Metroid turned 25 in 2011 (Hello from 2021). A chibi style might be suitable as original Samus has quite a large helmet indeed. I thought the Federation Force Samus was kinda cute. Reminded me of my Blaze Zaku Phantom SD Gundam kit.
As a young child my first exposure to video games pretty much coincided with the video game crash of 1983, While I have fond memories of Lock & Chase, Demon Attack and Game & Watch handhelds, it felt that something was missing from most games. I wanted them to be larger, have more stuff, a world to explore.
When I was about ten (the best age for enjoying games?), a triad of games appeared and granted me my wish: Zelda, Kid Icarus and Metroid. I have since learned that there were many other fantastic games out at the time, and sometimes I wonder how those could have shaped me instead.
Kid Icarus had a wonderful atmosphere and interesting monsters, but it was very linear and I wanted to explore the world more, not getting stuck on boring or hard parts. In the original Metroid and Zelda getting stuck often simply meant you went on to do something else, like looking for secrets, mapping or fooling around. It was difficult to know if you were actually stuck because there were no clear tasks or goalposts. Of course, players not used to this style will often complain about not knowing what to do after just being dropped into the world. It's worth to note that back in 80's Sweden, the only source of hints was schoolyard rumors. We only had simple Nintendo flyers until our version of Nintendo Power came out years later (and it was mostly comics). Playing through a game then really felt like mapping uncharted territory.
Being a Zelda and Metroid fan for me nowadays is like I'm living in this parallel world where the franchises took a different trajectory than initially suggested by their design.
Imagine parallel universe which had the same early version of Dwarf Fortress as us. You could sort of already see how the game would grow, but then the devs there streamlined it instead, turning it into more of a typical scripted RPG. Nonetheless, people there proceed to talk about the immense freedom you have to sequence break the order you find the Pick & unlock the Farmer. "DF-like freedom" people say, completely unaware of our DF.
And when people over there try the original DF version they just get incredibly confused and don't understand it. "What am I supposed to be doing here? There's no hint system for where you're supposed to be digging or place down the farm", one MeTube reviewer states, adding that the game thus has aged poorly.
Paintover. I think the PAL version has the best box cover. Perhaps the painting was originally from a Japanese ad/flyer. The suit design lacks segmentation and almost appears to be a rubber suit. This is also almost true for the Metroid 2+ suits with their very subtle panel torso lines. Here I wanted to see how it would look if I split it into clear hard surface segments (I referenced my 2020 designs below). The Metroid 2 suit redesign features crosshatched black exomuscles in the gaps, whereas Metroid 1 has either ribbed tubes or smooth green exomuscles. I omitted the overlapping jumping hologram here as I reworked the legs. Not sure if I'll finish this piece. Oh, do note the foggy metroid in behind Samus' head. I never saw it until just now in 2023.
There have been numerous variants of Samus throughout the years. She's a sort of bombshell in M1, with wavy/curly or straight chestnut hair (which can change colour depending on Varia and missile mode). In the old Nintendo Power comic she's a blonde with a sort of super heroine costume during training ("The Coming of a Hero"). Then she's purple haired in the M3 comics.
In M1 Samus is just as powerful without the armour, wearing only some sort of magenta swimsuit, possibly with leggings.
I don't think my Samus will be a giant cyborg woman but it's perhaps a fitting look. I might not feature Samus at all and instead come up with another Space Hunter character.
Samus' 6'3" height is mentioned in M2/M3, but this might refer to the armour she morphs/materializes into using Chozo magic. In the early M1 material and comics the armour appears to be more of a thing Space Hunters get and customize on their adventures. As a side note, Ellen Ripley is 5'7", oddly shorter than the actress at 5'11½". It's the only indication of M1 Samus's height that I've got, other than the suggestion that she can easily pass for a man when all armoured up (more difficult with the iconic M2+ design). The "Kim Basinger" Samus appeared with Super Metroid I think.
M2+ proportions but M1 detail. I think the M2+ suit design is great, very iconic, but somehow the rib paneling (modern IronMan style) makes the mass feel too solid and streamlined. I wanted to try a more manufactured, articulated look. CrossFit type anatomy.
Speaking of the suit changes, the name Varia seem to have become canon with M2, which perhaps accepted the translated name since the first game was more popular outside of Japan. In M1 the "Barrier" seems to have been more of a plug-in core which reduced incoming damage via some forcefield action. Barrier was a very common term for forcefield-like items in Famicom-era games.
In M2 the Varia seemingly enables a "Henshin" feature in Samus' existing suit, so it works more like a Kamen Rider transformation belt. This suggests the MaruMari could be seen a morph ball at this point. In M1 she's just "curled up" and rolling about, so it's more of a silly duck-move.
My uncle worked for Nintendo... uh, well, he owned a video rental store which also had Nintendo games, so when I visited my Gran who lived nearby I'd get to "rent" a game for free. I had just seen Metroid in the Nintendo club's flyer (early member) but the cool suit on the cover must have impressed me too (we had the Japanese covers in Europe). I knew Metroid was must-buy-special in less than a minute after popping in the cartridge. Anyways, looking at the design now, it's a bit of a rubber suit with lanky legs, but still a striking design and I wanted to see what would happen if I segmented it up a bit. The design was used in the B&W manga. Some of the colour promo pinups used a slightly different design for the trunk and thighs. The JP hintbook has some gunpla things happening on the knee pads.
Samus' official face can be a bit generic/safe 3D-anime sometimes. Scars might not make sense because of the level of technology, even though she occasionally fights wearing only a skinsuit. I wanted to try some kind of theme to the face so she can be recognised even with different hair. Also, BL style man Samus?
Flanked by heavy escort troopers, the esteemed Doctor Arkovia and a nameless professor traverses a research facility. The doctor is wearing a cloak and special breathing apparatus hiding the face, and does not appear to even register the chatty professor's attempts at conversation, other than quickening the stride. The doctor carries a security suitcase.
The professor, now flustered and lagging behind, remarks to a new conversation partner that he imagined the doctor would be shorter. That the famous Feyrian doctor would be as tall as... well, Samus was quite unexpected. (Perhaps the reader can be made to suspect that the figure is in fact undercover Samus.) Just as they reach the ship docks and the doctor's waiting ship, the professor checks the doctor's recorded height on an arm computer. Something is wrong here... He rushes ahead to block off the doctor's path into a waiting ship, alerting the troopers. Weapons are raised and briefly time appears to stand still.
Stabby things shoot out from under the figure's cloak and into professor, lifting him off his feet. The troopers open fire but the figure has spun around, using the professor as a shield. In one swift move, the figure ejects the corpse into the troopers, dashes around and disappears into the ship, seemingly unharmed by a barrage of bullets. A trooper slams a button. Red alarm lights flash. Close the bay doors! Too late, the ship has darted off.
Put out a signalment and bounty on that ship ASAP! And... contact Samus Aran!
On board the ship, the figure passes a snout nosed alien laying sprawled dead on the deck, dropping the bullet riddled cloak and breathing apparatus on it. ~ Tzaaank youu, doc~toor ~ the figure croaks. Now in the light, we see hybrid Ridley opening the security case. The hybrid briefly studies its contents before turning to the ship controls. Camera dolling in, we see it containing a Metroid larva, pulsing and glowing faintly green.
(So the figure was not Samus. But, the earlier remark was not completely misleading as the hybrid indeed has DNA from the space hunter, which is learned later.)
