Tag Archives: Franchises

Talking Point: Can Metroid Dread Be The Franchise’s ‘Awakening’?

Over the weekend our lovely folk in the video team posted a detailed chat, above, asking a simple but intriguing question — “Why hasn’t the Metroid series traditionally sold well?” It’s a good question, and it feels like one with a lot of varied answers. Let’s summarise a few, before shifting to a fully optimistic outlook on the upcoming Metroid Dread.

The series has a long history, from the NES through to 3DS and — very soon — Switch. Even accounting for the potentially loose nature of some sales data, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see that the original game is the second best-selling entry in the series, The NES boomed and that original game undoubtedly caught the imagination.

The number one best-selling game in the series, it seems, is Metroid Prime, which was a revelation for the franchise but also in gaming at the time. Retro Studios produced a showcase not only for the GameCube, but of 3D gaming technology, coupling it with incredibly atmospheric settings and shifting from the series’ explorative 2D gameplay to the third dimension and a first-person perspective, doing so in a way that made the leap obvious and elementary.

Metroid Dread Art© Nintendo

Even taking into account the potential incompleteness of these figures (which can’t account for Virtual Console downloads across multiple generations of Nintendo hardware, for example), the fact that sales figures for the series put the best-seller at below three million is a sure indication that the series has never truly taken off, at least not by Nintendo’s lofty standards. While many devoted Nintendo fans reel off the Metroid name alongside the likes of Mario and The Legend of Zelda, the reality is that the actual sales have never been in the same ballpark. Though some may disagree and argue over examples, Nintendo has also tried various approaches to push the brand — 2D games on console and handheld, the Prime series, attempts to focus on multiplayer. It’s never quite worked on a mainstream level, even when some of the games have been critically acclaimed.

While many devoted Nintendo fans reel off the Metroid name alongside the likes of Mario and The Legend of Zelda, the reality is that the actual sales have never been in the same ball park.

As discussed in the video, it does seem like Nintendo has been both unlucky and a little error-prone with the series. The Prime series is wonderful, but two of the games were on GameCube, a system that struggled to sell; only the Wii U has done worse for the company as a home console. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was perhaps a surprise in its struggles, though Nintendo then made Metroid Prime Trilogy more of a retail collector’s item so it never had the opportunity to take off; remember, in the Wii era you could not download retail titles, the infrastructure wasn’t in place.

Even more recently, Metroid: Samus Returns is an excellent game that arrived on 3DS after the Switch had been on the market for around six months. Players with a limited budget to buy games would have hesitated about buying a new 3DS title when they wanted to sink their money into either picking up a Switch or growing their library on the new hardware.

You can go through many releases and find various factors that may have held Metroid back, but a key issue is that the IP has never quite found a foothold in Japan. Not only will that be disappointing to the creative teams throughout the series’ history, but it will have influenced Nintendo’s focus on the IP; in fact as a franchise with relatively modest sales it’s had more than its share of games. When you combine awkward release times, development cycle challenges and the fact it’s not a banker in Nintendo’s domestic market, it’s no surprise that support has been uneven.

The hope will be that it can be a breakthrough moment in a similar manner to Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS, when a near-abandoned franchise took off and became a staple of Nintendo’s first party output.

Despite all this, though, perhaps Metroid Dread is actually arriving at a good time for a change, and on popular and still lucrative hardware. In fact, as we’ve riffed on in the headline, the hope will be that it can be a breakthrough moment in a similar manner to Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS, when a near-abandoned franchise took off and became a staple of Nintendo’s first party output. Perhaps Dread, unlike many of its predecessors, could be lifted to heights that recalibrate Nintendo’s focus, and prioritisation, of the series and its upcoming games, from Metroid Prime 4 and beyond.

Though the E3 Nintendo Direct emphasized it as ‘Metroid 5’, it wouldn’t surprise us if a lot of marketing — particularly that on social media and TV advertising — shies away from that sequel focus. As a gateway to the series, instead, Dread has an opportunity. It’ll arrive on the same day as the Nintendo Switch OLED model (8th October), so will benefit from the increased attention and publicity of that updated hardware. That will be in the beginnings of the frenzied Holiday shopping season, also, and will sit alongside Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl on shelves through November and December as a very different option as more and more consumers browse Switch titles.

