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Kensuke Tanabe Interview Reveals Federation Force Story
07.22.2015 - CapCom

In a recent interview with CGM, Kensuke Tanabe answers many of the questions we had about Federation Force, particularly the story, Blast Ball, and fan reactions. The game centers around an archaeological survey mission into former Federation territory that is now taken over by Space Pirates:

"So the story itself revolves around this star system that consists of three planets. One of these three planets has the ruins of a factory that was once used by [the] Galactic Federation but has since been abandoned. The Galactic Federation member you the player take control of will go to this planet to conduct some research.
The Galactic Federation member goes out to the planet to try and research all the ancient ruins. As that member goes about their mission, they end up finding that the Space Pirates are there, plotting something and creating the ultimate type of weapon to use against the Galactic Federation."

Despite the focus on the Federation soldiers (something he emphasizes Yoshio Sakamoto hadn't explored), Tanabe wants to make sure the game is strongly connected to the rest of the Metroid universe, similar to how The Avengers ties together so many superhero narratives - it just won't happen through Phazon.

"[T]he story around [Phason] and Dark Samus in my mind is already complete." However, Sylux appears in the 100% ending to Metroid Prime 3, which was done to tie Hunters together with the rest of the Prime universe - and also to express Tanabe's desire to continue the story between Samus and Sylux. However, Samus will be in there "for sure. You will see her in some way."

Interestingly, Tanabe also notes that Blast Ball has a story mode as part of some "tough training" where "a Galactic Garrison member gets chosen" that is "a final test" for squad members, so it isn't just a minigame.

Blast Ball is Tanabe's solution to the problem of FPS players having very different skill levels. The most advanced players will easily dominate multiplayer arenas, but since the ball is so large, anyone can shoot at it, even from a distance.

Tanabe also gives some pointed comments on the strong reactions many Metroid fans had to the game, saying it was something he expected, and emphasizing the need to play it to decide:

"[O]nce the players can actually have hands-on experience with the actual game, they'll be able to understand and experience for themselves how the game actually feels and that the Metroid Prime universe atmosphere is there, and the music that is used in the game is so heavily related to the Prime series...[I]t'll certainly make a difference once you get some experience with the game."

Just like when Metroid Prime was first announced to be a "First Person Adventure" back in 2002, Tanabe's advice is essentially "try it for yourself." On that note, you could probably imagine the type of reaction that would have exploded through the Internet if there had been Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit back then... we certainly saw a lot of it on the message board. And that's really why you won't see any coverage of that here. We on the Metroid Database staff want to play the game for ourselves first before giving any final judgment and hope there will be more updates on the game's development soon.

Until next time...
Captain Commando

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MHQthon 2015 is underway!

That's right folks - our friends at MetroidHQ.com have begun their annual marathon playing all the Metroid titles for charity. As of this writing, they are in the middle of Metroid Fusion. Their schedule is as follows (times are PST):

    15th July:
  • Metroid Fusion: 3 PM, Saturnaut, 5 hours.
  • Metroid II: 9 PM, FB230, 3 hours.
  • Metroid Blast: 1 AM, MYzlStyx, Nathaniel, Elias, FB230, 3 hours.

  • 16th July:
  • Metroid Prime: Pinball: 5 AM, Nathaniel 4 hours.
  • Metroid Prime: 10 AM, Torbs & Lise, 8 hours.
  • Super Metroid: 7 PM, FB230, 3 hours.
  • Metroid Zero Mission: 11 PM, Saturnaut, 6 hours.
  • Metroid Prime Hunters: 6 AM, Elias, 6 hours.

  • 17th July:
  • AM2R: 1 PM, FB230, 4 hours.
  • Metroid Other M: 6 PM, MYzlStyx, 10 hours.

  • 18th July:
  • Metroid Prime 2 Echoes: 5 AM, Nathaniel, 12 hours.
  • Metroid Prime 3 Corruption: 6 PM, MYzlStyx, 14 hours.

  • 19th July:
  • Metroid: 9 AM, Elias, 4 hours.

So head on over to MetroidHQ.com and donate some bucks to a good cause while you're at it!

--Infinity's End

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Yoshio Sakamoto on Satoru Iwata
07.14.2015 - CapCom

This excerpt is from an interview with Yoshio Sakamoto from Simple Series magazine published June 1, 2003. The interview was conducted by Kiyoshi Oune. The translation is still being worked on so has not been properly proofed, but I felt it was a good time to share this story about Balloon Fight's development.

Oune: Balloon Fight was next?

Sakamoto: Yes, it was my second work. That was also Yokoi-san's idea. I had already experienced one project, there didn't seem to be any rules, and since it was a job I thought about, it was easy to make specifications. We went forward with the Famicom and (Arcade) VS System versions at about the same time.

Oune: Oh, the VS System version and home version were separate games?

Sakamoto: When we were developing them, they were still separate. The Famicom version was done by HAL Labs. The art was mostly the same, but with the VS System version, we added a part called "Let's Fight!" that would scroll up and down. Beyond that, I think they were basically the same.

Oune: Speaking of Balloon Fight, Iwata-san is the current president of HAL labs, but did you work together with him at the development studio?

