Yoshio Sakamoto has been making the rounds in the gaming news, giving additional information about Metroid Dread following its announcement two days ago. In a Zoom call attended by reporters from Polygon, Eurogamer, The Verge, IGN and other outlets, Sakamoto-san clarified that Dread will not be the final 2D Metroid game and revealed the inspiration for the E.M.M.I., Dread’s major antagonists.
In his Development History video, Sakamoto said that Metroid Dread was in development and cancelled twice due to hardware limitations. According to Eurogamer, the second time was in 2008, where a playable prototype was created and shown to Nintendo executives in secret. It never went any further.
This seemingly confirms the claims made in 2015 to game researcher Liam Robertson by an anonymous source from Nintendo of America (video here). This person said that Dread was prototyped on Nintendo DS in 2008 and secretly shown before E3 2009 to Nintendo personnel. The source also said that it had a map screen on the bottom and gameplay on top, and looked very similar to Metroid Fusion. It would seem that the game was initially sprite-based like the classic Metroid games, before being realized as a 3D game on Nintendo Switch. The concept of a Metroid game with gameplay on the top screen and a map on the bottom screen was eventually realized in Metroid: Samus Returns.
Source: Eurogamer/Liam Robertson