The Switch continues to thrive and sell in significant numbers, and we’ve already seen how that interprets into giving franchises renewed sales growth; perhaps unlike the days of the Wii, as an example, there’s clearly a significant attach rate of Switch owners buying a variety of games, especially anything first-party. Dread will have a new system iteration, early festive sales, even Halloween vibes with that name all in its favour. If Nintendo pushes the boat out and invests in heavy marketing, which would seem likely at this stage, it could become the best-selling Metroid game of all time; that’s not exactly a lofty target, but it could go far beyond what its predecessors achieved in pure sales.

Perhaps, after misfires, bad luck and unfortunate chains of events, the Metroid series will have a true blockbuster hit. If so, a fan-favourite series could finally break through to mainstream sales success. If Fire Emblem can do it, Metroid definitely stands a chance.


Further reading:

20 Bethesda Games from the World’s Most Iconic Franchises Available in Xbox Game Pass Tomorrow

We’ve always been fans, but now we’re family

As we shared earlier this week, we’ve officially welcomed ZeniMax Media and Bethesda to the Xbox family, adding even more incredible talent, creative diversity, and beloved gaming franchises to an already stacked Xbox lineup.

You might be wondering what exactly that means for you as a gamer. Well, as we’ve said in the past, Xbox Game Pass is all about bringing you more great games to discover and play with your friends. Starting tomorrow, we continue that journey and celebrate welcoming Bethesda to Xbox by making 20 of Bethesda’s most iconic and award-winning games – including games from franchises like Dishonored, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein – available to Xbox Game Pass members. What’s more, 16 of those titles will be available everywhere you play whether it’s PC, console, or mobile devices through the cloud for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.

The full list of games is below and we can’t wait to jump in and discover our next favorite game with players from around the world. A handful of these games will also benefit from FPS Boost on Xbox Series X|S, and we’ll have more to share on that soon.

We invite you to play these iconic games, whether it’s the first time or a revisit to these beloved worlds. As for what’s next, the teams across Bethesda are hard at work and will have more to share later this year.

Bethesda Xbox Game Pass

Bethesda Games Playable with Xbox Game Pass (As of March 12)

Dishonored Definitive Edition (Console, PC, Cloud)
This complete compilation includes Dishonored, winner of over 100 Game of Year awards, as well as all of its additional content – Dunwall City Trials, The Knife of Dunwall, The Brigmore Witches and Void Walker’s Arsenal.

Dishonored 2 (Console, PC, Cloud)
Reprise your role as a supernatural assassin in Dishonored 2 – the next chapter in the award-winning saga by Arkane Studios. Play your way in a world where mysticism and industry collide. How will you combine your character’s unique set of powers, weapons and gadgets to eliminate your enemies?

DOOM (1993) (Console, PC, Cloud)
Doom introduced millions of gamers to the fast-paced, white-knuckle, demon-slaying action the franchise is known for. Relive the birth of the first-person shooter and experience the demon-blasting fun that popularized the genre. Doom includes Episode IV: Thy Flesh Consumed, with 9 additional action-packed levels and split-screen 4-player deathmatch and co-op.

DOOM II (Console, PC, Cloud)
Bring your trusty Super Shotgun and an arsenal of classic Doom weapons to bear against deadlier demons and the infamous boss, the Icon of Sin. Doom II includes The Master Levels for Doom II with 20 additional levels, as well as split-screen 4 player co-op and multiplayer.

DOOM 3 (Console, PC, Cloud)
Battle your way through a demon-infested facility before entering the abyss to battle Hell’s mightiest warrior – and put an end to the invasion. Doom 3 includes both campaign expansions – Resurrection of Evil and The Lost Mission.

