Metroid: Other M is a divisive game in the eyes of the Metroid community, to put it mildly. Looking back at it in hindsight, it seems almost absurd that the game sold relatively well and was received warmly by critics, but at the time, everyone was at least somewhat on board with the game, including Nintendo, who viewed Other M as a potential “defining moment” in the Metroid series.
Reggie Fils-Aimé, former President of Nintendo of America, recently sat down with the Kinda Funny Gamescast to talk about his career while he tours for his recently released book. During the interview, the hosts asked Reggie about a game that “he strongly believed in, but that didn’t quite hit the mass market like he’d hoped.” Reggie mentioned Metroid: Other M (“I don’t know if you remember that game,”), and how it would bring a new perception of Samus but that it didn’t “touch the player” the way they hoped it would.
“I really thought that that was going to be a defining moment for the Metroid franchise. It was giving much more of a perspective about Samus. I really thought that was going to be a killer moment in the franchise’s history, and it wasn’t. It didn’t deliver – not the business results, it really didn’t touch the player the way we hoped it would.
Interestingly, I was in a large group meeting, a strategy meeting with (Satoru) Iwata and (Shigeru) Miyamoto and the game developers, and we talked about why not. I was always the brash American. I was the one who would say what I believed was truth to try and help the business move forward. The point I made to the developers was it took too long to get into the meat and potatoes of this game. The first five hours of the game, you kind of plotted around. There wasn’t a lot of payoff, there was a lot of dialog, and I’m sure I pissed people off in the room. But the learning here was the player wants to get into this much faster. Yes, there are elements we need to do from a tutorial standpoint to help them understand the game mechanics, but you need to move things along much quicker. And hopefully that advice had a little bit of an impact on the developers in the room.”
In hindsight, Reggie was correct, although it is interesting to note how strongly everyone believed in Other M’s vision at Nintendo. According to Reggie, the game’s sales didn’t meet their expectations. This, in turn, led to the second time that Metroid fans waited years for a new game.
The interview also has more insights about Reggie’s time at Nintendo, including the surprise hit Wii Fit and the “next steps” in the Mother franchise.
Source: Kinda Funny Gamescast
Isabel Braman is the Community Manager of Omega Metroid and curator of the Metroid 35 fanzine. She likes to create stuff!