Not quite prime —
Includes flashy 3D cinematics, mechanics from 2017’s 2D revival Samus Returns.
This year, Nintendo’s long-running Metroid series is getting an entirely new sequel—and not the previously announced Metroid Prime 4 first-person shooter.
Instead, we’re getting Metroid Dread, apparently dubbed Metroid 5 in its debut trailer, launching October 8 exclusively on Nintendo Switch. The funky game title has been hinted at in prior games, and years later, Nintendo itself confirmed it was the name of an in-development 2D game that was eventually canceled. Thus, Dread‘s return today as an official title makes it a particularly nice Easter egg for anyone who has been following the lore of space bounty hunter Samus Aran on her journey to eradicate the Metroid scourge.
As a fully 2D Metroid game, Metroid Dread resembles 2017’s Metroid: Samus Returns, a modern 2D remake of the Game Boy classic Return of Samus. Not just in perspective or aesthetics, either—this year’s new Metroid sequel includes the 2017 game’s melee-swipe ability. And Nintendo has confirmed that Samus Returns‘ developers at MercurySteam are involved this time as well. As a Metroid series sequel, the game also includes new and trippy abilities like a cloak shield—and a few entirely new alien foes.
Following Dread‘s trailer reveal, Nintendo hosted a “development history” presentation about the Metroid series, confirming that Dread will mark an “end” to the mainline series’ story arc. (With Prime 4 still in development, Metroid fans should rest assured that there’s more Aran to come.) Longtime series producer Sakamoto Yoshio confirmed that Nintendo originally began work on a game called Metroid Dread 15 years ago, then paused its development and restarted it a second time before abandoning the idea. The “technology” was not up to snuff for the concept the developers had in mind: a game that features a constant “dread” chasing hero Samus Aran through an entirely new planet.
Among the new foes Aran will face is the E.M.M.I. robot (which you can see in the above gallery), “a research robot owned by the Galactic Federation” that patrols each of the new game’s various zones. As Sakamoto-san said, E.M.M.I. bots are too difficult to kill at first, so Aran will have to avoid the robots to survive. The presentation showed a mix of new and existing power-ups, along with the usual Metroid formula of picking up new power-ups and weapons to return to previous zones and unlock their secrets.
The presentation concluded with a live gameplay demo that suggested a locked 60 fps refresh (along with 30 fps reductions during cinematic cut scenes) and plenty of familiar Metroid 2D action. We’ll be back as soon as possible to let you know whether MercurySteam has pulled off another worthy Metroid entry—especially as handlers of the mainline series’ “final” entry.
Listing image by Nintendo
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