SMET pixel-over. Fiddling with blacks, volumes and ramp hues. Zoomer & Ripper closer to NES variant. I'm assuming the sand shrimps are related to Draygon morphologically, so that's a shrimp tail that's flipping away the spike ball projectiles.
Draygon has some kind of Harlock stuff going on that's really weird. It's like his forehead is haunted by giant skulls. Since only the belly is vulnerable, maybe the head should look better armoured and less like soft tissue. Kraid here is a NES-SNES hybrid. The two designs are otherwise far from each other. Crocomire... I borrowed these eyes for the others here.
It's hard to say what the dead bounty hunter suit or its occupant looks like, but this is some exploration including pixel level details. I imagine this bounty hunter is still alive fighting the space pirates in Metroid's mirror universe.
Videogames quickly evolved quickly after their birth, greedily feeding off every new kilobyte and megahertz the 1980s could offer. In some cases the ideas were already there (in tabletop games and such) waiting to be realized, but the new medium also offered dizzying new possibilities. However, it felt like by the '90s the many of the game forms had been set and only the wardrobe and mannerisms got fancier.
Perhaps the nostalgia I have for '80s games is also about the feeling promise & potential. When I played games then there was always this strong urge in me to see them be something more... to see games go nuts with the computing resources promised by tomorrow. But that mostly didn't happen so later games represent a sort of disillusionment. One of the new things I had wanted to see was living (or dying) game worlds with coop NPCs and permanent corpses, which brings me to one of the few things in Super Metroid which got a response out of me - the bounty hunter corpse.
Aside from being very evocative, it also represents a fragment of my desires, a faint hope that there's some life and persistence in the game world. Is someone else in there with me? There was a later Metroid game which carried the same illusion, with an evil Samus walking about. I think kids who saw that thought... Wow, I want to interact with that more, it would be so cool if- ...
To me the first game was a glimpse of what could be done. You could put a world inside a machine. But Metroid is seen as a strict formula now, a game with carefully laid out obstacle courses where Samus collects energy tanks, pop coloured doors and then kills Ridley, again. There's no focus on building a consistent interesting universe across several games, and there is no consistent visual language.
Alien 2 if made with the same care as a video game sequel: Ripley, now instead played by Kim Basinger, revisits LV-426 (now a lush jungle planet) and finds Dallas in the space jockey chair aboard the horseshoe ship (now silver coloured and more shaped like a crescent). Some kind of strange mold has fused him with the chair. Ripley talks to Ash (who was put back together) about the mold. It's apparently turning people into space jockies that give birth to the aliens (let's forget about the eggs). The alien design has changed without explanation into an orange dinosaur thing (a different artist worked on 2), though a canon guidebook does mention that the aliens have dinosaur DNA (Parasaurolophus) engineered by time traveling mayans from timeline 6, which includes Alien 1 -the remake, Alien 2 and Alien 4, but technically Alien 2 is also part of timeline 3. Ripley activates Ash's nuclear battery and blows up LV-426. But the planet and Dallas returns again in Alien 4 because the jockey chairs can make things reappear. Please visit the wiki for fan speculation on how chair re-synthesis works. Ripley is played by Erika Eleniak in Alien 4 where it is revealed that she's working for the mayans and was actually made by them in a lab. Fans speculate that she has shape-shifting DNA because of the word "Sassy Chameleon" appearing on her shirt in a comic adaptation. In 4 she again blows up the aliens using Ash as a nuclear device, this time also destroying the mayans who had turned evil! In the remake of 4 she instead uses the mayan destructo-core which is the only thing which can damage red-type aliens that spring forth from the mother tree in the amazons... a conflicting indication that LV-426 and Earth might be the same planet, but possibly explained by the "phasic energy" concept introduced in Alien 8, though that's part of timeline 2 which is where Alien 4 -the remake might belong.
I know that the newer games in the Metroid series are certainly well respected and enjoyed by many people, but they are different beasts than the original. Because of the Zero Mission (M1 remake) being so... modernized, and the series lore being so haphazard, I now consider the original Metroid its own thing, displaced into its own disconnected universe (a solution more extreme than a timeline branch). So, Metroid 1 is mostly the only source of canon I'll draw from (though I've been eyeballing M2 too). Content here will be inconsistent with canon from other games in the series which might be confusing to someone intimate with that material. I've actually gone through much of the lore but can't engage and keep up with that with any sort of interest at this point.
Face exploration. I imagine it being a yellow alien of some sort, maybe with a horn because the cracked hemet has a sharp piece jutting up. Something alien, but not unreadable. Maybe a rhino or beetle head.
Found an old 2005 horn-head sketch and cleaned it up.
In the year 2000 of the history of the cosmos, representatives from the many different planets in the galaxy established a congress called the Galactic Federation, and an age of prosperity began. A successful exchange of cultures and civilization resulted, and thousands of interstellar spaceships ferried back and forth between planets. But space pirates also appeared to attack the spaceships.
The Federation Bureau created the Galactic Federation Police, but the pirates' attacks were powerful and it was not easy to catch them in the vastness of space. The Federation Bureau and the Federation Police called together warriors known for their great courage and sent them to do battle with the pirates. These great warriors were called "space hunters." They received large rewards when they captured pirates, and made their living as space bounty hunters.
It is now year 20X5 of the history of the cosmos, and something terrible has happened. Space pirates have attacked a deep-space research spaceship and seized a capsule containing an unknown life-form that had just been discovered on Planet SR388. This life-form is in a state of suspended animation, but can be reactivated and will multiply when exposed to beta rays for 24 hours. It is suspected that the entire civilization of Planet SR388 was destroyed by some unknown person or thing, and there is a strong possibility that the life-form just discovered was the cause of the planet's destruction.
To carelessly let it multiply would be extremely dangerous. The Federation researchers had named it "Metroid" and were bringing it back to Earth-- when it was stolen by the space pirates!
If Metroid is multiplied by the space pirates and then used as a weapon, the entire galactic civilization will be destroyed.
After a desperate search, the Federation Police have at last found the pirates' headquarters, the fortress planet Zebes, and launched a general attack. But the pirates' resistance is strong, and the Police have been unable to take the planet. Meanwhile, in a room hidden deep within the center of the fortress, the preparations for multiplying the Metroid are progressing steadily.
As a last resort, the Federation Police have decided on this strategy: to send a space hunter to penetrate the center of the fortress and destroy Mother Brain. The space hunter chosen for this mission is Samus Aran. He is the greatest of all the space hunters and has successfully completed numerous missions that everybody thought were absolutely impossible. He is a cyborg: his entire body has been surgically strengthened with robotics, giving him superpowers. Even the space pirates fear his space suit, which can absorb any enemy's power. But his true form is shrouded in mystery.
The planet Zebes is a natural fortress. Its sides are covered with a special kind of stone, and its interior is a complicated maze. On top of that, the pirates have planted devices and booby traps in the maze, and the pirates' eery followers lie in wait around every corner. Samus has now succeeded in penetrating Zebes. But time is running out. Will he be able to destroy the Metroid and save the galaxy?
- Quoted from the Metroid 1 manual.
Back in 2007 I started fooling around with mockups for an 8*8 pixel Metroid game. I liked the idea because I had been playing around with smaller tiles back in the Amiga days, enjoying the extra screen space it yielded. Monitors are really large now though, so I might use my 16*16 graphics from my Famicube mockup instead as I like the look of it more. Also, other people have since made 8px engines, the novelty is long gone.
