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Sakamoto Speaks About Metroid: Samus Returns and More

August 4, 2018
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Yoshio Sakamoto has had a very long and interesting career with Nintendo.  If you get a chance you should check out his history with the company if you aren’t already familiar with his work.

Sakamoto recently spoke with website HobbyConsolas about last year’s Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS and a little more.

The following is taken from the HobbyConsolas website translated very roughly with Google Translate:

What was the biggest challenge of developing Metroid: Samus Returns ?
It was a real challenge to overcome the reputation of the previous games, as well as the good memories that people keep of them, and to make Samus Returns triumph as the first new Metroid 2D for Nintendo 3DS. Of course, there were all kinds of difficulties that we encountered during development, but I do not feel that they were challenges in the same sense.
Samus Returns is the first 2D Metroid from Zero Mission, which was launched 13 years ago. How do you feel that the saga has evolved in all this time?
I’m proud to say that the saga has evolved in all sections, whether graphics, effects, sound or gameplay. I feel it has been thanks to the fans, who have valued these changes so well, that we have had the opportunity to make the saga evolve even more with a new 2D Metroid.
Did you look at the Prime series when developing the Metroid 2 remake ?
Absolutely.
Samus Returns reuses sounds from the Prime saga and Super Metroid melodies that were not in the original. What is this about?
I’m sure the sound department has its own opinion about it, but personally I think there are certain sounds that fit perfectly with certain things, so it was inevitable that the same sounds and melodies were used as they are when they do it in Samus Returns. I am satisfied with the results. We did not reuse them simply because we could.
After playing Samus Returns, it seems that the saga was designed specifically for this type of console, since it has a double screen and in Metroids the map always has a lot of importance. Why have we not seen a Metroid (other than a spin-off) so far in the system, or even in Nintendo DS?
Simply, Nintendo DS did not have the technical specifications to make the new Metroid I had in mind. With Nintendo 3DS, unfortunate circumstances, such as not being able to train the ideal team, meant that we were not able to start for a long time.
And why Nintendo 3DS and not Switch?
As I have said in other occasions, one of our priorities was to make a Metroid that made use of the 3D effect and the double screen. For a long time, I have had interest in a user interface with a map always visible that also makes use of the touch screen. With the graphic capabilities and the 3D effect that Nintendo 3DS allows, I felt that we finally fulfilled the necessary conditions to start the project.
How do you think the Metroid saga could benefit from the unique capabilities of Nintendo Switch?
Nintendo Switch is a very attractive hardware, and I think there are all kinds of possibilities to take advantage of it. Although I can not say anything specific about the development of the upcoming Metroid, I can tell you that I am always attentive to all kinds of potential options.
After the success of Breath of the Wild, have you thought about making a Metroid that breaks with the conventions of the saga in the same way?
I’m always trying to find new approaches, regardless of the software.
MercurySteam wanted to do a remake of Metroid Fusion, but you discarded the idea in favor of a remake of Metroid 2 . Why that game, specifically?
I always respond in the same way when asked this question: Metroid 2 tells an essential part of the history of the saga; the encounter between Samus and the metroid larva. It’s been almost 20 years since the game went on sale, and I had been thinking for some time that I wanted more fans to know that part of the story. One day I received a proposal from MercurySteam, and, since I was not involved in the development of the original Metroid 2, I found it very interesting to work with them to make the remake.
What game do you think should be a remake then Fusion or Super?
We are not discussing remaking any of those games specifically, so I can not choose.
Are you satisfied with the work done by MercurySteam? Would you like to work with them again in the future?
I hope you can guess my answer given the quality of the results obtained with Samus Returns!
Was it difficult to work in the game while you were in Japan and they in Spain?
Although there was a time difference, we talked regularly, and even managed to keep the project moving 24 hours a day. One could work while the other slept, so in that sense it was very efficient. We communicated in English, and we did not have any serious problems.
In Metroid Samus Returns , Samus is mute again. Why did you make this change? Did you ever consider the possibility of speaking?
The role of Samus changes depending on the concept and theme of the game. In Samus Returns she simply did not need to talk.
Samus Returns adds a new and elaborate background to Metroid 2 through Chozo memoirs, and the final scene (obtained by unlocking 100%) seems to imply something related to a renegade faction of the tribe. Could you explain it or tell me something about it?
Of course he is implying something, but I would like you all to try to find out what it is for now!
With Samus Returns, you have returned to a more subtle and indirect narrative style (especially compared to Other M). Do you feel more comfortable with this style or do you prefer something more direct and traditional?
I use the style that best fits with each game. I do not think it’s a good idea to typecast into a particular style.
The biggest change from the original Metroid 2 is the confrontation against Ridley . Why did you decide to make him the final boss of Samus Returns ?
In fact, it was MercurySteam’s idea to use Ridley as the final boss. I knew it would be a surprise and that the fans would go crazy, so I gave my approval right away! I think it makes the story even more dramatic!
In addition, the appearance of Proteus Ridley in a 2D game seems to suggest a union between the main saga and the Prime, putting an end to years of debate about whether the Retro Studios games are canon or not. Is it like that?
The Metroids (2D) in which I have worked and the Metroid Prime are two different sagas; there is no direct link between their stories. When the Prime saga started, I agreed with its producers that we should try to preserve the timelines and a minimum level of consistency, but also to be free to create the games that we considered appropriate and avoid doing anything that would coerce the other.
With the final product on the streets, what part of Metroid: Samus Returns are you most proud of?
It would be the fact of having launched a new Metroid , which is 2D style and has been so well received. I am proud to have worked with such a great team and have been able to achieve it.

Metroid: Samus Returns was a fantastic title!  Did you guys pick it up?  Let us know how you felt about it in the comments below or let’s chat on our Community forums!

SourceCode, aka Lucas Hughes, is the creator/owner of Nintendo Playroom.  He spends his days primarily as a husband/father/programmer/gamer.  He loves all things Nintendo and is very passionate about the Nintendo community.

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SourceCode

SourceCode, aka Lucas Hughes, is the creator/owner of Nintendo Playroom.  He spends his days primarily as a husband/father/programmer/gamer.  He loves all things Nintendo and is very passionate about the Nintendo community.

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