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TheDinoman
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(06-17-2017, 06:01 AM)
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So as E3 has shown, the Metroid series is alive and well and people are once again optimistic about its future. So, looking back, one thing I've always wondered: How come Metroid Zero Mission sold as low as it did?

Now, a lot of people always talk about how Metroid's never really sold that much to begin with, but at the very least, a good majority of the games have at least managed to sell over a million units. I made this really crappy looking chart, using Celine's Nintendo hardware/software sales thread as a source.



Now, as you can see, there's only been four games bearing the Metroid title that couldn't quite crack the million mark. And for the most part, they do speak for themselves: Metroid Prime Pinball is as the name implies, just a throwaway pinball spinoff with Samus slapped on it. And Metroid: Other M and Metroid Prime: Federation Force are both, well, yeah.

So it's just really odd to me that Zero Mission, which is usually one of the most acclaimed games in the series that is considered to be vastly superior to the game its based on in just about every way possible, couldn't make it to at least a million units at retail. Even the often maligned Metroid Prime Hunters did that, though I suppose maybe its multiplayer mode gave it some longer legs. What's also weird that ZM was released only a little over a year after Metroid Fusion, which managed to sell 1.60 million.

It kinda makes me wonder how well Samus Returns is gonna do when it releases in September.
linkman26
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(06-17-2017, 06:04 AM)
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Zero Mission is AWESOME! I had no idea it didn't sell a million...

It was the perfect remake of the original and had that extra chapter at the end!
@MUWANdo
Banned
(06-17-2017, 06:06 AM)
Prime 2 sold half of what the first Prime sold and it's not a significantly worse or less accessible game; I think Prime and Fusion were both beneficiaries of the "omg Metroid's back!" hype and the direct followups sold fewer copies for the simple reason that they weren't as novel and many of the people who bought into the hype the first time around simply didn't care to go back.
Yoshimitsu126
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(06-17-2017, 06:07 AM)
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That is weird. Still can't believe Metroid can't crack three million but we see difficult games like Dark Souls selling relatively well.

Originally Posted by @MUWANdo

Prime 2 sold half of what the first Prime sold and it's not a significantly worse or less accessible game; I think Prime and Fusion were both beneficiaries of the "omg Metroid's back!" hype and the direct followups sold fewer copies for the simple reason that they weren't as novel and many of the people who bought into the hype the first time around simply didn't care to go back.

I wouldn't call Prime 2 as accessible with the health depleting dark world and limited ammo beam.
jwhit28
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(06-17-2017, 06:07 AM)
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I wonder if coming out the same day as Prime hurt it. Prime was one of the best looking games I ever seen when it came out but I still had a GBA with no backlight and passed on Fusion at the time.
MrCookiepants
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(06-17-2017, 06:07 AM)
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Prime 2 sold less than half of the first Prime, so looking at Fusion's 1.6 million it's not surprising that the Gameboy titles saw a similar decline.
Renekton
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(06-17-2017, 06:08 AM)
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Same question, since it is a lot better than Fusion
Macho Madness
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(06-17-2017, 06:08 AM)
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The only answers that make a lot of sense are release date, franchise fatigue, or it being a remake.

Great game though. I bought it the instant it released on Wii U and loved it.
OnPoint
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(06-17-2017, 06:08 AM)
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Originally Posted by @MUWANdo

Prime 2 sold half of what the first Prime sold and it's not a significantly worse or less accessible game; I think Prime and Fusion were both beneficiaries of the "omg Metroid's back!" hype and the direct followups sold fewer copies for the simple reason that they weren't as novel and many of the people who bought into the hype the first time around simply didn't care to go back.

Eh, I found Prime 2 to be more of a chore to get through than Prime 1. I don't recall the reviews at the time being quite so blown away by it when compared to the first, and that was back in a time when magazine reviews meant a little more than they do now.

Zero Mission though, I don't understand at all. It was not only great, it was better than Fusion.
Psxphile
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(06-17-2017, 06:09 AM)
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The handheld Castlevanias were in a similar decline, weren't they? Genre exhaustion?
Mister Wolf
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(06-17-2017, 06:09 AM)
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It was a rehash and we wanted more X-virus and fusion suit.
Ōkami
Member
(06-17-2017, 06:09 AM)
Lasting 2 hours probably hurt it.