Pixel art from 2006 or 2007 which I fiddled with triannually. 31 colors so far.
Samus is using a GFP strike ship in this mockup. The design is meant to remind the player about the two flanking pillars where she starts in the original game. The background elements here are nonsense, but I have decided to use a mostly black background, with non-tiley background elements rather than the faded tiles that some games use. When the only difference between foreground and background tiles is shade, it can get planarly confusing.
My 16*16px mockup, using Famicube restrictions. The terrain shows hint of actually being technology, overgrown by some now fossilized... possibly alien coral. Looks like I forgot to do ^^ ground tiles. I like the idea of using monolithic, dark background elements, humming silently through the eons.
Designs from 2006. I turned these into sprites.
I didn't want to make my Metroid game about about Samus, so I decided to put the focus on the Galactic Federation Police and/or bounty hunters mentioned in the manual. I had done some drawings of those already. They amalgamated into this rapid deployment strike force (Sleepers?), mostly robotic because it worked better with the lone heroine setup. This ship sketch was the base of the pixel art above.
Character design from 2006, with some newly aquired scars.
Agent Tyrana Mow from the Galactic Federation Police - one of the few agents stationed in the Obez Periphery. The GFP forces were divided and spread thin after Space Pirate attacks on several Cluster Worlds, perhaps a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from their activity elsewhere.
The Obez Periphery is a sparsely populated star sector, far away from any Cluster Worlds. As of year 208E* of the Cosmic Calendar, little of the Obez Periphery has been explored. Many of the stars still carry the randomly chosen names issued by automated explorer probes some 400 years ago. However, the sector briefly appeared in the news when a sort of intelligent "pancake" creature inhabiting the high gravity world Gebelzoth devoured the research team there to study it (See Disaster at Gebelzoth for the dramatised thriller).
Other notable traits of the sector is its ratio of self-annihilated civilisations, only three discovered so far, quite below average for a sector of this size. Recent rumors also has it that some sort of derelict automated space stations have been discovered, and that they are quite functional!
The sector has been settled by an array of foreign species, busying themselves running many small scale mining and "agriculture" operations. None these can be said to be very profitable due to the distance to the commercial main sectors. People eking out a living in the Obez Periphery probably do so out of a need to disappear. The GFP occasionally sweep the sector to pull in the worst of the worst and to keep certain operations in check.
-- Last updated: 208E --
* I'm thinking the Cosmic Calendar (CC) uses X as a number, perhaps in a base 12 system. 0123456789XE.
According to new studies released by the Galactic Trade Institute, GTI, accidents caused by Ripper swarms have increased in frequency over the last decade, even though the Ripper population is stable. The higher accident ratio is attributed to unexplained changes in the Ripper migratory patterns, now causing them to occupy high traffic areas, the most notorious case being Starlane 47, an important corridor of space between Chia and Smith's Landing. Rippers are tough, brainless creatures capable of collectively entering subspace during migration. A spaceship slamming into a swarm of Rippers in either normal space or subspace can be completely ripped apart if the swarm is dense enough.
Pictured: Last year the mega-class luxury liner Queen Wictoria was lost to a Ripper swarm on her maiden voyage, killing nearly 26 000 travellers, including the entire royal family of Old Gotholm which had commissioned her.
Why is Samus Aran alone on Zebes? The back story tells us that Zebes is a well defended 'fortress planet', so I'm thinking it's like an artificial, enormous porcupine, an ancient defensive "Death Star" festooned with turrets, subspace disruptors and sensors. The title screen and music somehow leaves me with the impression that Zebes has little or no atmosphere.
The low gravity might make sense if Zebes about 1/10th to 1/20th the radius of Earth (about Death Star size), but is composed out of a hard, heavy material rather than water ice. The Chozo found these unusual small dense worlds and turned them into enormous bastions. They apparently operate even after the Chozo's long absence.
The Space Pirates appears to have stumbled upon several of these planetoids, perhaps in a region of space neglected by the GFP. They somehow infiltrated and gained control over the ancient defensive systems (using a/the Mother Brain). The native creatures could still attack pretty much everyone, causing some amusing fights. Possibly the Space Pirate brought some hounds of their own. The Space Pirates have gained full door control, and generally avoid the creature habitats. Perhaps they purge some tunnels using shoot-everything turrets.
Many Chozo artefacts have already been discovered by the Space Pirates. It could be suggested that they looted some of the more accessible locations, moving treasures to Space Pirate vaults. Some bosses have used treasures for themselves (Ridley does drop +75 missiles).
When doing the levels, it'll be useful keep theming and structure in mind. The installations and architecture of the Chozo and Space Pirates needs to be kept distinctly separate. The Chozo structures are large and mysterious, whilst the Space Pirate props appears to have been haphazardly brought in and placed wherever there's room, sometimes interfacing with the older Chozo systems.
In my Famicube mockup I suggest that Brinstar is an artificial construct with some sort of teal pancakes fossilised on top, but I think a lot of the terrain is sort of "natural" (but weird), only special locations have been augmented.
This is my 2016 edition of the Metroid enemies. I've been drawing them since the 80's, but my older Metroid work was quite bad I feel. Most of these are new approaches. I've noticed that as I get better at drawing, my solutions become more accurate. My old work was... I suppose every artist has a set of go-to shapes which grows over time. When I look at my work I see a very small set, and a lot of garbage lines in places where I couldn't even find a shape.
Usually the design change a little as I refine line art and block in colors. I'll also have to consider what I want to creatures to be. I think the Choze imported them and adapted/reengineered them to serve various roles on the Fortress Planetoids/Worlds.
I've turned the Rippers into a sort of space hazard. If they crash on planets every now and then, perhaps they unwittingly brought FTL and hover tech to some races (setting the humans in motion)?
Norfair. I'm thinking most enemy types come in various variants (I'll have to look up which colour is stronger). The Chozo might have collected various creatures from all about re-engineered them to serve as a natural defence, or perhaps maintenance role.
Hideout 1. Having some trouble with Geega. Maybe I should redraw it so it looks like a larvae form of Dessgeega? Well, larvae does look quite different from the final result, so maybe not. It could cocoon.
Dessgeega is from Hideout 2, but whatever. I really like the sprite, but I don't think I'm doing it justice here. Too much stuff on it, but at the same time I don't want to do something very simple... like a plain cartoon of the sprite. Some ideas used here: devolved rear legs, a sort of piston muscle system. I don't like the eyes, too crustacean. Not sure if I like the beak either.
Hideout 2. Holtz always gave me trouble but it's maybe starting to work.
Ridley and variants of Samus, 2007 / 2016. I noticed that Return of Samus might've taken inspiration from the way I expressed the sprite's black pixels as suit patches here.
Ridley is one of those designs which I didn't quite understand when I was younger, so I tried to draw something else cool looking and it always felt like a miss. Eventually I just drew it as it looked and I'm kind of appreciating the wonkiness of the design now. I'm basing my designs on the sprites first and foremost, only using the manual art to fill in the unknowns. I'm ignoring the ptera-ridley design of the later games. Is Ridley the member of a race or an unique creation? Perhaps a few different Ridleys were created? Ridley and Erren? There is a "fake" Ridley with a more red tone, but it wasn't fully implemented in the game.
