American Nintendo Collectors Are Second-Class Citizens, and Metroid Proves It
Why does it always feel North America gets an inferior Limited Edition from Nintendo of America, when compared to Nintendo of Europes' release of the same game.
Despite a terrific year for the Metroid series, Metroid fans in one of the most prominent gaming markets are (rightfully) feeling a tad jaded. Following Nintendo’s E3 2017 direct, a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus was announced titled Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS on September 15.
To the delight of fans, Metroid: Samus Returns will be a complete remake of the original which first launched on Game Boy in 1991. Featuring an all new 2.5D world and character models as well as new skills with their own energy bar known as Aeion abilities.
Suffice to say, members of the DualShockers staff were thrilled by this announcement, it even appeared on our Pre-E3 features “E3 2017 Dreams — I Want to See Nintendo’s Return to Metroid,” and they had every reason to. This was the year that fans of the series have been waiting: two Metroid announcements that looked true to the series’ longstanding quality.
So what can go wrong, right? Well, following the announcement Nintendo of America showed off a modest physical special edition of Metroid: Samus Returns, containing: a soundtrack with around 25 tracks of remixed songs from Metroid II: Return of Samus. So that’s great and all, but this story isn’t over.
Just recently, Nintendo of Europe has came out and revealed their plans for a special edition of Metroid: Samus Returns, containing:
- A download code for the original Game Boy game redeemable at the Nintendo eShop;
- the SteelBook case;
- a sound selection CD featuring 25 tracks across the Metroid franchise;
- a gold “S” pin badge;
- a Morph Ball 3D keyring; and
- a 40 page art book.
The top comment on a Reddit thread announcing the news? “Living in America isn’t fair :(“
Now, I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Metroid fan in the world, but I know their are some serious diehards for the series around the globe. These are the fans that support Nintendo through all the faults of the Wii U, the initial fumbled launch of the Nintendo 3DS, and spotty localization. Hell, some of these people even purchase Metroid Prime: Federation Force! There’s no real reason why Nintendo of America delivered a lackluster special edition to North American Nintendo players, compared to their European brethren.
But this treatment doesn’t end with Metroid games. Other example of this would be European’s superior collector’s editions of Bravely Default and Bravely Second, and most recently Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Although these games did release in North America, publisher Nintendo of America provided a lesser version to what the titles received in Europe. Don’t believe us? Check the images below:
And that is mentioning the times when American Nintendo fans even get the privilege of purchasing a collectors edition. There have been examples where Nintendo of America will not issue a collector’s edition (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D) or even a physical edition (Fatal Frame: Maiden in the Water). Yet Nintendo of Europe released stunning versions of both:
What’s even worse, the problem isn’t exclusive to collectors editions of games. The late and great Club Nintendo was plagued with a similar problem. Nintendo of America’s localized version was stuffed to the brim with with digital deals. However, Nintendo of Europe was gracing its loyal fanbase with physical gifts — something that contains actual value.
Last but not least, amiibo collectors may remember the first year of collecting. While collectors in the United States would be waiting overnight for the latest Rosalina or restocks of rare figures, Nintendo of Europe would have frequent updates, restocks and availability across retailers. Importing for North American fans was an increasingly common practice.
It’s never been made clear exactly why Nintendo of America takes this approach. There has been many online fan petitions and campaigns, one has even already started for Metroid: Samus Returns, but this seems like an ongoing trend for the publisher.
What’s even worse, this is not something that sales numbers can show. Metroid series fans in any region are going to purchase the game; they don’t have a choice. They want to continually support a franchise they love and follow and, due to region locking on Nintendo 3DS, fans don’t even have the option of buying and playing the European version.
If Nintendo isn’t able to right the ship, there may be a short-term solution for Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, region locking isn’t a thing on the handheld home console — diligent fans will be able to support the region that offers the best version of the game, along with the best package.
Nintendo as a whole really needs to sit down and decide how they want to approach these collectors editions in multiple regions. The publishing giant should be taking more even steps when it comes to creating collector bundles so fans and collectors in North America can stop feeling like second-class citizens.