Metroid Prime 3: Corruption


Devourer of Worlds
Sep 1, 2000
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Written: 05/11/2006

Last updated: 05/11/2006 by Jonathan Metts

Today, we had the golden opportunity to sit down with some of the most important people in the development of the Metroid Prime series: Bryan Walker, Senior Producer; Mark Pacini, Lead Designer; Kensuke Tanabe, Producer for NCL, and Risa Tabata, Assistant Producer for NCL. The topic was of course Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and we learned a great deal about the game.
Perhaps most exciting is confirmation that Corruption is a Wii launch title, and the developers promise that it is just as big and deep as the previous games. And no need to worry about the game being labeled a “First-Person Shooter” in some of Nintendo’s press materials, because this is still very much an adventure game, just now with improved shooting mechanics thanks to the Wii controller. On the subject of multiplayer, Retro isn’t ruling out some kind of support for WiiConnect24, the console’s online service, but they are not interested in going back to the multiplayer mode from Echoes. They definitely want to stress the single-player gameplay as the game’s focus, so there may be no multiplayer at all.

The story completes the Phazon trilogy, with the nefarious substance now spreading across the galaxy. Corruption takes place over multiple planets, which Samus can travel among using her ship. This planet-hopping aspect is part of the game’s non-linearity, so you can go back and forth at will. You don’t actually control the ship in flight, but you can use the Command Visor to call upon it while exploring a planet. The ship can deliver an air strike during tough combat sequences, and it can move large objects blocking the way. The goal, according to the developers, was to give players a way to utilize the ship in ways that make sense in the context of Metroid gameplay.

Samus seeks to stop the spread of Phazon and eliminate its presence from the infected planets, even while she herself has been infected with Phazon and becomes increasingly affected by it as the game progresses. Her Phazon infection ties in with the gameplay, as she can now use its energy to enter “Hyper Mode” in either biped or Morph Ball form. While this power is in effect, her attacks are much more potent, but her health is in danger, and she could die if the ability is overused.

The ice-wielding character mentioned in Jonathan’s impressions is not Noxus from Metroid Prime: Hunters, but the character designer on Corruption also worked on Hunters and the first two Prime games, so that explains the similarity. There are several other bounty hunters featured throughout the game, and not all of them are as helpful as the one seen in the E3 demo.

In the E3 demo, Samus has some new uses for the Grappling Beam; Retro says that other familiar upgrades will also have surprising new uses. For instance, the X-Ray Visor is returning, but is now more useful when used in combination with a beam that shoots through walls. Screw Attack is returning and will be used much more, since you get it earlier in the game. There will be situations in which you can Screw Attack across a chasm, go straight into a Wall Jump to climb to a higher area, and then fly right back into the Screw Attack in this new area. Also, the Screw Attack will have more uses in combat this time around.

There’s a reason that the E3 demo suggests no method for switching beam weapons on the fly, which was a key feature of the control scheme on GameCube. In Corruption, there is no need to switch beam weapons. They stack upon each other as in Super Metroid, so your beam becomes more and more powerful as you go. This design should also speed up long-distance travel around the environments, because you won’t need to switch weapons back and forth to open doors. The Grappling Beam also has stacked upgrade effects.

The developers have listened to feedback on Echoes and are addressing some of those comments in Corruption. The difficulty will be slightly reduced (many Metroid fans were unable to finish the last game), and backtracking will be made less tedious, while still preserving the non-linear exploration aspects of the Metroid series. Scanning is definitely still part of the game, but the process will be faster, so players who don’t like to scan everything can more easily find critical scans and get them over with. Those who do like to read about every little object will find just as much backstory as in the previous games.

As for control, the development team is closely watching how players react to the E3 demo, as many elements of the control scheme are still being tweaked. For instance, the motion sequence to use the Grappling Beam is not finalized, and they are still considering how to use the accelerometers. Firing Samus’s beam weapon is currently mapped to the A button (with the reasoning that rapidly pressing the B trigger button could create finger fatigue), but that could change. There will definitely be pointer sensitivity options in the final game, just as there are in the E3 demo. The remote’s built-in speaker is not being used at this time, but they have many ideas on how it might be implemented.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is shaping up to be a huge new game in this venerable series, with completely new control methods and tons of new ideas that push the Metroid gameplay ever further. With this monster and Zelda both available at launch, Nintendo’s Wii will have more blockbusters on day one than most new consoles have within the first year.

