Shinesparkers Feature:

Metroid V

My Concept
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Since November 2002, Metroid Fusion has chronologically been the most recent adventure in the Metroid timeline, concluding with Samus destroying the BSL Galactic Federation research station in order to save the universe from the X Parasite threat. With the digitised mind of her late commanding officer Adam Malkovich serving as the ship’s computer, she blasted off towards the stars. A substantial amount of time has passed since the release of Fusion (almost eighteen years at the time of writing), and until recently, I was convinced that the days of traditional side-scrolling Metroid titles were a thing of the past.

But in 2017, in collaboration with Mercury Steam and series Producer Yoshio Sakamoto from Nintendo, they created Metroid: Samus Returns on Nintendo 3DS, a reimagining of the 1991 release of Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy. The award-winning title proved that this style of game was very much possible in the modern age and gave me renewed hope for future Metroid titles with this same approach. Since then, my head has been overflowing with ideas for a continuation of its story. Here are five that I would like to see featured in a brand new 2D Metroid title, set after the events of Metroid Fusion.

The following words are my own concept for the future traditional-style Metroid title, and are not confirmation, or suggest any prior knowledge of a new title at the time of writing.

A home for the animals

The Dachoras and Etecoons have been true allies throughout Samus’s adventures. Her decision to rescue them at the end of Super Metroid enabled them to return the favour in Metroid Fusion, where they had piloted her craft to rescue Samus from the BSL Research Station before it was obliterated. By the time the credits roll, these strange yet helpful creatures are resting peacefully on board, some of Samus’s closest companions in an uncertain future.

I would like to see them play a large role in the next game in supporting Samus through the unfamiliar territory of a desolate alien planet, similar to how they helped in Super Metroid, where the Etecoons taught Samus the ability to Wall Jump and the Dachora revealed the Shinespark ability. Perhaps the Etecoons could hold onto one another and swing Samus across a large chasm? Or perhaps the Dachora could destroy an inaccessible wall? Both of these areas could be accessed later when Samus obtains her Grappling Beam and Power Bomb abilities, but in the short term, the animals could help guide the player to better understand Samus’s abilities and weapons, without the need of a tutorial.

Before the credits of Metroid 5 roll, I would like to see the Etecoons and the Dachoras find a home on this planet and live peacefully with a happy ending. Unfortunately, in the world of Metroid, life is not always that forgiving…

Reinventing Ridley

Samus’s arch nemesis has made consistent appearances throughout the majority of Metroid games, but by the end of Fusion, his body is nothing more than a frozen husk. In that game, we learn that the minds of leaders and scientists were frequently uploaded to computers; it is how Adam Malkovich continued to live on and serve as Samus’s companion onboard her ship. But what if it wasn’t just the minds of the Federation that were being kept? What if the Federation found another perfect military mind of a great leader with great natural instincts? Something they could learn from and hope to control?

In Fusion, the game that takes place just after Other M canonically, Ridley’s frozen body can be located on board the B.S.L research station in the exact same pose as it was found in Other M. My concept is that the Federation retrieved his body from the Bottle Ship in Other M, preserved it in subzero temperatures on the B.S.L., and extracted his mind, uploading it to their computers in the hope of controlling it. But what if Ridley’s mind couldn’t be ruled? What if it took hold of the Federation Battleship’s computer system, like a virus? Ridley would be reborn as something new. With the knowledge absorbed from the Galactic Federation system archives, Ridley could even learn how to communicate!

Considering how much Ridley has been used throughout Metroid’s history since 1986, I think it would be refreshing to see him return in a different form. He’s a popular character but overused, especially when you consider the fact that Ridley was also added as a surprise final boss to Samus Returns, a retelling of Metroid II: Return of Samus, a game where he didn’t appear. If the character cannot be reinvented, I feel that he should remain dead post-Fusion.

Closure to the Metroid Breeding Program

Metroid: Other M and Fusion both feature research stations called the Bottle Ship and B.S.L. Research Station, which were being used to propagate Metroids through DNA cloning. The corruption within the Galactic Federation runs deep, evident in these two previous games, and it would be useful to learn why a small group of them are secretly trying to resurrect Metroids and for what purpose. What’s the connection between the Bottle Ship in Other M and Biologic Space Laboratories in Fusion? Is it part of a larger undercover operation by the Galactic Federation who are using them as a front to carry out their criminal activities?

Samus has foiled their plans on two previous occasions, and it was confirmed in Fusion’s epilogue that those investigating the destruction of B.S.L. would hold her responsible. It’s not unreasonable to presume that this corrupt arm of the Federation would want to see Samus arrested to ensure she would be out of the picture, and so I feel that the plot of Metroid 5 will involve Samus doing everything possible to prove her innocence and to expose the operation within the shadows of Biologic Space Laboratories. Equally, she may feel a sense of guilt, given the fact that she was responsible for delivering the infant Metroid from SR388 to Ceres Space Colony in Super Metroid, which led to this mess.

