As I´m a huge fan of the “Metroid” series (thus articles and reviews such as “AM2R PC review“, “Metroid´s 30th Anniversary” and “Metroid 30th anniversary fan tribute video“) I really wanted to do an interview with the creators of Metroid Database. As I believe that MD is THE absolute best “Metroid” site in the whole world (I´ve been a fan of MD since 1997). So I´m very happy and pleased to inform you all that I got the chance to do an interview with MD´s Ryan Barrett and Devin Monnens. So, I hope that you guys and girls will enjoy my interview with them =)

Robin TGG
I know more than well what MD is. However, some of our readers might not know what Metroid Database is all about. So would you be so kind and give us a proper introduction of yourselves?

Ryan Barrett and Devin Monnens
The Metroid Database is an independently owned and operated website that’s wholly dedicated to reporting, recording, and informing fans of all aspects the Metroid franchise. As of late, we have become more focused on reporting about fandom since there is little official Metroid news from Nintendo. Our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) are the easiest ways for us to accomplish that outreach.

I am Infinity’s End (Ryan Barrett), codirector,community manager, social media editor, and graphic designer for the site. And I am CapCom (Devin Monnens), codirector, editor, and translator.

metroid database

Metroid Database has been the number one source for everything “Metroid” related since 1996.

Robin TGG
I almost couldn´t believe my eyes when I found out that MDB has been around since 1996, it 100% true though. So how does it feel to have been around for over 20 years time? And what has that journey been like for you guys?

It’s a big accomplishment, for sure! I am very proud to tell people we’ve been around for 20 years, and I don’t hesitate to let them know it, lol. I say if you got it, flaunt it. Not too many other fan sites can say they have been continuously updated and maintained for 20 years, but we can. In fact, I’d say we might be among no more than a handful of sites who can say this. I’d love for another fan site to be able to claim they have been continuously active and reached a
20 year milestone like us. That sort of thing needs to be celebrated! Anyone else out there?

Admittedly the journey has been rough at times. Full transparency: there have been times where I’ve been *this* close to quitting and giving up forever, letting it die a slow sad death in the graveyard of ignored websites. But I’ve stuck with it, as has Devin, thankfully. We couldn’t have gotten this far without the help of all of our other staff members Jesse D, Tim, James Pierce, our new Twitter editor Sagi, CCHHunter, Apothem, Aurora Unit, and a few others. Also, our forum members have kept my interest in discussing video games as a whole, so they’ve all helped me keep going, little by little.

metroid database samus aran

It´s been really cool and interesting for me (and others) to see how Metroid Database has evolved since 1996.

Robin TGG
How, when, why and where did MDB happen? And what does the “Metroid” series mean to you? Furthermore, which “Metroid” game do you love the most and why? (you can pick two titles if you have too).

TJ Rappel founded the MDb in October 1996 when he saw there was a need to provide fans with information on the Metroid series. You have to remember this was LONG before Wikipedia, so about the only other place you could find info was through Nintendo Power. TJ added a message board, and the site quickly expanded. We inherited the MDb from TJ in 2007. It was around this time TJ had lost interest in maintaining the site and decided he’d rather put more focus into his personal life and career than spend his spare time reporting on any Metroid news (which by that time his general interest in the series had waned considerably). I pers onally love Super the most and Prime is a very close second. (And if I can pick a hack, Super Zero Mission ftw.)

To me, Metroid is a combination of exploration, shooting action, jumping, and spelunking in a SF horror universe. It’s about mapping unexplored terrain, fighting off dangerous wildlife and Space Pirates, and exploring ancient ruins while acquiring (grave robbing?) powerful artifacts. As for my favorite, I ha ve to give a shoutout to Metroid II: Return of Samus. While one of the more neglected titles in the series, it introduced me to the series and ignited my love for this
style of game. Although I feel Super, Fusion, and Zero Mission have better design, the story and atmosphere of M2 really do it for me so of course, I was excited to see AM2R was finally released!

the evolution of samus aran

Samus Aran has evolved quite a bit since Metroid 1 (1986). And so has Metroid Database.

Robin TGG
What would be THE proudest moment in the history of MDB?

