After nearly two decades, 2D Metroid is back! Nintendo recently unveiled Metroid Dread at E3, finally bringing it to light after 15 years of rumors. The trailer has us excited, and everyone’s talking about the frightening new E.M.M.I. bots. But between the trailer, Treehouse footage, and official website, tons of other key details have been revealed. Here’s a look at five key details and how they’ll impact the gameplay and story!
Smooth run-and-gun gameplay
With Samus Returns devs MercurySteam handling the game, I had some initial concerns. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Counter and Free Aim features they added, as both required you to stand still. To me, Metroid is at its best when it’s fast and fluid and the world is your parkour course. That’s why it’s great to hear that both of these features can now be performed on the run. No more standing still to shoot or grapple with an enemy!
Metroid Dread also gives Samus the ability to perform a slide. This should come in handy when dodging enemies, and it also opens up new movement possibilities. For instance, you can get to a full sprint, drop into a slide, slide off a ledge, and smoothly transition into a jump without falling. Speaking of jumping, the simplified controls for wall-jumping are back from Samus Returns. Finally, if you come just short on a jump, Samus will automatically grab the ledge and pull herself up. It’s a lot of little changes, but they should all add up to a game that should feel great.
Adam’s back (but not annoying)
One key detail revealed during the Nintendo Treehouse livestream is the return of Adam Malkovich. For those unfamiliar, Samus served under Adam during her time in the Galactic Federation Police. He passes away during the events of Metroid: Other M, but lives on as a computer AI in Metroid: Fusion. As a sequel to Fusion, Dread brings back this computerized version of Adam, but fans don’t need to be worried.
Adam’s past appearances drew heavy criticism, partially because his mission orders to Samus cut down on exploration and made those games more linear. That won’t be the case this time around. The Nintendo Treehouse team made sure to explain several times that Adam will only give you lore and hints, but never direct orders. You’re free to choose your own path this time.
A detailed map system
And with all that freedom of exploration, you’ll want an easy way to keep track of everything. Fortunately, Metroid Dread has probably the most detailed and comprehensive map system in any 2D Metroid game. Icons and color-coded rooms help you easily identify areas of importance, and you can hover over locked doors to see which item is required to open them. The map even displays tiny environmental details, like which rooms have water in them, or which walls are lined with magnetic strips.
Map rooms return to help you find your way, but they don’t reveal too much all at once. Instead, they simply show off the rough outline of areas you haven’t visited yet. As you travel through these new areas, they’ll be filled in with more detail on your map. You can even see which parts of a room you’ve explored, as they’ll have a darker shading on the map. So if you’re unable to reach the top-left corner of a room, for example, that corner will be a lighter shade on your map than the rest. You’ll also be able to place colored markers on your map to keep tabs on points of interest.
As you explore this sprawling world, you’ll notice imposing statues of bird-men in robotic suits. These are depictions of the Chozo, the ancient and powerful alien race that raised Samus. The Treehouse team brought them up repeatedly while teasing that this game will be full of lore. Past games have been pretty stingy with details about this mysterious race, but Metroid Dread might change that.
If you pause the trailer at the 1:31 mark, you can see a living Chozo operating some kind of computer. Unless this is just a flashback, it’s a huge development for the story! Most of the Chozo were wiped out before the first game, so you usually only encounter their ruins. Meeting a living Chozo for the first time in years would be a life-changing event for Samus. We’ve explored this idea further in an article, which you can read by clicking here.
Finally, Nintendo Treehouse revealed that planet ZDR is controlled by machines called Central Units. Each one is a biomechanical supercomputer responsible for a section of the planet. These Central Units look and function just like weaker versions of Mother Brain, the last boss of past games. Will she make an appearance later in the game, or are we just dealing with her children this time around? Their full role in the game is yet to be seen.
We do have some information on the Central Units though. Nintendo Treehouse revealed that you can interact with one of them to obtain an “Omega Cannon” for a limited time. Samus uses this powerful beam to take down an E.M.M.I. when none of her other weapons work. This is reminiscent of Samus gaining the powerful Hyper Beam technique from Mother Brain in Super Metroid. The Development History trailer also features a short clip that shows Samus fighting a Central Unit. This one is protected by a turret and a machine that shoots out red rings called Rinkas, which are both standard Mother Brain defenses.
Those are just five of the most exciting reveals from Metroid Dread during E3, but there should be much more to come! Nintendo plans to give regular updates via the Metroid Dread Report on the official website. We’ll be updating you on all the exciting news through the game’s launch on October 8!