From another perspective, Biologic Space Labs and the Federation may relish the opportunity to capture Samus for themselves, to help further their Metroid plans, given that she now has Metroid DNA flowing through her due to the Metroid vaccine given to her at the start of Fusion,. Both sides have a lot to gain from meeting once again, and it could end in an impressive showdown between the Galactic Federation and Samus Aran, bringing closure to a story thirty-five years in the making (at the time of writing).

Bridging the gap between traditional and Prime Metroid games

The traditional series of Metroid games has had a rich and successful history, breaking into the mature space and creating some unforgettable experiences. Super Metroid has stood the test of time, celebrated frequently across the industry as one of the greatest games ever made, and has fueled inspiration in the Metroidvania space. Equally, the team at Retro Studios under the guidance of Kensuke Tanabe have delivered some impressive results that have seen larger success in terms of sales and reach compared to the “2D” games. But while the Metroid Prime games have referenced those iconic titles, later games under Sakamoto-san haven’t had the same level of acknowledgement.

Respectfully, both Sakamoto and Tanabe will approach their games as they feel necessary, but I dream of a game that remains true to the side-scrolling style of Metroid, while incorporating elements of the Prime games, including references to its characters lore and its music. My ideal game would bring together the traditional and Prime universes, with both Sakamoto and Tanabe having a closer professional relationship purely to ensure consistency between the two different series, acknowledging and establishing the lore between the two types of game so they can coexist within one universe and offer clarity to fans moving forward.

Introducing the Chozo

In Metroid: Samus Returns, the Chozo Memories reveal some lore predating the first Metroid game, which focuses on the race arriving at planet SR388, with images depicting the creation of the Metroids and how they became overwhelmed by their power once they evolved. It also highlights a more sinister twist within the Chozo ranks, where a rescue team slaughters their own kind, raising questions to their motives. It’s clear to me that this is where the franchise goes next, and it would explain how Metroids could exist in the future. In the history of the Metroid video game series, we have never seen Samus encounter a living, breathing Chozo outside of flashbacks and usually as a ghostly entity or statue.

While I feel that there is an important story to conclude with Metroid 5, the game could lay the foundations for a future title by revealing to Samus that the Chozo are still alive out there. Throughout her adventure, she may encounter evidence of this on the planet she lands on, and this could complement the existing story as part of a side quest. Perhaps the game could offer a reward in the form of more Chozo Memories, encouraging players to explore every corner of the world to reveal more information. Perhaps players who uncover 100% of all secrets will receive a special ending cutscene, showing Samus flying off in search of those who cared for her and made her the warrior she is today.

Five MORE things I want to see in Metroid 5

To wrap up this feature, I briefly want to touch on five additional things I would like to see in Metroid 5.

1. In addition to the return of the Chozo Memories mentioned above, I would like to see unlockables return to Metroid 5, such as a gallery of artwork, a sound test so we can enjoy the music of the game, and different game modes such as a harder difficulty and a game mode where items are randomised, offering a new way to play. Given this has been the case in Fusion, Zero Mission, and Samus Returns, I don’t expect this to change.

2. amiibo support could offer additional content, such as special suits or exclusive artwork for Metroid 5. I respect that this idea could be unpopular given how challenging it could be to find specific amiibo at retail, so anything the amiibo would unlock would also be made available to anyone who could complete the game with 100% completion. It would also be a great opportunity for Nintendo to create more Metroid-series amiibo, which I am sure would be very popular with the community.

3. A special edition version of the game could be made available alongside the release. It could include a classic Metroid selection featuring Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Metroid: Zero Mission, and Metroid: Samus Returns. This would be a great opportunity for fans to fully explore the classic Metroid series in one place and could be offered with Metroid 5 as a special edition bundle.

4. I would like to see the return of written dialogue scenes between Samus and the computerised mind of Adam on board her ship. I could imagine Samus making progress in her mission and returning to her craft to share memories or stories with Adam or as a monologue to herself. It would be a great opportunity for story building and could even feature a secret message similar to Metroid Fusion for the most skilled of players to discover. Imagine if there was a huge Chozo secret that was hidden deep within the game, where you had to make use of complex Shinesparking to reach it? I wonder how many would find such a message…

5. Finally, the game should be called Metroid Dread. Despite Nintendo never officially acknowledging its existence, since 2004, fans have associated the name Dread with a sequel to Metroid Fusion, and so it would be hugely beneficial from a marketing perspective to name it this way. Regardless of what they decide to name Metroid 5, the next chapter in the story of Samus is long overdue, and I am more than ready for it!

Written by Darren