How Metroid Dread Was Revived A Decade After Cancellation
Though fans expected news regarding the next Metroid Prime game, Nintendo surprised many with the recent unveiling of Metroid Dread, an upcoming 2.5D iteration of the action-platforming series. Following up the events of Metroid Fusion, this retro-style sci-fi odyssey sees Samus Aran faced with a familiar jaunt of exploration and enemy battles, with a particularly tedious threat appearing in a legion of nigh-indestructible machines. Though our exo-suited heroine has a tough journey ahead of her, it appears greenlighting the game itself wasn’t exactly a picnic either.
As revealed in a recent interview with Eurogamer, longtime series producer Yoshio Sakamoto spoke about bringing Metroid Dread to fruition after well over a decade of on-and-off development. Though plans were thought to have fallen through in 2009, Nintendo’s recent reveal shows Dread is indeed alive and well, with Sakamoto attributing the project’s newfound greenlight to MercuryStream, the studio behind Nintendo 3DS title Metroid: Samus Returns.
“Samus Returns went really well,” Sakamoto said, “and meanwhile there was this long-standing project… which I’ve been wanting to make come true for a long time. Once I’d confirmed the excellent collaboration we had with MercurySteam, I felt we’d finally found the ideal partner to make my long-standing project come true.”
Having initially laid out plans for the project as early as 2005, Metroid Dread was initially leaked to be in the works for the Nintendo DS, progressing as far as the prototyping stage before being unceremoniously canned sometime in 2009. Though this early build never saw the light of day, gameplay is considered to have been highly-reminiscent of Metroid Fusion, including the game’s classic 2D sprites and level design. Video game researcher Liam Robertson memorably recounted these details in a 2015 video about the project’s troubled development.
Looking back at the original version of Metroid Dread, Sakamoto recalled the game wasn’t fully formed in that state, with the game’s story only being finalized “fairly recently” in this newest iteration of the project. “15 years ago when I originally conceived of the game, the story itself wasn’t clearly set,” Sakamoto explained. “It was basically driven, or kept alive, by the concept. It’s fairly recent we finalized the detailed story, so you can imagine what I had envisioned 15 years ago is not the same as what has been achieved now.”
”It consisted of Samus facing a dreadful opponent, a dreadful experience,” Sakamoto said, describing the original version of Metroid Dread. “At that time I hadn’t developed in detail the storyline within the overall chronology and background of the series. [On beginning work with MercurySteam] we further developed in detail the story… The final product surpasses what I originally envisioned.”
While little is currently known about Metroid Dread, this new version definitely looks comes across as a unique Metroid adventure, especially as it marks the conclusion of the series’ entire 35-year storyline thus far. As shown in the game’s released footage, Dread notably sports a bleak and sterile atmosphere and the terrifying EMMI robots act as though they’re Metroid’s answer to Resident Evil’s Mr. X, Nemesis, or Lady Dimitrescu. With all this said, it’s likely more information about the game will be unveiled as we get closer to release.
Metroid Dread releases for Nintendo Switch on October 8th.
What do you think? Are you excited to see Metroid Dread finally become a reality in 2021, or are you just wondering how previous iterations of the game may have turned out? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more post-E3 headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
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Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.