For me, I’d say it’s (1.) when we launched the Bestiary and (2.) when we got to host a panel with Metroid Metal at MAGFest in 2014. Those were probably the greatest two accomplishments I’ve ever done with this site. I’m also very proud of the work we did on scanlating all four volumes of the Samus & Joey manga (not to mention all the uberrare manga we’ve scanlated!) and giving English readers a shot at these pieces of Metroid history that were exclusive to Japan. We’re just getting started though some big changes are coming!

For me, every time I’ve finished a major translation project, I feel proud that we can share it through the MDb. I like the Super Metroid, Zero Mission, and Famicom Disk System interviews, as well as Samus & Joey, Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether, and the strategy guide manga. I actually did all cleaning and typesetting on that one myself, everything but the original scans! It’s great to also hear the reactions from the people who made the games, like seeing Yoshio
Sakamoto and Kensuke Tanabe at GDC and hearing back from Idzuki Kouji, author of Samus & Joey.

Robin TGG
What´s your take on Nintendo´s DMCA claim on “Another Metroid 2 Remake´s” homepage?

It was nice to see all the people and news media outlets come to our Twitter in order to relay their concerns. For the record, I’ll chronicle the events, just so there’s no more confusion:

1. Our webhost (Softlayer) got the notice.
2. Softlayer contacted our admin.
3. Our admin forwarded the notice to us.
4. We took down the file.
5. I verified the notice was real by calling the law firm using the contact information we were given. He sent me an email back. Was the attorney specifically told by Nintendo to act upon the release of AM2R, or was he just doing his job? Jury’s out on that one. Nintendo was totally within their rights to do request the
takedown. Yeah, it sucks, and a lot of people are bitter about it, but usually the ones who are just waiting for an excuse to demonize Nintendo are now using their treatment of AM2R as a martyr. Get real, people. Nintendo is a huge worldwide corporation. They are on the same level as Sony, Sega, SquareEnix, SanRio, Studio Ghibli, and countless other multinational Japanese corporations. They don’t care if it offends or hurts the feelings of their biggest fans. They are legally bound to protect their IP and have rightfully done so. They could have done so much worse. Trust me, a DMCA is basically a slap on the wrist in terms of what legal ramifications could have come of it.

We are no stranger to this kind of content. Nintendo has turned the other cheek on a number of aspects of the MDb for 20 years, and we’re very thankful for that. It’s all a balancing act. How far is too far? Guess AM2R was a good test of that.

did nintendo just do a dmca takedown on metroid 2 remakes homepage

“AM2R” is the living proof for that, there is indeed a hunger for a new 2D/platform “Metroid” title.

Robin TGG
What do you think it will take to make Nintendo understand that the “Metroid” community wants a “real” “Metroid” game?

As far as I’m concerned, they already understand probably far better than we do. They just don’t have the resources or the incentive. Sakamoto runs (ran?) the main series, and Tanaberuns the Prime series. You gotta realize that Nintendo is first and foremost a Japanese company. In Japan, Metroid isn’t a big seller, and we have the (lack of) merch to prove it. Nintendo doesn’t like to make 2D Metroid games anymore because they have run the series into a creative wall.

How many times is Samus going to conveniently lose her items and go on an adventure to get them all over again? How many times is she going to battle Ridley? People have had the similar critiques about The Legend of Zelda, but I don’t think Zelda is as strict about the storyline as Metroid. With Zelda, you can basically create a new storyline and a new Link and Zelda for each and every game and assume it’s all within the same “universe” which binds it all together, and they have a timeline to prove it, even if it involved alternate universes. With Metroid though, it’s a much more closely knit type of game that doesn’t quite have the luxury of creating new characters, new plotlines, and new content or reasons for someone to be Samus. Does just “being Samus” constitute to being a Metroid game, or does it actually require Metroids? Does the “expanded Metroid universe” (see Federation Force) constitute to being a Metroid game?

