Hmmm.Ã‚Â Metroid Prime 2D.Ã‚Â I wonder if it will be available on the VC or something else.Ã‚Â I guess we’ll find out later this year.Ã‚Â
Later this year, developers will release a new entry into Nintendo’s popular Metroid series. The game, now two years in the making, will feature an entirely new control scheme on a platform no Metroid game has ever graced. Created by a dedicated team of about 10, and assisted by over a hundred others, this upcoming Metroid will remain familiar to its predecessors while establishing a brand-new adventure for the universe’s most feared bounty hunter. It is the next game to carry the Metroid Prime name.
And it’s not Corruption.
Metroid Prime 2D (MP2D) (MP2D) is one of the most ambitious Nintendo fan-games in production. While past fan creations have placed popular characters in new worlds, or attempted straight recreations of past games, MP2D takes a more dimensional approach. As the name implies, MP2D is an attempt to revert the three-dimensional, first-person Metroid Prime into a classic, two-dimensional Metroid adventure.
“Everything you see in the game is made from scratch by our team,” says Destroyer F, the project’s lead programmer, who, like most of the MP2D group, prefers to remain known only by his screen name. “Nothing is edited from other games, except the sounds. Because of that, MP2D feels completely original.” Original indeed, and a daunting task. MP2D began in June of 2004 by former project leader Kellan Stover, an active member of the Metroid-centric SCU forums. He wanted to create a Metroid fan-game, made by the forum’s community. After gathering a strong commitment of support from other members, the decision to create a 2D version of the 3D game was made, and MP2D was born.
The game’s originality is balanced with the influence of the source. One goal of MP2D is to create a game both new and old, and in this way, it is designed for both veterans and rookies of Metroid Prime. One obvious task of MP2D was to squeeze a 3D world, full of height and depth, into the limitations of a 2D side-scrolling setting. This necessarily led to the creation of a new map. While rooms contain elements from Metroid Prime to help recreate that game’s setting, the team says the new layout gives gamers a completely different adventure. “I want them to have a sense of constant dÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ vu because it feels like Prime, and yet a sense of danger due to not knowing what’s around the corner– thanks to the new map, “says Dazuro, a lead spriter and core member of the MP2D team. “Plus, of course, a sense of newness and awe, like the first time anyone picked up Super Metroid.”
The project has suffered at times from the same problems that plague many endeavors. The work is, of course, entirely voluntary. Members dedicate as much time as they can, but they never know when they will need to break from the project to focus on their real lives. And because nearly all of the members have no communication with one another outside of the project, MP2D includes mounds of individual work that must be brought together. “It’s a hard job,” says Slothien483, a spriter and background artist, and another of the project’s core members. “To start, you must coincide with all of the member’s work, and since we have no official guideline, our sprite designs often clash.” Destroyer F says MP2D was very close to ending before it really got started. “Progress went really well in the early days, but we lacked the experience and know-how, making MP2D very badly organized. The project almost failed because of that. But we reorganized with a new demo project and MP2D was back on the road again.”
But like most projects of this size– the team estimates that over 100 people have in some way contributed to the game– MP2D has seen its share of disagreements. The SNES classic, regarded by some as the greatest game of all time, is, in fact, Destroyer F’s design basis of MP2D, as the two play very similarly. “I actually based the gameplay on Super Metroid, the look and feel, the animations, it’s all the same as Super Metroid.” But not everyone involved agreed with this direction, as some feel Super Metroid’s influence is overpowering Metroid Prime’s. “Most of the team evidently wants to create Super Metroid with Prime graphics, emulating it right down to the controls and extra features,” says Dazuro. “I think it’s asinine, but I’m apparently a minority.”
Many of the game’s features, such as the inclusion of a run button, are used in Super Metroid but not Metroid Prime, but everyone’s vision for what MP2D should be is slightly different. “Metroid Prime 2D isn’t meant to be exactly the same as Metroid Prime,” explains DaDude, one of MP2D’s music composers. “It is meant to represent it in a new light, keeping the feeling of Metroid Prime, but in a new view and way.” The Prime feeling is one of MP2D’s greatest joys for fans of the GameCube title. The 2D map retains many of the 3D map’s intricacies. Rooms retain the same names, items are placed in the same rooms, and the sequence of events follows that of the original. “If you’ve played the original game, then you know what to look for and where to go,” says Destroyer F.
Some fan projects are created out of discontent for the original subject matter. In 2000, a video began circulating the internet titled The Phantom Edit, a re-edit of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, reorganizing the critically panned film. While many were initially disappointed by Metroid’s conversion to an FPS-styled adventure, MP2D was initially born from admiration of the Prime trilogy, and the series as a whole. “The atmosphere, the music, and the feeling of exploring,” says DaDude. “It feels great in a game when you feel like you’re getting stronger as the game proceeds, and Metroid captures this perfectly.” MP2D looks to capture Metroid Prime perfectly– albeit in an unusual way. “If you’ve played Metroid Prime, you might know where some of the expansions are, and have a head start,” says DaDude. “If you played Metroid Prime, you’ll have a great feeling of nostalgia playing this game saying ‘I know this place! Cool!’ which will make the gamer think this game has translated well.”
MP2D carries a very Nintendo-like release date of Q4 2006, and some followers of the project have doubted the team’s ability to finish. At times, those feelings have certainly carried over to the development team itself. Many of the member’s desires to finish MP2D is different than what their desires were to begin. What started as a labor of love for one of GameCube’s greatest games and one of Nintendo’s greatest series is now a labor of finality– they came this far, they did so much, they want to see the final result. “We wanted to include every feature that the original game had to offer. The hardest things were the scanning, the boss battles and the complex map design. We figured out all of that, but it certainly wasn’t easy,” says Destroyer F. And after more than two years of production, he hopes people will not only enjoy the final product, but realize what can be accomplished with a little hard work. “If you’ve got a lot of will and talent, anything is possible. Just go for it.”
You can download the latest demo build of the project at the Metroid Prime 2D website.