Metroid as a series is as interesting as it is perplexing. It's a series in which its fervent fanbase has gone years without being satiated with a new mainline entry in the series. There are very few other properties so disconnected from community expectations. In 2016, Metroid celebrated its 20th anniversary without a remaster, remake, or big announcement in site. Nintendo's known for celebrated their long-running franchises, but it seems as though Metroid has taken a backseat in terms of major AAA developments. Every single year the gaming industry starts buzzing about the possibility of a brand new mainline Metroid entry, and every year hundreds upon hundreds of fans are let down by Nintendo.
Fans are wondering if the next major Metroid release will go back to its 2D roots or jump back into the world of 3D. Metroid's last mainline game, Metroid: Other M, came out a staggering seven years ago. Despite Nintendo's lack of support, the Metroid community is stronger than ever. Just take 10 or so minutes scouring its dedicated subreddit or message boards, and you'll realize that people truly love the Metroid series. That being said, there are plenty of misconceptions out there about the Metroid games and its titular hero Samus Aran. Let's take a look at some of those misconceptions and misinformation down below.
15 Barriers Aren't Variables
If there's one thing iconic and synonymous with the Metroid series it has to be Samus' signature orange and red suit. The armor in question is called the Varia Suit and many people think that it refers to the suit's ability to transform into variable states and shapes. Though that's a thought-out and meaningful interpretation of the name, the truth is that the name was a simple mistranslation. The suit of armor was originally called the Barrier Suit as it protects the wearer from acid and differing temperatures — the name change was a simple human error. Ultimately, Nintendo decided to keep the Varia Suit name, because it fit the bill. Many would argue that it's a more fitting title for the iconic orange and red heap of metal.
14 Samus Doesn't Prefer Bikinis
Anyone who's heard of the Metroid games knows about the end game easter egg in which Samus is revealed to be a woman. Not only are we graced by a female face, but strangely enough she's wearing a bikini. In Super Metroid when Samus' Varia Suit would explode, American players were treated to Samus in her iconic body suit. However, in Japan, players were treated to the image of a fully nude Samus, vulnerable and damaged. It's interesting to hear that the pixel nudity was too much for players stateside and the body suit solution was born. Once again it seems that some of the most iconic parts of the Metroid series are either accidental, solutions, or spur of the moment changes. That's classic video game development for you.
13 The Chozo Aren't Innocent
Now, the Chozo earned a lot of favor when players found out they were responsible for taking Samus in and raising her to be the badass everyone loves. However, they're also the ones who are solely responsible for the creation and manifestation of the Metroids. The Chozo created the Metroids in hopes of staving off a local infectious species known as the X-parasites. Like in every solid sci-fi horror movie, this biological innovation was designed to save everyone — and ultimately became uncontrollably powerful. It's interesting that without the Chozo we would have never had the problem or the solution. In some ways, the Chozo are the most important and influential cog in the machine that is Metroid. Here's hoping they don't do anything too bad in the next installment.
12 Alien Isn't The Only Inspiration
It's common knowledge at this point that the Metroid series was heavily inspired by Ridley Scott's Alien film franchise. A lot of the inspiration can be seen in the character and environment design, but can also be felt in its sense of claustrophobic sci-fi storytelling. Alien —though a major inspiration— wasn't the entire influence during the making of the original Metroid. If you're making something horror sci-fi chances are you're going to take in some H.R. Giger references and inspirations. This was indeed the case with Metroid, and though there are many similarities to Alien, it's easy to see why they were inspired to use enemy designs similar the Giger's famous surrealist art. Giger's are are utterly terrifying most of the time.
11 It Wasn't Always Metroid
It turns our Metroid wasn't the original name for series. As many people have now come to realize, a lot of the early plans were printed in the instruction manuals and remained there even if the game saw a major overhaul in terms of verbiage and naming. The original name for Metroid was actually going to be Space Hunter. Weird, right? Imagine looking back fondly on a game called Space Hunter Prime. This name makes sense considering it was the original title for Samus' profession, though it was later amended to a bounty hunter. It was smart for the team to change the name for several reasons. The name Metroid has an instant cool factor, and the name actually means something in relation to the world, which we'll get into a little later.
10 Justin Bailey Doesn't Matter
The original Metroid had a neat easter egg that could only be unlocked by finishing the game in under an hour or by entering a special password. The easter egg in question treated players to a scene with Samus in nothing but a bikini. Interestingly enough there were actually multiple passwords that could unlock this easter egg, but none were as prominent as the name Justin Bailey. The community spent years trying to figure out if the password Justin Bailey was a reference or tease at the future of the Metroid. Unfortunately, no answer has ever been found; as far as we know it was nothing more than a melding of two random words. This is an example of how a simple addition can quickly stir up a world of speculation and theory crafting.
