The second idea I ever wrote up for this column was an idea for a new metroid game. Metroid: The Next Generation, I called it. Fellow TAYer Zaphod42 rightly took me to task for having an idea focused almost entirely on story and not on gameplay. I replied then that I would follow up on that post with another containing more detailed ideas for bosses and suit abilities. Well, this ended up being one half of that. Once the ideas started flowing, just the ideas for new weapons were long enough on their own. I’ll come back to this premise at least once more to talk about bosses, other enemies, and level design.
A quick refresher for those who didn’t follow that link back: In this game you play as Samus’ black daughter, Sophie, who has inherited her mother’s suit and role as bounty hunter. But the Galactic Federation has become power-hungry assholes, and Sophie turns against them during a mission. The GFed commander easily defeats her and leaves her for dead. Sophie gets some help from the locals and is on her way to take down the GFeds.
So, for gameplay purposes, the idea is that the GFeds studied Samus’ suit thoroughly, developed new weapons and defenses, and are impervious to all the old tricks. So Sophie is going to get some new ones, mostly by taking them from the GFeds themselves.
After Sophie is defeated on that first planet, she goes through the suit menu and deletes most of the old weapons & things. She also finds a chozo statue (because of course she does) that upgrades her standard beam weapon, turns it blue and crackly. Like a super spazer or something. I like the idea that it’s not a completely mandatory upgrade - there would be a suit menu like the one in Super Metroid, and the player can turn it off if they want. Of course, then they’ll be killed by enemies, but hey, you do you.
ON TO THE WEAPON IDEAS
+ Nano Shield. The GFed advantage is going to be in ECM (electronic counter-measures) and stronger armor. In many places in their facilities they will have a Nano Cloud - meaning the air is filled with nanites - which will be actively hostile to your armorsuit (similar to the Dark Aether atmosphere). Eventually you get a Nano Shield which protects you. This is really a suit upgrade, I suppose. The shield is just a nanite cloud of your own, which leads into:
+ Nano Cloud Burst - shoot mini swarms of your own nanites which will tick huge damage on the enemy for a few seconds (this is your annihilator/nova beam/plasma beam equivalent)
Upgrades to the nano shield:
- Reflective heat shield: it absorbs fire attacks and then (on button press or when full) explodes it back out again. Useful since the GFed will be using a flamethrower version of your plasma beam.
- Projectile reflecting shield: honestly, it would just be a super cool effect to see bullets/missiles/shells frozen in place before you blast them out again
+ Grapple beam snare - holds enemies in place for at least 30 seconds, maybe longer. You can fire the snare at them directly or hit the ground with it to lay a snare trap.
+ Armor piercing drill missiles. DRILL MISSILES. Drill Super Missiles too, I suppose.
+ On a general armor penetration theme, a “sniper laser”. Would pass through multiple enemies, if you can get them to line up for you. Great for headshots.
+ Close range sonic damage and knockback blast. Similar to MP2’s sonic boom, but close range only and less face-wreckingly overpowered.
+ Energy spikes on morph ball for direct collision damage. (You’d probably retain boost ball, but not spider ball. They’re not going to be stupid enough to have spider ball tracks just lying around.)
+ Cloaked proximity morph ball bombs. You’re going to be invading military bases. You can’t always just rush in. A sense of strategy will be required, which is where these come in.
+ EMP power bombs, because those are always fun.
Okay so the last one is potentially the biggest deal here: the Info Visor. This will have big story and gameplay implications, especially for target lock. So, at the start of the game, when you get to the planet where that first mission is, they’ve just brought you out of cryosleep or some such, and they want to make sure you’re in good fighting condition. So a GFed soldier is there with some targets for you to shoot, and he also has a line about how your IFF system (identificaiton friend or foe) will show the GFeds as friendlies so you won’t shoot them, ha ha.
After you’ve turned, while you’re fighting the GFed commander, he activates something that makes your visor go wonky for a second. And then you can’t target lock him at all. From then on you can’t get any kind of target lock on any GFed enemies … that is, until you get the Info Visor. See, all the droids/turrets/soldiers/mechs/vehicles are on a linked network, connected by informational pathways. And they’re all pulsing out jamming signals that prevent you from locking on. But the Info Visor can cut through the jamming and lock onto the assets in the network. Similarly to the Thermal Visor in MP, this also provides your door lock and puzzle mechanism - oh the big door is locked but it’s controlled by four sub-interlocks and you can follow the info pathways to find them.
So I know what I have here doesn’t follow the usual pattern of three new beam weapons and so on, but I am doing that on purpose. Partly because thinking up a whole new set of beam weapons is hard, and partly because “more beam weapons” wouldn’t make sense from a story perspective. I hope I’ve done a decent job of creating new kinds of weapons that would still work in a metroid-FPS gameplay fashion. What are your thoughts? What weapons would you want to see in a new metroid game?
NEXT TIME: Deathtrap Designer