I talk a lot about Zelda here, but another series I love is Metroid. It mixed freedom of exploration with clostrophobic isolation and the result is the formula for a briliant and beautiful game, but it can be better. My only rule is that I, unfortunately, can't erase Metroid: Other M from the timeline. It happened, it was shit, and we all have to move on.
Also, there are probably spoilers for all the games, so proceed with disgression. You've been warned.
Also also, there's a lot of Other M bashing in this OP, because fuck that game, so if you like anything about that game... Well, get better taste. You've been warned, again.
So here it is. The top 10 things I'd like to see in a Metroid game for the Wii U.
1. 3rd person perspective.
Especially after having played Metroid Blast, the only redeeming quality in an otherwise mediocre minigame collection called Nintendo Land, I am convinced that console Metroid games belong in the third person. I loved the Prime games, but even that was supposed to be a third person game originally. It could make for more interesting level design, as platforming would be much easier in the 3rd person. That was a big part of what made Super Metroid great. Hopefully that returns in this.
Mind you, that doesn't mean that it has to be a 3rd person shooter. It can very well keep the lock on mechanic from the original Prime games and go from there. Samus is a tank, but she's agile. I don't want her prancing around like in... M.o.M..., but I definitely don't want her as restricted as she felt in Prime. Even though Prime did a fantastic job of making her feel quite agile for an FPS game.
2. A large open world. No more corridors.
It made sense on the SNES. It made sense on the GCN. It wouldn't make sense on the Wii U. I don't want Metroid U to be another corridor shooter. You're on an alien planet. I don't want to feel like I'm in a series of interconnected rooms. How many open world games explore underground tunnels the way Metroid could? Keep the caves an the caverns, definitely. Just don't devide them up. No more colored doors.
Get more creative with how the world opens up as we progress. Maybe we still get the ice beam, but instead if it just opening a white door, maybe we can freeze waterfalls that are now climb-able or something. Something that makes the world more seamless and connected.
3. Make it Metroid 5. Not another side story.
I want this Metroid to take place directly after Fusion. Adam Malkovich, the evil federation, everything. It's about time we have an integral to the plot Metroid on a home console.
4. Voice acting.
Metroid Prime 3 started it, but it felt more like a cheap Halo knock off than Metroid or Alien. M.o.M. did it, and... Ugh... Metroid with voices can work. Samus with a voice can work, but it has to be taken seriously and done with care. Jennifer Hale, for example, voiced those grunts in Metroid Prime and make an excellent Samus. Adam the AI can sound like just a computer AI with Adam Malkovich's personality. They can make very Glados-like. With a good story and a strongly written script, a voiced Samus can definitely be redeemed.
Less is more, though. No drawn out internal monologs. She's still the strong, silent type. She is a warrior of little words. Ocassional dialog with Adam the AI would be more than enough for her. Maybe murmers and mumbles to herself while in a cavern similar to Joel from TLOU. Nothing invasive. Just something that keeps us tied to Samus as a character as opposed to Samus as a suit. The Metroid Prime series portrayed her perfectly. She never had to peak because there was hardly anything to speak to. Keep that in mind and use that portrayal as a foundation for Metroid U.
5. Audio Logs.
Borrowing from Bioshock and applying it to Metroid, having scanned data read to you would keep the pacing of the game much better than having to stop and read everything like in the Prime games. It broke flow while this wouldn't. In fact, having Adam the AI read them to you would also really add usefulness to his character and make him more than just a plot device. Having an audio log giving you story and the world context as you continue to explore would be great for the franchise.
The entire concept of Metroid was born from scifi horror. It's no surprise that some of the series' most gripping moments are also it's most chilling. SA-X, G.F.S. Valhalla, and the zombie troopers from MP2 are all examples of this. The entire game should reak of this kind of atmosphere. Again, Bioshock does an exceptional job in this regard.
One way they could accomplish this is with another stalker enemy. An enemy you can't harm, and so the only thing you can do is run away. By combining the concepts of SA-X, Big Daddies, and Omega Metroids, they can really come up with something special. Somewhere early on, you're introduced to the Omega Metroid. These giant Metroids can not only over power you, but as a nasty twist of fate, non of your weapons can harm them yet. All you can do is run, but they are fast and relentlous. To add to their unnerving, lets say they are always found feasting on something, weather it be a batch of scientests, space pirates, or federation troopers.
