How The New Metroid Prime’s Co-Op Works

Nintendo only made the ancillary sports-game component of its perplexing new Metroid Prime game available to demo at E3 this week. But the developer did offer a small slice of how the four-player co-op — intended to be the meat Federation Force’s gameplay — will work in action as well.

The developer showed it in action during one of its Treehouse streams this week:

The video shows the four 3Ds-havers teaming up to trap gargantuan yeti-like monsters, among other things. It’s fast-paced and chaotic in the way I’d expect any sci-fi co-op shooter to be — games like, say, Halo or Gears of War.

I doubt that those comparisons will make longtime Metroid fans happy, given that the series is mostly “known for fairly quiet, careful solo sci-fi exploration,” as Stephen Totilo put it. But at the very least, we know that Nintendo is standing firmly behind its work here despite tons of critical feedback from Metroid fans. In a recent interview with Polygon, Reggie Fils-Aime argued that Nintendo’s work has often appeared odd to gamers at first glance, but eventually wins them over:

“One of the things I find interesting is that if you look at E3 historically for Nintendo, typically what happens is a press briefing happens or our digital event happens,” Fils-Aime said, “and then over the course of the next couple of days people see the games get to play the games and the appreciation and understanding of what we’re doing increases over those three days and continues to build into the holidays.”

Take for example Splatoon, he said.

Splatoon, a new sort of shooter unveiled at last year’s E3 based on an entirely new IP, didn’t receive an entirely positive reaction at the show. At least not initially.

Splatoon is a game that people are loving right now, but if you rewind to E3 last year, Splatoon was being viewed as, ‘Yes, it’s innovative and it’s different, but the controls are a little hard and I don’t understand the mechanic of turning into a squid and going through the ink.’ There were all of these complaints. But now you look at the finished product and the satisfaction is huge.”

The key to Nintendo’s success, Fils-Aime said, isn’t just to make good games, but to help people understand why they’re good.

“For us, our goal is to make sure we announce the content, help people understand the content, but most importantly get hands on with the games,” he said.

Fils-Aime makes a good point there — Splatoon did raise some eyebrows at first, but ultimately turned out to be great. And I think Nintendo has long proven itself capable of both making good, idiosyncratic games and helping people “understand why they’re good.”

But at the same time… wouldn’t it have helped more people “understand the content” of this odd new Metroid game if they made more of it actually playable for E3 attendees?


  • The game looks good, and I’ve got three young budding gamers who would love to play this.

    However (and the same goes for the Tri-force heroes) the thought of buying multiple cartridges seems unappealing. I’d much rather play co-op on the Wii U.

  • What about the backlash with Wind Waker? People were getting so upset and look how that turned out.
    This ‘Metroid’ game doesn’t appeal to me but I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see and play it.

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