Interesting that Samus will be able to travel between different planets. That's something I always wanted to see in a Metroid-game
Glad to see the currently Metroid is a launch title (that could very well change though so I'm not crossing my fingers). Definitely gonna get a Wii and the news about Prime 3 made me even more excited for this console. Like the travel between different planets thing, not as happy about not changing beams on the fly though, I thought that was really cool in Prime 1 & 2. Also sucks that they're making it easier, I didn't have too much trouble with Echos.
I'm saving up tons of cash for Wii's launch. I wanna get it all. This may be Nintendo's best launch ever.
I saw some of the demo on G4 last night as the player used the Wii controller to aim the beam. That's gonna sell it right there.
Galactus said:
Interesting that Samus will be able to travel between different planets. That's something I always wanted to see in a Metroid-game

Metroid Prime Hunters
IGN Wii: Why the name Metroid Prime 3: Corruption?

Mark Pacini: The idea behind the title is that in Prime 1 and Prime 2 we used Phazon as a way to explain what was happening on each planet. In Prime 1, the planet was corrupted by Phazon. In Prime 2, the Phazon caused the world to split into two on Aether. In Metroid Prime 3, we're trying to explain what the origins of Phazon were and it's the culmination of what this is all about. It's not only a story element - the Phazon and corruption which happen on a planetary scale - but it also happens in a gameplay sense as well. Samus herself gets corrupted by Phazon and actually begins to develop abilities based on that Phazon. So that's kind of why the game is titled Corruption. You yourself are becoming corrupted.

IGN Wii: How specifically is Samus corrupted?

Mark Pacini: After she becomes corrupted she is given the ability to kind of control that corruption. In previous games, as well as in Super Metroid, Samus had the ability toward the end of the game to go into a hyper mode. Well, now the player is going to have access to hyper mode throughout the game so that they can willingly go into hyper mode at any time based off of this Phazon ability. But the hyper mode serves as a pretty big game mechanic. On one hand, it gives you pretty powerful abilities. But on the other hand, it could kill you. So you have to manage that system as you're playing. When you initiate hyper mode, you actually have to balance how long you stay in it. At the price of being very powerful, you're also susceptible to possibly dying.

IGN Wii: So is your energy draining on-screen at this point?

Mark Pacini: Yeah, you actually swap your ability set. You start out with a normal ability set, but when you go into hyper mode you have a limited, condensed ability set. As you use your weaponry, you're using that Phazon corruption - kind of getting it out of your body. And that's managed by a meter. So if that meter reaches all the way to the top you become fully corrupted and die. If you use all the Phazon, you get out of hyper mode. And if you balance in the middle, you can stay in hyper mode for a long time. It's all dependent upon how good the player is and how well they use that system. It's something that they can use throughout the entire game and get more abilities to use while they're in that mode.

IGN Wii: How does the mechanic itself function? In other words, what on-screen changes show the player that they are in hyper mode?

Mark Pacini: Your view does change and the graphics will change. Basically, it's allowing you to have this Phazon ability set. The use of a beam and missile and other things that get enhanced as you go into hyper mode.

IGN: Retro showed at Wii-based demo of Metroid Prime 2 at last October's Tokyo Game Show. How does this demo relate to Metroid Prime 3, if at all? Were you developing the demo and Prime 3 simultaneously or completely separate?

Mark Pacini: The Metroid Prime 2 demo shown at the Tokyo Game Show was the initial technology test that we were doing with the controller. We were able to quickly iterate on the hardware simply by using builds from Metroid Prime 2. It allowed us to, while we were developing Metroid Prime 3, have a test bed where we could start testing the technology first, and that was kind of the proving ground for the demo. There wasn't another side project developed. It was just, we happened to have a very stable build that we could just apply the controller to.

IGN Wii: When was Metroid Prime 3 really started and how big is the team?

Bryan Walker: Right now we have 70 people on the team. We started pre-production in October of 2004, right as Prime 2 was winding down.

IGN Wii: When is Prime 3 scheduled to release?

Bryan Walker: It's a launch title.

IGN Wii: Fantastic news. We noticed that Prime 3 features voiced dialogue. How are you presenting the storyline in the game?

Mark Pacini: Basically, the idea is that we are trying to use more voice work in this game to better convey the storyline to players. In Metroid Prime 1 and 2, there was a lot of reading. We're not really going overboard with story in Prime 3. We're trying to pace the story so that it's similar to the other titles, where gameplay was really the first and foremost priority. We're not trying to disrupt the game because of the story. The story should be integrated into the game.

So, when the game starts, Samus is going to be confronted by something that happens on a pretty huge scale. Several planets get infected at the same time. As a result of that, Samus will get corrupted as well. One of the goals of the game is going to several different planets -- it's not just one planet that the game takes place on - and you'll be able to fly to different planets and your main goal is to remove the corruption from these planets. But many other things are happening underneath the surface as well.

IGN Wii: The E3 demo of Prime 3 features a pretty spectacular Ridley fight in which Samus and the boss fall down a corridor in a scene right out of a Star Fox game. Will there be other gameplay types in the title? For instance, can Samus fly her gunship?