Another, simple thing they could do is have on area that you constantly visit throughout the game change in some way. Say there's an abandoned space station you always walk through, and you've gotten really used to it's layout. All of a sudden, true to metroid fashion, the power goes out. Now you must treck through the corridors in complete darkness, save for maybe a flashlight built into your suit. Maybe the music changes slightly to be more eerie. Maybe there's reason to believe there is an enemy lurking in the station that you know you can't defeat yet like the Omega Metroid. You still must pass through the station from time to time and it becomes a place you loath visiting. Maybe even later on, you have to remain in the station to look for the very power up that allows you to start defeating them. Then there's a game of cat and mouse where you must fight it, but only when you've got the weapon, so until then you're still defenseless.
To me, Metroid will always be walking into the space station to find the corpses on the floor, the last metroid stolen, and the eerie music in the background. That feeling of, "Woah. This just got real." That feeling should be at least 50% of what Metroid is. Scary.
7. Cities and colonies.
This is a tough one, because what I don't want is anything that interupts me from exploring caverns and feeling isolated while doing it. Even still, Samus is a bounty hunter. She regularly interacts with other intelligent life. Now that she's a fugitive, it makes perfect sense for her to return to collecting bounties. Here's how they could go about introducing a populated area: You're dropped on a planet. As you explore, you can sequence break to stumble upon a colony. There are only a few locals (not human), and they are very aware of the threat on the planet, but they have no means of escape. They let you know of a small city somewhere on the planet where fugitives go to live and do business. You go back to exploring. Maybe 50% into the game, you can sequence break again tostumble upon the city. It's not big. It's very slumy and grimy and sleazy. It has an inn to rest, a bar to to recieve bounties, and other things.
The biggest thing is that these places must be 110% optional. You can skip these places entirely if you wish, but visiting them will offer context and insight into the tyrany of the Federation or something. The sequence breaking would be difficult, but obvious and not virtually impossible so that it's quite possible to visit them on your first runthrough if you're dedicated enough. It would be cool if towards the end of the game, you were forced to visit the colony and or city, but by then the entire population was wiped out by the Omega Metroids or something. Since visiting these areas before was comepletely optional, you are either sympathetically horrified, or empathetically horrified if you frequented these areas before they were wiped out.
8. A good plot.
I'm the last person to argue story over gameplay, but story can do so much for an already good game. Get some star writers for this game. The ground work is already there. Samus is a fugitive. Her old commanding officer is now a computer AI. The federation may be corrupt. The story can be told through mostly audio logs and not cutscenes. The computer AI could very well NOT be Adam, and rather an elaborate ploy by the federation to get Samus to do their bidding. They would do so much with this.
Just don't fuck it up again. Hire some real writers, not Sakano-no.
9. Online multiplayer.
Metroid Prime Hunters proves how well Metroid can lend itself to online multiplayer if it's done well, and Destiny shows exactly how it could be done well. Two forms of online multiplayer. One rule. Samus is not playable. That's the only thing that has to be done to not shit on the face of Metroid fans. Actually, two rules. Have a separate team work on the multiplayer, but work closely with the main team to make sure nothing conflicts with the singleplayer campaign.
The first form would be your "tipical" Team vs. Team. To be more specific, the Federation vs. the Space Pirate/Rebel army, depending on how the plot unfolds. It could use machanics similar to Platinum Games' Vanquish to set it appart from other 3rd person shooters. (Just the multiplayer, not the actual singleplayer campaign) It would have a bunch of modes, maps, and weapons to keep it comparable to other online multiplayer offerings, but with no DLC.
The second form would be the Borderlands-esce Co-op mode. Only this time, you're collecting bounties. Maybe from other players, and maybe from an AI. Here, you create your own bounty hunter. You can choose to partner up with up to two more bounty hunters, or you can be a lone wolf like Samus. You explore areas, collect loot, and kill specific enemies for bounties. Another city, similar to the one Samus "may" find in the single player campaign works as this game's hub area.
10. Let Samus out of her Power Suit.
But NOT for fan service. If they include the colonies and cities, let Samus walk around in her normal orange clothes. That does NOT mean her Zero Suit. Something like her orange get up. The Zero Suit is like under armor. They can show that for like her death sequences (although I personally feel that Super Metroid had it right by having her nude during death sequences), or maybe even a section, similar to Zero Mission, where she is without her suit and must stealth her way with only her Zero Suit and a stun gun. Allow us to feel how vulnerable, yet still adequite, she is without her Power Suit. Some thing contextual. Otherwise, stick to the orange get up from Fusion.
Well that's what I want to see from the next console Metroid. I'm probably not going to see any of it, and I'd honestly not be very disappointed if point No. 3 didn't come true, but those are my thoughts. Tell me your thoughts, wishes, and opinions on this or a Wii U Metroid game in general!
Oh, and fuck Other M. Seriously, fuck that game.