Some fans say yes. A lot of fans say no. So what it boils down to is does Nintendo really care what the fans want/think, or do they just want to make a product that sells? Nintendo stopped pushing games as an artform a long time ago. IMO, Nintendo, being the huge worldwide corporation they are, wants sales over art or pushing the medium/genre. And they want to appeal to a wide range of people, not just a niche. Metroid is and forever will be a niche series. Thankfully, the genre has grown and many other developers are taking notice of how well the genre works for telling a story.

The only thing I would like to add to this is Yoshio Sakamoto has gone on record saying he wants to push himself as a designer. We didn’t get Super Metroid 2 because he already did that game. I agree with Ryan that Metroid is kind of running into a creative wall. It’s not just fighting Ridley or finding space in the timeline or item collection mechanics; that also extends to the same thematic areas you visit and same basic enemies you fight. Even the title “Metroid”
assumes those space parasites need to be in there, and that’s kind of hard to do if you wiped them all out. It just doesn’t make sense to call the game “Metroid” if all it’s got is Samus in it, or even other main characters, but no Metroids. I don’t think it’s quite the level of stagnation that Mega Man has reached (just how many different ways can you do rockpaperscissors with the Robot Masters?), but the series is definitely in danger of becoming repetitive.

super metroid snes

I would most definitely love to see a “Metroid Prime 4” or a new 2D “Metroid” adventure game in the future.

Robin TGG
And the followup question to that one would be the following. Do you want to see “Metroid Prime 4” or do you want to see a new “Metroid” platform game instead? (perhaps a direct platform sequel to “Super Metroid”?).

M:OM is the direct sequel to Super Metroid. Is it surprising my answer is neither? I’d personally like another 3rd person, 3D adventure game where you play as Samus. Not MP4 and not a 2D Metroid game, but maybe something more similar to Jet Force Gemini, with the best bits of M:OM thrown in there, and maybe some Bayonettalike action sequences. My director of choice would be Masahiro Sakurai. But that’s my dream Metroid. The whole series (once again)
needs a reboot if it’s going to thrive in this insanely competitive market. The Prime series has run its course Dark Samus is DEAD. How could they continue to make a Metroid Prime game?

Samus vs. Sylux? (BORING.) Was Hunters a ‘true’ Metroid Prime game? I would say no, it’s a spinoff. Is it a game where you play as Samus in the first person, or is it a universe sidestory that’s an offshoot of the main saga? If it’s a sidestory that would make Hunters and FF a sidestory of a sidestory. Does anyone really care? If they were to make another FPS/FPA Metroid game, they’d do well to call it something other than ‘Prime,’ but again, just my opinion.

I, too, want a third person 3D adventure game starring Samus. I also want a 2D spritebased game, or possibly 2.5D. The amount of interest in AM2R demonstrates just how much people want to replay Metroid II (or many didn’t play in the first place). Nintendo could have easily farmed something like this out to a company like WayForward. Capcom already made three portable Zeldas, so it’s not like there isn’t any precedence for it. This is a franchise people love, and there’s tons of indie developers making Metroidvanias, so why not license it out?

metroid prime federation force

Every single “Metroid Prime Federation Force” video that Nintendo has uploaded on Youtube, has been bombarded with dislikes from fans of “Metroid”.

Robin TGG
What´s your thoughts on “Metroid Prime: Federation Force” so far? And do you think that Nintendo originally wanted to create the game inorder to make the “Metroid” franchise available to a broader audience? And “if” the game would become a success story, then “maybe” Nintendo would create a “real” “Metroid” game staring Samus Aran?

Personally, I am not that interested in FF as I would be in a Samuscentric Metroid game, but I’m not going to immediately write it off as being utter crap before even playing it. Like many other people who maybe might not be as loud as the other dissenters on the net, I’m reserving judgement until I actually play it. I do know that even though it’s a side story, it takes place directly after the events of Metroid Prime 3 in the timeline, so people are just going to have to
come to terms with it being a part of the overall timeline.

