The recent announcement is a big deal for Metroid fans for several reasons. Never mind the fact that there hasn’t been a major new Metroid release in a really long time. Not counting Samus Returns and Zero Mission, which was a remakes, the last new 2D Metroid was Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance, all the way back in 2002, and ended at a point that pretty much demanded a sequel. Now, after over a year of leaks and speculation, with Metroid Dread, a new 2D game in the series has finally been announced. Nintendo has shown off quite a bit of gameplay for it, and released a bunch of details, so here, we’re going to round up the ten biggest details you should know about Metroid Dread.
Fans will find the name Metroid Dread very familiar, of course. This is name that we’ve been hearing about for a long, long time. Metroid Dread has existed in some way, shape, or form since the early 2000s, which is when the game first began development. It leaked in 2005 and was supposed to be announced for the DS soon- which, of course, never happened. The game entered development hell instead, with Nintendo later confirming that if they ever went back to it, they would reboot it completely. Which, of course, is exactly what has happened. Metroid Dread is being developed by MercurySteam, who also developed 2017’s 3DS title, Metroid: Samus Returns, with series producer Yoshio Sakamoto overseeing the project.
Metroid Dread is the fifth mainline 2D Metroid game, and it’s going to be set after the events of Metroid Fusion, which means that in the Metroid chronology, it’s going to be the latest game. The game is set on the planet ZDR, where apparently, the X parasite is present. Samus, as the only one who’s immune to it, heads to the planet to investigate matter. Interestingly enough, it has also been confirmed that it is going to be the final game in the current narrative arc, which began with the very first Metroid back on the NES, and has, for four instalments, been focusing on Samus and her relationship with Metroids. Whether the game will also plant the seeds for future storylines that could be pursued in new games remains to be seen, but it should certainly be interesting to see how this long-running saga wraps up.
The EMMI robots are the biggest headlining feature of Metroid Dread. Hell, the game is called what it is because of them. So what exactly are these? They were sent to ZDR by the Galactic Federation in order to capture and extract DNA from unknown creatures, but mysteriously vanished. Presumably, they may have crossed paths with the X and become somehow corrupted. Meanwhile, Samus, who’s got Metroid DNA in droves inside her, falls in their crosshairs as well, which means that in gameplay terms, the EMMI robots serve essentially as stalker enemies. Each EMMI robot patrols and roams around in a single zone, and players have to either find ways around them or run away if caught. EMMI robots are practically invincible to most attacks, and if they catch you, it’s an instant game over.
If there are stalker enemies, it follows that there are going to be at least some stealth mechanics as well. EMMI robots will have a couple of ways of detecting you- on top of roaming around in zones, they can also track you through sound, and if you wall within their vision cone, at which point they’ll begin chasing you around. Players will have to move slowly or avoid being heard, while you can also take cover behind objects to hide from their view. Another thing that you can use is the Phantom Cloak, which essentially renders you invisible. Even this has to be used within limits though, since it operates on a timer, and once it runs out of time, it begins depleting your health.
Like any good stalker enemy, EMMI robots are invincible to most weapons and tools in Samus’ arsenal- but they’re not going to be completely unbeatable. There will be some ways to defeat EMMI robots, one of which is the omega cannon. These are essentially upgrades to Samus’ arm cannon, which can be activated via central units scattered throughout the map. The omega cannon will allow players destroy EMMI robots. That said, this will be a temporary upgrade, and after destroying a robot, you’ll have to find a central unit to upgrade your arm cannon once again.
One of the many power ups that Samus will find in Metroid Dread is the Spider Magnet. As Sakamoto explains it, the Spider Magnet will allow Samus to latch on to walls and ceilings and then move along them. This will sound rather familiar to anyone who’s played Metroid 2, Metroid: Samus Returns, or the Metroid Prime trilogy, since it essentially seems to do pretty much what the Spider Ball power up did in those games. Meanwhile, other classic Metroid power ups, such as the Charge Beam, will also be returning.
FREE AIM AND MELEE COUNTER
MercurySteam added some much-needed immediacy and precision to combat with a couple of new mechanics in Metroid: Samus Returns, and those are going to return in Metroid Dread. There’s the free aim laser sight, of course, which allows players to aim the arm cannon in a full 360 degree arc. There’s also the melee counter, which lets Samus parry an attack from an enemy and then immediately counter with a melee attack of her own, if you can time it right. Things felt much smoother in Samus Returns thanks to these mechanics, so it’s excellent news that they’re going to return in Dread.
MELEE DASH AND SLIDE
MercurySteam aren’t just stopping with bringing free aim and the melee counter back. Metroid Dread is also going to add a couple of more new mechanics of its own. There’s the melee dash attack, which is a dedicated melee move that you can use at any time, rather than being able to use melee only when you’re counterattacking. Dread also adds a slide move, which will let you quickly zip through smaller passages and underneath ledges, so you will no longer be forced to switch in and out of morph ball form as regularly. All in all, it seems like movement and combat are both going to be much faster and much more kinetic in Metroid Dread.
AMIIBO AND SPECIAL EDITION
Of course, if Nintendo is launching a major new first party game, it’s absolutely going to release a new amiibo as well. With Metroid Dread, there will be two new ambiibos, one for Samus with her updated suit design, and one for an EMMI robot. Meanwhile, a Special Edition has also been confirmed for the game. In addition to the base game, the Special Edition will also include a steelbook case, an art book, and a set of art cards, one each dedicated to the five 2D Metroid games. The entire package will set you back $90.
And when exactly is Metroid Dread launching? Not that long. It’ll release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on October 8. Pre orders for the game are also live. Meanwhile, the game’s page on the Switch eShop website mentions a file size of 6.9 GB, so by Switch standards, it looks like a moderately sized game in that regard, if that.