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The things you didn't know about Metroid Prime

TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Games and Technology
So it's been a while since I've done one of these topics, and while I'm more generally known for my Sonic and Sega stuff, I'm willing to bet that most would still find this interesting. Metroid Prime underwent radical changes during it's development, changing from a 3rd person shooter to a first person shooter early in development. Even after the change in perspective, much changed between viewings at trade shows, and the final version of the game.

Recently, a very early demo for Metroid Prime was uncovered. While not from the 3rd person perspective, it is likely right after they switched to the first person perspective. Already, tons of differences from the final have been noted, and research on other changes are still going on.

j5y3p.jpg

Documenting those changes will be the purpose of this thread. While I'm not crazy versed in the workings of Metroid like I am with Sonic, the stuff being pulled from this early copy should be just as interesting.

I'll begin this topic by posting early item description text, which has been extracted from the disk. In the root directory of the disk is a file named MiscData.pak, and when you dump the text from within the file you find that it contains extremely old descriptions of all the major power ups present at that time in the game. I've formatted the text to be readable as follows:
Inventory Screen
Arm Cannon
Beam Upgrades
Morphball Upgrades
Suits
Visors
Secondary Items
Power Ups
Default Visor (Up on D-Pad)
Used To Unlock Elevators and Doors and Download enemy Info (Left on D-Pad)
See Invisible Enemies and Invisible Paintings of Missile Icons on Walls (Right on D-Pad)
Paint shot/cold objects with patriotic colors (Down on D-Pad)
Default Beam (Up on C-Stick)
Shoots Shards of Ice (Right on C-Stick)
Shoots Purple Stuff (Down on C-Stick)
Shoots Plasma (Left on C-Stick)
[Insert Description here]
Additional Jump While still in air
Press and hold L while looking at grapple target
Hit Y in first-person mode to activate
Hit Y to fire while missle launcher is active
Default Suit
Protects from Lava Damage
Cancels out water physics???
Really Big Missle with a really cool partical effect
Seeks out nearest enemy to damage
deals out mediocre damage for the low cost of 3 missiles per second
Freezes all enemies within blast radius
Who knows
Hit Z while in first person mode
Charge A while In morphball and let go when you're glowing yellow
Hold R while In morphball
Hit B while In morphball
Hold still and hit Y while in morphball
Gives you 10 energy units
Gives you 20 energy units
Would probably give you 1 powerbomb, if it existed
Tanks of extra energy

The funky descriptions are, at times, pretty funny. Seems retro has a good sense of humor. The lack of major items and the number of placeholder descriptions should clue you into how old this demo is.

I don't have as much free time anymore as I used to back when I was in college, but I'll try to keep up with this topic at least once a day. Lots of cool crap has been found already, like early rooms and a ton of the music is different.

TheSonicRetard on

Posts

  • TzyrTzyr Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    It will be neat to see what you found. Metroid Prime was the first game in a long time to really open my eyes and it is still definitely one of my favourites. Being part of the sequence breaking community, it's sad to think I've put hundreds of hours into the game...but it was great to tear apart.

    I also got a chance of talking to people who designed it and they were always amazed the crazy things we managed to do. I kind of wish I managed to learn more about the creation from them. Just the idea being in one of the rooms, with each room on the walls with the puzzles to solve them...sounds so awesome!

    It is funny to read the descriptions. Wonder why "who knows"? Seems random. It is neat that most of their list did make it to the final game.

    TSR, how much of MP did you go through? Like did you do any of the sequence breaks? Tried to dissect it yourself? Simply had fun playing it?

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. "
  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Nice. I loved Metroid Prime, and it was probably the game that my PS2 owning friends were most jealous of at the time.

    The loading system is utterly brilliant too.

  • FawstFawst The road to awe.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Sequence breaks? Dissect yourself? Huh??

    And where did this demo pop up that you have a copy you could rip data from, TSR? Pretty intriguing stuff. The powerbomb description made me lol. =)

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  • SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Metroid Prime got post patch releases in the form of new disc prints. 1.00 has all the sequence breaks and is the one used to speed run. 1.01 fixes some stuff, but more sequence breaks were found in this version, and 1.02 (greatest hits) fixed everything making speedrunning on this version damn near impossible compared to 1.00.

