I’ve been reading about Metroid: Other M lately. The opening sequence of the game has leaked out. On the one hand, it’s pretty freakin’ awesome. It shows one of the pivotal scenes of Metroid in fully awesome 3D glory. Then it goes and has Samus make post-traumatic stress disorder-esque statements about the Metroid larva. Since this game takes place after Super Metroid, that makes a little bit of sense. Yet, I have a feeling that it’s not going to work out all that well.
One of the biggest tropes in Metroid fanfiction was the Samus as Mommy complex. It’s such low hanging fruit that everyone goes for it. I’ve never really seen a good take on it, either. It’s not surprising that Team Ninja has gone down this path, but I wish they had taken Samus’ character into a different direction than the one I read about a million times. Then again, they could totally surprise me with whatever they decide to do.
See, I always get caught up in expectations for video games. Although one of my personal mottos is to keep my general expectations on a lot of things fairly low, I tend to get caught up in the excitement of a new game. Bionic Commando, Metroid Prime 2/3, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, you name it. Games just excite me, and I think it’s a bit of the nostalgia factor going on. There’s a lot of goodwill and memories built up already and we hope that this new stuff can bring some of that feeling back.
Of course, a lot of this boils down to who Samus Aran is as a character. She’s had a pretty rough life. Home planet destroyed by Space Pirates and Ridley, raised by wacky bird people that infuse you with their blood, told all sorts of stories about how you’re destined to save the fucking universe, then given some weapon of mass destruction and thrown to the wolves. You then become the most bad ass force of destruction anyone has ever known, all for money and with all of your emotional detachments. All of a sudden, BAM! Baby Metroid, Super Metroid, and the series goes off the rails after that.
The thing that is very appealing about Metroid is that Samus Aran is one hell of a blank slate. Aside from these details from her backstory, we don’t really know much about her other than a non-canonical Nintendo Power comic strip and some manga in Japan. This lets people project whatever they want upon her fairly easily and start up the cottage industry of terrible Metroid fanfiction. However, there’s still a lot of concrete facts that we can pull about here from what we are told and what the games show. I just hope Team Ninja doesn’t fall into the classic “Samus as Mommy” trap, because it’s terrible almost every single time.