A petition seeking to halt the development of Nintendo's Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a 3DS title which was announced during the firm's E3 Digital event, has passed 12,000 signatures in just 2 days, rapidly approaching its goal of 15,000.
The game, a spin-off from the main series which doesn't feature heroine Samus Aran, is predominantly a multiplayer shooter set in the Metroid universe, with an additional 3 vs 3 football-like game called Blast Ball also included. Currently, it's slated for a 2016 release. Frankly, it doesn't look like a classic, but The Internet is furious.
"It has no elements at all of what Metroid is about and its a disrespectful manner to old and new fans of the series of showing them that the Metroid franchise is not dead afterall," froths the petition's call to arms. "This is not the Metroid we asked Nintendo to make. We should let Nintendo know what we really think of the game and make them actually LISTEN to their fans for once. Help us stop this atrocity of a game from bearing the beloved Metroid franchise name and make Nintendo halt production on it."
Petition founder, Gilbert Manzanarez, is clearly not pleased. I mean, you don't throw words like "atrocity" around without good reason, so he wants us to know that he's not just angry about this, he's personally outraged. Compared to some of his supporters, however, he's remarkably Zen.
"I signed it, honestly i refuse to just fucking let them ignore us and not listen to their gaming audience," says one enraged player. "I REFUSE to let them walk all over us and pretend this was a good idea, this is a travesty to the metroid series and NOBODY asked for this , EVERYONE wanted ANYTHING but a FUCKING SOCCER METROID GAME AND SAMUS ISNT EVEN IN IT. This is disguting so yeah i signed it and im happy i did becuase maybe now they'll finally listen to us."
"As a Metroid fan, I'm very offended at this mockery of a game."
"How is this metroid? Why would they pass this garbage for a beloved, HARDCORE franchise. This is unnacceptable."
Maybe there's some justification for frustration, given that many feel Nintendo put on a relatively weak E3 performance overall. Given that it's been five years since the last full Metroid release, perhaps fans do have a right to be upset that a not-brilliant looking spin-off on 3DS, rather than a full-scale Wii U game, is being put out under the Metroid masthead. You could argue that, finally, people have lost patience with the endless reworking of old IP - even that they have a right to be disappointed after the wonderful Splatoon reminded them of what the company can do when it finds its inspiration. But really, atrocity?
Manzanarez is far from the first to attempt to bottle the rage of gamers to get things done. Three years ago, Mike Julliard started a petition to get GTA V ported to PC, garnering over 728,000 signatures. A year later, someone operating under the handle of Trevor Phillips started a petition to make sure it didn't come to PC, collecting over 14,000 names but falling just short of its 15K target. More recently, a campaign to have Bloodborne come to PC accused From Software of "betraying" fans and "forcing them to buy a PS4" by making it an exclusive. That movement came agonisingly close to a total of 50,000 signatures, but stuttered at the last.
So entitlement, particularly amongst fans, is nothing new. One of the consequences of the democratisation of mass media is that there are more messages to be heard, that previously relatively isolated opinions become movements - sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. Is there a lesson to be learned by Nintendo here? A warning to heed? Perhaps. But there's definitely a very clear snapshot of the power of consumer feeback which increasingly surrounds the industry - and the need to find a way to either appease or mollify it. Generally, it behoves the companies involved to do their best not to acknowledge the anger of what is almost always the minority of its audience, but Nintendo might not currently have that luxury. Whether it's a reflection of the sentiment of the wider fanbase is debatable, but the firm's reaction could be pivotal to the perception of its position.