Like Ryan, I am reserving final judgment for when the game launches. That being said, although I downloaded the Blast Ball demo, I haven’t played it yet. I also wasn’t terribly impressed with some of the gameplay I saw in the trailers. Like Han Solo, I’ve got a bad feeling about this, but I’m not going to let videos or art style make me dismiss the game outright. As for audience, I’m not sure who Nintendo thought the audience would be for this game, but Kensuke Tanabe always wanted to do a story about the Federation fighting Space Pirates, so that’s why we have this game. Hopefully it will actually be good and not as awful as Hunters was for me.

nintendo youtube ad share header

What plans does Nintendo has in stores for the “Metroid” IP? And what will happen if “Metroid Federation Force” becomes a big failure?

Robin TGG
I would also like to point out that one of our team members (Nanya) came up with an alternative theory about “Metroid Prime: Federation Force” and Nintendo:

“You know. Federation Force is a Catch22, and I think Nintendo did it on purpose.
“Fans want a new Metroid game.”
“We really don’t want to make any more.”
“I know, let’s make a game that they will hate. They won’t buy it, then we can just point out that it didn’t sell, and we don’t want to lose money, so we won’t make any more Metroid games.”
“How will that work? Even Other M sold pretty well.”
“Simple, we make a crappy FPS game and slap the Metroid Prime logo on it, but don’t include Samus!”
“And when the fans get furious and don’t buy it, we can just go ‘well, sorry, no more Metroid for you then. You didn’t want this’ and laugh about it.”
“And if they DO buy it, we’ll make more of this and ignore calls for a real Metroid game.”

That’s a funny theory, but I don’t buy it. Nintendo isn’t that destructive with their franchises. Tanabe said he had wanted to make this game for a long time. I don’t think it’s a logical business practice to give PR lip service only to generate interest, but behind the scenes they really want to destroy one of the own franchises. If they really wanted to destroy the series, then they simply wouldn’t make any more games of Metroid, period. It all goes back to what I said on what sells. When it comes to Nintendo’s more niche franchises, they have no interest in making any new FZero games, but we sure as hell are getting a lot of Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and Kirby games lately.

LOL yeah, too many conspiracy theorists. Videogames cost tens of millions of dollars to make these days. The cheapest way to end a series is just not make any more of them! Again, Kensuke Tanabe has wanted a game about the Federation fighting the Space Pirates, and he made a game about that. Judging by fan reactions, maybe it’s for the wrong audience. And maybe fans would have liked it better if it had an aesthetic similar to Star Wars: Republic Commando.

Robin TGG
And here´s a follow-up question to “Metroid Prime: Federation Force”. You see. It´s been rather hard for me to ignore the fact that every MP: FF trailer that Nintendo has uploaded since day one, has been slammed time and time again by the ”Metroid” fans. As they simply believe that it´s not the game that they asked for. And in a way, it´s like Paul Feig´s “Ghostbusters” movie (a movie which the fans never wanted or asked for…).

So my question to you would be this. Why doesn´t Nintendo just ask what the “Metroid” community wants? And I think it´s safe to say that “Another Metroid 2 Remake” proved that there is indeed a market and a demand for a game of that kind. And in my opinion, Nintendo should just hire the “AM2R” team and have them to create the game officially under their banner (kind of like when Capcom teamed up with InvaderGames to work on an official “Resident Evil 2” Remake).

The way I see it, after M:OM, the Metroid fandom at large seriously broke in half: one that could get over M:OM’s shortcomings and move on with their lives, and one that couldn’t, and that one enjoys propagating their spite and bitterness by citing every single instance online where some self-appointed pundit “proves” that the game is this terrible piece of trash that doesn’t deserve any respect. Gimme a freakin’ break. But like I mentioned before, Nintendon’t care what the community wants. They care what their investors want and what generates revenue. They want sales, not pushing art. Since you mentioned the new Ghostbusters, there’s a great video by Comic Book Girl 19: So maybe that will give you some insight into
how these big corporations work. Marvel/Disney works the same way.

They don’t want to make movies that push the medium. They want movie ticket sales. Indie games like Cave Story, Teslagrad, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Guacamelee!, Environmental Station Alpha, and Axiom Verge, and upcoming games like Chasm, Iconoclasts, and Heart Forth, Alicia and plenty of others those are the games you want to pay attention to.

Again, developing a video game is a huge investment in time and money. The only reason they would greenlit it is because someone thought it would sell a million copies.

hirokazu hip tanaka metroid

Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka (Tanka is a Japanese musician, composer and sound designer) created music for the original “Metroid” game.

