The announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns caused quite a stir at E3, and goes some way to explaining why Nintendo was so heavy-handed with a promising fan-made Metroid tribute a short time ago.
AM2R was created by DoctorM64 and, like Samus Returns, sought to remaster the Game Boy outing Metroid II: Return of Samus. The title found plenty of fans online and was even nominated at the 2016 Game Awards, but Nintendo issued a takedown request and the nomination was withdrawn, leading to the end of the project.
DoctorM64 said at the time that fans should support the Metroid series by downloading Metroid II on the 3DS Virtual Console to show the company that demand for a remaster was still there – and, as we now know, Nintendo was in fact listening.
Speaking to Kotaku, Metroid producer Yoshio Sakamoto revealed that he was aware of AM2R:
We heard about it first after we had already started development. We know it exists, the fact that a fan is out there and really likes the series this much.
Despite his work being scrapped before it could be totally completed, DoctorM64 doesn’t hold any ill will towards Nintendo. He also spoke to Kotaku regarding Samus Returns, saying:
It departs quite a lot from the source material, and the new abilities seem to add some depth to the combat. It’s really interesting to see what an entire dev team can do with the same source material, compared to my humble rendition. … I’m very curious about what the Metroid Queen (the final boss) will play like. I’m sure it’ll be epic.
It looks more dynamic. … 3D gives you a lot of freedom to develop environments and action set pieces better, if you have a decent poly count. The overall action view looks great, the backgrounds are very varied.
We have to say, that’s jolly sportsmanlike of DoctorM64 – many other people might hold a grudge were they in the same position.