Samus has fangirls in the manga/guide, but possibly they do not know her gender. Does Samus actually have to be a human? Is it mentioned anywhere in the early material? I forget things. She could possibly be a Space Elf of some sort. Space Elves are fun. I
played collected Eldar in 40K. Anyways, Samus is just a somewhat notorious Space Hunter in my M1-based setting, not a Chozo-powered special goddess. I believe the Space Hunters are useful to the GFP because of their shady bounty hunter backgrounds and daring personalities.
If the GFP called in Space Hunters for some important task, I'm imagining this sort of relationship. Not everyone enjoys dealing with "those types".Humans might not be all that important in the Galactic Federation. Huh? Didn't they try to bring the Metroid back to a research facility on Earth, suggesting it's HQ? Well, they did try to bring a civilisation-buster there...
The races from the council shot in the instruction booklet / manual. 2016. The "Shade" is somewhat based on the pirates in Samus' promo video in the manga/guide.
Most Tortodak are very loyal, for the right price. Through clever negotiations on the GFP's part they now employ a large force of Tortodaks. That said, the sprawling Galactic Federation and its peripheral sectors has given rise to new cultural values and opportunities. The Tortodaks has gradually become quite diverse, similar to the exotic Humans.
Long ago, an enigmatic race of crab-men colonised the home world of the primitive Wuwik and uplifted the species from their animal state. Despite now being an old race themselves, the ditzy worms have few accomplishments to show for it, instead carelessly riding on the progress of others.
Despite being a race of cyborgs, the Zygocthori are quite religious. They appear captivated by the state of mind itself, rather than the details of any particular religion. Their selfless ability to adapt to and incorporate new information into existing systems often makes them great administrators and leaders. It's also not uncommon to see Zygocthorian pirate captains.
It is said that the Pulgul are born old and disinterested, and that they are soon giving up their seat on the Grand Council in favour of one of the minority races, such as the Humans or Lurr. The Grand Council, unlike the Regional Council, has only 6 seats according to tradition.
Millenia before the formation of the Galactic Federation and its Great Council there was another council of sorts, also with six seats. Out of these races Voice is the only remnant - She is the last of her race, left behind to keep an eye on things. While her agenda is hard to make out, she was instrumental in forming the current council. Her exceedingly rare appearances have also been exceedingly useful. It is suspected that she has no physical body and spends most of her time half-dreaming on some remote, hidden planet as the decades and centuries drift by.
The troublesome Shades are perhaps the race least deserving of a seat on the Great Council, but the Voice has insisted on their inclusion and carries enough weight to quiet any protests. The Shades are a warrior race, but their appearance and manners can perhaps make them appear more intimidating than they are. Shades are genderless, but other races refer to Shades with a female pronoun, whilst Shades refer to members of other races with [creature] or "He" if the situation absolutely demands politeness. They don't have much interest in, or ability to tell people apart. Conversely, other races have trouble telling Shades apart as they are almost identical and mostly wear black armour.
Loose characters coming along, some based on drawings I had up on "Planet Zebes" in 1999+. Might be GFP agents. I need to design a standard armour for them though.
I never did like the walking Space Pirates from Super Metroid. Perhaps I had imagined the Space Pirates being more... exotic, because NES Metroid only showed Kraid and Ridley as humanoid(ish) - the other enemies were creatures (bugs and stuff). Reading my old thoughts on the matter in 2016 leaves me more conflicted. Did I ever consider the creatures to be Space Pirates? I think they make more sense as local Zebesian fauna. Also, looking in the manual I see a humanoid Space Pirate with a pirate hat. Were Kraid, Ridley and the Mother Brain the only Space Pirates on Zebes?
Looking at things now, I don't get the impression that the Space Pirates are a... race or a specific group of races. It seems more like there are... well, pirates in space, and some of them got a hold of the Metroid being shipped from SR388.
One way to flesh them out is to thing about what they need to do. They obviously need to be able to launch pirate raids with spacecrafts, store loot, sustain a population, produce power and equipment and experiment in a lab. How many guys do they need for this? Perhaps Space Pirates should be mostly "mini bosses", a rag-tag collection of characters? That could be fun. This works with my difficulty setting idea where Tyrana starts in one of several personal storage rooms, stealing the loot there (which belongs to a humanoid Space Pirate). It'll be interesting to design all these Space Pirate characters (only a few have to be humanoid).
The pirate captain is only seen as a silhouette in the manual. Here I've represented him with two different designs (cyclop and Shade). Perhaps the Shades will be the grunts if I need any (piloting fighters in plot, adding variation to creature type encounters). Some more alien looking Space Pirates also belong here, including Kraid and Ridley or their equivalents. Also, maybe the Space Pirates were experimenting with the local creatures before getting their hands on the more effective Metroids.
Conversely, the creatures fill the role of mindless clone to destroy in droves. However, I think they should have more complex behaviour, as if they are a part of a Chozoian system. They'll go about their business (maintenance?) and any trespasser will be treated more like in infection the immune system has to deal with (the fortress planet being an organism with veins. Some creatures will flee, some will ignore, others might attack if capable.
The Metroids were discovered on SR388 where they apparently had killed everything. The space pirates captured a specimen and plans to use it for their own purposes. As stated in the story, the Metroids are extremely dangerous. Think massive demolition steel ball coming at 40mph! Think crazy 'DragonBall' power! Even a super-upgraded Samus will have serious trouble against one of them. They should be something different from regular enemies. The trick is of course to freeze them, but they might even grow resistance against that. If they were easy to defeat, they wouldn't be much of a weapon, would they?
Why doesn't the Mother Brain send Metroids after the intruder that's causing trouble as the game progresses? I don't know, but maybe the wild areas of Zebes are not under the Mother Brain's control. If the player wanders into "Tourian", the Space Pirate main area, perhaps things will go south real quick?
This is an old design of mine with more a speedy menacing sort of look to it and I've stuck with it since, though tweaking it slightly over the years. The tentacles pay homage to the Metroid design in the manual.
"The mechanical life vein"? What is the role of the Mother Brain? Is it an administrative system used by the Space Pirates, or a one of a kind leader found only on Zebes? I'm thinking it might be more like the former, similar to Pilot in Farscape. The Mother Brain is able to control the otherwise unruly Metroids using some kind of mind link, and it has also interfaced with many of the Fortress Planetoid's systems, making the world habitable for the Space Pirates.
Mother Brain painting from 2003, 2005, cleaned up for 2016.
It appears the name "Chozo" doesn't appear until later in the series, so I wouldn't be naming them outside of this document where I'm using it as a placeholder. I'm fine with them being nameless ancients, like the mysterious jockey in Alien... before it was explained, and named. I always imagined the jockey being a random alien who had an unfortunate chance encounter with an Alien, a long, long time ago. By not calling the Chozo by name, or even using a new one, I might make it more clear that I'm building exclusively on the original Metroid lore. How about... The Engineers? *chuckle*
Given that they built up these fortress planetoids and neighbouring worlds were wiped out by Metroids, it's quite possible that they weren't so good and wise. This point could be driven further by including some unsettling background architecture. However, it's also possible that they holed up in their Fortress Worlds because there was a Metroid menace lurking about. The player might find a Metroid counter weapon.
In my interpretation of the story, the Chozo are long gone and more of a precursor race. Here's one walking about though. They are biomechanical like Giger's Alien designs (in particular the Jockey). I remember when I first drew the Chozo back in '99 I was also a big fan of the Stargate movie. The guards in that actually share a lof of design elements with the statues/remains in M1.
