As part of its early promotion for Metroid Dread, Nintendo has been producing some pretty neat 'reports' that showcase different aspects of the game, along with input from the development team. The latest update focuses on seven gameplay and story aspects that define the 2D saga - no Prime stuff here, in other words.
What we have is a mix of lore, game details and even a brief history lesson, which we've reproduced below. So, without further ado...
1. Samus Aran
Lead character Samus Aran is a super-skilled bounty hunter who has single-handedly confronted and defeated multiple galactic threats. She is said to be the strongest warrior in the galaxy.
Samus is renowned throughout the galaxy, but few know her true identity.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - Many people know Samus from the Super Smash Bros.™ series. (By the way, the Zero Suit Samus fighter who also appears in Super Smash Bros. is this same Samus, but without her Power Suit.)
In the Metroid Dread game, Samus’s suit appears to have changed quite a bit from her previous missions. In the Metroid Fusion game, Samus’ suit was greatly transformed after the emergency removal of pieces eroded by the X parasite and a life-saving injection of the Metroid vaccine—resulting in an organic appearance for her suit. Now, her suit is gradually returning to its original, mechanical Power Suit form.
This enigmatic, floating life form has the terrifying ability to attach onto other organisms and absorb their energy.
Originally, the Metroid were artificially created by the Chozo—an intelligent species with a vision for galactic harmony—to destroy the dangerous X parasitical life form found on planet SR388.
Some have tried to weaponize Metroids because of their energy-absorbing ability, which has made this species the source of several conflicts in the past.
Samus was sent to planet SR388 by the Galactic Federation on a mission to eradicate the Metroid. She successfully accomplished her mission and returned with a Metroid hatchling in tow. As Samus was the first creature the hatchling saw, the “baby Metroid” imprinted onto her and believed Samus to be its mother. Soon after, however, this Metroid would become a source of conflict with the Space Pirates. In an ensuing battle, this Metroid would bravely sacrifice itself to save Samus. The species would go completely extinct after one of Samus’s later missions.
By the time of the Metroid Dread game’s events, the Metroid species no longer exists.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - You may not know if you haven’t played the series before, but this character that looks like a jellyfish is the titular “Metroid.” I’m sure some of you may have thought that the character Samus was named Metroid?
The name “Metroid” comes from the Chozo word meaning “ultimate warrior.”
While the Metroids have already gone extinct by the time of the events of the Metroid Dread game, it could be fun to speculate about what role they play in this adventure.
3. 35 years
To date, the history of the Metroid series spans 35 years, beginning with the original Metroid game released in 1986 for the Family Computer Disk System in Japan. The game would later release in North America and Europe for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987 and 1988, respectively.
The original game kicked off the story arc of what is commonly referred to as the “2D Metroid series,” which tells the tale of the uncanny, intertwined fates of Samus Aran and the enigmatic Metroids. The Metroid Dread game concludes this story arc.
Over 35 years, the 2D Metroid series has played out over these games, leading up to the Metroid Dread game:
Metroid (JP: 1986 / NA: 1987)
The original Metroid game tells the story of a battle that takes place between Samus and the Space Pirates on the planet Zebes. Later, this game would be remade and expanded on as the Metroid: Zero Mission game for the Game Boy Advance™ system.
The original NES game can be played on the Nintendo Switch™ system via the Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online app*.
Metroid II (1991)
Samus is sent by the Galactic Federation to eradicate the dangerous Metroids found on planet SR388. She returns from her mission with the imprinted Metroid hatchling. This entry was later remade and expanded on with the Metroid: Samus Returns game for the Nintendo 3DS™ family of systems.
Super Metroid (1994)
The Space Pirates return to steal the Metroid hatchling for their own nefarious purposes. Samus must again travel to planet Zebes to retrieve the hatchling and put an end to the Space Pirate threat.
The Super Metroid game is available to play on the Nintendo Switch system via the Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online app*.