  • undeinPiratundeinPirat Registered User
    edited June 2011
    All I know how to do is the scan jump to the double jump boots and it's sweet. Really interested in what the differences are in this.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] steam: undeinpirat
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Fawst wrote: »
    Sequence breaks? Dissect yourself? Huh??

    And where did this demo pop up that you have a copy you could rip data from, TSR? Pretty intriguing stuff. The powerbomb description made me lol. =)

    A former retro programmer who left early in metroid prime's development. From looks of it, this is from the first time it was publically shown off. The actual demo only includes the space freighter, but there is tons burried in the disk, including an uncompiled source code. Even viewing the executable shows debug build info, which is neato.

  • agoajagoaj Hey You Pichu I don't like your girlfriendRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    If this game has Hidden Palace Zone too...

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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    TSR, you're one of those awesome people where I can read a thread title and automatically know it's you who posted it.

    Cool shit.

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  • GreenGreen Stick around. I'm full of bad ideas.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I love the Prime games, but I ruined the first one for myself by playing it too much. It wasn't a game anymore, it was an item-gathering checklist I had memorized by heart. :(

    IsaacSig.png
    3DS: 3007 8087 2767 | Nintendo ID: AngryFrog
  • CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - Isorn Squalor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I absolutely love looks at games like this, and am looking forward to the juicy deets you have to offer.

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Shoots purple stuff" got a laugh out of me. It seems like they were establishing a color set for all of the abilities they could fit in the game based on the control scheme. Notice the elemental references and the explicit description of the morph ball's charging as yellow. Assuming lava and ice would be red and blue, it fits that each ability would have a distinct color. Which of course is something they did in the final game.

    Really cool stuff, TSR. Can't wait to see more :).

    and this sig. and this blog..
  • randombattlerandombattle Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Man TSR you always have the craziest random stuff.

    And it's always so damn fascinating.

    itsstupidbutidontcare2.gif
    I never asked for this!
  • PoochPooch Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    This reminded me of a thread on Reddit a few days ago about early design of Metroid Prime 2- online co-op and a completely different story were in the works for it.

    Some info here:
    http://metroid.wikia.com/wiki/Metroid_1.5

  • KupiKupi Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Oh god I'm cracking up at "Would probably give you 1 powerbomb, if it existed." Like, I could totally see someone frying Samus's on-board computer and having it start getting all sarcastic/depressed/halfassed at random. "Suit, what does this weapon do?" "I don't know, it blows out some purple crap or something."

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    So let's kick this thing off from the beginning. I'm talking about the oldest known version of metroid prime to exist. See, Metroid Prime didn't begin its life as an FPS. When retro was first commissioned to create Metroid Prime, they began producing a 3rd person action game, which was intended to be less like Other M and more like Gears of War (as an example, of course, MP predates gears by many years).

    This third person version of Metroid Prime has never surfaced. It was never shown at trade shows, nor did anyone get to play it. The only reason its existence is known is because of developer interviews, and a handful of screenshots released by Nintendo themselves:

    earlymetroidprime.jpg

    retroid4.jpg

    metroid5.jpg

    According to a developer I spoke to, it was actually Nintendo who pushed for the first person perspective. Retro wanted to create a third person game, but Nintendo, according to the developer, pushed for the first person perspective so that they'd have a game to compete against Halo in the west. The first person perspective was also chosen because Retro had experience in the first person with an unreleased early game demo they developed.

    Reportedly, according to the developer, even shifting the camera to third person for the morphball mode was an uphill battle against nintendo. The reason the screw attack isn't in prime 1, according to the developer I talked to, is because Nintendo wouldn't budge on letting the camera escape first person perspective while jumping.

    Anyways, despite looking and playing radically different, the metroid prime we know today, and the one which the disk I hold is a beta of, was built directly out of this third person metroid. That is to say, the 3rd person game wasn't scrapped and started over, and that metroid prime is still the same game that the third person perspective game was.

    Next time, I'll go into a full walk through of the demo I have in my hands. According to timestamps, and the content of the demo, it is the first time Metroid Prime was publicly shown off in a playable form. It includes only the freighter as a playable segment, although through digging lots of other stuff can be found.

