IGN reported recently that Nintendo is giving Retro Studios “high priority” status as the potential developer for the next Metroid game. Just on a bit of a separate note, I thought it odd that a Wii U Metroid isn’t already being developed, but regardless, it was a positive sign that Nintendo should so openly declare Retro as their prime (punny!) choice. While I don’t hate Other M, it certainly was a low point for Samus as a character, and combined with its needlessly-limiting control scheme it remains one of the most polarizing installments in the series. The Prime trilogy, however, is more universally beloved, particularly in the West, so it’s pleasing that Nintendo seems to be continuing the trend of being more conscious of their audience’s wishes. A return to the Prime-style, or whatever ingenious evolution Retro might have percolating in the recesses of their hard drives, would certainly be a boon for the struggling Wii U. From a purely creative standpoint, however, I can’t help but wonder if more Metroid is necessarily the best move for Retro. Here are five alternatives to Metroid that have the potential to yield even more engaging results!
Donkey Kong Country Returns signaled that Retro was capable of tackling genres outside of the first-person shooter. “Capable” being a bit of an understatement, as DKCR is one of the best platformers ever made. Coming off of Metroid Prime, Retro really impressed by so successfully developing the drastically different play-style of DKCR’s intense platforming. With that said, it might be beneficial for all to have Retro spread their wings even further and take on yet another entirely different genre; a racing game. Retro’s scifi sensibilities are without question, so the only mystery remaining is what unique twist the developer would bring to F-Zero’s anti-grav mayhem. Nintendo has expressed their intent to produce more internally developed games for their mainline series, but Miyamoto himself noted that they’re having trouble working out where F-Zero should go next; I say straight into the heart of Texas.
4) Kid Icarus
Hear me out, as I know a lot of you are chomping at the bit in hopes that Sakurai might change his mind and come back to the franchise. First of all, he’s busy with Smash Bros, which would mean any Kid Icacus Uprising sequel would be years down the line. Second, as Sakuari has expressed that he more than likely wouldn’t make another Kid Icarus game, that leaves the lovingly-overhauled franchise a bit of a masterless samurai, sitting idly and growing stagnant. I personally don’t prefer another decades-long gap between games, so I say let Retro keep interest in the series strong with a Wii U sequel. Considering the core experience of Uprising is incredibly sound (and fun!), Retro would simply have to find a way to properly adapt it to the home console. The shooting mechanics are right in their wheel-works, and given the GamePad’s touch screen, Retro could either carry over a modified version of Sakurai’s innovative control scheme or develop something even better. The emphasis on story and character development in Uprising would be another element welcome to see brought back, particularly through Retro’s filter.
3) Golden Sun
It might be Camelot’s baby, but Nintendo has custody, so I say give Retro a shot at the venerable RPG and turn it into the premiere franchise it deserves to be. What Camelot has done with the series to date has been incredibly fun, but there’s no denying that Golden Sun is more niche than powerhouse. Nintendo has yet to cement a true RPG as part of their arsenal (Fire Emblem is probably closest to that, but it’s a RTS, so…), but if Retro can bring a new spin to the series/genre, all bets are off as to how far Golden Sun can go!
2) Donkey Kong
Say whuuu…? No, I have not last track of the point of my post, I just honestly believe Retro has one more amazing Donkey Kong Country game to make. What Retro did to update this franchise is nothing short of breathtaking, so I wouldn’t object to a third installment and make Retro’s work into a good, old-fashioned trilogy. Of course, that’s all assuming Tropical Freeze doesn’t suck! I also think that seeing Retro develop a 3D Donkey Kong platformer could be a fun alernative. Retro’s innovations with 2D platforming have left me curious as to what they might do with a Donkey Kong game that plays closer to the Nintendo 64 installment. If they upstaged Rare once, they can do it again!
1) Star Fox
It’s too obvious, to the point that I’m a bit embarrassed to jump on the bandwagon of so many other people, but Retro + Star Fox would be golden. When Retro developed the first Prime game, they not only moved Metroid into the first-person genre, but masterfully fleshed-out her world in a way not previously seen. The amount of detail that went into the mythology is staggering in both its volume and scope, and I’d love to see Retro bring that keen eye for detail to Star Fox. Build a game with the core Star Fox 64 experience at its heart, bring in whatever new mechanics and innovations Retro can come up with, and sprinkle in details about Fox’s world that we’ve never seen before, and you will have an amazing game to play.
Considering most folks never though that Retro would make a Donkey Kong game to begin with, maybe there’s hope that Retro might tackle any of the other series I listed above. Even if they don’t, I’ll be waiting in line for another Retro Metroid game any day of the week!