Nintendo Entertainment System Metroid USA

In the first Metroid game, the player controls protagonist Samus Aran who fights alien monsters on the fictional planet Zebes.Nintendo’s Research and Development 1 (R&D1) began development of Metroid, an action game for the Family Computer Disk System that was released in Japan on August 6, 1986.[3] In North America and Europe, Metroid was published for the Nintendo Entertainment System in August 1987 and on January 15, 1988, respectively.[9][10] Unlike the Japanese release, the Western versions of the game used passwords instead of a save system. Codes also allow for changes in gameplay; the “JUSTIN BAILEY” code lets the player play as Samus without her Power Suit, and “NARPAS SWORD” grants Samus infinite ammunition, health, all power-ups, and a modified Ice Beam.[3]

A sequel, Metroid II: Return of Samus, was released for the Game Boy in 1991 in North America, and in 1992 in Japan. It was the first game of the Metroid series whose North American release featured a save system, allowing the player to have three separate save files. Metroid II also established the current “look” of Samus Aran and her Power Suit, namely the bulky look of the Varia Suit upgrade and the visual difference between the “Beam Mode” and “Missile Mode” of Samus’s arm cannon.[3] Dan Owsen of Nintendo acknowledged in an interview that Nintendo R&D1 planned to release a Game Boy Color version of Metroid II; however, the project was eventually canceled.[11]

Director Yoshio Sakamoto began planning concepts for Super Metroid in early 1990, but his studio was committed to making another game, so developers from Intelligent Systems were brought in to help complete the game.[12] After Super Metroid’s release, there would not be another sequel for eight years. A Nintendo 64 title was considered during the period, but Nintendo “couldn’t come up with any concrete ideas”.[13] In 1999, Retro Studios, a newly formed second-party developer based in Austin, Texas, was given the project for Metroid Prime. Nintendo rarely allows overseas teams to work on its games but this was one occasion when they allowed a high profile title to be developed by a studio outside of Japan.[14] After it became a top seller on the GameCube, a trilogy was authorized.[1]

Rumors abounded since 2005 about the development of a title called Metroid Dread, supposedly a 2D side-scroller for the Nintendo DS. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, there is a message in the Metroid breeding zone of the Space Pirate Homeworld on a computer panel that if scanned says “Experiment status report update: Metroid project ‘Dread’ is nearing the final stages of completion.” Developers from Retro Studios gave a full but cryptic denial of any connection with the rumored game, and Nintendo denied they were making another 2D Metroid title.[15][16][17][18] However, at E3 2009, Sakamoto confirmed Metroid Dread existed at one point, and may still be in development,[19][20] though in a later interview Sakamoto stated that Nintendo prefers to keep secrecy on the project, and also that he would like to “reset the situation at once and start from scratch.”[21] On the May 3, 2010, 75th episode of IGN’s Nintendo Voice Chat Podcast, editor Craig Harris confirmed that the story for Metroid Dread was fully written and he had seen it at one point in time, claiming “[Nintendo] has it and can bring it back at any time.” [22]

A new Metroid title was announced at E3 2009, titled Metroid: Other M. This title was developed in cooperation with Team Ninja and directed by long-time series developer Yoshio Sakamoto. It was released on the Wii on August 31, 2010.[23] Sakamoto complimented Team Ninja’s work and expressed interest in working with them again, but said he currently has no ideas for new Metroid games.[24] Retro Studios’ senior designer Mike Wikan said he would like to see a game continuing the story of the Prime trilogy, and producer Kensuke Tanabe said other Prime-like games could explore Samus’ unique abilities such as the Morph Ball in a multiplayer feature.[25]

While Nintendo has not formally announced plans for a Metroid title for either the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U, Animal Crossing producer Katsuya Eguchi mentioned in an interview how such a title could make use of the console’s tablet controller to perform actions such as scanning enemies and retrieving information.[26] A demo program for the Wii U, titled Battle Mii, showed Mii characters dressed in Varia Suits, as well as Samus’s gunship from Other M.[27] A program was later revealed as a mini-game called “Metroid Blast” and is featured in a Wii U launch title Nintendo Land.[28]