DOOM 64 (Console, PC, Cloud)
Battle armies of demons in your crusade to hunt down the Mother Demon and stop Hell’s invasion. As you fight through more than 30 action-packed levels, be on the lookout for enhanced weapons and secrets to help you put an end to the demonic threat.

DOOM Eternal (Console, PC, Cloud)
Hell’s armies have invaded Earth. Become the Slayer in an epic single-player campaign to conquer demons across dimensions and stop the final destruction of humanity. Experience the ultimate combination of speed and power in Doom Eternal – the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat. The only thing they fear… is you.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Console, PC)
An epic, open-ended single-player RPG, Morrowind allows you to play any kind of character imaginable. You can choose to follow the main storyline and find the source of the evil blight that plagues the land, or set off on your own to explore strange locations and develop your character.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Console, PC)
Step inside the most richly detailed and vibrant game-world ever created. With a powerful combination of freeform gameplay and unprecedented graphics, you can unravel the main quest at your own pace or explore the vast world and find your own challenges.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (Console, PC, Cloud)
Winner of more than 200 Game of the Year Awards, the Skyrim Special Edition includes the game and add-ons with all-new features like remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, and more. Also bring the power of mods to consoles. New quests, environments, characters, dialogue, armor, weapons and more – with Mods, there are no limits to what you can experience.

The Elder Scrolls Online (Cloud, Console)
Experience the award-winning story in a persistent Elder Scrolls world. Embark on an adventure that lets you play your way, go anywhere at any level. Battle, craft, steal, siege, explore and more.

The Evil Within (Console, PC, Cloud)
Experience a disturbing reality as you try to break free from warped machinations. With limited resources at your disposal, you’ll fight for survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action. Defeat insurmountable terror and experience the ultimate thrill by discovering The Evil Within.

Fallout 4 (Console, PC, Cloud)
As the sole survivor of Vault 111, you enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours. Only you can rebuild and determine the fate of the Wasteland. Welcome home.

Fallout 76 (Console, PC, Cloud)
Steel Dawn is the first chapter in the new Brotherhood of Steel questline, free for Fallout 76 players. Visit settlements populated with new NPCs and unlock powerful weapons and armor from the Brotherhood arsenal. Join in their mission to rebuild society and aid in securing valuable technology.

Fallout: New Vegas (Console)
Welcome to New Vegas. It’s the kind of town where you dig your own grave prior to being shot in the head… and that’s before things really get ugly. It’s a town of dreamers and desperados being torn apart by warring factions vying for complete control of this desert oasis.

Prey (Console, PC, Cloud)
Good morning, Morgan. Prey joins the Xbox Game Pass library tomorrow, taking you from the comfort of your home to the treacherous depths of space. As Morgan Yu, you’ll have to use your wits, weapons and strange powers to fight the alien threat that has overtaken the Talos I space station. Explore the station, upgrade your skills and abilities, and uncover the secrets of Talos I and the dangers within.

RAGE 2 (Console, PC, Cloud)
Dive headfirst into a dystopian world devoid of society, law, and order. Rage 2 brings together two studio powerhouses – Avalanche Studios, masters of open world insanity, and id Software, creators of the first-person shooter – to deliver a carnival of carnage where you can go anywhere, shoot anything, and explode everything.

Wolfenstein: The New Order (Console, PC, Cloud)
Wolfenstein sends players across Europe on a personal mission to bring down the fascist war machine. With the help of a small group of resistance fighters, infiltrate their most heavily guarded facilities, battle high-tech legions, and take control of super-weapons that have conquered the earth – and beyond.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Console, PC, Cloud)
The year is 1946 and the Nazis are on the brink of winning World War II. In an effort to turn the tide in the allies’ favor, B.J. Blazkowicz must embark on an epic, two-part mission deep within Bavaria…

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Console, PC, Cloud)
Set 19 years after the events of Wolfenstein II, BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters, Jess and Soph Blazkowicz — after years of training from their battle-hardened father — are forced into action. Team up with a friend to level up, explore, and complete missions to unlock abilities that compliment your playstyle.