Mark Pacini: You actually won't be able to fly the ship itself. You'll be able to use the ship to transport to other planets. But we're also using the ship as a tool - kind of like your Power Beam - so that with a visor you can call y our ship in and do certain things in a level, like blow stuff up, or lift huge obstacles, or use it as a platform. It's a natural extension of Samus' abilities.

Bryan Walker: We felt it was important to integrate the ship without making it feel like a watered-down Wing Commander. So the ship is there in a context that's faithful to the Prime experience.

IGN Wii: What was the motivation for the E3 demo's Ridley boss battle?

Mark Pacini: Part of the motivation for that boss battle is that Prime 1 and 2 are kind of known for these big boss battles and we don't just want to make them bigger. We always ask what the gameplay is going to be and how we're going to use the controller. So we thought that this unique experience of fighting Ridley, falling down this huge shaft and actually being able to be held in Ridley's hand is something that we've never seen. As well as having a confined area where you're not really moving around that much and it's basically about pointing, very early in the game the player gets to play a pretty cool boss character fight and gets to use the controller in an interesting way. So it kind of matched what we were trying to do with the controller and that's why it's in the game.

IGN: Can you tell us about the visors in Prime 3?

Mark Pacini: We have the combat visor and the scan visor. We also have a new visor called the command visor, which is how you manipulate your ship. It will be a pretty important visor as well. [Turns to rest of team]: Should we say what the fourth visor is?

Mark Pacini: It's the x-ray visor. So, the x-ray visor makes a reappearance, but we're trying to build on what we've learned in the previous games where some visors didn't really get used as much because of that's kind of the way the design worked out. But we're trying to make the visors integrate in with other abilities of Samus in Prime 3. So, for example, later in the game you get a beam that allows you to shoot through walls, so you'll want to use the x-ray visor in combination with that beam to solve certain puzzles. Also, you can only defeat certain enemies by using this beam to look through their armor and target a certain point by using the controller. So instead of just having an invisible platform or wall, which are important to the gameplay, we're trying to take the next logical step forward of what we can do with this visor.

IGN Wii: There's a concern that because the Wii-mote enables more shooter-like accuracy that Prime 3 will play less like a traditional Metroid game and more like a first-person shooter. What is your response to these concerns?
Kensuke Tanabe: Please don't worry about that because the basic concept for Prime 3 is similar to Prime 1 and 2. We still would like to keep the puzzle and exploration elements, as well as the shooter mechanics.

IGN Wii: Will there be any other different beams other than the one which can shoot through walls?

Mark Pacini: For Metroid Prime 3, we're kind of going with a different beam structure than previous Prime games. One of the main mechanics of previous games was switching to the correct beam to deal with a given situation. In Corruption, we did a little homage to Super Metroid by implementing stacking systems so that each beam weapon you get will stack upon the previous. You'll start out with the power beam and then you'll get the plasma beam, and on top of that you'll get another beam. They will all inherit the abilities of the previous beam, but you won't have to switch between them. And the missile does the same thing. As well, the grapple beam has become a much more important part of the gameplay system because now you can manipulate and grapple things, and the grapple beam also stacks with abilities. So instead of it mainly being about a game where you switch beams, it's more a game about going between a beam, a missile and a grapple as your main trinity of weapons that you use to deal with certain situations.

IGN Wii: In Prime 3, do you lose your abilities and have to retrieve them throughout the game?

Mark Pacini No.

Bryan Walker: We did that for two games in a row. We didn't want to do it again. [Laughs]

IGN Wii: Will you need to have the Wii sensor bar to play Prime 3?

Kensuke Tanabe: Yes.

IGN Wii: We really love Prime 3, as you may have noticed from our initial impressions. That said, we ran into problems when trying to perform quick 180 turns in the game, which is, of course, something that we naturally want to do in a first-person title. Have you thought about this? Is this something you might address before the game's release?

Kensuke Tanabe: The reason why we implemented both normal and expert sensitivities into the demo is that we would like the non-core gamer to play the game comfortably and at the same time we would like the expert player to play the game very freely. It's nice to be able to hear your comment at this point so now we can start thinking more about implementing a quick turn.

IGN Wii: Can you change the controller sensitivity so that more minimal movements effect quicker on-screen turns?

Mark Pacini: What we want to do with the control scheme is to give players the ability to adjust it somewhat to their preference. We know that there are going to be people who want more sensitivity, like you're saying. And because of the inherent capabilities of the controller, you sometimes may go off-screen if you're trying to make very, very quick, rapid movements, so that is definitely a possibility that we can put more options in. Right now we have the normal and expert control modes. That doesn't mean that there couldn't be more detailed control setups as necessary. We definitely want to make the players happy and we want them to play the game the way they feel they should play the game. But at the same time we're going to design the game to be played in a specific way, so we may not create gameplay where we feel you need to quickly flip a 180 just because we may not feel that this plays to the strengths of the controller. So to answer your question in a very general way, we're definitely considering ways that the player can configure the control to their preferences.

