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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Many Worlds of Tropical Freeze

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - WORLDS COLLIDE!

There are some very disgruntled Metroid fans out there. After all, Retro Studios is supposedly this almighty development team that can do ANY project in any series and have it be the best game ever. Up 'til now, they did three Metroid games and then Donkey Kong Country Returns. But after DK returned, they were supposedly supposed to go back to making more Metroid. But they didn't. They're working on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. These resentful and pathetic fans therefore are dedicated to bashing Tropical Freeze at any opportunity, and spreading misinformation about it. They want it to fail. But unlike the charge that "Republicans want ObamaCare to fail because they hate Barack Obama" when in reality the law is designed to fail, Tropical Freeze is designed to succeed and it'll certainly be amazing. So Metroid fans are retroactively out to ruin the Donkey Kong franchise's accomplishments: Suddenly David Wise's music somehow isn't amazing. Somehow the best Donkey Kong games are Donkey Kong arcade and Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat

This article is going to counter one of those attempts at misinformation: Tropical Freeze will have less content than Returns.
The basis of this claim is a Game Informer report. There are 6 islands and 6-7 levels per island, for a total of 36-42 levels. Meanwhile, Returns has quite a bit more at first glance. A total of 9 worlds with 7-10 levels in each except for the last one, which is only 1 level. That's a total of 72 levels! That's almost double the content Tropical Freeze will have. Does that mean that Retro is secretly making a "Metroid Prime 4" and Tropical Freeze is a mere side project?

Not a chance.

Let's look back at some things. First thing: Donkey Kong Country Returns pre-release information. The game came out November 21, 2010. As late as October 2010, people thought there were only six worlds in the game. We only knew the full content as of mid-November. Right before that, it was still thought there would only be about 6 levels per world. Tropical Freeze was delayed to February and it's only December. By Returns's schedule of information, we truly have no idea how much content there will be. It ends up that people's expectations before we knew how much content Returns had was quite a bit lower than the final product and more in line of what we currently know about Tropical Freeze. All Retro was willing to say for level information for Returns in September 2010 was "tons".


Next, let's look at the Developer Direct for Tropical Freeze.


Here we have Kensuke Tanabe at the one minute mark saying that Donkey Kong and pals will go through "five islands to get closer and closer to Donkey Kong Island. At the end they make it back to Donkey Kong Island and have to battle it out with the Vikings to get their home back." We know Donkey Kong Island is its own world, but we don't know if "battle it out with the Vikings" is also its own world or just the final boss.

I think that we should assume that we're getting a Lost World in this game. We didn't have any information about it prior to the release of Returns (people settled on "8 worlds and 70 levels" by the very end). I think after what they did with the extra levels from Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Retro is confident in having more than one level in a Lost World. Will the total level count surpass Returns? Probably not. Does it need to? Probably not. Remember two things: 72 levels is a LOT, and it's also just a number. Perhaps each individual level in Tropical Freeze has more content than in Returns. Perhaps that 6-7 level count doesn't include secret levels in each world (the Temple levels found in Returns). Remember, people thought 6-7 would be the amount for Returns as well. Thing number two: Retro chose to make this game because they weren't finished with the series. They're not Arzest, making sequels to games with less worlds/content than the prequel! (Yoshi's Island DS only had 5 worlds compared to Yoshi's Island having 6 and each level was designed of substandard quality.)

But what will that Lost World consist of? Consider that the theme of visiting islands. While we're speaking of islands and Yoshi, consider that the name of his new game is Yoshi's New Island.

Let's have another KoopaTV prediction here: 2013 was the Year of Luigi. 2014 will be Year of Yoshi. There's a reason Yoshi hasn't been revealed for Smash 4 yet, you know. So it's fitting that Yoshi should be appearing in all sorts of places like Luigi did in 2013. Let's also assume that Yarn Yoshi actually isn't canceled. That's a lot of Yoshi in 2014.

Let's look at a game called Sonic Lost World. It has "Lost World" right in the title! And... Yoshi is DLC in it! Would you look at that? So Donkey Kong is visiting islands. And Yoshi is in a "new" island. For the sake of the argument, this isn't just spamming the word "new" like the New Super Mario Bros. series. Yoshi's Island isn't geographically near Donkey Kong's, but this is a "new" island. It could be anywhere. And Donkey Kong is "far far away" at the start of Tropical Freeze from DK Island. He could be anywhere too. Is it not feasible that the two will... connect?



There are a lot of interesting design opportunities for Donkey Kong going through a Yoshi setting. I'm sure Retro can make a meaty Lost World out of it and make everyone happy, except for the very bitterest of Metroid fans.

Oh, Metroid fans. You should be more humble and not forget your own roots. According to IGN, this was the mood of how people felt back in 2004 with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
"And yet, despite all of these advancements, many Nintendo fans remain reluctant to put Prime 2 on their radar. We attribute this truth to the fact that Nintendo itself has not done an overwhelming job of establishing hype for the deserving sequel. Instead, the publisher has opted to keep much of the first-person adventure under wraps, revealing only a few hints of what's to come. For this very reason some gamers are under the false impression that the recently released Metroid Prime 2 demo, a brief romp through two tiny areas in the game, is entirely indicative of what the final product will serve up."
Just some food for thought. Channeling the doubt that people had in your franchise a decade ago to doubt the franchise that "stole" a sequel from you now is not the way to go. We should all be one big supportive Nintendo community, and be happy for whatever Retro Studios makes.

Let that be your New Year's Resolution.


Ludwig is theoretically just happy to see Dixie Kong in another game. For more of his thoughts on things, Follow him on Miiverse at NNID PrinceOfKoopas!


Ludwig turned out to be confirmed correct on everything in this article, besides the Lost World and Yoshi stuff. Click here to read up on that.

6 comments :

  1. "This article is going to counter one of those attempts at misinformation: Tropical Freeze will have less content than Returns."

    "Will the total level count surpass Returns? Probably not."

    Well, I'm convinced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, compare the first level of Returns:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COVCgSIkfzc

      To the first level of Tropical Freeze:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7bUgZTrIFbE#t=416

      They may both be counted as only one "level", but one is clearly packed with more content. Content can be made up for in other ways, too.

      Delete
  2. lol @ this guy getting called out on NeoGAF for being a nutjob.

    What an embarrassing website. Also, disgustingly ignorant too. "While EA is actively promoting the gay agenda, Nintendo is staying clear of that and maintaining heteronormativity, which is A-OK by me."

    Really?

    The AGENDA? Yeah, that damn agenda or supporting people for how they were born. God damn agenda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not the only part of the agenda. There's a whole list of things that is outside the scope of my discussion but you're free to look it up.

      Also that has nothing to do with THIS article.

      Delete
    2. For EA specifically, Hepler wanted to force homosexuality into the game for no reason other than to promote that lifestyle. There was forced homosexuality among the protagonists, and it didn't make for good, inclusive game design.

      If you read some of KoopaTV's articles on game design, you'll understand our game design philosophies and why we wouldn't like that sort of forced narrative.

      Delete
    3. I like how Mr. Michael has absolutely nothing to say in return or anything relevant to Donkey Kong.

      Delete

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