some of them can communicate effectively and are very well-written for most purposes. But they can't write creatively in the sense of an artist presenting a world and story because they haven't spent years revising a text, watching it grow into a story worthy of publication with an organic logic that grips a reader with rhythm and diction and force. I have one or maybe two stories I could publish from that time - it would take about 3 more revisions atop the 4 I already did. It's not haughty, it took me years and published writers or top class writers at the university of Iowa writer's workshop helped me redo them until they finally stood on their own and impressed. And I still look back and see so much I could fix, knowing it would take months of work for a chance to publish in a magazine that doesn't even pay for submissions.

More specifically I should have referred to bad dialogue, cutscenes and cinematic elements in videogames. Metroid prime is great because you construct the story yourself. There's no clunky dialogue or exposition that pushed me away.

Some other games have great plots like Mass Effect but it suffers a lot in the execution. The dialogue really weighs Mass Effect down. Even in the first game it sounds like you're grilling people. Or they explain what happened like a text book with "As you know, Bob" dialogue that is shunned in even intro creative writing courses. Show me what happened, don't have this guy explain it to me with dialogue! I don't need to know about this old war between Arachnids and Wrex's people through exposition. Show me it in Wrex's current actions and response to the living arachnid! That could have explained all of it without boring exposition. At the end of mass effect I stopped talking to everyone because it hurt my enjoyment of the main story that much, and I really liked the premise.

Worse yet is that most dialogue choices do nothing but change alignment. Nothing differs in the story and most choices are dismissed before presenting the next element of the plot. I do the evil thing but I still go here and do mission x in the exact same way. It really says a lot about the premise and basic plot of the story that I kept playing. The voice acting was great too.

A lot of scifi suffers from this but that's no excuse - Philip K D!ck (blade runner), Ellison, the Dune series and Enders Game all succeed. Dialogue makes and breaks movies but they just can't write it proficiently in most games. And the exposition is so heavy-handed it's bad in itself without even considering that telling in exposition is awful compared to showing in gameplay.

You should try fallout or fallout 2. Those games have amazing, quick-witted dialogue that builds a world. Your choices change the world and you have a lot that accomplish the same mission with different means. Every major quest you do in every town determines a section of the ending depending on how you resolve it. Fallout 3 is good but only if you haven't played the originals. Your intelligence opens up new dialogue options almost everywhere in game, your charisma and speech let you persuade people instead of fighting or completing quests, and if you set intelligence to 1 you are retarded and your dialogue changes dramatically. The story is great and the execution is flawless - every choice seems to matter, change and shape the world, and there are countless ways of achieving them.

It sacrifices graphics and certain gameplay heavily to do this so it's basically like Baldur's gate. But it's so good at what it does that it blows Fallout 3 away. Unlike fallout 3 - where a goth girl is the extent of the humor - this game is actually hilarious. It's filled with pop culture allusions that are appropriate and funny. 2 examples:

You can enter a mining town and talk to the sheriff. He asks what you're doing in town. You have two innocuous options that determine quests IIRC but are well written. The third is:

"I'm here to kick ass and chew gum. And I'm all out of gum." (Rody Rody Piper reference) He attacks you as a response!

There's another part where you have to dig with some people. IIRC you're looking in a grave. There are again two options, one is you dig, one is they dig but with realistic phrasing. The third is similar but presented hilariously:

"There are two types of people in this world: those with guns and those who dig. You dig."

Both these options require higher intelligence stats to even think up! The old fallout and fallout 2 are highly recommended if you can accept old pc RPG gameplay. Fallout 3 suffers cause the budget went to combat, the game engine, and graphics instead of story, plot, and dialogue. In fallout 3 the world hardly changes. You kill the overseer and that hardly matters. The ending of the game refers to destiny and not player choices. In fallout 2 you make the world!

The last example is my favorite. A kid asks for his teddy bear or doll back. When you find him you can give it to him, but there's an option that says something like "tear the bear to pieces in front of him." If you choose this the game says you taught the child a valuable life lesson - gain 300xp.

I think I jumped on you for a comment once. I'm just like that, don't take it personally. Sorry if I did though!

indiemike2871d ago

I think we agree completely too.

