The last time I played through Xenoblade Chronicles was just after its European release in 2011, so I’ll let the other staff writers with fresher memories of it handle the actual game of the month. Instead, I’d like to take a not-so-brief look back at the history of the game’s developer, Monolith Soft, and the games they developed prior to Xenoblade. There are plenty of recurring themes, gameplay elements and staff involved, so let’s see how almost a decade of developing RPGs shaped this robot-slaying, god-climbing adventure.
In Metroid Prime’s original GameCube version, players can unlock the original Metroid by connecting a GBA system. We’ve heard rumors about Retro Studios planning something similar with Super Metroid, but that’s only just now been confirmed.
It turns out that Retro did indeed have Super Metroid up and running. Sadly though, Nintendo wouldn’t allow for its inclusion since it was using a third-party emulator. That does make some sense, as it wasn’t a tool that the company personally owned.
Perfect Dark Zero ended up on the Xbox 360, but that wasn’t always the plan. Rare was initially developing the title for GameCube before Nintendo sold off the studio to Microsoft.
Unseen64 shared a video today that shows concept art from a prototype Perfect Dark Zero build via an art gallery. It gives us a look at the different sort of art style Rare was originally toying around with during the GameCube era – something more cartoony and Japanese manga-inspired at one point. Take a look at the video below.
It’s safe to say that Mario Kart 8 takes more than a few cues from F-Zero. Nintendo’s other racing franchise that started out on the SNES gets comparatively little love nowadays, but several features from this series have worked their way into the latest Mario Kart. The new racetracks are the most obvious influence, with gravity-defying courses that are straight out of F-Zero (quite literally in the case of some of the DLC), but the new 200cc class brings Mario Kart’s speed just a little bit closer to its older brother. Heck, you can even play as a Mii approximation of Captain Falcon if you can track down his elusive amiibo. But for all the inspiration that Mario Kart 8 takes from F-Zero, the two series remain distinctly different. Some people are claiming that Mario Kart is now an adequate replacement for the currently MIA F-Zero (and by some people I mean just one guy on Neogaf), but taking a look at the design philosophy behind both titles shows that they’re completely at odds with each other.
Unseen64 recently updated its comprehensive article about the development of Metroid Prime. The site has plenty of details about what was cut and changed in the game, ranging from bosses to power-ups. There’s also information about various redesigns for Samus, the change from third-person to first-person perspective, and more.
Here’s one notable excerpt concerning a Kraid boss battle that was removed from Metroid Prime:
As mentioned above, Kraid was a part of the original plan for Metroid Prime. We understand that he was slated to be added to the last act, as he was cut towards the end of development. At the time, he had come a long way from the more traditional route that was first being considered.
In this 3D model by Gene Kohler, he was redone with a metal helmet, masking the majority of his face. Due to this feature, fans have taken to calling this infamous render ‘Meta Kraid’, although, in truth, no such title had been assigned.
Contrary to certain speculation, Kraid was, in fact, very early along when work on him ceased, as one ex Retro employee recounted:
“Kraid was really just some ideas and a first pass model. We were about to start work on him when he was cut. The overall idea was to have Kraid at one end of a large cavern, and some rickety platforms at the other end that Kraid could reach out to and tip over. He would also fire missiles at you from his belly ports. As I recall you would have to climb to the top and trigger something to collapse on him several times. There were probably other stages but I don’t remember them.”
Despite appearing in the Phazon Mines in Kohler’s image, it was never defined whereabouts in the game he would actually be encountered either. Speaking to MythicaHQ in 2004, he explained that Kraid’s absence was a casualty of time restrictions:
“I had completely finished modelling and texturing Kraid. The level that he was to be included in was well underway to being designed. There just was not enough development time remaining to fully implement all aspects of the scenario that were needed to pull off a highly polished\fun gaming experience… animations\effects\programming\etc. It was decided that Kraid was not imperative enough to the Metroid Prime project to run the risk of pushing up the release date in order to fit him in.”
Unseen64 also posted several clips of things such as cut creatures:
For plenty more on Metroid Prime’s development, head on over to Unseen64.
The Mario Party series has sold more than 39.6 million copies worldwide, Nintendo has revealed. A message posted on the company’s European website confirms the news.
That figure takes all sales into account up through December 2014. It also includes all games – Mario Party for the N64 up through Mario Party: Island Tour on the 3DS.
Mario Party 10 is the first Wii U instalment in the revered Mario Party series, which since its debut – Mario Party – on Nintendo 64 in 1999 has sold over 39.6 million* copies globally.
* Figure as of December 2014. This figure incorporates the following titles: Mario Party (Nintendo 64), Mario Party 2 (Nintendo 64), Mario Party 3 (Nintendo 64), Mario Party 4 (Nintendo GameCube), Mario Party 5 (Nintendo GameCube), Mario Party 6 (Nintendo GameCube), Mario Party 7 (Nintendo GameCube), Mario Party 8 (Wii), Mario Party 9 (Wii), Mario Party Advance (Game Boy Advance), Mario Party DS (Nintendo DS), and Mario Party: Island Tour (Nintendo 3DS).
The next Mario Party game, Mario Party 10, launches next month.