  • ArteenArteen I'm gonna clean up this world yet! Stop polluting!Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I never really did any sequence breaking myself in Metroid Prime, but I loved watching other players' speed runs. Just a few months ago, I was lucky enough to catch a livestream on Speed Demos Archive of a Metroid Prime head-to-head speedrun race. So intense.

    sig_ap_001_zps3e5ddaa1.png
  • RehabRehab Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Awesome stuff! I swear I have a magazine from waaaaay back that had a couple screenshots of the third person Metroid. One was a sort of overhead shot of the action and the other one looked very close to that third image. I'll have to hunt it down if I can, unless I am remembering wrong and I saw it online or something.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Metroid Prime destroyed the Metroid-verse to me once it showed the impossibilities of a human being morphing into a ball. After that....what is the point? Might as well give Samus the ability to morph into a dragon.

    steam_sig.png
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Fun Fact: Metroid Prime was compiled with Code Warrior. lol.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Rehab wrote: »
    Awesome stuff! I swear I have a magazine from waaaaay back that had a couple screenshots of the third person Metroid. One was a sort of overhead shot of the action and the other one looked very close to that third image. I'll have to hunt it down if I can, unless I am remembering wrong and I saw it online or something.

    Don't confuse 3rd person Metroid Prime with Metroid 64, which was in development and also 3rd person, but is not in any way related to the Metroid Prime project.

  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Prime 1 is one of my favorite games. I wish someone would make a decent knockoff since I'm getting Retro is done with them.

    I love the metroidvania style of using a continual stream of new powers to proceed and hunt for items combined with FPS gameplay.

    I'm surprised to hear it was made first person to compete with Halo. I figured Nintendo wasn't the kind of company to directly aim for the competition by the time they got to the Gamecube era.

    steam_sig.png
  • RehabRehab Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hmm, its very possible that I am making that mistaken then. I did find this scrounging around on the internet just now though:

    Early Metroid Prime

    Also, if you search for "early Metroid Prime development" this shows up as the fifth link of all the search results!

  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Metroid Prime destroyed the Metroid-verse to me once it showed the impossibilities of a human being morphing into a ball. After that....what is the point? Might as well give Samus the ability to morph into a dragon.

    But Samus isn't a human being.

    Hey, TSR, would it be possible to put the screenshot in the first post in a spoiler? The other pics are fine, but that one breaks the h-scroll on the post to the point where I have a hard time reading it.

    EmperorSeth.png
  • RakaiRakai Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Prime 1 is one of my favorite games. I wish someone would make a decent knockoff since I'm getting Retro is done with them.

    I love the metroidvania style of using a continual stream of new powers to proceed and hunt for items combined with FPS gameplay.

    I'm surprised to hear it was made first person to compete with Halo. I figured Nintendo wasn't the kind of company to directly aim for the competition by the time they got to the Gamecube era.

    Wouldn't it just be metroid style and not metroidvania? Anyways, Metroid Prime came out only a year after Halo. Were the changes implemented that quickly or did the pre-release hype get to Nintendo?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]XBL: Rakayn | PS3: Rakayn | Steam ID
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Well "metroid-style" is just another way of saying Metroidvania, isn't it? If not, my bad.

    And Samus IS a human being. She just had a infusion of Chozo blood that doesn't seem to do much more than give her some minor physical enhancements and the ability to use her armor.

    EDIT: And it always kinda ticked me off that they removed some of the backstory for the Prime Metroid in later releases of Metroid Prime. There was cool stuff about how the Space Pirates found it, started experimenting on it, and it started absorbing their weapons and what not. If I understand correctly, they cut that stuff out because of the plot hole of how the creature wouldn't have been able to get into the phazon crater. IMO they should have just had an entry of the pirates freaking out that the creature managed to penetrate the shield and that they're trying to figure out how they did it.

    steam_sig.png
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    According to a developer I spoke to, it was actually Nintendo who pushed for the first person perspective. Retro wanted to create a third person game, but Nintendo, according to the developer, pushed for the first person perspective so that they'd have a game to compete against Halo in the west. The first person perspective was also chosen because Retro had experience in the first person with an unreleased early game demo they developed.

    Reportedly, according to the developer, even shifting the camera to third person for the morphball mode was an uphill battle against nintendo. The reason the screw attack isn't in prime 1, according to the developer I talked to, is because Nintendo wouldn't budge on letting the camera escape first person perspective while jumping.

    Anyways, despite looking and playing radically different, the metroid prime we know today, and the one which the disk I hold is a beta of, was built directly out of this third person metroid. That is to say, the 3rd person game wasn't scrapped and started over, and that metroid prime is still the same game that the third person perspective game was.