To steer it back to the topic, aren't you kind of afraid of there being "more story" when the main developer here is Team Ninja? I can't help but think they craft some of the worst stories in gaming today, they're all about action.

Looking at it that way, I can't help but want to keep Samus silent and all, and keep the desolate, lonely feeling of the world around her.

Of all the Nintendo properties coming out this year, this seems like the one they are taking the most chances on. I just don't know how to feel about that.

asdr3wsfas2871d ago (Edited 2871d ago )

Sorry, sometimes I ramble ;) I guess more concisely my point is that I distrust adding more story to almost any video game and this alone scares me. If team ninja is that bad at storytelling it worries me more.

In my entire life I have only played Team Ninja games for an hour total the other day so I had no first-hand impression about them. I played 40 mins of DOA4 and 20 of Ninja Gaiden Sigma. I didn't really like either game but I figured nintendo would keep them in line. This is very troubling to hear.

None of their games really impress me. I'd rather play the original ninja gaiden. And DOA4 just feels like crappy tekken to me. God that sucks about their writing. I had a bad feeling the second I saw Samus' anime haircut about how it would turn out and I think you just confirmed it.

EvilTwin2870d ago

Wow, it's a party for English/Journalism majors. ; )

Bob -- I'm kinda used to bad writing by now. You only have to look at the op/ed pages of any major paper to find poorly articulated, factually sketchy prose.

It's not just game programmers making horrible scripts, of course, but they're getting worse (IMO). I'm wary of games becoming "cinematic," to the point where the actual gameplay is just a path to cut scenes. MGS4 is a particularly egregious example; I know others love it to death, but to me, it's part of what is wrong with gaming.

OTOH, a series like NMH works, in part, because of its cheese factor. There are deeper layers to the stories in both games, but Suda doesn't whack the player over the head with them. It amazes me that people still think the original was only a satire on sandbox games (it's like they missed the social commentary via the bosses).

With Star Wars...I've never been a huge fan, but I've grown to appreciate it. I think it's a little less abstract than Jung; it seems like Lucas was mainly looking at Greek and Roman tragedies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

That leaves us back at Metroid. I really don't know what to think. Maternal issues have been a big part of the series, but they haven't been drilled into our skulls by the game designers. Like you guys have said, Samus has had a kind of Boba Fett-esque mystery about her. But that's only in the games; Sakamoto-san has obviously thought more about this universe (he supervised the Metroid manga stories). Fusion certainly showed a little bit more self reflection on Samus' part, too. Plus, it seems like Nintendo is open to taking more risks with this particular series.

But I don't think you have to worry about Team Ninja screwing up the story on this one. This is Sakamoto-san's baby. It's going to be his story, told through cut scenes by D-Rockets. The only thing Team Ninja was brought onboard for is their experience with 3D action games (Sakamoto/R&D1 are 2D thoroughbreds).

asdr3wsfas2870d ago (Edited 2870d ago )

I didn't know that about star wars but it helps correct my point!

NMH killed as a satire of gaming. It was an incredible deep story because it took the cliches and revealed why the player actually beat the game. It is by far the best story based game in the past several gens and possibly ever on a console, with tough competition from chrono trigger. That game tore down the 4th wall and shat on it.

I'll bug ya later, paper due tomorrow. Good to know Team ninja isn't involved. I know I'll love the game and I can always skip cutscenes ;)

Games are getting much worse imho. They waste too much budget on graphics and the engine. I read on Malstrom's site that ultima 7 hired professional scriptwriters to make the game. Can you imagine that now? It'd cost as much as a programmer for a good one and the games would be so much better for it!

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Gen0ne2871d ago

Uh oh, I just realized Team Ninja making this game. They can't tell a story worth sh!t. Metroid ( all of them ) is my favorite game of all time. I really get caught up in the atmosphere and I'm praying Tecmo doesn't have my clamoring for a "skip cut scene" feature. Crap, now I've gone and scared myself.

EvilTwin2871d ago

Don't worry, Team Ninja are basically there to help Sakamoto's team figure out how to make their type of game in 3D. D-Rockets are doing the cinematics.

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