Metroid Prime Federation Force 3DS
Artwork for Metroid Prime: Federation Force showing off the playable avatars. Nintendo

It's fair to say there has been a sense of disappointment over Nintendo's E3 Digital Event presentation. Its major titles - the known such as Star Fox Zero and the new Mario Tennis - failed to inspire much excitement.

One 56 second trailer caused the biggest uproar however. Among their new 3DS games Nintendo debuted a trailer for Metroid Prime spin-off Federation Force, and to put it mildly, people didn't like it.

It has been five years since the last Metroid game, and eight since the last Metroid Prime. Hopes were as high as ever for a possible follow-up on Wii U, so seeing a more cutesy 3DS multiplayer spin off without series heroine Samus Aran tipped more than a few fans into a full-on rage.

As one person leaving a comment on the YouTube video below puts it - "What next? Metroid Pinball?" (Yes, he did later admit to not knowing there has already been a Metroid Pinball). The outrage has led to the creation of a petition, pushing for Nintendo to cancel the game.

Traditionally, Metroid is Nintendo's sole "mature" franchise. Even on the NES, it had a very different, more subdued and serious atmosphere when compared to Mario and Zelda. The series really came of age with its Super Nintendo sequel, which helped define a whole genre and brought a new level of exploration to gaming.

When a first person Metroid was first announced back in 2000, there were doubts over whether the series' complex but clear level design would translate well to a 3D world, but Retro Studios did a fantastic job and Metroid Prime is rightly heralded as a classic.

While the disappointment over the lack of a new "proper" Metroid is understandable, attempting to get Federation Force cancelled is just cutting off the nose to spite the face. From what we know so far, Federation Force sounds like an example of Nintendo putting its own spin on an established series - as it always has done.

Having already flirted with death matches in Metroid Prime Hunters, it'll be interesting to see how they handle co-op first person play and still keep that Nintendo magic.

Metroid Prime
Samus Aran in Retro Studios' first person adventure Metroid Prime. Nintendo

This is far from the first time Nintendo have come under fire for how they handle their key franchises. Making a sequel to live up to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and its sibling Majora's Mask was never going to be an easy task, but a similar outcry greeted that very game - Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker upon its announcement.

Rather than the stylised but somewhat realistic look of Ocarina, Wind Waker was cel-shaded and cartoon-like, and that sent some fans into a keyboard-smashing frenzy. Today Wind Waker is considered a classic, with the recent HD release on Wii U confirming its unique style remains timeless.

I'm not saying Federation Force will be a Wind Waker-calibre classic, but the point remains that fanboy tears are usually mopped away with the receipts of the games they claim to hate so much.

Think it through. If those who signed the petition actually got their way and Nintendo cancelled it outright, can we really celebrate one less game being released? Sacrificing Federation Force doesn't mean that Prime 4 will be rushed out to satisfy the complainers. As Miyamoto himself said about the delayed launch of the N64, "a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."

Metroid Federation Force
Metroid Federation Force in action in the game's announcement trailer. Nintendo

Nintendo are unique in the games industry and have a history of subverting expectations.When the DS was originally announced, it was criticised for it's "pointless" second touch screen and for being under-powered in comparison to Sony's PSP. As you may well know, the DS enjoyed an enormous range of support and stands as the second best-selling console of all time. Of all time!

While they get criticised for relying too much on their old IPs, Nintendo continue to take their beloved characters into new genres and make something totally fresh and unique. Throughout the years Mario has played tennis, golf and gone karting in huge diversions from the series that made him an icon.

The one actual positive that's come out of this mess is that there's a very vocal fanbase who really want to play the next Metroid Prime. Showing that even in these days of marketing blitzes for AAA titles, you can't buy genuine deeply-held affection.

Truly great games have a power to stay with us long after we've finished them and that's something to be celebrated. But we can do that without automatically dismissing any follow ups that don't meet the expectations we've built up in our heads. Nintendo are the only company that by and large gives us both what we want and what we didn't know we wanted. So let's actually play it before we put the boot in, eh?

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