Being past the whole "Metroid is back!" also did, this in turn hurt Prime 2 as well.
suaveric
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(06-17-2017, 06:09 AM)
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I don't have any real answers, maybe it was because it released at a weird time of year? If I remember correctly it came out in February or March. Or it could be because people weren't that high on Fusion. That game was a proto Other M, it was very linear and story based. Perhaps that turned people off the Metroid brand? Back then GAF used to get much better NPD numbers, I wonder if someone could go back and find out how much it really sold.

It's a shame no matter the reason, Zero Mission is the best 2D Metroid by far. It might just be the best Metroid period.
boxter432
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(06-17-2017, 06:09 AM)
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Perhaps bc it was at the end of GBA's legs, launching in the spring of the launch year of the DS? (2004)

it had great reviews, a decent sales at launch, but maybe lost its legs with E3 focus on DS and the holiday launch?
DecoReturns
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(06-17-2017, 06:10 AM)
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I bought it.
Soapbox Killer
Grand Nagus
(06-17-2017, 06:11 AM)
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Originally Posted by jwhit28

I wonder if coming out the same day as Prime hurt it. Prime was one of the best looking games I ever seen when it came out but I still had a GBA with no backlight and passed on Fusion at the time.

FUSION came out the same day. Zero Mission was the next year I think.
messiaen
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(06-17-2017, 06:11 AM)
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Pretty late GBA title, also little to no marketing from what I remember.
HawthorneKitty
Sgt. 2nd Class in the Creep Battalion, Waifu Wars
(06-17-2017, 06:12 AM)
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Originally Posted by DecoReturns

I bought it.

I didn't.
Macho Madness
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(06-17-2017, 06:12 AM)
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Originally Posted by messiaen

Pretty late GBA title, also little to no marketing from what I remember.

Yeah, this is part of it too.

Fusion was co-marketed with Prime and therefore got a big push. Zero Mission got a few magazine ads.
Ridley327
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(06-17-2017, 06:13 AM)
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I feel like a lot of the declining interest was the result of Prime 1 shedding a lot of its initial excitement once people actually got the game and it wasn't exactly Halo. Fusion was able to ride the wave to a very good result with the simultaneous release, but by proxy, ZM paid for those perceived "sins" with its less than stellar performance.
Bobo Dakes
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(06-17-2017, 06:13 AM)
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It's not like X < 1 million units for a GBA game makes it a failure or hurt anyone financially (I'm assuming).

1 million always seemed like the threshold for a game being a success here which I always thought was strange.

Maybe people had their fill with Fusion and didn't get too hyped for a remake, but then again Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green sold 12 million so ... *shrug*
Oxymoron
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(06-17-2017, 06:14 AM)
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Gamers are a mess.

IDK, Metroid Prime was (and is) a top 5 game ever for me, I loved Metroid Fusion (bought both at launch), but, for some reason, didn't pick up Prime 2 or Zero Mission at all until years later. I can't really explain or justify my decision making, and I apologise for helping kill Metroidvanias for a decade.
Ninjimbo
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(06-17-2017, 06:17 AM)
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I honestly think it's because Metroid lacks a central simple hook that completely defines it. The games are well made, but they're seemingly going against design trends in every era it participates. The only games that play Metroid are all indies and none of them have caught fire either.

What makes Metroid special is what holds it back from reaching the mainstream zeitgeist. That's not bad thing I think. You just have to make the game knowing there's a small ceiling.
JeffZero
Purple Drazi
(06-17-2017, 06:18 AM)
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Maybe the DS hype gobbled sales a bit, yeah, but then FF4 was 2005, FF5 was 2006, and FF6 was 2007, and AFAIK all three of those games did well enough.
Tetsuo9999
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(06-17-2017, 06:19 AM)
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There wasn't much hype for it and they certainly didn't do a big marketing push for it like they did with Prime. I remember being the only person to pick up the preorder at Gamestop. Prime could be seen as a gameplay mechanic reboot to bring in new players (Super Metroid was 8 years old at that point), while Fusion and Zero Mission were there for the hardcore fans who didn't like the new style in Prime. It's a shame since it's my favorite game in the series and they even got some of the original developers back for it. The cross promotion/interaction between Fusion and Prime was awesome, but probably didn't translate to sales for the GBA titles that much. Releasing them on the same day probably forced most gamers to choose one or the other, and perhaps that's why they're doing things differently for the second franchise revival. Samus Returns in three months away, and Prime 4 is way off in the distance, meaning that the titles won't conflict with each other.
twothunder
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(06-17-2017, 06:19 AM)
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I bought zero mission and fusion and glad i did.
sad to see ZM didn't reach a miliion

if these numbers are correct... seeing the sales like this is quite a painful reminder the metroid series never did very big numbers..
jackal27
Banned
(06-17-2017, 06:21 AM)
It came out late in the GBA's life, was a remake rather than a new original game, and I remember feeling like it had come out too soon after Fusion and I was already playing a bunch of Castlevania games.

