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Old 06-19-2009, 05:09 AM   #1
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Storytelling in Metroid games

the Metroid games have told their stories in a variety of ways.


there are the first 2 games, which really don't have much storytelling. most of the information comes from the manuals or the ending messages.

then there is Super, which has a pretty involving story, but doesn't shove it in your face. it's important events happen during gameplay as you are playing/witnessing them.

then the Prime games, which are much more cinematic, but the story is still quite reserved. mainly told through visuals and the log entries, letting the player deduce the narrative on their own.

and finally Fusion, obviously the most narrative-driven. this made the game much more linear, but the focus on story gave a lot of much-welcomed insight into Samus' character and the Metroid universe.


Other M is said to blend the storytelling elements found in Fusion with the old school Metroid gameplay. will it succeed? is this a good direction? does Metroid even need an in-depth story?


discuss.

Last edited by da Beef; 06-19-2009 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:01 PM   #2
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The thing about Metroid was that, for its time, it was absolutely groundbreaking. For the first time ever, players were able to exit the screen by going left. Unthinkable. Players not only went left and right, but up and down, as well. The world they explored in Metroid was far beyond any game ever before, and you truly felt lost. The eerie music and the lack of direction made you feel totally alone and isolated. That feeling of isolation became a series staple, and I will always judge the effectiveness of a Metroid story on this feeling.

Super Metroid was a little different for me, in that Samus actually narrates the events at the beginning of the game and explains what she's doing on Zebes. However, once you land on the actual planet, you're utterly alone again, and this I loved. Metroid Prime and Echoes worked out in similar ways; you have a mission, and you go to accomplish it. I actually really liked how the Echoes story was told: you go to make contact with GF troopers on Aether, and then discover their fate upon finding their ship, reading logs that tell you about their battles with the creatures and strange things happening to their locks, gates, etc., and then discover a strage creature that looks exactly like Samus. Several references are made to Dark Samus as the game continues, including reading Pirate logs where they have no idea what's going on.

Then comes Corruption and Fusion. Corruption isn't terrible, like so many other Metroid fans would have people believe. The beginning has Samus receiving orders from Admiral Dane along with three other hunters, when all the sudden the ship they're on is attacked, and they need to get off and complete their mission. This, for me, was a blast. You had to run back through the ship as it was under attack and make your way down to Norion, while Norion is under attack, and then complete your mission, all while three other hunters are fighting in the background. The only problem is that you never feel alone. Sure, once you have the P.E.D. suit you're on your own, but you have a computer telling you where to go the entire time, and this really infringes on your exploration. Another thing I really like about the other Prime games was getting to see the culture of each planet, but it never really came into play in Corruption. In Prime, the Chozo prepared for Samus's return, and in Echoes, you use weapons created by the Luminoth to fight off the Ing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in Corruption, the native people of the planets never really came into play. The environments were interesting, but they weren't necessarily functional in the way other Prime games were.

Fusion was just very linear. You were told exactly where to go at all times, meaning you never had to figure anything out for yourself (okay, one time you did). The story was decent enough, but it was told primarily through dialogue between Adam and Samus. It was as if all of the story were delivered through cutscenes.

Here's what scares me about Other M: the emphasis on story. Sakamoto said in an interview that he wants Other M to flesh out the character of Samus. This is probably an attempt to make her more appealing to new players, but what made her appealing to me was the mystery that aurrounded her. If this was simply a game centered around the events of the manga (which is unusual in that it is canon), that would be okay. But this is Metroid 3.5, and I don't want to play a game interrupted frequently by flashbacks and cinematics. Sakamoto said he wants cinematics that are "seamless," which means I really hope he's not just planning on making them all interactive and calling that "seamless."

The story for Other M is yet to be seen, but I really hope it's not going to be like Fusion, despite all evidence saying it will be.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by op89x View Post

Here's what scares me about Other M: the emphasis on story. Sakamoto said in an interview that he wants Other M to flesh out the character of Samus. This is probably an attempt to make her more appealing to new players, but what made her appealing to me was the mystery that surrounded her.
I completely understand this feeling.

I call it "Boba Fett" syndrome.
Take a badass bounty hunter and give 'em a backstory and Voila!

instant lame.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:19 AM   #4
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What scares me is that Sakamoto said (either in the interview I linked to above, or another one) that he wanted Samus's character to appeal to everyone. Which means we're really going to get to know Samus in this game, and I'm not really a huge fan of that. Backstory? Acceptable, since we alreayd have the manga. But make it a seperate game. Don't interrupt us with flashbacks.

Besides, what happens in between Super and Fusion that impacts Samus's character so much that we have to know about it? The only thing I'm interested in story-wise is finally finding out how Ridley ended up in frozen containment by the GF in Fusion.

I was hoping for a return to the isolation that worked so well in other Metroid games, but with the emphasis on character and story, this is shaping up to be the worst in the series as far as that goes.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:23 AM   #5
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MBD doesn't help.


no, we don't remember you. but maybe that was the point; we will never forget him now.



i'm not too keen on the backstory either. i quite enjoyed Fusion's story, but it was all story that was taking place during the game, advancing the series. learning about stuff that has already happened won't really fit in the game i'm afraid. Metroid has always been about the here and now, and how you can affect the world around you.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:29 AM   #6
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Well, now we're going back in time again, so I don't see how going back in time to a more distant past is any worse than going back to right before the last game we played.

And I think we're the only ones on this forum who would know MBD stands for Mysterious Black Dude, so I'll just point that out. I agree; no one remembers him, so why do we need him? And labcoat girl? Really? Unless it's Damara, she can get out, too.

As far as storytelling goes, I loved Metroid because it took a very different approach, but now it seems we're going to get our cinematic in Metroid. Give me back my environment-based story-telling!
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Old 06-20-2009, 02:29 AM   #7
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I'd have to say that I disagree with both your statements that Fusion was the most linear. Now it tells you exactly where to go, but there are secret areas and such to explore. Now I think most linear would be Metroid II: Return of Samus, but this makes sense since the game space was very limited by the Gameboy's capabilities.

Anyway, yes the unique enviromental story telling has not happened in any other game.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:52 AM   #8
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I don't like linear games as much as games that let you explore more.
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