Metroid Fusion (2002)
Aboard the orbiting Biologic Space Laboratories (B.S.L.) station, Samus battles many forms of the terrifying X parasite—a life form capable of overtaking organic creatures and mimicking their hosts completely based on their genetic information. One of these forms is the SA-X, a deadly mimic of Samus in her Power Suit at full strength.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - We developed the Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid: Samus Returns games, which are remakes of the first two games in the series, but it’s been 19 years since a brand-new title released in this saga—which means we’ve kept you waiting for more than half of the 35-year history of the entire series to see what happens next. As such, we have plentifully poured in what we have been preparing, and we believe everyone will be able to experience the game with many surprises within.
There’ll be an introduction to the story at the beginning of the game, so those who have not yet played the rest of the series can jump right in and feel at home.
The games in the Metroid series don’t follow a linear “clear the stage” setup—they are exploratory action games where you journey through a sophisticated, maze-like world. Picking up new items and weapons along the way lets you expand the areas you can visit, allowing you to explore new destinations and discover alternate routes. Map-reading and navigation skills can be quite helpful.
The map itself has evolved, too. Where previous maps used a simple cell-based view, this new map has become a more detailed navigational tool that can show things like differing terrains.
This feature allows you to highlight and view the same type of icons across all area maps. It can be extremely handy when looking for places you can newly explore after obtaining an ability.
Place up to six markers of different colors anywhere you’d like on the map. These markers will also appear on your minimap during gameplay.
You can zoom in and out on the map screen to get a better look at things.
Hidden item hints
Glowing places on the map indicate there are hidden items within that range.
Expand the minimap
During normal gameplay, pressing the Left Directional Button on the Joy-Con™ controller will expand your view of the minimap in the top-right corner of the screen.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - Since the Metroid series of games is all about exploring, it was clear to us that the map—the foundation of exploration—would be an important thing for us to focus on. This new map is powered up from previous, traditional maps in terms of look and function, which we think will make exploring the world feel even smoother than before.
In addition, players can enjoy greater freedoms when exploring compared to in previous installments, which might encourage you to try new strategies each time you play through.
5. Arsenal and abilities
Samus’s arsenal includes a range of weapons. The Power Beam is her standard Arm Cannon attack, Missile attacks are powerful but restricted by how many Samus can carry, and her Bombs can break down certain walls and obstacles.
In addition to her weapons, Samus’s basic physical abilities and special abilities will power up as she explores and discovers new capabilities.
Powering up lets Samus get through doors that were previosuly blocked off, as well as get past obstacles and areas to continue on her journey.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - Every time Samus powers up, her offensive power and agility greatly increase. There will be more doors she can open, walls she can destroy, and paths she can take.
With this kind of progression, you might look at paths and barriers in a different light than you did before—and we believe the players holding the controller can, too, feel this same growth alongside Samus.
6. The Chozo
The Chozo were known to be a highly intelligent species capable of developing amazing technologies. Their primary mission was to achieve lasting harmony across the galaxy.
Once a very powerful force with both intelligence and military might, their position weakened over many years. Now, only a few of them have been sighted, and these remaining Chozo mostly try to avoid attention.
Chozo relics—such as ancient ruins from their former civilization—have been found in multiple locations across the galaxy.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - In fact, Samus’s equipment—like the Power Suit and Arm Cannon—are Chozo technology. When Samus was young, she lost her parents and her home in a tragic incident and was raised by the Chozo on planet Zebes.
During that time, she received a Chozo DNA transplant, which allows her to adapt to environments that are otherwise harsh for humans.
On planet ZDR, where the Metroid Dread game takes place, there are various implications to be discovered surrounding Chozo civilization, which might connect with the game’s story in some way.
7. The X parasite
This parasitic life form is one of the deadliest in the universe. It can inhabit living or dead organic creatures and use their host’s genetic information to mimic them completely.
The Metroid species was created by the Chozo to destroy the X. Thanks to Samus, the X have been reduced to cosmic dust along with their native planet, SR388.
Metroid Dread Dev Team - The story in this game starts with a mysterious transmission that implies the X—which Samus was gravely afflicted by and is thought to have destroyed in the Metroid Fusion game—may still exist.
Are the X still out there, or is it something else? Please see for yourself.
That's it for this report, lots of neat detail for fans old and new. Let us know what you think, and perhaps speculate wildly on how this will follow on from Metroid Fusion's storyline.