We all know about the continued damage control around Metroid Prime: Federation Force, so how about we think about the actual game instead? Thankfully producer Kensuke Tanabe is happy to do that, and he's shared some interesting thoughts on the game with Wired.
For starters, we have Blast Ball. Unveiled at the World Championships at E3 and since shown on the show floor and subsequent press events, it's always been pitched as a mini-game (or extra) to the main campaign in Federation Force. Up to six players can take part in local and online multiplayer.
Yet in a neat insight into development processes and Tanabe-san's design approach, it's been confirmed that this mode is actually the form of the main story's tutorial. This is due to Tanabe-san admitting that he's not particularly good at FPS games, and as a result of his dislike of conventional tutorials.
If you have this huge target, this huge ball in the middle of the field, it would make it easier to learn aiming and control skills.
Tanabe-san explains that it took Next Level Games a while to shift out of a conventional FPS template towards what he wants from this Prime entry - "We're not just creating a first-person shooter game, we're creating a Nintendo game". The co-op aspect, and the premise that this isn't a basic shooter, are key to the campaign.
Their [Next Level Games] idea of first-person shooting games is to have a lot of targets to go through. I also wanted, instead of having an abundance of enemies to shoot around, to have more time to be able to get used to the controls.
There's one mission where you have a railway with carts on top of it, and your mission will be to push that from beginning to end. The point of this mission will be to avoid the magnetic force against you to get the carts onward to the goal, and there you have the Space Pirates spawn to add to that, to be in your way.
It's not just about bringing [enemies] that are clever, but also focusing on other ideas that I could implement in the game to make things a little trickier and more challenging for players to go through a single mission.
Continuing what's also been said in previous interviews, the shift to playing as someone other than Samus is very deliberate, effectively to expand the IP's universe. The premise is that a Federation team is conducting research on a planet when it stumbles across Space Pirates creating a powerful weapon; it'll unfold from there. The Avengers, and all its individual movies, is cited.
Just to watch the movie Avengers to see what it's all about, I watched the single [movies] that focused on each hero.
While there has been some negative feedback, this is something that will be very important in the plot, the whole idea of the Prime universe.
So far, all the games have been focused on you as a player being Samus. This is your first chance to actually see Samus in-game, through your own eyes. There will definitely be a chance for you to meet with her in the game.
Some important context around Federation Force is vital. Next Level Games is one of Nintendo's most reliable, high quality development partners, with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon being a notable high point. Kensuke Tanabe, meanwhile, has been Nintendo's producer for the previous Prime games and Retro Studios' Donkey Kong titles. That's a lot of talent on the project.
It'll be interesting to see how Federation Force evolves in the coming months.