Metroid fans are eating real good these days. Thanks to the marketing efforts of Nintendo, Metroid Dread has been getting the attention and detail it deserves leading up to its ever-approaching release date. Dubbed “Metroid Fridays” by online communities, the days on which Dread teases and trailers launch are indeed happy times for all.
Taking into consideration the most recent overview trailer as well as previous Dread reports, we have compiled several prominent news tidbits pertaining to the upcoming title down below. Here are new details about Metroid Dread we think you should know:
As detailed in Dread Report Volume 6, this is the first time in the Metroid series that a member of the fabled Chozo race appears on-screen alongside Samus. To those whose Metroid lore is rusty (or nonexistent), the Chozo are a highly advanced avian alien race who have all but vanished from the public eye, leaving behind naught but ruins, technological wonders, and most importantly, their two biggest legacies: the Metroid and Samus Aran herself.
Previous Metroid games often played into the mysticism and legend of the Chozo, having players wade through planets previously occupied by the sophisticated species and collecting technological relics that powered up Samus’ suit, which is also a Chozo creation.
Where Dread departs from the previously established mythos of the Chozo is in its portrayal of the aliens. Before, the Chozo were depicted as wise, benevolent aliens who prized knowledge, peace, and the preservation of nature. In Dread, the first enemy Samus faces upon landing on Planet ZDR is an armored Chozo general who dispatches Samus as quickly as he dispels the myth of the Chozo being peaceful pacifists.
This sudden shift shouldn’t come as an enormous surprise, however. The Chozo were, in fact, lovers of battle and war in their past, only giving up those ideals after achieving the absolute peak of technological dominance. Among the Chozo, though, there were sects that did not abandon their old warring ways, which created a schism amongst the bird-people roughly around the time the race bio-engineered and unintentionally unleashed the Metroid onto the galaxy.
Parts of these events were recorded via Chozo Memories in the remake Metroid: Samus Returns, which was also developed by MercuryStream, Dread’s development team. These memories shed light on the Chozo’s colonization of planet SR388, the homeworld of the Metroid and the dreaded X-Parasites. On SR388, the Chozo created the Metroids to eradicate the X-Parasites, which threatened the universe (how ironic). Within these memories, the aforementioned Chozo general Samus battles with in Dread was seen, killing what remained of the Chozo researchers who created the Metroid.
What the general has done since is not yet known, but their role in Dread will perhaps shed some further light on their actions, and whether they are an enemy or secret ally. The fact that they didn’t kill Samus outright has us thinking the latter – though it is possible that the general could be an X-Parasite clone.
Along with the Chozo general, an elderly, sage-like Chozo makes a brief appearance throughout the Dread trailer as well as ruins, murals, and technology left behind by the Chozo on Planet ZDR. Perhaps it was inevitable for the Chozo to appear, given that Dread’s whole mission and story revolve around the presence of the X-Parasite on ZDR, and the Chozo have dedicated their every effort to destroying the parasitical being.
Much of what the Chozo are is still very much shrouded in mystery, despite the Metroid series’ long history. Given that this is the first major appearance of the alien race, perhaps Dread will fill that story void once and for all.
Planet ZDR’s Environment and Terrors
Like previous Metroid titles, Metroid Dread will feature a wide variety of differing locations for Samus to explore, fight upon, and excavate for hidden secrets. Ranging from magma-flowing caverns, ancient forests, and underwater depths, Planet ZDR is chock full of vibrant, eye-catching, and unique labyrinths for players to sink their teeth into.
What is also notable about these locales are the EMMIs that correspond to them. As showcased in previous trailers and reports, the EMMIs, or Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers, are powerful autonomous mechs used by the Galactic Federation. In Dread’s story, the Federation sent a total of seven EMMI units to ZDR after a transmission warned of X-Parasites being sighted on the planet. After contact is lost, Samus is sent to investigate thanks to her immunity against the parasites via the Metroid vaccine she received in Metroid Fusion.