Robin TGG
What went through your mind when you read what Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka said to Darren Kerwin ( about Metroid´s 30th Anniversary? ( Me, I got really touched by Mr. Tanaka´s words. As I´ve always loved the music which he did for “Metroid” (I could say the same about his other songs and soundtracks as well).

Yes, that message was extremely moving, and I was so appreciative to have read that on the 30th anniversary. “At least someone from Nintendo gave a shit,” was my first reaction. You heard nothing from Retro, nothing from NOA or NOE, and nothing from NOJ. It was just sad. On their 25th, Zelda got an orchestral symphony tour that’s still making the rounds. Metroid got zilch. The late Mr. Iwata oversaw a total of eight different Metroid games, (I’m sure he was somewhat involved with MPFF too), not to mention Metroid Blast and the Smash Bros. games. Now that he’s gone, will we ever see one ever again? Time will tell.

Darren is a serious badass. He’s interviewed so many Metroid developers, mainly because he just goes out and asks. He actually wanted to do a fullon interview with Tanakasan, but the man is incredibly busy on other projects. He doesn’t care about whether you think it’s doable or not; he just goes out and does it. That’s how we got Harmony of a Hunter, Harmony of Heroes, and Hip Tanaka. And yeah, Nintendo needs to start showing they care more about Metroid. People want it, fans want to feel appreciated, that their series matters, and in the end, there’s money in it for Nintendo. But you gotta make good product.

metroid 2 remake is set for a release on the 6th of august

In my opinion, “AM2R” is one of THE best “Metroid” titels ever made.

Robin TGG
What´s your thoughts on the “AM2R” project as a whole? On a personal level, I think it´s one of the best “Metroid” games ever made.

It has a few minor shortcomings, but I really enjoyed the game. I wanted to play through the game again immediately after I beat it. Can’t say I felt the same way about Fusion or Zero Mission. It has some slightly amateurish level design at times and some annoying battles, as well as inconsistent art style, but overall it’s an incredible accomplishment for Milton and his team. He should be very proud of his game and it deserves every bit of praise it receives.

As for AM2R, it’s a fun game, some serious work went into it, and I absolutely love Milton for it. Personally, it’s not Nintendoquality, so I don’t like it as much as the GBA games. But you have to remember this is an indie developer, and a lot of it was done by one guy. So to expect anything more than what they produced is really just expecting too much. So no, I don’t think Nintendo should try to polish and publish it, but I do think any serious Metroid fan should track
down a copy and play it.

At the same time, I think that ten years of work could have been better utilized to make something new. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not wasted time, since Milton’s become a much better developer as a result. There was also Pokemon Nuclear that came out and was DMC’d even faster. As much as I wanted to play an enhanced Metroid II, I just don’t see where the logic is in spending so much time developing a fan game when you could just as easily create your own title that’s almost the exact same thing, just with your own characters, and actually sell it. That would be my advice to any other people thinking of making fangames. Now if you really want to work with Nintendo IP, you’ve got to ship a few Nintendoquality titles first, and even then you probably won’t get the license just look at Factor 5 and Kid Icarus.

metroid 30th anniversary tribute with jessica martin

Miss Jessica Martin (Aka the voice of Samus Aran) made a really nice appearance in SamoStudios “Metroid 30th Anniversary tribute” video.

Robin TGG
Just the other day I spotted the “Metroid 30th Anniversary TributeWith Jessica Martin!” video on Youtube (I think the video turned out really good). And I was quite surprised to see so many people whom I´m a fan of (Jessica Martin AKA voice of Samus and Viking Guitar, for example). And even Metroid Database´s own Ryan, aka “Infinity’s End” made an appearance in the video. So I have to ask you if you´re happy with the video and Metroid 30th Anniversary in general? (I hope that people are happy with my efforts, because I really tried my very best to get the word out about Metroid´s 30th Anniversary).