Touched up this other old 2005 Chozo piece a bit. Not the type of design I'd do nowadays perhaps, but I like how it's dark and moody. Weird use of white. And here are some of my Chozo sketches from 2000. Inspired by Stargate and, uh, Bisley muscle stuff. Looking at the Dread videos, I see those Stargate ear cloth strips... The M1 statue design very much seems to reference ancient Ra art. Dread's statue is seemingly looking good.
The sprites in M1 and M3 (left) are similar but segmentation differs.
Some first tests for these guys. Eeeh. The Space Pirates in Super Metroid were apparently the palette swap walking bugs. That felt... I mean, I assumed "pirates" just meant a meltingpot of creatures & scoundrels, not a race. Prime might've had more elaborate and varied pirates than the sprite games though. If I had to work with them, I'd go the hard surface armour route. Makes palette swaps work too. They could pop off their bug helmets and have various characterful faces underneath... I'd like for them to sometimes work consoles and chit-chat rather than just stalking around waiting to be shot. They also need to do some actual piracy. Patroling corridors while dreaming of world domination isn't piracy. It helps to have actual hands too, so I turned the claws into ...shooty mittens.
How would you actually communicate space piracy in a game? Boarding action and hidden caves stashed with loot, I guess. So, you could probably start off the game with the ship you're on being raided, leaving you stranded and powerless. As you explore, you discover loot stashes, some with power-ups, a few plundered from the local temples/statues (emptied of valuables when you do run into them, unlike in typical Metroid games where you're always the first there).
When Space Pirates appeared to plunder and loot ships and colonies, the centralised and bureaucratic GFP were unable to deal with the threat, and in many ways they still are. Space Pirates seemingly come out of nowhere, from the peripheral systems. The GFP are always need agents with knowledge of these cultures external to their own. A difficult prospect - those with the right knowledge often have reason to avoid the GFP.
Eventually though, with the right incentive, a form of mercenary appeared, with one foot in each world - the Space Hunter. These are former, or active bounty hunters, pirates, outcasts... Not everyone in the GFP are happy about the dealings with these "scum".
Space Hunters, various sources. 2016.
However, the GFP have begun taking measures themselves, such as producing their own Special Dealings agents. When things get really tough they also have a militarised force. The most recent use of this force was against the Fortress Planetoids in the Obez Periphery, a venture which met with spectacular failure.
A few ship doodles, exploring "weird" ship shapes.
I like the idea of doing the Space Pirate ships similar to the Super Metroid ship, but give it a big Harlockian skull and bones logo at the front. I've based the design here a bit on the one in the manga/guide. If Maki Ryder has a ship, it should look a bit like her bike (from Mach Rider). I also wanted to do some creepy organic ships, but I don't know if they'll come in handy. I wanted Ridley's ship to be a bit pointy. Just a first rough.
Space pirate ship again. And a topdown version of my pixel art Alien Narcissus-Type, but I still need to figure it out in 3D/iso. Also: some enemies more closely based on manga/guide interpretations.
Samus' ship "Hunter IV" from Nintendo Magazinet. I remember liking the garbage world comic too.
For Samus' ship, I think I've arrived at something while experimenting with pixel art:
NES style mockup, 2016. Using about 80 8*8 tiles as I'm not being very efficient. There are actually quite a few unused tiles in Brinstar.
I went ahead and did a ship based on Alien, maybe doubly so - it's the Narcissus mixed with the Arrowhead from R-Type (which is also alien inspired). Arrozissus... say that with cinnamon in your mouth.
An in-game ship might make more sense if seen as a miniature on the surface/title screen, as that's where the end/escape of Tourian probably leads to. It's possible Samus chose the spawn point carefully because she detected the Maru Mari in Brinstar. I don't know if she teleports in or what though. For a hack, I'd probably make a surface area, add in my big ship, then do a bank switch elevator down to between the starting pillars in blue Brinstar. There appears to be some unused tiles in Brinstar which could be used for more terrain variation.
Also seen: experimenting with new enemy sprites. My idea is to vary their size a bit, because it feels a bit more organic than compulsion-filling the 16*16 box. The Geemer/Zoomer are the first enemies encountered so they should be small. The Mellow are very weak and should be smaller too. Unsure about cyclops Rio, but a lot of enemies are doing the two-eye head thing and I wanted variation. I did these before drawing the enemies seen elsewhere, so their design is constantly in flux as I feel my way around. Have to settle eventually though.
Vaguely related, I also did some suits based on the alternative fluff art suit, the main fluff art suit, and the Super Metroid suit.
The tree thousand tomb worlds so far discovered can make one think that it is perhaps fortunate that these warlike races destroyed themselves before achieving spaceflight and setting the galaxy ablaze. Some tomb worlds date back a billion years, others just a few thousand, but their cratered, irradiated surfaces often tell of a similar fate.
However, recently five unusual tomb worlds were discovered in the Northern Rim sector. Excavations quickly revealed that these had not been primitive worlds, but colonies founded by an advanced, seemingly peaceful space faring civilisation. Some 12 000 years ago they were stripped of all life by something incredibly voracious. Many theories have been put forth to explain what happened.
The most supported theory is that they were hit by a bio-weapon, exotic or of their own manufacture. Meanwhile, the priests of Xaan insist that the worlds were trapped in the web of the great spider goddess Ragol, and their scribes have already published two new tomes on the subject. Many of the older civilisations believe that they were hit by one of the mythological space dwelling entities, such as a Celestial Sapphire or Transcendental Cloud or Star Eaters.
Excavations of all five planets revealed no trace of the bio-weapon, or at least this was the official story. Trouble began when Space Pirates raided a research ship leaving the primary dig site on SR388, then scurried off in a hurry toward the Obez Periphery, a desolate sector of space known to host various unwanted elements.
It's believed that they brought [codename Metroid] to their base on Zebes, however, intelligence now suggest that they split their forces up and also sent something to a second base, Zebul. Samus Aran (Space Hunter) was sent to deal with the situation on Zebes, whilst Tyrana Mow was sent to Zebul as she was the closest agent.
Both Zebes and Zebul are considered impenetrable fortresses and direct attacks have met with disaster in the past. A few agents in smaller ships have been able to slip under the sensor net and deploy on Zebul, only never to be heard from again. The Space Pirate bases in the Obez Periphery have long been a thumb in the eye of the Galactic Federation Police even though they are far too remote to be a military threat. No one had thought that a group of bandits could get their hands on something so dangerous, in such close proximity to their safe havens.
EMERGENCY ORDER Header ------------------------------------------- Att: Tyrana Mow, Sleeper Striker Unit COM Loc: OP446 Jaranazenaga system, Obez Periphery Pri: URGENT, break cloak. Bty: 60,000,000 credits. Body --------------------------------------------- Commence covert strike on Fortress Planetoid Zebul in system OP444 and execute priority orders. PRIORITY ORDERS Sabotage any ongoing Space Pirate research. Permission granted to use the Nitromega device. Eliminate any Space Pirate leaders encountered. Caution: Space Pirates likely in possession of type 1 bio-weapon or artefact. >>> GALACTIC FEDERAL POLICE, M510
Why isn't the ship shot down by the defences at sight? Maybe the GFP got ahold of a one-time pass code? It works for a small ship, but not an invasion fleet. When the ship gets close to the surface the pirates can see who's coming of course.
A small army of robotic troops deploy from the legs of the GFP dropship, along with a human coordinator. After some brief assembling they're on the move towards an elevator shaft. Soon a few scouting Memu appears. Confusion. Are they dangerous? The Memu soon become a nuisance. A tank opens fire with its secondary gun, slaying a few. The remaining Memu quickly withdraw.
