The ‘Metroid’ Franchise Returns to Switch This Fall | fashions
One of the (relatively) most important announcements at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo was one of the least anticipated.
“Metroid” is back on Nintendo hardware.
After announcing the development of “Metroid Prime 4” four years ago, the beloved sci-fi series has passed away. Originally, a Namco team was developing the successor to the award-winning “Metroid Prime” trilogy before development was relaunched and handed over to the creator of the Retro Studios sub-series. But since then news has been hard to come by, as Nintendo constantly reassures fans of the franchise that development continues. Fans were reassured when Nintendo presented at E3 last week, followed by the announcement of an even more anticipated game, “Metroid Dread”.
“Metroid Dread” is – in the timeline – the last game in the series, taking place after 2002’s “Metroid Fusion” which released on Gameboy Advance. It’s been 19 years since this game got a sequel, despite rumors of a 15-year-old “Metroid Dread”. Development was kicked off and scrapped at least twice before responsibilities shifted to MecurySteam following its handling of “Metroid Samus Returns” in 2017. This title was a remake of “Metroid II: The Return of Samus” from 1991 .
Not much has been revealed about “Metroid Dread” beyond the fact that it takes place after “Fusion” and will include the X-Parasite that was at the heart of this game’s story. It will serve as the end game in this game. Samus’ long history, dating back to “Metroid” on the NES. The “Metroid Prime” series is a spin-off that takes place at a different point in the timeline. Story details are being kept under wraps, but gameplay appears to be similar to MercurySteam’s work on “Samus Returns” with an emphasis on smooth movement and fast-paced combat alongside the series’ exploration and progression structure. .
For longtime “Metroid” fans, this announcement was a tremendous – and welcome – surprise after years of neglect. The “Metroid” franchise has never been a big seller, even though it includes some of the most acclaimed games in industry history along with “Super Metroid” and “Metroid Prime”. The games are reliable sellers, typically exceeding around 2 million copies, but never achieved the mainstream success that similar Nintendo titles like “Mario” and “The Legend of Zelda” have enjoyed. Yet there are few games like “Metroid” on the market, and imitators of the “Metroidvania” genre rarely reach the same heights or the same quality.
“Super Metroid” remains the gold standard of the genre, while “Metroid Prime” brought the series to first person with a unique title that oozed atmosphere on the Gamecube. Retro has proven that “Metroid” can go beyond its 2D side-scrolling roots into a more “modern” design, creating one of the best games of this generation of consoles.
The “Metroid” franchise has had some tough times in recent years. “Metroid Other M” on Wii was meant to be an incredible new lease of life for the franchise. Developed by “Ninja Gaiden” studio Team Ninja, “Other M” has been lambasted by fans and longtime critics of the series. Its graphics and performance were poor, the gameplay drifted far too much from what people expected from “Metroid” and the story murdered not only Samus, but much of the cast with horrific characterization and plot. It was an even bigger disappointment considering it followed the beloved “Metroid Prime” trilogy. The failure of this game put the franchise on ice for seven years.
“Samus Returns” was a worthy remake that took the structure of the Gameboy game and improved it for modern hardware and design sensibilities. It served as a benchmark for older game remakes. And while he may not have set the sales charts on fire, he still pulled respectable numbers from a fan base salivating for any quality entry. The less we talk about “Metroid Federation Force” the better.
It was a little disconcerting not to see any news on “Metroid Prime 4,” but the surprise announcement of “Metroid Dread” shows that Nintendo is determined to keep the franchise going. The seemingly relentless popularity of the Nintendo Switch turns almost any franchise into a sales heavyweight. Hopefully when “Metroid Dread” launches this fall, it builds on the commercial success the franchise has always deserved and shows that the “Metroid” franchise should be a mainstay of Nintendo hardware.
“Metroid Dread” to be released exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 8th
Josh Rouse lives in Lawton and writes a weekly gaming column for The Lawton Constitution.