The following is a translated digital print of an interview conducted on Nintendo of Japan's official website under the Nintendo Online Magazine banner. This interview has been translated from its original Japanese language to English by Kyoto Report. We also include the original Japanese document alongside; March 2003, Issue 56 . This interview features Yoshio Sakamoto, Takehiko Hosokawa, Katsuya Yamano, Tomoyoshi Yamane, and Minako Hamano from the Research & Development 1 Division of Nintendo Company Limited. The development staff discusses the creation of Metroid Fusion.
Kyoto Report - Translation - Nintendo Online Magazine Vol. 56: Metroid Fusion
Q: Let us beging with an important question, what happened to Metroid on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color?
Yoshio Sakamoto: It is very difficult for me to express the absence of Metroid for 9 years. I can tell you that unfortunately, in regards to the Nintendo 64, our division at Nintendo has experience developing on portable game machines. Creating a Metroid for the Nintendo 64 would have been very difficult. Now, for the Game Boy Color I can tell you that we were experimenting with it, but ultimately we thought that the SNES and even NES versions would look better than what we could pull off on the Game Boy Color. I did not want to create something that would pale in comparison to a previous version.
Q: Let us talk about the original 8-bit version of Metroid.
Yoshio Sakamoto: The original Metroid concept was not mines. But at the same time, initially it was a different game. At the time, our division (Nintendo R&D1) was responsible for so much, I was entasked with creating some new titles. Upon returning to check in on development of the original Metroid project, I saw rough images of heavily armed superhero characters in outer space, but this was all just rough images and nothing close to a game yet. Basically, we had to shift focus and a lot of R&D1 designers, including myself, were added to the project. Nintendo had a projected dealine for the project, and we were scrambling to get the project done. We were all working with the initial ideas of "flying, splashing, and shooting", I thought this wasn't enough, and pushed for the concept of exploration and being rewarded with powerful abilities.
Q: What did you think of Metroid Prime?
Yoshio Sakamoto: Well. When I first heard of the project I was a bit puzzled about the direction. But, I knew Samus was a popular character, and I knew there was a high demand. And truthfully, I thought the end product was very nice.
Yoshio Sakamoto: I consulted with Mr. Kensuke Tanabe, and spoke about how a "gaiden" story line taking place before the original would work with the Metroid series.
Q: Can you talk about the script of Metroid Fusion?
Yoshio Sakamoto: I was writing the story with an emphasis on maintaining a unity to the universe of Metroid. In terms of presenting this new creature, the SA-X, I took measure in delivering an enemy that could mimic the movements and behaviors of the prey it was stalking. I thought this was a very unique concept, especially in a video game.
Q: Let us direct towards Metroid Fusion, what is the staff experience with the Metroid series?
Tomoyoshi Yamane: I was responsible for the characters and graphics in Super Metroid.
Minako Hamano: I was involved in the soundtrack for Super Metroid as well as the Metroid Prime series alongside Mr. Kenji Yamamoto.
Takehiko Hosokawa: I've been involved with Metroid for a long time. For this game, it was especially difficult because we were definitely taking the series in another direction from what our team previously did in the past. All these new elements took a lot of trial and error obviously. One of the bigger changes was the SA-X concept of course.
Q: From a story perspective is this a sequel to Super Metroid?
Takehiko Hosokawa: This is Metroid 4.
Q: Tell us of some of the changes you made?
Takehiko Hosokawa: Metroid is a game we always considered very flexible, but at the same time some of the game nature has created a limited audience of sorts compared to some of our other games. Therefore we decided to concentrate on the story and even included a navigation system so that players wouldn't be too confused.
Q: Tell us about programming a new Metroid?
Katsuya Yamano: Well our team did create several tools and ideas from working on Wario Land 4 just previously to devoting full resources to this new Metroid. While we focused on making it easier on the player to find objectives, we also made the action difficult for fans of the series. It was not an easy thing to balance between new players and returning players.
Q: Tells us about the graphics in the new Metroid?
Tomoyoshi Yamane: Well there are lots of things to talk about. Metroid Fusion has a mix of new and returning characters. One of the more interesting things is going to be the comparison of the new fusion suit samus versus the traditional samus. I think they are both very cool. Also put in some very nice work on the animation and cut-scenes.
Q: Can you tell us if Samus has any new abilities?
Takehiko Hosokawa: Well I decided to change the missile. Now Samus has the ability to absorb the ice beam function into an ice missile. We also allowed for Samus to be even more acrobatic, as this was something she was going to need to battle the SA-X.
Q: Can you tell us about the sound design of Metroid Fusion?
Minako Hamano: Well one of the guidelines i received from the directors, was that they wanted the music and voice work to really match the atmosphere of Super Metroid. We actually got through NOA, a hollywood caliber voice actor which would be used in a dramatic moment, I decided it would be the warning segment.
Minako Hamano: One very different thing, is that Mr. Sakamoto really wanted the soundtrack to support and dynamically interact to dramatic sequences and tense moments.
Q: Any final words?
Yoshio Sakamoto: I am sorry for making you wait 9 years. This Metroid is very different because of the navigation system, but it also has a higher difficulty in response to some of the fans wishes. I am very happy that our fans have responded very favorably to this game.
Takehiko Hosokawa: Please enjoy this new Metroid story.
Katsuya Yamano: You will be taken by surprise several times by the SA-X.
Tomoyoshi Yamane: Please enjoy the enemies, even "nightmare".
Minako Hamano: The SA-X theme while being chased is very entertaining!