IGN Wii: Will Metroid Prime 3 feature an online mode?

Kensuke Tanabe: No, we have only single-player. I have also produced Prime Hunters and for that game I tried to use the Wi-Fi Connection for multiplayer. For Prime 3, I would like to concentrate more on the single-player so I decided not to implement multiplayer for Prime 3. As you know, Wii will have Connect 24, so we are thinking more about the possibility of using that functionality so that the player can get something.

IGN Wii: Downloadable levels or maybe different suits?

Kensuke Tanabe: Yeah, maybe. But, this is just an idea, maybe we could send an e-mail or something depending upon how far a player progresses into the game.

IGN Wii: What are the technical differences between Prime 1, 2 and now Corruption? Are you doing anything in this game that you are, visually speaking, particularly proud of?

Bryan Walker: Each iteration of Prime, from the first up until Corruption, has really pushed the existing hardware up to its limits. We've made a lot of fundamental changes to the underlying technology of Corruption to take advantage of the additional horsepower of Wii and, of course, the new controller. You'll see things, particularly in the visuals, such as bloom lighting and a lot more pizzazz where particle effects and such are concerned. It's a distinctly better looking game than the previous iterations.

IGN Wii: Are you aiming for 60 frames per second?

Bryan Walker: Oh yes.

IGN Wii: Will the game feature anything like bump-mapping or normal-mapping?

Bryan Walker: We probably won't be focusing much on bump-mapping or embossing for this iteration. We're really focusing on our lighting effects at this point.

IGN: How do you think the game length and difficulty will compare to Prime 2 or 1?

Kensuke Tanabe: It may be easier than Prime 2 because now we can control the game more intuitively. Also, we are thinking to make the game more up-tempo or faster-paced than Prime 2.

IGN: Great. Can you sum up quickly why people should be excited about Prime 3?

Kensuke Tanabe: We just want to show how suitable the Wii controller is for the first-person game. We'd like to prove that with Metroid Prime 3. We think we can deliver a title that the core gamer can get excited about and that, at the same time, the non-core gamer can play easier. Please look forward to that.
I've been loving the Metroid Prime series. Metroid 2 almost drove me crazy, It was insanely hard, but I was up for the challenge and eventually finished it. It had like 15 boss fights.

Cant' wait for 3. I like that it's not as tedious as 2, with the difficulty level and the beams. Looks to be another hit.
I love that the beams are built up on each other. Switching beams in the last two Metroid Primes was one of the only things I didnt love.
Another annoying thing is this scanning thing. In MP 2 there was a boss you had to scan five times or something like that if you wanted to go for 100%. Most of the time I just didn't bother do it.
I love scanning, I always scan as much as possible in the worlds and read every nugget. It really helped with the immersiveness.
I never played the first 2 alot, since I didn't like the first at all. So I want get the storyline.
Galactus said:
Another annoying thing is this scanning thing. In MP 2 there was a boss you had to scan five times or something like that if you wanted to go for 100%. Most of the time I just didn't bother do it.

How is that annoying you dick. You don't have to scan anything if you don't want to.

I love scanning, I always scan as much as possible in the worlds and read every nugget. It really helped with the immersiveness.

Yep. Metroid Prime has to be one of the most immersive gaming experiences ever. It's a shame Sony and Microsoft fanboys probably have no clue what the game is all about. Outside of Gamecube owners I don't know anyone who has even an idea of what the Metroid Prime games are really like.

I love that the beams are built up on each other. Switching beams in the last two Metroid Primes was one of the only things I didnt love.

Yea, at least they're keeping things fresh.

Cant' wait for 3. I like that it's not as tedious as 2, with the difficulty level and the beams. Looks to be another hit.

Yea, I like a challenge but the gameplay of Metroid Prime 2 really became tedious at points. I never complained but it'll be nice to have a change of pace. I thought the first had a near perfect level of difficulty.
Hype Police said:
How is that annoying you dick. You don't have to scan anything if you don't want to.

Dang, the po po wasted no time beating up the foreign kid :(
Damn!! I am a fan of these games SOOOO bad!! I passed Metroid Prime twice and it was hard!! I also played Echos and MANNN was that game scary!! I never got to finish that game dammit!!
E. Bison said:
Damn!! I am a fan of these games SOOOO bad!! I passed Metroid Prime twice and it was hard!! I also played Echos and MANNN was that game scary!! I never got to finish that game dammit!!

Well they said this game will be easier so your in luck
Well it better be easier cuz Echoes was to complicated for me. I hope to be able to pass this new one before I get married anytime soon. Cuz with the last one it seems I'd be better off trying to marry two women than actually finishing the game.

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