According to USA Today, Nintendo just released footage of the long-awaited "Metroid Dread." After years of speculation and teases, the follow-up to "Metroid Fusion" will finally make its way to the Nintendo Switch. Along with the trailer, Nintendo has also released a video where series producer Yoshio Sakamoto discloses details on the game's development and history.

The last Metroid is in captivity

For the uninitiated, "Metroid" is a series that revolves around the exploits of an intergalactic bounty hunter named Samus Aran and her ongoing battles against the evil Space Pirates and the eponymous parasitic organisms known as Metroids.

Though small, Metroids are a considerable threat, especially in a swarm. Much like leeches, they attach themselves to their prey and drain them of their life force. They've also been subject to various experimentations for the purposes of bio-weaponry, leading to numerous strains spread throughout the galaxy.

The first entry was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. What made the game stand out was its non-linear structure in which players would have to revisit areas after getting new abilities in order to progress. This exploration-based gameplay would later be refined in subsequent "Metroid" titles and even adopted by other franchises such as Konami's "Castlevania."

Though the promotional material and instruction manual referred to Samus as a man, if the player cleared the game fast enough, it was revealed at the end that the character they were controlling was a woman the entire time.

This revelation was lauded by gaming critics as progressive for the era and was credited for paving the way for other action women protagonists in gaming such as Lara Croft and Chun Li.

In spite of the series' success, the franchise has lain dormant for a long time, especially when compared to other Nintendo properties such as "Mario" or "Zelda." It's been almost four years since the last "Metroid" title was released and even then, that was a remake of a game from 1991.

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The last game in the series that wasn't a remake or a spinoff was the much-maligned "Metroid Other M," and that was over a decade ago. "Dread" will be the first original side-scrolling entry since the 2002 Game Boy Advance title "Metroid Fusion" and the first one released on consoles since the 1995 Super Nintendo entry "Super Metroid."

Project 'Dread'

The existence of "Metroid Dread" was first discovered way back in 2005 for Nintendo's list of "key DS games to be announced in the future." Despite speculation that the game would be revealed at the following E3, "Dread" was a no show at E3 2006.

The game seemed to be referenced in the 2007 Wii title "Metroid Prime 3 Corruption." In a processing room, a message stating "Experiment status report update. Metroid project 'Dread' is nearing the final stages of completion," could be found in one of the game's many scans. However, Mark Pacini of Retro Studios would later claim that this message wasn't referring to the handheld game, calling it "a complete and utter coincidence."

Sakamoto later stated that the Nintendo DS was not powerful enough to make his vision a reality. The gaming press then speculated that the title would be moved to the 3DS with Retro Studios handling development as they had previously done with the "Metroid Prime" games.

The 3DS did eventually see a 2D "Metroid" title, but it was a remake of "Return of Samus" with "Castlevania Lords of Shadow" developers MercuryStream handling the game.

At E3 2021, it's been revealed that not only will "Metroid Dread" finally become a reality but it will also be handled by Yoshio Sakamoto and "Metroid Samus Returns" developers MercuryStream. In the recently released development video, Samus is revealed to be exploring ZDR: a planet that is unknown to her. Throughout the planet, dangerous robots with camouflage armor stalk Samus. Sakamoto states that the "Dread" in the title refers to this overwhelming presence that hunts her in the game. He also stated that entry will mark the end of Samus' character arc that started with the original title back on the Nintendo Entertainment System. "Metroid Dread" is slated for release on the Nintendo Switch on October 8, 2021.