Metroid: Other M Was Originally "On-Rails"

By Ishaan . March 11, 2010 . 2:45pm

samus Yoshio Sakamoto once said that he got in touch with Team Ninja because he felt his own team, SPD1, weren’t experienced enough with developing 3D games. Well, he wasn’t kidding. We’ve had the "Does Sakamoto still get Metroid?" debate on Siliconera more times than I care to count by now. Turns out, there was a point when he very clearly didn’t "get it," despite being a director or supervisor on nearly every game in the franchise before Other M.


During his GDC keynote on game design, Sakamoto revealed that, originally, Metroid: Other M was being conceived with invisible walls, essentially making it an on-rails game, in a sense. The reason for this was that he was adamant on using just the Wii remote to control Samus. If he’d gone ahead with it, we’d be playing a very un-Metroid-esque game, come this June.


Team Ninja enter the scene and conceive the point-to-switch-to-first-person control setup, the single coolest feature in Other M right now. They dubbed it "Famicom Plus," since it still only uses the Wii remote. Thank you, Team Ninja.


Don’t you love irony? (Yes, I’m scared. Someone hold me.)


During Sakamoto’s presentation he also showed alternate concept art for Samus where she had black hair instead of her usual blonde look. See? Look above.

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  • dfadfadf

    no it wasn’t. people have got to stop getting their info from kotaku

    • We were there at the GDC presentation. Sakamoto-san said it himself.

      • ECM

        Yes, and like Kotaku (God help you), you misconstrued what he was saying.

        • Justinzero

          “I thought Samus should move along a set path. That’s right. Samus would be moving along a rail, as long as the camera angle was capable of keeping up with the action.”

          Fundamentally this could be construed as 2d gaming, side scrolling kind of stuff. I’m thinking he was trying to reference stuff like Contra Shattered Soldier, or Castlevania Dracula X Collection (2.5D), and the “On Rails” reference threw everyone off.

          • We won’t know for sure, I guess. Honestly, this is a scenario where I’d love to be proven wrong. The sad part is, we all know it isn’t unusual for Nintendo to come up with these crazy ideas.

            I’m just glad Team Ninja are involved with this project and that he’s enjoying working with them. I highly doubt he would ever have been able to one-up the Prime games by himself.

          • fallen

            To me it just sounds like the usual Devil May Cry-ish style. (No, I don’t know or care if DMC originated this style of camera, it’s just a popular example.)

          • Justinzero

            Yeah, I can see it being that too. Kind of like Rygar (PS2), or even the older Resident Evil games. I think its safe to say that statement can be taken in a few different ways. I’m actually somewhat curious to find out what he really meant.

          • kylehyde

            According to IGN you are right
            “he insisted that the game would be an on-rails side-scrolling adventure that used the Wii remote exclusively like an NES/Famicom controller.”


        • Let’s consider a few points before we start pointing fingers, shall we?1. Sakamoto recruited Team Ninja to make a 3D game. If this was going to be a 2D or even 2.5D sidescroller, he would have had no need for them whatsoever.2. He wanted to use “only” the remote. Team Ninja suggested he also employ the Nunchuk. What does that tell you? Why would you require a nunchuk for a 2.5D side-scrolling game? This was obviously more than “3D” than that. Think about this in great detail and tell me it still makes sense.3. Sakamoto wanted to make a Metroid that was “only possible on the Wii.” Think about how you would do that using just the remote.

  • EvilAkito

    I would have simply boycotted the game, had this been the case. Either game producers these days think we LOVE on-rails shooters, or they’re trying to find ways to cut cost by selling us simpler games under the guise that they’re “more accessible, thus more fun!!!!!”

    It’s not to say on-rails shooters can’t be fun, but let’s be honest, what did you enjoy more, Resident Evil 4 or Umbrella Chronicles? Dead Space or Dead Space Extraction?

    The way I look at it, we didn’t need a Metroid Pinball game and we don’t need a Metroid Time-Crisis.

    • I couldn’t stand much of Resident Evil 4. I got a lot more out of Darkside Chronicles. But that’s just me.

  • uh, on-rails sidescrolling platformer would be like kirby 64

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