Metroid Dread for Nintendo Switch: Trailers, release date, and everything we know so far

Metroid Dread Hero
Metroid Dread Hero (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread is happening. This game's fascinating 15-year history finally comes to a head, as we can again set foot into the armored boots of Samus Aran. Metroid Dread is, to put it bluntly, a big deal. It's the first 2D Metroid in many years, and it's finally pushing the story forward after many other games have danced around catching up to Samus chronologically instead of filling in prequel stories and being set in-between other existing games. Metroid Dread could even end up being one of the best Nintendo Switch games available.

Announced at Nintendo's E3 2021 Direct, Metroid Dread is real and coming very soon for the Nintendo Switch. So regardless of whether you're familiar with the story behind Metroid Dread or you're a newcomer eager to see what the hype is all about, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about Metroid Dread for Nintendo Switch.

What is Metroid Dread?

Metroid Dread Robot (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread is the latest game in the Metroid franchise, both in terms of games released and the story of the series. However, unlike the first-person shooters in the Metroid Prime sub-series, Metroid Dread goes back to the 2D format that spawned the "Metroidvania" genre.

Metroid Dread is the 13th game in the Metroid franchise, not counting the Metroid Prime Pinball spin-off. Metroid Dread is being co-developed between Metroid: Samus Returns developer MercurySteam and the Nintendo EPD internal division.

What's Metroid Dread's development history?

Metroid Dread was first mentioned in Game Informer in June 2005. After that, the game faded into myth, being internally canceled twice at Nintendo. Various industry "insiders" would share updates on when the game would re-emerge. IGN even reported that Metroid Dread existed, with Nintendo continuing to avoid the topic of the game altogether.

After the shocking announcement of Metroid Dread during E3 2021, Nintendo shared a video on the development history of Metroid Dread, explaining that the game was initially canceled all those years ago because the team didn't feel the technology of the time was enough to do the idea for the game justice. However, Nintendo became impressed with MercurySteam's work on Metroid: Samus Returns, with Nintendo designer Yoshio Sakamoto feeling this team could help make everything work.

Metroid Dread story?

Metroid Dread Battle

Metroid Dread Battle (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread is the latest point in the Metroid storyline and is a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion. In that game, Samus is sent down to the planet SR388, a planet explored in Metroid: Samus Returns, and is attacked by a parasite known as X, which infects her central nervous system, nearly killing her. Luckily, the Galactic Federation can manufacture a vaccine from the cells taken from the infant Metroid that Samus adopted on Zebes.

Upon recovery, Samus discovers that some of her power suits were too integrated with her body to remove during surgery, dramatically altering her appearance. The infected pieces of Samus' power suit are then sent to the Biologic Space Laboratories for analysis, but when an explosion rocks the BSL, Samus is sent to investigate.

On the BSL, Samus discovers that the X parasite has overrun the station and that a variant parasite, known as SA-X, is mimicking her appearance. Samus travels through the facility, discovering that the Galactic Federation intended on replicating Metroids, the life-sucking alien lifeform that Samus exterminated. She also finds that the base's computer is actually the uploaded consciousness of Samus' dead mentor, Adam Malkovich. Using help from the computer, Samus sends the base on a collision course with SR388, destroying both the X parasite and the Metroids once and for all. Samus survives, but her body has been dramatically altered, once by the Metroids and again by the X parasite.

Sakamoto promises that things won't be as confusing as they seem in Metroid Dread, explaining that new players will be brought up to speed quickly thanks to the game's prologue. Dread seems to focus specifically on Samus' relationship with the titular Metroids and the X-parasite. It might not be the end of Metroid games, but it's definitely a colossal finale as far as this chunk of the story goes.

"The series has chronicled the uncanny relationship between these Metroids and the heroine Samus, but this game will mark an end to that story arc. We're hoping fans of the series will wonder "what does 'mark an end to the story arc' mean?" as they play the game," says Sakamoto.

Metroid Dread trailers

Nintendo unveiled the first trailer for Metroid Dread at E3 2021:

At the Sep. 2021 Nintendo Direct, the developers showed another trailer for the game:

Metroid Dread gameplay

Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread is a 2D sidescrolling game in a genre popularly referred to as "Metroidvania." This is a portmanteau of Castlevania and Metroid, two games that helped popularize the design format. In Metroidvania, the gameplay is set in a 2D world, where the player character collects different weapons, tools, and abilities that open up new pathways that aren't initially accessible.

Nowadays, Metroidvanias are a popular genre of choice in the indie scene, and there are many excellent games in the genre, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Hollow Knight, and Axiom Verge. In addition, many developers of Metroidvanias encourage exploration and offer players a sense of discovery as they naturally explore the world around them.

Metroid Dread weapons available for Samus

Metroid Dread Cloaking

Metroid Dread Cloaking (Image credit: Nintendo)

Samus has never been more powerful than she is in Metroid Dread, but she'll have to use every weapon at her disposal if she wants to stay ahead of the EMMI. Samus can free aim as well as her melee counter, first introduced in Samus Returns. She also has a new Dash Melee move that can ram into enemies without losing momentum and a slide to move through tight spaces or beneath certain enemies. Finally, of course, Samus' arm cannon and missiles make an appearance as well.

She has a new ability, called Phantom Cloak, that will hide her from the EMMI's scans and a unique Spider Magnet ability that will allow her to scale walls. Returning from Metroid Prime Hunters is the Omega Cannon. This temporary power-up supercharges Samus' arm cannon for a powerful attack and is currently the only thing that can stop EMMI in its tracks. There will be more powers and abilities to discover as we get closer to release.

Is Metroid Dread connected to Metroid Prime 4?

Metroid Prime 4

Metroid Prime 4 (Image credit: GameSpot)

No, while Metroid Prime 4 is set in the same canonical storyline as Metroid Dread, they're not related. Metroid Prime shifted the series into a first-person perspective, while Metroid Dread is a return to the iconic 2D Metroidvania presentation. The Metroid Prime games are also set well before the events of Metroid: Samus Returns, while Metroid Dread is finally moving the story forward chronologically.

Will there be Metroid Dread amiibo?

Metroid Dread Amiibo

Metroid Dread Amiibo (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Yes, Nintendo also announced two amiibo that will release alongside Metroid Dread. The amiibos are of Samus in her new power suit and the EMMI in a two-pack set. Each amiibo also grants special abilities in the game. According to the GameStop amiibo description, scanning the Samus amiibo will give you an extra energy tank to increase your health by 100 and can be tapped again to receive health once per day. Likewise, the EMMI amiibo grants Samus a Missile+ tank, increasing her missile capacity by 10, and can be tapped again to replenish some missiles once per day.

How much does Metroid Dread cost?

Metroid Dread Running

Metroid Dread Running (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread cost $60 and is available for preorder now. While it's available digitally and physically, if you're willing to spend $80, you can grab the special physical edition of the game that comes with a steel bookcase, art cards, and an art book.

When does Metroid Dread release?

Metroid Dread Counter

Metroid Dread Counter (Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread is set to be available exclusively for Nintendo Switch owners on Oct. 8, 2021.

Samuel Tolbert

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance gaming writer who started working for iMore and its sister sites Windows Central and Android Central in July 2019. He handles news, previews, reviews, and exclusive original reporting, and has also been featured on TechRadar. With a background studying engineering before he shifted his focus to gaming journalism, he's skilled at identifying technical advantages and disadvantages provided by different hardware. If he’s not writing something, he’s off playing video games, spending time with his pets, exercising, or reading. He's also fond of trying to draw things with his iPad.