These days though Zero Mission is definitely my favorite.
Oxymoron
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(06-17-2017, 06:21 AM)
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Originally Posted by Oxymoron

Gamers are a mess.

IDK, Metroid Prime was (and is) a top 5 game ever for me, I loved Metroid Fusion (bought both at launch), but, for some reason, didn't pick up Prime 2 or Zero Mission at all until years later. I can't really explain or justify my decision making, and I apologise for helping kill Metroidvanias for a decade.

Wait, I just remembered a big factor in me not picking up Zero Mission.

Metroid Prime had the original Metroid as an unlockable if you linked it up with Fusion. I'd found Metroid completely impenetrable and bounced off it every single time I tried playing it. Zero Mission being a remake of the game I'd played that was included with Prime really dampened any interest I might have had and made it easy for me to dismiss it out of hand.

(Obviously, not a lot of people had the link cable, so this can't have been a major factor in the sales slump, but hey.)
Wanderer5
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(06-17-2017, 06:22 AM)
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Aw what a shame. Beside being very enjoyable, Zero Mission is possibly my first Metroid game, so it feels a bit special for me.
poodaddy
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(06-17-2017, 06:23 AM)
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Unfortunately it happens sometimes; a game being good doesn't guarantee sales. Case in point: Beyond Good and Evil. Both games were critically acclaimed yet floundered commercially. Such is why marketing is so important. Another more recent example is Titanfall 2; a game with an outstanding campaign that was kind of sent out to die with that release date and lack of marketing.
OnPoint
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(06-17-2017, 06:23 AM)
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Originally Posted by Oxymoron

Wait, I just remembered a big factor in me not picking up Zero Mission.

Metroid Prime had the original Metroid as an unlockable if you linked it up with Fusion. I'd found Metroid completely impenetrable and bounced off it every single time I tried playing it. Zero Mission being a remake of the game I'd played that was included with Prime really dampened any interest I might have had and made it easy for me to dismiss it out of hand.

(Obviously, not a lot of people had the link cable, so this can't have been a major factor in the sales slump, but hey.)

If they had done any marketing, they could have got the message across that it was an updated version of that game, made fresh with modern sensibilities.

If.

Originally Posted by poodaddy

Unfortunately it happens sometimes; a game being good doesn't guarantee sales. Case in point: Beyond Good and Evil. Both games were critically acclaimed yet floundered commercially. Such is why marketing is so important. Another more recent example is Titanfall 2; a game with an outstanding campaign that was kind of sent out to die with that release date and lack of marketing.

The biggest of shames. Never forget.

jackal27
Banned
(06-17-2017, 06:23 AM)

Originally Posted by Oxymoron

Wait, I just remembered a big factor in me not picking up Zero Mission.

Metroid Prime had the original Metroid as an unlockable if you linked it up with Fusion. I'd found Metroid completely impenetrable and bounced off it every single time I tried playing it. Zero Mission being a remake of the game I'd played that was included with Prime really dampened any interest I might have had and made it easy for me to dismiss it out of hand.

(Obviously, not a lot of people had the link cable, so this can't have been a major factor in the sales slump, but hey.)

No, I definitely remember multiple people saying this and it was a factor for me as well.

I also remember the art style being a turn off?? It felt very much like a western Cartoon Network show to me for some reason and I was not into it.
Green Mamba
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(06-17-2017, 06:24 AM)
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Prime and Fusion had tons of marketing and there was a definite novelty factor to their release (first Metroid games released in eight years, both released on the same day).

By Zero Mission's release Metroid's return had already been seen, and it wasn't marketed anywhere near as much as Prime and Fusion were. Combine that with the fact that remakes are harder sells to begin with and the DS was looming on the horizon... Just got kinda lost.
jwhit28
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(06-17-2017, 06:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by Soapbox Killer

FUSION came out the same day. Zero Mission was the next year I think.

Ya I thought OP was about Fusion somehow. Yeah I'm not sure what happened with Zero Mission. Maybe emulation and flash cartridges?