The GFP forces form up. Several strange creatures go to attack, most are disposed of easily, though some may cause a little trouble. In the background, a Metroid perched on a natural pillar swoops quickly out of view. The GFP appears to be winning without taking too much damage. The opposition is growing thin. Is it over? They begin to advance again.
Suddenly a Metroid slams into the leading tank, crushing it. The GFP troops open fire on the Metroid but it just shrugs it off as it hangs over the smoldering wreckage. Is it dazed, or pondering what to do next? It pounces on the creaking wreckage once again slowly lifting it into the air, then drops or drags it onto an infantry group. Another Metroid appears. Bratatatata. Our heroine makes herself scarce.
The camera moves to the back of the line where our brave heroine is. Everything is interactive from here, but there is no way to win. Retreating forces spill onto the screen. Some time passes as the last GFP troops are dealt with. Once the GFP have been decimated, the Metroids carry away the crates brought by the GFP, (they are controlled by someone wishing to loot?). The crates are brought to different subterranean storage rooms.
By now our heroine is either in peril or hiding inside one of the crates. This sets difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard or Impossible. Unlike most games damage is not manipulated by the difficulty "setting". The actual difficulty simply depends on where Tyrana ends up. The Space Pirate minibosses each have vaults with loot, so Tyrana makes use of anything found where she ends up! In Easy mode Tyrana would steal one of the minibosses' really good stuff and start in a good place. With no in-game story, it's easier to vary the starting location like this.
Possibly, there could also be several alternative Normal mode starting locations, just to add some replay value. A vault is easy to exit by hard to enter (without the right key) so even if adjacent Tyrana couldn't easily raid them early on.
The player will start in one of the Space Pirates' personal vaults, and is given the opportunity to loot it. There are also treasures with a narrative role, but they could work a bit like score (if the character is a bounty hunter then she could be greedy like that). Treasures and crates are in the background plane and have to be examined like in the old game Impossible Mission. Different Space Pirates have different types of collections, like ancient artefacts or bio samples.
Normal - Crate A: Tyrana is dropped off in Space Pirate A's vault where she finds a full armour, but only a mediocre beam and no missiles.
Hard - Crate B: Tyrana is dropped off in Space Pirate A's vault where she only finds a lighter suit. It might take a while to find a suit upgrade, if even possible. Tyrana does not come with a beefy armour as default, because she's actually some sort of technician (base buster?) and the only agent the GFP had in the region.
Easy - Captured: I think the ship should not be off limits as a place to enter, but, if Tyrana tries to hide in the ship a Metroid will follow her and grab her. Regardless, in this scenario Tyrana fails to hide in time and is taken directly to the Mother Brain. Now Samus (overpowered) has to rescue Tyrana, after finishing Zebes of course.
Impossible - Captured: Tyrana manages to interface with a robot (undocumented feature - button combination) and get it into a crate, and is then snatched like in regular Easy mode. Tyrana is put in a vat of some sort, BUT, the interface link remains active. Robots can't be upgraded as effectively as cyborgs like Samus or Tyrana. Note that if Tyrana hides in a crate, she would be playable as normal as she's not captured.
I don't like how Samus constantly has to be nerfed in various contrived ways in every game. My solution to this was to not feature Samus. However... maybe if player not fast enough to reach the last boss, an overpowered Samus (she finished Zebes) crashes the party, steals the kill and takes all the bounty! Cheeky! If I recall correctly, the original FDS Metroid had money bag rewards based on time played, so the bounty hunter narrative makes sense.
I like the idea of manuals containing lots of extra fluff to compliment the game. It's what made the Games Workshop games so appealing. Nowadays video games often put the instructions, tutorials and extra fluff in the game itself, but I think this can be a little obtrusive, especially in a very open game built for replay value.
Because this project is based on the original Metroid, player skill, character skill and curiosity will limit the progression, not keys and doors, or scripted sequences. The character is leveled up by exploration of the game world. Metroid 1 was a bit linear at the start I suppose, but once you had the MaruMari, Missiles, Bombs and Icebeam (all found early, etc you could waltz around more freely.
So, I think treasures should be mostly upgrades which increases character skill. I wouldn't be opposed to having a few random treasures, unique for each game, so starting a new game gives a feeling of... what will I encounter this time? The Space Pirates could have brought something and locked in a vault. I don't think the native treasures should be random because the planet has just been sitting there waiting. It's a foundation. The Space Pirates are the chaotic element, but possibly they have already looted some treasure rooms randomly (treasures might be found in their vaults or on their person as drops).
There are several different weapon types which can be upgraded individually.
An old idea of mine was that, while the Chozo are long gone, they left behind pets which still linger around the Chozo ruins. Perhaps they find warmth near the Chozo artefacts. Perhaps when disturbed they scurry off. Also seen, missiles with pop-out stabilisers.
Boosters are assigned permanently, but are have less and less effect for each that is added (+1.0, 0.8, 0.64, 0.512, 0.4096, ...). For example, a weapon beam will start with 3.0 in a stat, and upgrade will add 1.0, the next one 0.8, and the next 0.64, resulting in a total of 5.44, which is a multiplier used with a hardcoded weapon performance value in the code. Since there's a limited amount of boosters in the game, the player can choose to play the game differently each time.
Examples of things that can limit the progress of the player are...
I'll try to use my rudimentary understanding of math to solve Zebes size and density and figure out the specs of my fortress planet. Note that I'm assuming that Samus is human and not a Cyborg (which would be able to jump higher, maybe). Also, maybe Samus is using a hover belt of some sort.
Earth radius: 1E = 6,378km
Moon radius: 0.27E
Iron density: 8.0
Water density: 1.0
Planet Earth density: 5.5
Small moon density:1.0~2.0)
Radius: 0.049E = 312km
Density: 7.0 (grams per cu.cm)
Gravity: (7.0/5.5)*0.049 = 0.0625 (approximate)
Solving jump height:
Earth_jump_height * (earth_g/fort_g) + crouch'n leg tweak
0.25m * 16 (=4m) + 0.4m = 4.4m
jumpheight: (5 blocks + 0.5 crouch) * (Samus_height 1.6m / 2 blocks =) 80cm = 4.4m
Zebes gravity: 0.0625 (1/16 E)
An alternative method could be to simply calculate how fast Samus falls...
Suit design from 2005 with some fancy 2016 on top. No longer Samus.
Alana Bailey, is supposedly stationed in the Obez Periphery, but last sighted doing promo work for her swimsuit line in the nearby Abunai sector. Perhaps her brand is so successful that swimsuits are sometimes known as Baileys?
Writing this, there it seems the Federation Force is getting their own game! I absolutely do not mind seeing a "chibi" style, but I'm vehemently opposed to what I call "malt cross proportions" (limbs getting thicker further from the body), so here's my own take on the Golem mobile suit. I changed the head because I didn't care for the Golems looking like large Federation troopers. The eyes play on the idea of stereoscopic sight, because it's a 3DS game. I won't use this design for the project and I don't really like it.
I once considered doing a sort of Bubblegum Crisis style suit for either Samus or the GFP.
...Metroid Dredd. While on the subject, I guess someone on the dev team was a massive fan of AMEE from Red Planet. Same appearance and name. Very strange. Kinda breaks 4th wall for me.