    Next time, I'll go into a full walk through of the demo I have in my hands. According to timestamps, and the content of the demo, it is the first time Metroid Prime was publicly shown off in a playable form. It includes only the freighter as a playable segment, although through digging lots of other stuff can be found.

    Oof, that's hard to read and swallow. They wanted to compete against Halo of all things? I mean, I know this is all alleged information, but I'm workin' with it anyway.

    Trying to think about how the morph ball would work out in first-person is... really mind boggling. The camera breaking away to specific angles in a couple sequences that were morph-ball-only was a really smart decision. I can't believe Nintendo fought it.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
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  • RehabRehab Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I think Metroidvania is meant to relate to the 2D Castlevania games that have a lot of similarities with Metroid from a gameplay and design perspective specifically. Games like Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, etc.

    That is all pretty nitpicky though, you can tell right away what you meant in that post.

  • ZxerolZxerol The fullest, most luscious beard. Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I mean, the term "metroidvania" is pretty redundant when we're referring to the series that pretty much started that whole style, is all. And it's not like early, pre-SOTN Castlevania was very similar to it, that cheap harlot who had to butt its name in. :P

    (Semi exception can be made for the likes of Simon's Quest, I suppose.)

  • RakaiRakai Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I just thought it was a bit silly to apply the "metroidvania" term in the context of the Metroid series. The definition itself is disputed and argued upon, and this isn't the thread for that debate.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]XBL: Rakayn | PS3: Rakayn | Steam ID
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The dude said halo, but he might have meant FPS games in general. What was the big FPS back in those days? Half Life?

    That strikes me as weird though, because I can't picture nintendo really giving a shit about the western FPS genre. I don't think Nintendo is above lowest common denominator dips into not-so-subtle imitation as someone mentioned above - Killer Instinct anyone? - but to hear from someone at Retro that they were essentially actively targeting the FPS crowd was surprising.

    Although, we have to also consider that the Nintendo of 2001 was not the nintendo of today. The direction they tried to take the gamecube was decidedly different from the direction they've taken the wii. I guess, at one point, Nintendo saw worth in trying to gain a foothold in the FPS market. Had it worked out, given today's environment, it would have just been another example people would point to of Nintendo's brilliance.

    And before anyone gets defensive - I'm not saying Metroid Prime was anything less than unequivocal success in terms of gaming. I'm saying that it didn't really capture the casual fps market like games like Halo or CoD have done.

  • PaperLuigi44PaperLuigi44 Yeah, I know, I missed Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Metroid Prime was one of those games I got, maybe 4 years ago, when I finally had the money to start collecting the Gamecube games I'd always wanted (thankfully I found 1 and 2 in one trip) and even then it knocked my socks off.

    Some interesting stuff already, TSR.

  • GreenGreen Stick around. I'm full of bad ideas.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Metroid Prime destroyed the Metroid-verse to me once it showed the impossibilities of a human being morphing into a ball. After that....what is the point? Might as well give Samus the ability to morph into a dragon.

    Seriously? The same thing that was the very first upgrade in the very first game?

    There's also logs in MP that make it pretty clear that Samus' suit is the only piece of technology capable of doing it

    IsaacSig.png
    3DS: 3007 8087 2767 | Nintendo ID: AngryFrog
  • ArteenArteen I'm gonna clean up this world yet! Stop polluting!Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Green wrote: »
    Metroid Prime destroyed the Metroid-verse to me once it showed the impossibilities of a human being morphing into a ball. After that....what is the point? Might as well give Samus the ability to morph into a dragon.

    Seriously? The same thing that was the very first upgrade in the very first game?

    There's also logs in MP that make it pretty clear that Samus' suit is the only piece of technology capable of doing it

    Those are my favorite logs.

    sig_ap_001_zps3e5ddaa1.png
  • TaminTamin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Arteen wrote: »
    Green wrote: »
    Metroid Prime destroyed the Metroid-verse to me once it showed the impossibilities of a human being morphing into a ball. After that....what is the point? Might as well give Samus the ability to morph into a dragon.

    Seriously? The same thing that was the very first upgrade in the very first game?

    There's also logs in MP that make it pretty clear that Samus' suit is the only piece of technology capable of doing it

    Those are my favorite logs.

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