The longer I spoke about Metroid: Other M with Yusuke Hayashi, a designer at Team Ninja, and Yoshio Sakamoto, co-creator of the Metroid franchise, the more confident I became in this collaboration producing something incredible. It's not often Nintendo hands their franchises to an outside developer, but this move shows great promise.
"To me, the Metroid series is the most beautiful Nintendo franchise," explained Hayashi during an E3 interview with me, while sitting next to Sakamoto. "Not only in terms of graphics but also in terms of gameplay design, so that's something I definitely want to stay true to."
"There are some very key elements that are very necessary for the franchise," he continued, "and I do intend to keep that essence of Metroid within Other M as we progress through development. So, for example, you will be able to become a morph ball. [smiles]"
I didn't quiz Hayashi on other Metroid staples, but it sounds like if it's been part of the Metroid series since day one, it will find its way into Metroid: Other M, too. Several times during the interview, Hayashi and Sakamoto indicated Metroid: Other M is much further along in development than we might guess and there's much more to be revealed. He did say we're going to play it soon, after all.
"As you saw in the trailer, there's quite a bit of polish that we've been able to do on this project already," said Hayashi. "But, again, what we showed in the trailer was such a small portion of what already exists. But I have to admit that I was definitely a little worried about how people would respond. I wanted, of course, to surprise everyone with the announcement, but also to get people curious, get them excited -- this is all about building that tension to the release and I'm hoping I was able to accomplish that."
I told Hayashi he definitely accomplished that. Given how happy the two developers seemed with Metroid: Other M so far, could this be the start of something bigger? Sakamoto thinks so.
"I can only speak from my personal experience," said Sakamoto, "but working with the team at Team Ninja and members of my staff, I do know that every day there has been a new experience, a new discovery and I would like this to continue beyond just Other M."
If the game plays as well as the trailer suggest, me too.