Sakamoto: The Famicom version of Balloon Fight was a game that Iwata programmed by himself. As most people know, he was an excellent programmer. Back then, since the programming environment was very poor, you couldn't read the program source code on a PC like today. He ran around holding a printout that looked like a telephone book. If he said, "Fix this," the programmers would first flip through the pages to search for the parts he'd modified.

Oune: That was what you might call a "paper debug".

Sakamoto: It was a very difficult period for making even a few changes. In order to make changes to Balloon Fight, when a young Iwata came to R&D1 and secluded himself in a room, Yokoi-san came in suddenly, and after he said, "Hmm, I don't like this," Iwata replied, "Understood!" and fixed them on the spot immediately.

Oune: Did he have the entire phone book of the source code in his head?!

Sakamoto: Even Yokoi-san seemed very surprised when he came back from drinking tea and Iwata had just about fixed it. Of course, I was also surprised. Oh yes, I just remembered something else. Although we made the VS System version later than the Famicom version, he had a prototype running in no time at all.

Oune: The legends of Iwata-san are completely true! (Laughs)

Here Satoru Iwata plays Balloon Fight with the head of Game Center CX, a show in Japan similar to "Let's Play."

Until next time...
Captain Commando

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Hip Tanaka Baloon Fight Tribute
07.14.2015 - CapCom

Hirokazu Tanaka has released a Balloon Fight remix under his handle Chip Tanaka in tribute to Satoru Iwata. The track, named "Acerola Beach," is available on Soundcloud. Tanaka-san composed the original Balloon Fight theme, and Iwata programmed the Famicom version of the game.

Fans have also been submitting artwork and other tributes to Iwata's memory.

Until next time...
Captain Commando

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R.I.P. Satoru Iwata (1959-2015)

Nintendo has sadly announced that longtime president and CEO, Mr. Satoru Iwata has passed away after a bile duct growth overcame him this weekend.

Mr. Iwata has been an important part of the Metroid series, and has either given the green light, or overseen the release of every Metroid game beginning with Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime, to the newly announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Naturally his record went beyond the Metroid series, and his tenure as President of Nintendo. His career began as a programmer for HAL Labs, working on many classic games which gave him the perspective of a developer as he transitioned to the business side of the industry. Eventually Mr. Iwata would succeed the previous Nintendo president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, and transformed Nintendo into its modern form.

Mr. Iwata, on behalf of Metroid Database, we thank you for everything you have done for the Metroid series, Nintendo, and gaming in general. You helped put smiles on the faces of gamers for decades, and we hope that you rest in peace.

Satoru Iwata

--James Pierce

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Metroid EX Chapter 9 is Up
07.12.2015 - CapCom
Metroid Extreme Chapter 9

The latest chapter of Samus & Joey is up! Samus has been captured by Greed, while Joey and Diesel are on the way to rescue her. On the way, they encounter Knight, who doesn't quite want them to succeed... This episode has a lot more humor, as well as a pretty cool cameo...

Until next time...
Captain Commando

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Poll #8: Why do you visit the MDb?
Poll 8

Poll #8 has come to a close. We are trying to learn more about your browsing habits - and this poll as well as our recent survey have definitely helped with that. To all of you who offered your input: we thank you very much!

And of course with that, a new poll begins today. We are interested in serious, general consensus for Metroid Prime: Federation Force. The game has been very divisive, and a lot of negative hype has generated for the game online. We've been trying our best to stay distant from it, because I personally find it to be quite shortsighted and presumptuous to judge a game before it comes out. Hmmm, isn't that what happened with... Metroid Fusion, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime Pinball, and Metroid: Other M? Jeez guys, aren't you sick of acting this way by now?

--Infinity's End

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Metroid Prime Hunters & Metroid Dread: Secrets Revealed!

New secrets were revealed recently about Metroid Prime Hunters' development history via Unseen 64. Check the video above for all the juicy goods, including a part about the mysterious Metroid Dread project!

--Infinity's End

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MDb in Retro Gamer #143
MDb in Retro Gamer #143

Devin (aka CapCom) was fortunate enough to snag an interview with Retro Gamer magazine. The latest issue was published late last month and we were finally able to get a good scan of the page. Congrats to Devin as well as us as a site team for this great achievement in MDb history!

Retro Gamer is based in the UK, and it is sold at Barnes & Nobles and other big bookstore chains across the nation. Be forewarned: most issues sell out quite quickly once they go on shelves so you might be better off just ordering one online if you want a copy.

And to those of you joining us due to the article itself: WELCOME, we have much to offer!

--Infinity's End

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Metroid EX Gets an EXTREME Duel
06.30.2015 - CapCom
Metroid EX: Chapter 8

Continuing the tradition of pushing things to the limit, Chapter 8 of Metroid EX winds up the ultimate duel between Samus and Knight. Just who is this mysterious warrior? And how will this epic duel come to a close? Read to find out! And be sure to pay attention to the details in the illustrations, like the reflection in Knight's sword - Idzuki Kouji's art just gets better and better!

Until next time...
Captain Commando

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