First came console exclusives. Then came Day 1 DLC. Now Nintendo has found a whole new way to “gate off” craved gameplay elements, specifically those contained within the code of perhaps its most anticipated first-party portable production in years: the 3DS-only sci-fi adventure known best to rabid franchise fans as Metroid: Samus Returns.
- As with most of Nintendo’s recent Wii U, Switch and 3DS projects, the impending remake of beloved 1991 Game Boy side-scroller Return of Samus will boast Amiibo compatibility, with new plastic renditions of series protagonist Aran and her long-running gelatinous Metroid foes launching to celebrate the occasion.
- There’s a catch, though. On top of granting Returns players the exclusive ability to hunt down and slaughter in-game Metroids aplenty by tapping the 3DS’ screen, the latter Amiibo will be a compulsory purchase for any brave souls hoping to tackle its campaign’s toughest difficulty setting, Fusion Mode.
- Other Amiibo-exclusive features include an energy recharge function for Samus’ suit and a Metroid: Fusion-inspired costume with which to make the armoured bounty hunter resemble her GBA counterpart, both accessed via her own figure.
Predictably not everyone’s welcomed the news with the open arms that Nintendo and their co-developers MercurySteam would’ve probably hoped for, the prospect of paying a further £40 or more to own both Amiibos – and thus all bonus DLC – proving an enraging one for those hoping to access all content through the main game alone.
More than anything, though, it’s a sign of the times, what with Nintendo’s recent efforts to recoup its Wii U operating losses from last year via mobile products like Super Mario Run, the launch of their first ever Season Pass with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and now Returns’ Amiibo-locked gameplay features.
Will that harsh economic reality appease those long-running Metroid avids feeling betrayed by the change of tact this time around? Almost certainly not, but it’s worth bearing in mind the need for such concessions in order for Nintendo to keep producing its – usually critically acclaimed – software before marching on their offices with pitchforks and torches tonight.
Be sure to let us know your thoughts on this contentious announcement in the comments below, and don’t miss our continuing coverage of Samus Returns here at D-pad Joy ahead of its release exclusively on September 15th.