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 New Metroid Prime Hunters Details!
The highly anticipated Metroid for the DS will hit UK stores in May 7th, but to get our tastebuds tingling Nintendo Europe conducted an interview with Nintendo Software Technology. Here's what they had to say:

"Nintendo of Europe: You've been very busy since we last spoke! Tell us how you've been spending the extra development time.

Richard Vorodi: "I think every great game needs just the right amount of time to simmer on the stove. We knew we wanted to expand the single player experience, and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was about to be introduced in America. After all the excitement the game got at E3, we felt it best to give the game that extra level of attention that makes a game the best that it can be. So the game was delayed until March [ May 5 in Europe - Ed.], and we started grindiní. Single player became more sophisticated, while multiplayer got meaner and headed online. Thatís what weíve been up to since May."


NoE: Can you run us through the different modes available in the multiplayer game, and explain whether they're playable with Nintendo Wi-Fi and/or over local wireless link?

Masamichi Abe: "There are seven multiplayer game modes. Here is a brief explanation:

1) Battle mode: The players compete to see how many opponents they can defeat within a certain amount of time.

2) Survival mode: The player who survives to the end is the winner.

3) Bounty mode: The player picks up an item called the 'Octolith' and carries it to the goal to score. The player with the highest score wins.

4) Challenge mode: The players battle for control of an area. The player who accumulates the most time in control is the winner.

5) Prime Hunter mode: The first player to defeat another player becomes the 'Prime Hunter'. When the Prime Hunter is defeated by another player, that player becomes the Prime Hunter. The Prime Hunter enjoys increased speed, jump ability, and attack capability. This continues until time is up. The player with the most accumulated time as Prime Hunter is the winner.

6) Capture mode: Teams of players battle for control of Octoliths. A team scores each time it brings the enemy teamís Octolith to its home base. The first team to score a certain amount of points is the winner.

7) Nodes mode: Players battle to control a circular area called a Node. When a player is in a Node for a certain amount of time, the Node is activated and the player gets points. Whoever accumulates the most points wins.

"The number of rounds, play time, and points needed to win can be changed by the player. The player may also change the capability of the weapons, and may turn the radar on or off. All game modes are available in Wi-Fi (Friends & Rivals) and local wireless play. Finally, an AI-controlled player, or BOT, is available in local wireless mode. BOTS are great for practice, and as additional players to fill out a game. The Hard mode BOT is really tough to defeat - give it a try at least once!"


NoE: Tell us about the new 'Rival Radar'. How does that work?

RV: "Rival Radar is really cool. Itís similar to Nintendogs - you take your DS out in public and have it hunt down other Metroid Hunters players. Once you get home, you open the DS and BAM! - youíve got some new prey to blast online. Itís a fun concept."


NoE: Will there be differences in gameplay between playing over local wireless or Wi-Fi Connection? (For example, in Mario Kart DS over Wi-Fi it's not possible to hold an item behind your kart.)

RV: "With the exception of AI opponents in local wireless mode, there is no difference! The extra time in development really allowed us to integrate the local wireless with the online Wi-Fi experience. Rest assured, offline or on, itís your skills that win you matches."


NoE: How can players distinguish themselves apart from 'most wins, least losses'? What sort of statistics will be kept?

MA: "A feature called the 'Hunter Licence' records the results of multiplayer games played in Hunters. It records statistics such as how frequently a weapon is used, and Alt Forms used to defeat enemies. [Alt Forms are the rival bounty hunters' equivalent of Samus' Morph Ball - Ed.] When players make Friends and Rivals in Wi-Fi mode, they can check each otherís Hunter Licences. Each playerís skill is indicated by the number of stars they have, which increases and decreases depending on the performance of the player."


NoE: Letís talk about the single player mode for a bit. Where does Metroid Prime Hunters take place within the chronology of the Metroid universe?

RV: "In the Metroid timeline, Hunters sits somewhere between Prime 1 and Prime 2. Samus wears the suit found in Echoes but will be piloting the ship she flew in Prime 1."


