There has been much scepticism about Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which series producer Kensuke Tanabe addressed head on in today's Nintendo Direct broadcast. He also showed how Samus Aran will make a cameo appearance in the game, although she will not be a playable character, and we learned that this one is closer than we'd expected with a 'late Spring' release.

This next chapter in the Metroid Prime series is a first-person adventure, as shown at E3 last year. Players take on missions that tell the story of the battle between the Galactic Federation's elite Federation Force unit and the Space Pirates.

Each player must select and carry specific sub-weapons based on their preferred roles, which was described as a system almost class-like. Players can customize their "role" in the game, with some focusing on weapons and others on healing, for example. It was always intended to be an online multiplayer experience and part of the Metroid Prime series.

Tanabe-san revealed that development on the game went back as far as 2009 with Next Level Games. It was felt that the DSi didn't have enough grunt for a game of this scope, so when the New 3DS was revealed with its C-stick, it felt like the perfect time. That said, there's no suggestion that this is New 3DS-exclusive, so older 3DS models are set to join in the action.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force will be released late Spring. As always let us know your thoughts on these new revelations with a comment below.