Because of this, developers try to create new IP's, as they don't want to disappoint established fanbases. New franchises are really hard to manufacture, especially ones that will be around longer than one game, and that itself scares publishers away. Usually, this back and forth debate is what forces studios to fall back on established franchises, and they are dealt with the dubious task of not screwing it up. Usually they do, however, and thus creates the vicious cycle of consumers being weary of handheld games and publishers being afraid to push out games for them.
Sure, there have been good handheld games before Metroid Fusion, but never on the same par as the already established Metroid franchise. Metroid Fusion was proof to all developers and publishers that a game franchise that already was spanning multiple console generations could produce a really good handheld game.
Fusion wasn't exactly the same size as previous Metroid games as far as scope and overall world exploration size, but there will always be limitations when it comes to handheld games. Instead of the large maps to explore and backtrack and forth multiple times throughout the game, Fusion is actually pretty linear for a Metroid game. And honestly, that's OK. The game is pretty much all platforming and puzzle solving, and for me, that's right up my alley.
Sadly, I never got to play Fusion when I was younger. Thanks to the awesome Ambassador program that Nintendo rolled out to all the early 3DS adopters, I got this game for free as one of the twenty free games to make me feel better about buying a new console at its release without any games worthy of being played on it. Playing on the big 3DS XL probably doesn't do the game justice as it looked like on the original GameBoy Advance back in the day, but it's suitable for what it is, and it's still a lot of fun. Really glad I got a chance to experience one of the first awesome console-to-handheld franchise games.
Now, about that Ambassador Program. Think Nintendo will roll something out for all of us early Wii U adopters? Here's hoping!