NoE: Samus' suit is fully powered up right from the beginning this time; can you tell us how you ensure that, despite that extra power, the player will still find the going tough?

RV: "Trust me when I say that these new Hunters are total badasses. Itís gonna be a tough fight no matter how upgraded her suit is. Samus shows up fully powered, but will still need to augment her Power Beam with the Huntersí weapons in order to progress through the different worlds. I think this dynamic is a subtle one, but itís a great example of how Hunters is defining itself as a unique Metroid experience."


NoE: How does the single player gameplay work? If Samus is travelling from planet to planet to locate artefacts, how do you ensure the gameplay stays fresh between the worlds?

MA: "The single player game is divided into four worlds, and the player travels between the worlds in Samusí ship. In each world Samus battles with enemies and solves puzzles, while trying to figure out whatís going on in the Alimbic Cluster. There is more than one way to complete the four worlds, so the player can choose his/her own path through the game. Each world has a unique character and individual game elements, and I guarantee you wonít get bored."


NoE: What are your favourite new weapons and moves that Samus (or any of the other bounty hunters) has?

MA: "My favourite ones are the Volt Driver, which disrupts the other playerís visor, and the Shock Coil, which is a homing beam that takes away the other playerís life. In addition to these, I like all the Alt Form attacks, because each one is unique and theyíre fun to use."


NoE: We heard that the bounty hunter Weavel can detach a part of his body to act as a turret. That sounds really cool! Can you tell us about any other such special abilities for the bounty hunters?

RV: "Yeah, Weavelís Alt Form is rather sinister once you learn why he can do that. I love it. Another one thatís really fun is Spireís Dialanche. Basically imagine a 2-ton jagged boulder that can not only whip at you, but can also climb up vertical surfaces. Sick stuff!"


NoE: In a multiplayer game there's nothing worse than an unfair advantage. How did you ensure that the bounty hunters' different abilities were equally balanced? And did any ideas not make the final cut?

MA: "First of all, we decided on the character setting to make every single hunter unique. Then, we started brainstorming for Alt Forms and weapons from there. We implemented those ideas in the game, tested them, and adjusted them over and over - I thought it would never end! However, the never-ending (but we finished!) adjustment and test play, in the end, brought out a well-balanced game. There are a lot of ideas that we couldnít implement in this game, unfortunately. But if you, Metroid fans, request for a sequel for this game, we might be able to add these unused ideas to it."


NoE: There are already rumours about spin-off games for the new bounty hunters. Did you design the characters and abilities with potential spin-off games in mind? And, given the chance, which bounty hunter would you most like to create a new game around?

RV: "A lot of care went into the design of the Hunters. Honestly though, they were primarily designed with the gameplay we had in mind here. However, they all have certain aspects about them that we purposely are keeping out of this game. If they showed up in another, Iím certain that they would still have the power to surprise players! I love them all, but my personal favourite would have to be Kanden. That guy is just brutal!"


NoE: What multiplayer games were your influences in creating Hunters? And how would you compare it to classic shooters like GoldenEye and Perfect Dark?

RV: "To compare Hunters to GoldenEye and Perfect Dark is probably the biggest compliment that this game could ever get. Those games had an immense impact on me as a gamer (PD in particular). I guess the only real answer would be to say that ultimately what will or wonít make it a classic is if the fans embrace it and continue to play it forever and still have fun. I think it has a ton of options to keep it going online for some time."


NoE: Ever since DS owners played the 'First Hunt' demo, they've been itching to play the full game. In terms of scope, how would you describe the differences between that demo and the finished product?

RV: "First Hunt was a flower bed and Hunters is a rainforest!"


NoE: Multiplayer Mario Kart DS is our official lunch break pastime in the office. What cool thing about Hunters would make us swap Mario Kart for Metroid?

RV: "Well for one, you canít headshot your friend and then turn invisible in Mario Kart!"

May 7th can't come soon enough. Stay tuned for a review at the end of March.


Buy New Metroid Prime Hunters Details! now at Play.com
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