We all knew this would happen. Even the most optimistic observer knew that the good will of Metroid fans has been stretched to a near breaking point and producing a spin-off before a main series game was a bad call. The game has already struggled in Japan and in the U.S. and now the UK sales charts are showing some grim stats.
In the week that Federation Force launched it was outperformed by games that are over 4 years old. However, I am willing to concede that a lot of those older titles, such as Pokemon or Super Mario Brothers, are relatively consistent in sales because of their respective legacies of producing quality titles. BUT it is absolutely appalling that Metroid Prime: Federation Force, in its launch week, was outperformed by Mario & Sonic: Rio 2016 Olympic Games. If that’s not a nail in the “this game is a flop” coffin, I don’t know what is.
This should be a learning experience for all those bigshot developers sitting on dormant, yet beloved, IPs. You can’t just slap the name on whatever product you’re waving around and expect gamers to eat it up. As a developer you should be informed on what your fans want and what they do not want, because that is the key difference in whether you take a deep hit financially or whether you make so much money you can swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.
I am hoping and praying to the game gods that Nintendo does not take this as a sign that gamers do not want a Metroid game. Because we do, we really do. It’s just that the Metroid franchise hasn’t delivered a quality main series entry in so long that there is an entire generation of gamers that believe Samus is just a Smash Bros. character.
[Source for the top 50 sales chart here]