Metroid Dread (or Metroid 5, take your pick) was one of the biggest surprises from E3 2021 Nintendo Direct livestream. It’s been four years since the last 2D Metroid game (Samus Returns on 3DS) and 19 years since the last 2D Metroid game that wasn’t a remake (Metroid Fusion on GBA). But before the year is out, we’ll have a brand-new 2D Metroid game that looks like it’ll pick up where Fusion left off, and finally tie up some story threads that have been hanging loose for two decades.
At present, all we have of the game is a single trailer and a few words of context from the Nintendo executives who introduced it. But that trailer includes a fair bit of gameplay, as well as some context clues about the game’s setting and premise. Here’s what we know about Metroid Dread so far, and what we still hope to learn.
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Metroid Dread trailer
First things first: If you haven’t seen the Metroid Dread trailer, that’s the single most comprehensive source of information available on the game at the moment. You can watch it on YouTube, or we’ve embedded it below:
In it, we see intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran face off against a fearsome robot known as the E.M.M.I. The trailer then cuts to gameplay sections, where we see Samus run, jump and shoot her way through a variety of obstacles, employing gadgets to transform into a Morph Ball, climb walls, become invisible to enemy detection and so forth. If you’ve played a 2D Metroid game before, you should feel right at home.
Metroid Dread release date
Here’s an easy one: Metroid Dread’s release date is October 8, 2021. The game will debut on the Nintendo Switch. It’ll also come in both standard and special editions, which we’ll cover below.
Metroid Dread Special Edition
If you just want to play Metroid Dread when it debuts on October 8, you can pay $60 for a standard edition in a physical or digital format. Best Buy has it, if you want to pre-order a hard copy.
On the other hand, you could also invest $90 in the Metroid Dread Special Edition. (This will also be available at Best Buy, but you’ll have to wait until it officially goes on sale before you pre-order.) This ornate collector’s edition comes with the base game, a steelbook case, an art book and five art cards, each one representing a game in the mainline Metroid franchise: Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Dread. (Believe it or not, every other Metroid game is either a remake or a spinoff.)
Metroid Dread amiibo
Nintendo seldom releases a new game without an accompanying amiibo, and Metroid Dread is no exception. The Metroid Dread amiibo pack will include both Samus and E.M.M.I., and will retail for $30. You’ll soon be able to pre-order it at Best Buy, although it’s not clear whether the toys will confer any gameplay advantages.
Metroid Dread gameplay and story
If you want a deeper dive on Metroid Dread’s gameplay and story, Nintendo has you covered. After its livestream at E3 2021, Nintendo released a Development History video about Metroid Dread, in which the talent behind the game discusses its gameplay design and how the story ties into previous Metroid installments. It’s available on YouTube, and embedded below:
This six-minute video rehashes some of what we learned during the trailer, but also shows off some more gameplay and contextualizes Samsus’ new abilities.
For what it’s worth: Metroid Dread is a 2D exploration/action game, just like its predecessors. The original Metroid was one of the progenitors of the Metroidvania genre, so the name alone should give you a good idea of what to expect. Fight enemies; gather upgrades; reexplore old areas; complete a sprawling map; find a lot of hidden secrets.
As for the story, Metroid Dread will end the story arc that started in Metroid and continued throughout the subsequent three games. That’s good news for fans who have been waiting for some closure ever since Metroid Fusion left Samus — and the Metroids — in a very unusual position.
Nintendo will probably reveal more information about Metroid Dread over the next few months — but if not, we don’t have too long to wait until Samus Aran’s next adventure.