There were several announcements and announcements last week, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the announcement of the new 2D Metroid game on the E32021 Nintendo Direct Stream. Metroid Dread has been featured following the Metroid Fusion event launched at Game Boy Advance in 2002. I received a remake like Samus Returns on 3DS, a complete trilogy of first-person shooters, and a third-person 3D action game ever since. With the release of Fusion, the newly announced Metroid Dread is a brand new 2D game for the first time in almost 20 years.
Dread was developed by Mercury Steam, the studio behind Samus Returns, and is under the supervision of Nintendo’s Yoshio Sakamoto. Producer of Metroid Dread, Sakamoto has a long history in the Samus Aran series. In addition to being the designer of the original Metroid, he was also the director of the beloved Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero Missions. Sakamoto’s role is to be the producer of Samus Returns and Metroid Dread, but he says his opinion goes beyond that of a typical producer.
“My role at Metroid Dread was the same as or the same as at Samus Returns. [Nintendo of Japan] Mercury Steam worked together to form a team, “says Sakamoto. Also, like Samus Returns, I’ve always been in contact with Mercury Steam on a daily basis, looking at the pros and cons of what they’re producing for their designs. I think I was called a producer, but I was also involved in the creative side. “
Sakamoto’s history in the series, and his respect for the Mercury’s team’s classic franchise, is evident through the demos I’ve seen. Following the Metroid Fusion event, Samus follows her path deep into the surface of a mysterious planet to investigate transmissions sent to the Galactic Federation. But when she arrives, she finds that the planet is completely overtaken by the life of hostile aliens. However, the threat of robots known as EMMI can be even more frightening. These bots patrol specific rooms and hunt down intruders. Samus may be a formidable warrior, but her power armor weapons are not comparable to these creatures, so her only option is to avoid them or take a break if they find her.
Samus is more agile than ever and must use a full move set to survive encounters with EMMI robots. In addition to moving faster than previous Metroid games, Dread maintains much of the movement from Samus Returns. Samus’s recent 3DS outing free aim mechanism is back. It also restores the ability of players to have a catastrophic effect against attackers at the right time. Unfortunately, her missiles and arm cannons are not comparable to EMMI’s thick armor, and if they catch her, she has very narrow windows to escape against the blow of the slaughter. If the player misses a chance to wiggle off the EMMI clutch, it will immediately provide a kill. The only chance Samus can stand on his toes with EMMI (what he knows so far) is to grab a temporary Omega Cannon power-up that can blow up thick armor.
If you play Metroid Fusion, this gameplay convention sounds familiar. One of the main adversaries was SA-X, a powerful parasite that mimics Samus’ abilities. Since SA-X is more powerful than Samus, bounty hunters had no choice but to escape or hide. EMMI’s encounters are undeniably tense, constantly chasing oncoming, almost invincible threats, much like horror games add a layer of anxiety to the situation. Although the convention is borrowed from that genre, Sakamoto does not consider Metroid dreads to be a horror game. “It’s really about Samus encountering horror, but she actually confronts it, fights it, and defeats it,” he says. “That part is important. The inspiration for moving the game in this direction came from the tensions surrounding Metroid Fusion’s SA-X gameplay and how we wanted to embrace that style. Then put it in what you consider to be normal Metroid gameplay and create an exciting experience. “
In stark contrast to other Metroid games where Samus starts at the surface of the water and delves into the depths of the planet, Metroid Dread starts underground and progresses towards the ship. As you progress through the ZDR, you can expect all the traps of a typical Metroid game, including unlockable weapons and abilities that allow you to explore new areas of the ever-expanding map. However, you often have to solve exploration-based puzzles to gain these powers. When the player comes to some room where the heat is radiated from the door, you can see this played in the demo. As it’s too hot to get inside, Samus blows up some enemies and gets off another route with a timed frame trap.
Samus arrives at the terminal, where he can communicate with the ship’s AI, Adam. This section uses text to describe planetary lore and Samus’s situation, but my demo deliberately skips this section so as not to spoil the details of the story. When players experience Metroid dreads, they come across a lot of text, but that’s not the only way to tell the story. “At Samus Returns, we also used cutscenes. We also had 3D cutscenes and 2D scenes, and the transition was very seamless between the two,” says Sakamoto. “It helped me to be expressive in the game. I found it to be very effective in Samus Returns. I also use it in Metroid Dread to maintain tension and expressiveness. Also, this story is very important. Since it’s a game, these cutscenes are also used to describe the story. “
Samus eventually arrives at a device that can interact to redirect fuel and change accessible doors. Now she can double back and go through those hot doors for some time. However, she has to find another route because the fuel diversion has blocked her path. Samus can blow up a weak wall, but unfortunately for her, the return trip involves passing through a pixelated door, indicating that she is in the EMMI patrol zone.
As mentioned earlier, Samus doesn’t have many answers to these stalking robots, but her phantom cloak ability is very useful as it makes her invisible for a short period of time. Players shouldn’t trust it too much, as Samus runs out of phantom cloak energy and remains invisible to her health. EMMI tracks you based on sight and sound, but there are also some tools at your disposal. The red dots on the map indicate where the EMMI is, and you will hear chirps and beeps that ring when you are nearby. The EMMI zone is a pressing issue. Relentless robots stalk Samus with terrifying effects, and losing them doesn’t seem like an easy task. Just as Samus is as agile as he is in Metroid Dread, EMMI bots appear to be just as competent and intelligent.
Samus found an exit to the next area and was finally freed from the oppressive automata. She accesses another fuel redirect and opens a new door in the previous area. Unfortunately, she has to go through the EMMI zone again to get back there. This time, EMMI crawls through what looks like a vent that runs under Samus’s feet for more active tracking. The robot catches Samus and goes to kill him, but fortunately the Nintendo treehouse demonist perfectly timed the counter and Samus can escape and continue running from EMMI.
EMMI lost sight of Samus, but continues to hunt her throughout the region. As with most stealth games, you have to make difficult calls about when to make a crazy dash for the route to take and the clear path at the expense of making extra noise. After a fierce chase, Samus finally leaves the EMMI zone and the demo ends.
Metroid Dread ends with the five-part Arc: Samus’s Return, Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion, which began in 1987 with the first Metroid game and continued to Metroid II. But that doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for the franchise. In fact, the next idea seems to be already in the pipeline. “The story of Metroid so far has dealt with the strange fate of Samus intertwined around this strange thing called Metroid, and until now it has been the focus of the series,” says Sakamoto. “This game represents something like a little pause, or a new start to something else. No one wants the Metroid series to end. We know that. We don’t want that ourselves, but we know that some new episodes are waiting for us in our work. I hope you look forward to the next episode, but concretely. There is nothing so far. “
After spending this extra time on Metroid Dread, I’m even more confident that this 2D revival has been what fans of the series have been asking for over the last 20 years. Exploration, combat, and a sense of constant invading horror all appear to be a stellar continuation of Samus’ galactic journey.
Metroid Dread will be released for Switch on October 8th. Learn why it took so long to create the game.