Tuesday was quite the event for us Metroid fans, wasn’t it? The long-awaited Metroid Dread is finally coming to Nintendo Switch systems on October 8, 2021. Now that the dust has settled, we wanted to compile all of the information we know so far about the story and gameplay for you, based on the footage and information shared by Nintendo during their E3 2021 Direct, Treehouse Live, and through our own investigations.
The game picks up after the events of Metroid Fusion. A prologue summarizing the events of that game serves as a refresher for veteran Metroid players, or an introduction for new ones. The Galactic Federation has received a video transmission from an unknown sender, claiming that the X Parasites have survived. The message is traced to the remote planet of ZDR, to which the Federation sends a team of seven E.M.M.I., deadly robots that were built for DNA extraction purposes, to investigate. They vanish soon after landing however. Samus, having discovered the message herself, travels to ZDR to identify the source of the transmission and to learn if the X truly are alive. Due to her Metroid DNA, she is the only being in the universe with immunity to the X.
As she explores ZDR, a desolate place teeming with ruthless creatures and mechanoids, Samus is confronted by the E.M.M.I., who seek to hunt her down. Much like the Space Pirates in Metroid: Zero Mission and the SA-X in Metroid Fusion, Samus has little choice but to run and hide from these robotic beasts when they corner her. If they catch her, she will almost certainly be killed. Only the Omega Cannon, a temporary enhancement Samus can get, can destroy E.M.M.I.
Three of the E.M.M.I. have been seen so far. The first is slender, dark grey and slow due to damage it has suffered. The second is bulkier, white and more agile. It is seen stabbing Samus and hitting its head once. The third is light green and walks on all four limbs. It can fit through tight spaces and stabs Samus in the chest. They inhabit damaged and desolate areas that are separated by portal doors.
It’s not just the E.M.M.I. that Samus must contend with. Known enemies thus far include a Mother Brain-like Central Unit, a massive tailed creature called Corpious that uses the Phantom Cloak, and… the first living Chozo to be witnessed in a Metroid game, as seen in the reveal trailer! It resembles the military commander within Chozo Memories from Metroid: Samus Returns, and a wall mural seen in the trailer depicts what occurred during these Memories. All this suggests that ZDR was once a Chozo colony. Perhaps it still is? Similar to Metroid: Zero Mission, there are Chozo Statues which are able to refill energy and Missiles.
Yoshio Sakamoto has said that Metroid Dread will conclude the story arc of the Metroid series that first began with the original Metroid in 1986. Will it truly be the last Metroid game? If so, it looks as though it will be an incredible ending.
Thus far we know the names of the first two areas, Artaria and Cataris. Artaria is a cave-like environment with water puzzles, and one of the deepest on ZDR. Cartaris is a thermo energy power plant and droid manufacturing facility. Some areas are superheated and others are blocked off by magma flow, which can be redirected by Samus. Artaria is where Samus starts the game, and she has to climb back up to the surface of ZDR, where her gunship (the same one from Fusion) is. Like Samus Returns, there are background animals in Artaria that will scurry off when Samus approaches, adding a real depth to the world. One enemy resembles a smaller version of the Diggernaut.
Adam returns as Samus’s occasional guide in this game, and if you listen to the Treehouse event closely, you can hear him speaking! Unlike in Fusion, he will not provide objectives or guide Samus, but is there to provide story and lore for the player.
Metroid Dread takes what Metroid: Samus Returns did and builds on it. Aeion Abilities, Free Aim and the Melee Counter return from that game, and the latter has been drastically improved. In addition to the regular counter, Samus can now perform a Dash Melee, where she parries an incoming attack while dashing forwards or backwards, and dealing damage and/or killing the enemy. She can now slide through thin gaps, allowing her to get past tunnels even before she re-acquires the Morph Ball. Samus’s first Aeion Ability is called Phantom Cloak, which allows her to turn invisible in place. It is especially useful for hiding from E.M.M.I. if they are about to corner her.
Samus’s new suit design has an in-game reason, which has not been explained yet. Something happened to it in between Fusion and Dread. Her Power Suit, Morph Ball, Power Beam, Charge Beam, Power Grip and Missiles are confirmed to be returning. Missile Tanks increase her reserves by 2 units. There is one new item confirmed, the Spider Magnet. This allows Samus to grab onto blue-colored wall and ceiling surfaces and climb along them, similar to the Spider Ball or ladders in Metroid Fusion.
The new Samus amiibo will grant an extra Energy Tank when tapped, increasing Samus’s energy by 100 units, and the E.M.M.I. amiibo grants a Missile Tank that increases her reserves by 10 Missiles. They can both be tapped again once per day to replenish Samus’s energy and Missiles.
A special edition version of Metroid Dread will be available, containing a copy of the game, a SteelBook case, a 190-page 2D Metroid franchise artbook and five cards that feature box art from all the games in the five-part saga.
All that’s just from the first showing! If you think we have missed anything, be sure to let us know on our social media channels!