Metroid 2 pixel over (4-colours + fx). Reduced Samus down to NES size. In M2/M3 Samus doesn't plant her feet heavily like she does in the GBA games. I think a too heavy plant can create a false sense of immobility considering her movement abilities. Ideally I'd contextualise it so her situation matters... enemies in front, previous tension, alarms, time idling, etc. GB graphics would be a sort of Dwarf Fortress approach to feature implementation, i.e. making it much easier, though putting higher demands on imagination.
I did more terrain tile type variants. It can actually look more repetitive and artificial because you begin to recognize the ones which stand out... but I wonder if it can be remedied with yet more or if that just completely breaks the tile "language" so to speak. At any rate, I much prefer more tile'ey maps over the later organic stuff which kinda obfuscates how you still interact with tiles. As for tile destruction. I think I'd replace destroyed tiles with a cracked dark background one (rather than full black), helping to prop up cliff formations and such.
I think if I were to make a Metroid 2 remake, I'd make something experimental, open up the map a lot and have the Metroids actually roam about doing their thing, persistently, affecting & affected by the eco system. The most powerful one is simply the one you deal with last. Time pressure in games is no fun for me and relaxing shouldn't make the game impossible. So, I'd probably rubberband it a bit so killing a Metroid gives a small boost behind the scenes to escalation elsewhere. Enough to make a speed run challenging (you'd likely also have less gear then).
I don't really care much for the Metroids evolving, but if embraced it could be fun to design various forms based on local fauna, kinda like how xenomorphs work. Alternatively Metroid "spores" could affect local fauna and make that evolve instead. Yeah, I think I'd prefer that. I've already designed light-med-heavy version of many M1 enemies... and below are some SR-388 ones.
The Metroid 2 map chunks don't quite fit together unless you flip some segments into the Z axis. However, if you delinearized the map you could probably redesign the connectivity to make it work.... or not. There are a lot of long repeating winding bits made to just pass through once and I don't think they'd fit well into an open world. I suppose some could be blocked off by cave-ins, only partially available. Might be better to use screens as tiles and truncate/simplify the whole map while maintaining landmark features. Since the GB screen was so small some areas might look odd at a higher resolution... not quite sure.
Metroid II SR-388 enemies. Black eyes might be a SR-388 wild life thing. I'm thinking 3 stages for the wildlife creature, natural, then two mutated stages. There's no X-parasite in my lore but it's possible that Metroids and/or Pirates/MB is somehow turning wildlife into enhanced combat thralls (guard dogs). This would also explain Zebes' enemies being hostile and tough enough to withstand blaster shots, and why you must deal with it. Otherwise wildlife would be a sort of natural third faction and it's odd how you clash with it the most, with hardly any SP&M encounters. It doesn't make sense that the wildlife creatures is actually the space pirates. I wonder if humans could be transformed. Some were stranded on SR-388.
In my lore the Rippers can do spaceflight and are a bit of a space pest, so they could also appear on SR-388 (there's a bendy thing). The robots belong to an unnamed civilization which was wiped out and are hostile to anything non-robotic. A few of them show intelligence and have found new purpose. I think in M2's story the civilization is unnamed too. The story also has the research and combat team bit which is fun. Really, the only way M2 conflicts with my head-canon is the Metroid evolutions, so I'd replace that with the combat thrall concept, keeping Metroids a super-threat. In the M2 story it's stated that even one can wipe out a civilization. Maybe what Samus ran into was young adults. The big baby in M3 was the adult form and look at how it overcharged Samus with the hyper beam.
In the year 2000 of the history of the cosmos, representatives of many different planets in the galaxy established a congress called the Galactic Federation. A successful exchange of cultures and civilization resulted, and thousands of interstellar spaceships ferried back and forth between planets. When space pirates appeared to attack the spaceships, the Federation Bureau created the Galactic Federation Police.
There are many unknown planets throughout the galaxy. Many of these are causes of concern to the Galactic Federation. To take care of this, they employ Space Hunters, the greatest of which is Samus Aran.
Samus' greatest achievement has been the destruction of the pirates' Metroid plans on the planet Zebes. In the year 20X5 of the cosmos, an unknown life-form was discovered on planet SR388 by a Galactic Federation deep-space research ship. The research crew took a sample of the creature and placed it into a suspended animation stasis capsule and dubbed the life form "Metroid". On their way back to their home base, the research ship was attacked by pirates who stole the stasis capsule containing the life-form!
The Metroid in suspended animation could easily be brought back to life, and exposeure to beta rays was all that was needed to cause it to multiply. This highly dangerous creature will cling to any other creature and suck away its victim's energy.
Samus, by order of the Galactic Federal Police, successfully and singlehandedly penetrated the space pirates' natural fortress on the planet Zebes. After a series of intense battles, Samus destroyed all the Metroids she encountered. Her destruction of the reactivated Mother Brain at the center of the fortress crushed the pirates' evil plans.
After serious consideration of how terrible and destructive the Metroid life form was, the Galactic Federation sent another research ship to SR388. This trip was to make sure there were no more Metroids left on the planet.
After a short time the Federation received an emergency notice from the research base. They had lost contact, and the research ship was missing. The base had already sent a search and rescue party, but after their initial contact, the rescue ship was not heard from again.
A special combat group was assembled consisting of armed soldiers from the Federation Police and was immediately dispatched to SR388. After transmitting their primary landing data, they also were never heard from!
Rumors spread fast, and again, the whole galaxy was seized with the fear of Metroids.
WIth this limited information, the Federation was positive that a Metroid must still be surviving, hiding deep in the planet underground. Even one living Metroid could easily wipe out an entire planetary civilization. So, the Galactic Federation called its members to an urgent conference to find a way to overcome this menace. They quickly came to one conclusion, which was unanimous and simple......Give Samus Aran the order to exterminate the Metroids!
The underworld of the planet SR388 is a complicated structure of multi-layered domes and spaces. Some of these contain the ancient ruins of some unknown civilization. These are home to many life forms living on the planet.
Samus, charged with her mission from the Galactic Federation, hurried to the planet SR388.
Samus' confrontation with the Metroids has started again. You must help Samus save the Galaxy from the Metroids!
I turned the Alpha and Gamma Metroids into boss Rippers as that's what they already match, very closely I think. Zeta is close to Arachnus. The presence of fake Kraid & Ridley in M1 suggests to me that they are each a species, so those re-appearing fakes could be no-name pirates. Could have different body types just like humans. Not sure about clothes & armour though. Makes me wonder how naked things can take so much punishment... be it ZS Samus, wildlife or the mini bosses. Maybe "Energy" is some sort of natural or artificial shield (like "The Force"). Metroids could be especially extreme.
Three ships should be present on SR388 – a research ship, rescue ship, and a combat group transport which followed. There might also be be other derelicts... that of unfortunate visitors or of the long dead natives. Unsure what ship styles to use, but something bulky and white with windows for the researches (like a mobile lab). The two lobes might be modules docked to a central... more traditional Metroid ship. Afaik, the early manga featured or introduced the horseshoecrab/lentil shape for one of the pirate ships so maybe that's a common design in the Metroid universe. The researchers might've built an actual base too. I borrowed a bit from Hunter IV for the military/police ship. Tiny nod to Federation Force tilt-engines.