It appears that there is an EMMI unit for each zone in the game. Given that there are seven units, that implies there are at least seven unique areas for Samus to explore and use as cover from these deadly foes. Thankfully, the EMMIs themselves are locked to very specific rooms within each chamber – the developers thought it’d be too stressful to have these near-impervious enemies constantly hound and haunt Samus at every turn. However, within their unique areas, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse is sure to take place, where one wrong step could result in the killer robots relentlessly chasing Samus down.
The seven EMMIs come in a variety of colors, each of which possesses different abilities corresponding to their hue. So far, we’ve seen a damaged gray unit, a bone-white unit, a neon green unit, a lightning yellow unit, a cyan blue unit, and a dark purple unit.
The damaged gray one serves as a learning moment for Samus, teaching her and players that they can slide underneath a pursuing EMMI to elude it and eventually destroy it using a temporary power-up, the Omega Cannon, found later in the game. Thanks to the unit’s damaged state, it is probably by far the weakest and least threatening of the EMMIs.
The white EMMI appears to be the most vanilla, performing the standard pursuit-and-seek tasks seen in all robots. But there’s a catch: it also seems impervious to destruction via the Omega Cannon. As seen in released footage, the white unit tanks the cannon and upon having its face-plate destroyed, stands on its hind legs and resumes its pursuit of Samus.
The neon-green unit has the unique ability to crawl through tight spaces when chasing Samus. It is, however, capable of being destroyed. The yellow unit moves blazingly fast. The blue unit is capable of freezing objects with a beam before subsequently smashing into them. Anything regarding the purple unit or the last unseen EMMI is still unknown.
Based on these powers and how each EMMI occupies a specific zone, the power-ups Samus gains are probably going to coincide with the EMMI she’s about to face. With the sprawling locales and the foes lying in wait within, exploring and upgrading Samus is looking to be a terrifically terrifying journey.
Classic Metroid and Samus’ Powers
In many Metroid titles, Samus starts off her adventure with her full kit (suit powers and abilities) before losing them all to God-knows-what. These ability-amnesia episodes usually are a result of Samus taking on or being ambushed by an enemy whose power far exceeds hers at their first meeting. In Dread’s case, Samus is done in by the Chozo general, who strips Samus down to near-barebones in the power department.
This is why Samus’ armor seems to change throughout the several trailers published so far. At the start of the game, Samus bears armor that more or less resembles her signature orange Varia suit, albeit with white armored plates and gold lining covering the torso and legs. After her defeat at the hands of the Chozo general, she is left with a blue and white power suit, reminiscent of the Fusion suit she wore in Metroid Fusion, the direct prequel to Metroid Dread.
And so, the quest to repair and restore her armor and abilities begins once again.
Plenty of recurring powers and abilities make their return, like the classic missiles, grapple beam, and morph ball, with some power-ups receiving further upgrades as Samus progresses through Dread. Abilities introduced in the Samus Returns remake also make a comeback like the melee counter and Aeion abilities, as well as the scan pulse – which expanded the map and scanned the environment – coming this time in the form of pulse radar.
Aeion abilities, which consume Aeion energy, work slightly differently in Dread than it did in Samus Returns. They were originally replenished via Aeion orbs dropped by defeated enemies and other Aeion Ability Artifacts. In Dread, the Aeion meter replenishes automatically and fills more quickly whenever Samus is on the move. The Aeion meter is a yellow gauge underneath Samus’ energy display and missile counter.
Among the new Aeion abilities showcased thus far is the Flash Shift. This ability lets Samus move forward or backward a set distance on ground or in the air in an instant – a handy skill to have for both traversal and combat. The reports say that this move can only be used up to three times consecutively before needing a recharge.
Then there’s Phantom Cloak, an ability that makes Samus invisible to EMMIs, which also uses Aeion energy. A huge distinction between this and Flash Shifty, however, is that once Samus runs out of Aeion, the Phantom Cloak will instead siphon Samus’ energy until it reaches one point, depleting the cloak. Samus’ energy acts as her health, so running out of it is a dangerous proposition.
It is not yet known how many other Aeion abilities will operate in a similar manner, but their addition does add another layer of challenge to the game, making players juggle their resources carefully and take risks if they want to emerge from Planet ZDR and its dangers alive. We can’t wait to see Samus and her abilities in action.
Metroid Dread releases October 8, 2021 for the Nintendo Switch.