Metroid: Dread Released at E3 2021
Gamers were in for a big surprise at E3 2021: the launch of Yoshio Sakamoto’s creation Metroid Dread was finally announced by Nintendo. The 2D side-scroller game was first conceived by Sakamoto about 15 years ago but development was halted due to the technical limitations of a handheld Nintendo DS console.
Metroid Dread is a continuation of the Metroid “series” and features Samus Aran, the bounty hunter protagonist. In the newest installment, instead of only battling Space Pirates and Metroid organisms, Samus must also contend with E.M.M.I., predatory robots that seem impossible to defeat. Sakamoto said that he wanted to present players with an all-powerful, evil force, and the E.M.M.I. robots proved to be just the right antagonist – a way of conveying the “unfeeling-ness” of a non-human entity.
A 5th Installment
Dread comes as the fifth part in the Metroid franchise; the first new main installment since 2002, when Metroid Fusion came on the scene. The game is due to be released on Nintendo Switch on October 8, later this year. Sakamoto, who is the producer on Dread, explained that the better hardware of the Nintendo Switch has enabled the new action-adventure game to come to fruition. On top of the improved technology, the assistance of the Spanish studio Mercury Steam also made a big difference in facilitating the game’s development.
Mercury Steam had previously handled the development of the remake of Game Boy’s Metroid II, called Metroid: Samus Returns. Nintendo launched this particular game in 2017, utilizing 2D gameplay with 3D visuals – the same features that appear in Dread. Sakamoto said that he was keen to work with Mercury Steam and felt that the partnership allowed them to “work together … towards a singular concept” and bring Metroid Dread to life.
New Innovations and Features
Dread promises to be a treat for all gaming fans: Samus has the ability to launch counterattacks and has free aim (as in Samus Returns). Those who watched the live gameplay demo expressed their approval for the game, describing the E.M.M.I. robots as “appropriately terrifying”. Dread promises smooth visuals – an upgrade from previous releases – and allows protagonist Samus to move with greater speed and agility. As well as these improvements, players will enjoy a new challenge – the backdrop for the action is a maze-like planet that makes Samus’ fight for survival that much harder.
The launch of Metroid: Dread hasn’t come a moment too soon for Sakamoto, who stated that it is “better than [he] imagined those 15 years ago.”