When I was digging through my stuff for reference and found my M2 manual which has been blessed by Tomoyoshi Yamane through a series of circumstances. He did the iconic suit redesign depicted. Also interesting, the Prime concept artist used Android as a nick and signed with an (A). I found floppy copy of メトロイド dirt cheap. Pleasantly surprised that the manual still has the stickers in it and is in very good condition. My copy of M1 has seen better days. Actually, I once sold my NES & games to buy an Amiga 500 (no regrets, but I lost all of my blackbox era games). Re-bought NES later and a friend dumped his copy of Metroid on me. iirc a dog had chewed on it. I took much better care of my boxes. Apparently some people threw them away! :G. Oh, I forgot I have the GBA version of M1 too.
Anyways, the M2 manual has some very nice (duotone) artwork (esp. the robots), much more precise than M1. The scene art in the M1 booklet (though rough) does contribute something to the game, whilst M2 only has spot art. The Samus Returns (remake) artbook we can see the full colour originals of the M2 art. The newer games have a lot of big fancy art for the lore, but like with TTRPG art I prefer something which looks less... "produced", I guess?
Additional GB Metroid II doodles.
The M2 remake apparently had a smaller enemy bestiary than the GB version... I suppose because it's relatively easy to draw and implement enemies in a GB game. I liked some of the remake takes, like Gowron being a sort of beholder thingy.
Like I said, I wouldn't use mutated Metroids for my setting but drew a doggie for fun. Also, Chozo pets or friendly ruin creatures... Not sure how to handle powerups from a scientific point of view... I had a wild hard-sci-fi idea of a slower game where you explore space and bring back artefacts to a research lab, Star Control II style. This way I can do both Zebes and SR388 in one game, and the game could deviate with Elite & Mass Effect type elements... Survey, Trade, Diplomacy, Intrigue, actual Space Pirates ~ it's a Space Hunter Simulator! Still in 2D, maybe Gameboy style. You'd take on missions, gradually harder, earn riches and power. The Federation pays well for artefacts... maybe a bit less power creep because it would be weird if you discover world-changing super-tech. Maybe the Chozo statues hold eggs, with "pets" inside, and these pets have upgrade data encoded inside their genetic code. I just like the idea of the pets being there. It might be fun to collect them all and have cute pets roaming the
Normandy home ship.
Anyways, I like world-build'ey type games more than games and those game formulas do it well. I guess landing sites would be very limited in scope, just some space ports, stations, a hidden asteroid hideout. A few screens each. The "dungeons" would have to be less expansive and less puzzley. Key planets like SR388 and Zebes could have several landing sites to hop between, rather than a big map with all environment types mixed. The Space Pirates know a few Starflight-type space shortcuts causing the Federation trouble, so getting data on those could be a goal. At the start of the game the Space Pirates steal some important stuff (like key artefacts & a Metroid), and those could end up randomized, as well as some sites already having been looted by Pirates. An official/canon world seed deciding planet locations and item locations. No random dungeons as those become too generic and maybe impossible. Unsure about having a "recall" ability for return to ship... it might feel too convenient and detract from the "expeditionary" feel. If saving is only allowed on the ship, the player would have to reload if getting stuck (if possible).
Using ME as a rough framework or springboard could look like this: You're
Spectre Sheppard Space Hunter Samus - person with notable past and rare ability - who gets called in to deal with an incident on SR393, but the higher-ups are tight-lipped. The situation turns dire when the Geth Shades strike. The enigmatic race normally keep in their territories, but now it appears they have sided with the space pirates. What's worse, they're lead by Saren a turncoat Space Hunter. They almost manage to steal a recently unearthed Prothean Chozo artifact which was being analyzed. Some of the researchers are missing.
Back aboard the
Citadel HQ starbase you're debriefed by the Galactic Security Council. While the rise of pirate activity is concerning, it is something they are dealing with, quite confidently. They've "put people on it".
In your own investigations of the fragmentary artifact data you discover that the next target of the pirates could be the ruin world of SR388, only just recently explored by a research vessel which reportedly found the cause of the world's destruction. Unfortunately this ship was just raided by the Space Pirates. The pirates have withdrawn to their secret base on Zebez, a well defended fortress world somewhere in the periphery. The hunt for it leads you to various ruin worlds.
Ruin worlds are fairly common, some with lost civilizations dating back hundreds of thousands of years, but the cause for their downfall has been cause of much speculation. On a fortress world you come across a researcher who believes that the fortress worlds were not just used by the Chozo, but possibly others even further back, in a last stand against an immense threat. This threat has now returned. It turns out that the horrors from legend, the
Reapers Metroids, might be real. Ridley and Kraid, The Motherbrain (made or corrupted by Metroids, hence the tusks?), Space Pirates and Council politics stand in your way as you dig deeper, unearthing galactic history, finding out about the ancient precursor races. Mini-bosses appear on various missions but all serve to elaborate the story. Phantoon is haunting a derelict ship somewhere, further fleshing out the story. A mysterious spore plant has infested a colony... investigate? You find out that the Chozo were working on a weapon which could destroy the fearsome Metroids.
MASSTROID? It kind of fits and could be used to express what's known in the M1&2 lore. Also elaborating on the Tug which carries the science vessel to SR388. Chozo pets could hatch from eggs and in their genetic code there's artifact data.
Mother Brain... or Mother Metroid? I don't know. Wanted to try it out. Could be used for a Sovereign type talky scene. Unsure about role and who made it. Maybe it's old, tugging on strings behind the curtains, also masquerading as an information broker for the Federation.
Metroid is a solo platforming game and not an FPS where you can bring an NPC team. This kind of makes it harder to bond and intermission-chat with other characters, so I'd guess there'd be less talk overall... perhaps they could guard the ship and take on other support roles, like navigator, research/engineer, medic? The ship would be the "home town", so to speak. You'd bring back stuff, do the talky talky, or open up areas where the ship can pick you up, or talk over com though this might ruin the isolation feel. The game could be called... Samus Origins, or just "Space Hunter".
Nevermind, that's already a Famicom game... which I actually own. It has a very nice duotone manual. I think Metroid was initially called Space Hunter. Also, gaze upon my Twin Famicom... with a floppy drive just for Metroid.
Space Pirate ideas. I'm thinking it could be fun if humans came in a variety of colours without much explanation. Just a space-future-thing. Borrowed elements from my older chibi concepts here. Many Shades (which I based on a panel in the manga) have also joined the Space Pirates, but some could be friendly. I think one has to be wary of both essentialism (all orcs are evil) and humanification (orc only by appearance) as neither extreme is interesting. It stands to reason that aliens would probably be very alien, but it might not be useful in a fictional story. Samus' undersuit here is based on the M2 manual art which features some cross-hatched muscle fibres, though these might just be connecting the armour. Possibly this design element originated with Shirow's Appleseed, but I'm not sure.
Cyber spider Metroid test, metaphorically tugging strings, figuratively playing with a shiny ball.
I've sometimes thought about making illustrated replacement manuals for my fav NES games, but commercially it's moot. Portrait booklets are maybe worse than landscape as they are more likely to close up by themselves.
I thought Tyr from Metroid Prime 2 had some interesting design elements. If has a textured canopy, similar to that of ED-29, but with naval mine knobs, which gives it a slight ominous Event Horizon core look. The gun-wings sits on swivels, giving it a strafer gunship feel, though I didn't draw mine in perspective, they echo the + look of the feds. +
Also see my Planet Zebes page for some of my older Metroid material. I pronounce Zebes in a sort of Swedish "Se~Bäss" way. It's probably kinda close to the Japanese pronunciation as Swedish uses similar vowel sounds unlike say American English. Zebes is spelled similar to "Service". ゼーベス vs サービス。