Nintendo Announces Metroid Dread, an Old-School Metroid with a Twist

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Nintendo Announces <i>Metroid Dread</i>, an Old-School Metroid with a Twist

Get hyped, ‘Troidheads: your favorite bounty hunter is coming back in her first new 2D adventure in almost 20 years. This time, though, Samus is the hunted and not the hunter in the upcoming game Metroid Dread, which Nintendo announced today during its E3 livestream. They were also kind enough to release a trailer, which you can watch below; the game is currently scheduled to release for the Switch this October.

Metroid Dread, of course, is a name with some history. The first we heard of a game of that name was all the way back in 2005, when it was leaked as the title of a DS game that would serve as a sequel to 2002’s Metroid Fusion. That version of Dread never came to be, but the one announced today is clearly playing on that history and the almost mythic allure that name has long held for Metroid fans. As the first completely new side-scrolling Metroid game since Fusion, Dread can be seen as the fifth official entry in the main Metroid canon—in fact, today’s trailer even calls it “Metroid 5” before revealing its real name. All this tells us that this one’s for the old-school Samus fans, the ones who prefer the classic side-scrolling exploration of the NES original and the SNES sequel Super Metroid over the first-person perspective of the Metroid Prime series. (Don’t worry, though—Nintendo made sure to state that Metroid Prime 4 is still in development before revealing Dread today.)

Despite the side view, Dread seems to change up that original Metroid formula a bit. Samus moves much faster than we’ve seen in earlier games, and it appears that a big part of the game will be trying to outrun or hide from a new class of enemy. The E.M.M.I., as it’s apparently called, looks like a robotic big cat, like one of those robot dogs from Boston Dynamics whose videos go viral every so often, only bigger, meaner, and with a mission to wipe out Samus. The cinematic trailer focuses entirely on Samus being hunted by one of these shape-shifting robots, and the gameplay footage in the trailer also includes a few shots of them chasing after her. There was an element of feeling hunted near the end of the original Metroid, when you got to the final area, Tourian, and encountered actual Metroids for the first time, but it was brief and once you learned the trick of how to destroy a Metroid it was fairly easy to take them out. The dynamic in Metroid Dread almost looks more like how Nemesis operates in Resident Evil 3, or Evil Otto in Berzerk: an unbeatable heavy periodically chases you, and your primary recourse is to just run like hell, which, yes, fills you with dread. Presumably in Dread you’ll eventually acquire the power-ups necessary to beat these monsters over the course of the game, since gradually getting more powerful and being able to do things you couldn’t do earlier is kind of Metroid’s whole thing.

I definitely like what I see in this trailer. The speed and that sense of being hunted are new wrinkles to a game I’ve been playing and enjoying for over 30 years, and the basic Metroid formula is still, for my money, the hardest one to mess up in all of videogames. Check out the trailer for Metroid Dread below, and get that Switch ready for its Oct. 8, 2021, release date.

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