I’m not as happy with my submission when compared to some of the others. I was told I had a 20 second time limit and I literally made my video that long, whereas others clearly didn’t mind going over. If I had known I could talk for at least upwards of a minute, I probably would have done a lot more. Overall I was happy to have been a part of that little tribute video, even if it wasn’t as “original” as the first one we released during the 25th.

I didn´t participated in the 25th Anniversary video. As i’ve been very busy with moving and starting a new job, so I didn’t have time to make one. I’m glad Ryan got to show MDb spirit. Again, I am incredibly proud of Darren for putting these projects together. I hope we see another one five years from now.

pixelninja samus aran

Jenni Källberg Aka “Pixelninja” Samus Aran cosplay.

Robin TGG
I don´t know if it´s just me, but I think that the “Metroid” cosplay scene has just become bigger and bigger for each year that has gone by (like Sweden´s own Samus Aran is Miss Jenni “Pixelninja” Källberg, for example). And not only that, I´ve seen tons of “Metroid” remixes, drawings, massive collections and all sorts of cool stuff. So in a way it feels like the “Metroid” fan base is much bigger now then it was a couple of years ago, do you think that there is some truth to that?


It is, absolutely. And you can bet your ass that the Metroid Database has been a part of that every step of the way. Of course we also have Super Smash Bros. series to thank for that, by giving Metroid a second home, but yes, cosplayers and fandom has certainly exploded in the past years. We have done our best to curate and expose some of the best bits of that fandom on our social media and main sites, but I hope the fans understand that we can’t do it all on our own!

metroid metal by spoonybardess

Not only does the “Metroid” series have tons of awesome songs and soundtracks, but there are also a lot of epic covers and remixes songs and albums for “Metroid” as well (like SpoonyBardess “Metroid Metal” album, for example).

Robin TGG
What´s your favorite songs and moments from the “Metroid” series so far?

Favorite tracks: Kraid from the first game, Red Brinstar and Lower Norfair from Super, Phendrana Drifts from Prime 1, Chykka’s battle theme and Sanctuary Fortress from Prime 2, Skytown from Prime 3.

I couldn’t begin to start on my favorite moments on the series (we have far too many threads on our forum regarding favorites of this and that). But I will say I think Metroid Prime is one of the greatest masterpieces in gaming history. Sure, it owes a lot to Super, and Super is a masterpiece in its own right, but I do think Prime is on a whole ‘nother level. There are just so many aspects of that game that blow my mind. I think everyone who worked on that game all knew in the back of their minds they were really creating something really special, while also “proving” their worth to the game industry at large. Prime is the story of the Little Game Engine That Could.

The mountain that the engine makes it over is the Metroid fandom. Against all odds, Metroid Prime exists and destroyed all expectations. If that game failed, the series would have failed, and we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.

This is a tough one for me! I curated all the music on the site, so you can read about my favorite pieces there. I guess I’d have to go with the ending theme from the original though. That and the title theme really set the aesthetic for the entire series. My favorite moment was seeing my brother playing Metroid II in the dark on the Super Game Boy. He was in that maze below Ruins Area 3 with the Varia and Spazer. I was playing, but hadn’t collected those items yet. That’s where the Metroid bug caught me, and to me, that aesthetic of a badass tearing through this incredibly hostile underground environment is what defines the
series for me.

metroid 30th anniversary fan tribute video

The original “Metroid” game turned 30 years old on the 6th of August this year. And MD (and the “Metroid” community) did what they could to celebrate the actuation.

Robin TGG
What plans does Metroid Database have for the future? And what can people do to support your homepage and cause?

We’re going to be overhauling the site. It is a huge undertaking, but we’re hoping to be done by our official 20th anniversary, which is October 16 of this year. Wish us luck! Please follow us on our social medias for all the latest and greatest on the Metroid series and beyond! We may also begin to cover more Metroidvanias as well, so look forward to the future. I’ve also just begun doing some streaming on Twitch, so that’s a lot of fun and plenty more of that is planned.
We also sell some swag for backend support, but overall the MDb is a 100% volunteerrun endeavor. And we plan on staying that way.

In addition to the Big 20, I’ve got a couple of translation projects in the making, one which I briefly mentioned in another interview, but my schedule and living situation put those on hold. Hoping to have it done soon, though!

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Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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