The 'Metroid' Game 20 Years In The Making Is Coming
Believe it or not, the last chronological Metroid game came out almost two decades ago. Metroid Fusion was a sidescroller about a genetically altered Samus Aran running and gunning her way through a space station, with an evil version of herself chasing her, being manipulated by an AI who was more human than he seemed. It was the closest the game series had ever come to Aliens, and it came out back in 2002. That was Bush's first term.
The smartphones that you're reading this article on weren't even a thing.
And then Metroid Prime came out, practically on top of it, and it looked like Metroid's time had come yet again. Or had it? (Spoiler: Nope.)
Aside from one joking reference in Metroid Prime 3, there was 19 years of radio silence when it came to main Metroid games. A leak shortly after Metroid Fusion's release that hinted at another Metroid game -- an even darker, more horror-inspired game, called Metroid Dread. But aside from that, it's all anyone had for years.
It turns out that Yoshio Sakamoto, who designed the original Metroid, wanted Dread to follow-up on Fusion's 'Impossible Challenger Chasing You' mechanic, but the Nintendo DS was just too weak for it to work out, so the game, despite being even playable at one point, just never came about. And time passed, and passed, and passed. And you had a child, and they had children, and …
In that time, Retro Studios would continue releasing the Metroid Prime games (canonically Metroid 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7), including ones no one would play like the Hunter spin-offs (and the pinball game). But after 2007, aside from Samus appearing in Smash Bros., there was no way for her continuing adventures to be seen except in our dreams and weird Rule-34.
A remake of the first game, dubbed Metroid: Zero Mission, came out, which was basically like Prometheus ... if Prometheus depended less on two women being unable to outrun a circle and more on fighting your inner self to use a magic spacesuit.
After that, the second game also got a make-over with Metroid: Samus Returns -- after fans had been working on one for years, that instantly became pointless. Samus Returns was the first mainstream Metroid game in 10 years, which is approximately the same length of time we've never gone between Resident Evil movies.
Developed by MercuryStream, it was a wild game, featuring a semi-3D remake of the least known Metroid game (outside of the spin-offs) but adding the ability for Samus to hit things real hard with her arm (just like in Smash!).
Returns is about her hunting down like a hundred Metroids ... and that's basically the whole plot. At one point, she bonds with a baby Metroid, and that bond inspires the rest of the series, as the baby is the basis for most of the other games' plots and returns in Super Metroid to save her. So while it's an oddball Metroid game, remaking it made a whole bunch of sense. But what really got nerds excited was the game-ending with an X-parasite, the main villains of Metroid Fusion, attaching to and mutating the exact creature that would later attack Samus during the beginning of Fusion. It was like when you first saw the Nick Fury scene, except you didn't have to pretend to know who Nick Fury was.
It made everyone think a Fusion remake by the team was coming. But instead, Sakamoto, who had long since given up on making Dread, saw Samus Returns and decided, "Screw it; I can make this work." And with the Switch in development, there was finally a place for Dread to be born.
And the wait seems to be worth it as this will apparently be the end of the Samus versus Metroids plotline of the games. Yeah, the creators have said this will end the arc of Samus and the Metroids, which leaves the game with a rather wild title if the games continue past this one.
So after 19 years, because of a remake to the worst Metroid game, by MercuryStream, a game company that was before most famous for making Clive Barker's Jericho and America McGee Presents: Scrapland, we're getting the first new (and potentially last ever) Metroid game in years.
Top Image: Nintendo