It's been 19 years since the last 2D Metroid and 15 years since we first heard the name Metroid Dread, the long-rumored, oft canceled follow-up to Metroid Fusion and the final chapter in a decades-long story involving the titular alien race and the intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Announced at Nintendo's E3 2021 Direct, Metroid Dread is real and coming very soon. Whether you've been a fan since the original or curious why everyone is so pumped for this entry, you've come to the right place. Here's everything we know so far about Metroid Dread.
What is Metroid Dread?
Metroid Dread is the latest installment in the Metroid series, returning the franchise back to its 2D roots. In this new Metroid, Samus investigates a mysterious transmission on the planet ZDR. Upon arrival, she quickly discovers that the planet has become overrun by vicious alien lifeforms and the imposing E.M.M.I., the DNA extracting robot hunting Samus down.
Metroid Dread is the 13th installment in the series, picking up where 2002's Metroid Fusion left off. It's being co-developed by MercurySteam, the developers who remade Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS, and lead by Producer Yoshio Sakamoto, the producer behind Metroid, and many other oddball Nintendo games like WarioWare, Tomodachi Life, and Famicom Detective Club — quite a resume!
What's the story?
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 is able to 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 suit 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 discovers 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 greatly altered, once by the Metroids and again by the X parasite.
I know this all seems like a lot, but Yoshio Sakamoto promised that new players will be brought up to speed quickly thanks to the game's prologue. We expect Dread to explore Samus' relationship with the Metroids and even the X parasite. Yoshio Sakamoto stated this about the game's story:
"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."
What's a Metroidvania?
Metroid, along with later Castlevania games, is notable for the creation of the genre known Metroidvania. Metroidvania's are a sub-genre of action-adventure games that typically feature a large interconnected world map the player can explore, though access to parts of the world is often limited and can only be passed once the player has acquired specific weapons, tools, or abilities. While Metroid nor Castlevania was the first to attempt this type of game design, specific entries in their catalog, namely Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, popularized the genre.
Nowadays, Metroidvanias are a popular genre of choice in the indie scene, and many excellent indie games, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Hollow Knight, and Axiom Verge. Many developers often Metroidvanias encourage exploration and offer players the sense of discovery as they naturally explore the world around them.
What's so special about Metroid Dread?
Metroid Dread had a 15 year-long development cycle and was even canceled twice. The first known mention of Metroid Dread was in a June 2005 issue of Game Informer, with further details emerging on the magazine's online forums. At this time, the game was a 2D side-scroller being developed for the Nintendo DS and would follow the events of Metroid Fusion. Later that year, IGN reported the existence of the game, but Nintendo neither confirmed nor denied it.
And it would become gaming's bigfoot for some time, as some insiders claimed that it existed, while Nintendo continued to deny its existence. In a development history video released by Nintendo, Yoshio Sakamoto stated that they began development on Metroid Dread 15 years prior but gave up on the idea because they felt that the technology at the time couldn't fully bring the concept to life. They tried once more before giving up again, but after seeing MercurySteam's work on the Samus Returns remake, Yoshio Sakamoto felt like they were the right team to bring their vision for Metroid Dread to life.
What kind of weapons will Samus have?
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 E.M.M.I. Samus has the ability to free aim as well as her melee counter, first introduced in Samus Returns. She also has a new Dash Melee move that can be used to ram into enemies without losing momentum, and a slide to move through tight spaces or beneath certain enemies. 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 E.M.M.I.'s scans and a new Spider Magnet ability that will allow her to scale walls. Returning from Metroid Prime Hunters is the Omega Cannon, a temporary power-up that supercharges Samus' arm cannon for a powerful attack and is currently the only thing that can stop E.M.M.I. in its tracks. There will definitely be more powers and abilities to discover as we get closer to release.
Is this connected to Metroid Prime 4?
No, both Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid Dread coexist, though they're not directly connected. The Metroid Prime games exist in the timeline after the original game, but before Metroid: Samus Returns. Metroid Prime games are also played from the first-person perspective, while these "core" Metroid games are in 2D.
Will there be amiibo?
Yes, Nintendo also announced two amiibo that will release alongside Metroid Dread. The amiibos are of Samus in her new power suit and the E.M.M.I. 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. The E.M.M.I. amiibo grants Samus a Missile+ tank, increasing her missile capacity by 10, and can be tapped again to replenish some missiles once per day.
Is Samus a girl?
Yes. Of course!
How much does Metroid Dread cost?
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 physical special edition of the game that comes with a steel bookcase, art cards, and an art book.
When does Metroid Dread release?
The long, long, long awaited Metroid Dread releases on Oct. 8th, 2021, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. We're certain it's going to make a lot of people happy, and will likely be one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.
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