After years of dormancy, Metroid Prime returns as … an adorable four-player co-op title

It might not look like the Metroid Prime game fans were expecting, but during its E3 Digital Event, Nintendo finally dusted off its dormant series and announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

Exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS, Federation Force is a multiplayer-centric first-person game that cuts out series heroine Samus Aran. Instead, the game features four-player co-op, with all four players completing missions in the “Metroid Prime universe,” a weird reference given how, up until now, it’s been assumed that all Metroid Prime games took place in the same universe.

Visually, Federation Force is a departure from previous Metroid Prime entries, though first-person shooting with a blaster is still intact. The reveal didn’t mention what story line elements, if any, Federation Force will include.

In addition to Federation Force, Nintendo also revealed a new game mode for Federation Force, Metroid Prime Blast Ball. Originally revealed during the Nintendo World Championships, Blast Ball has three players climb into mechs and shoot at a giant ball in an attempt to score it into their opponents’ goal. In short, it’s a Nintendo-inspired 3v3 take on soccer that allows players to sacrifice themselves in order to prevent the opponent from scoring.

As mentioned before, some Metroid Prime fans probably weren’t expecting such visuals in a Metroid Prime game. Regardless, the demand for a new entry has been strong, ever since the series’ last entry, 2010’s Metroid Prime: Other M for the Nintendo Wii. Feredation Force represents the first handheld entry in the series since 2007’s Metroid Prime Hunters.

Interestingly, however, Federation Force might not be the only Metroid Prime game fans will get, as Nintendo told Kotaku it would talk more about the 2D and 3D branches of the series. Since Federation Force seems to fulfill the 3D aspect of things, time will tell if Nintendo will address the 2D side.

Federation Force will be released sometime in 2016 for Nintendo 3DS.