Zero Mission had a pretty cool commercial I remember seeing a lot.
Champion
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(06-17-2017, 06:26 AM)
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>Metroid was never a huge seller.
>There was more interest in Prime 2 at the time
>Late gen remake(Samus Returns will suffer a similar fate)

A damn shame too because iirc the game was highly regarded and reviewed rather well upon release.
NoKisum
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(06-17-2017, 06:28 AM)
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Not my fault, I bought it twice.
SalvaPot
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(06-17-2017, 06:28 AM)
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Honestly, Metroid seems the kind of series that people bought once due to hype or to experience the Smash character and then forget about it. At least for the casual. I have the Trilogy and was only able to beat the first one and got lost and frustrated with the second one. I like the 2D games much better.

Hopefully the 3DS game becomes the "FE Awakening" of the series in that it finally finds its mainstream appeal and becomes an anchor franchise for Nintendo.
DeuceGamer
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(06-17-2017, 06:28 AM)
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Whatever the reason it's truly a shame. Second best 2D Metroid just behind the amazing Super Metroid. Just replayed both again recently and the hold up amazingly IMO.
Hero_of_the_Day
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(06-17-2017, 06:29 AM)
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Funny, it and Fusion are the only two Metroid games I got at release. Loved them both.
afternoon delight
Eat shit and die, Ricky!
Eat shit and live, Bill.
(06-17-2017, 06:30 AM)
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Because god hates us. :( It's such a fantastic game.

Could've sold so much more (double?) over its lifetime too if ports were ubiquitous across Nintendo consoles but I guess that could be said for many.
MisterHero
Super Member
(06-17-2017, 06:32 AM)
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I'd be up for a Metroid movie to spice up interest.

Dunno if I'd trust Hollywood with it though
Savitar
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(06-17-2017, 06:33 AM)
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I recall playing this for some time when it first came out being a Metroid fan, it helped scratch an itch for me considering I was not exactly thrilled with Metroid Prime.
Magicpaint
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(06-17-2017, 06:35 AM)
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Far less hype and marketing for it than Fusion. It also released a bit late in the GBA's lifespan.

It's really a shame but it didn't have the same novelty factor, and Metroid just isn't that mainstream if we're being honest, the biggest selling games had the novelty factor of being the first of their kind (Metroid and Prime) which boosted them beyond their base appeal.

Zero Mission is absolutely fantastic. My favourite of the 2D games.
poodaddy
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(06-17-2017, 06:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by MisterHero

I'd be up for a Metroid movie to spice up interest.

Dunno if I'd trust Hollywood with it though

I know if I would, and I don't. Did you see that Assassin's Creed movie?
HawthorneKitty
Sgt. 2nd Class in the Creep Battalion, Waifu Wars
(06-17-2017, 06:38 AM)
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Originally Posted by Magicpaint

It's really a shame but it didn't have the same novelty factor, and Metroid just isn't that mainstream if we're being honest, the biggest selling games had the novelty factor of being the first of their kind (Metroid and Prime) which boosted them beyond their base appeal.

This will happen with Prime 4 and then the sequel titles will sink Metroid again. I feel like I've said this already.
Kthulhu
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(06-17-2017, 06:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by MisterHero

I'd be up for a Metroid movie to spice up interest.

Dunno if I'd trust Hollywood with it though

Nintendo couldn't even make a good cinematic Metroid game. What the hell makes you think modern day Hollywood could?
Champion
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(06-17-2017, 06:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by HawthorneKitty

This will happen with Prime 4 and then the sequel titles will sink Metroid again.

The Metroid Cycle.
Magicpaint
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(06-17-2017, 06:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by HawthorneKitty

This will happen with Prime 4 and then the sequel titles will sink Metroid again. I feel like I've said this already.

Sigh. I guess I'll enjoy and cherish them that bit more should it happen again :\
bachikarn
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(06-17-2017, 06:44 AM)
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Metroid might be a series that doesn't need an update every year or two. It might benefit from breaks. But the nearly 10 year break it has been is way too long. Maybe the 5 year cycle that Zelda is on is appropriate.

I also think that the current gaming market is different than the 2000s and would be more likely to buy them. So it could probably get away with coming out more frequently.
DrNeroCF
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(06-17-2017, 06:54 AM)
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Wasn't it a pretty limited run? I thought it was hard to find / fairly expensive after it launched, but I might be misremembering.

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