9 Not Every Game Has Metroids
You would assume a series in which its primary enemy is the name of the game, that they would be featured in every entry into the series, right? That's not exactly the case when it comes to Metroid. The metroids have appeared in every game except one, Metroid Prime: Hunters. The weirdest part about Metroid Prime: Hunters lacking any sign of metroids is that they were in early demos of the game. Obviously, the finished product saw the removal of the familiar foe, and thus the game received its place in Metroid history. It's not an uncommon maneuver for a franchise to spin away from a familiar foe and introduce something new and exciting. Still, for a franchise that has a name so closely tied to said enemy, it's a really odd move.
8 Metroid, More Than A Name
We've already covered that Metroid wasn't the original name for the franchise, but it does have a hidden. Many people think the name simply refers to the series' enemies, but it's actually a portmanteau of the words "metro and "android." The android part makes perfect sense, but apparently, the metro comes from the map looking familiar to that of a metro station. So does this mean that designers came up with the name Metroid and then realized it would make a super cool name for the game's antagonist? Either way, there's no argument that whether or not you're a fan of the franchise, the name Metroid is one of the coolest in all of video games. I can't be alone in this belief, right?
7 The Morph Ball Solution
The morph ball has to be one most defining and unique abilities in the Metroid series. Interestingly, the morph ball was a solution to a programming problem, it wasn't designed as a primary feature. Developers were actually having a terrible time trying to figure out a proper way to implement crawling into the game. A group of quick witted developers and designers came up with the solution of the morph ball. It sometimes feels like a very lucky set of events when a solution to an animation or programming problem introduces a feature of the game that becomes synonymous with the game itself. In Metroid: Zero Mission Samus was given the ability to crawl, this was a nod to the early issues the team had with the animation.
6 Samus Wasn't Always A Woman
Though Metroid was heavily inspired by the Alien franchise, whose main protagonist was one of the strongest female leads ever portrayed in movies, Samus wasn't always intended to be a strong female lead. Since releaes, it's been explained since that midway through development Samus was a male bounty set on a mission to eradicate metroids. According to Yoshio Sakamoto, a staff member basically stated that he thought it would be cool if the person under the suit ended up being a woman. The team must have been super interested in making the big reveal at the end of the game a reality, and the rest is history. Like I've previously mentioned, the number of times in which there's a simple tweak behind the curtains of a video game that create an iconic video game element is astounding.
5 Samus Has Family
Earlier we covered the Chozos and how influential they were to Samus' upbringing. Without them, she would have simply been an orphan destined for hardship and poverty in the vast unknown. According to an online interactive story published by Nintendo, Power Samus has a younger brother. His name is Soloman Aran and is missing and presumed dead. This loose thread gives Nintendo two major paths they could take with this information in relation to the Metroid franchise. They can make the next entry a story focused on Samus reconnecting with her long-lost brother, and it could tell the tale of finding comfort in a family in an unfamiliar place. They could also turn the gaming world on their head and release a Metroid game in which Solomon, not Samus, is the main protagonist.
4 Samus Isn't Unblemished
Metroid: Other M wasn't only the last mainline Metroid entry, it was a game that caused a lot of commotion. Now, this commotion had nothing to do with the quality of the game but rather an aesthetic change made to Samus Aran. Players were treated to Samus' familiar face, but with a slight variation. In Metroid: Other M players received their first glimpse at what appeared to be a beauty mark on Samus' chin. Players were surprised and felt that the character they came to love and admire was altered for no discernable reason. It turns out the beauty mark was always a part of Samus Aran's design. Yoshio Sakamoto, Metroid co-creator, once stated in an interview that he knew where Samus' beauty mark was in response to being asked to state something no one else knew about Samus.
3 Sigourney Weaver? Wrong.
The Metroid/Alien connection is a topic we've already covered twice on this list, but there's always room for thirds. One of the big hot button topics is who Samus' appearance was modeled after. Since the beginning we knew that Alien was a tremendous influence on Metroid, so making the connection of Sigourney Weaver being the physical reference for Samus is a logical assessment. The game's co-creator, Yoshio Sakamoto, however, has stated that Samus' looks are inspired by Kim Basinger. If you're not familiar, Basinger was an 80s and 90s movie star best known for playing the role of seductress. Kim Basinger's a beautiful woman and it's no surprise her 1986 movie 9 1/2 Weeks caught Sakamoto's attention during Metroid's development.
2 Yes, There Was A Nintendo 64 Metroid Game In Development.
Many people seem to believe that it was always Nintendo's intention to have Metroid skip the Nintendo 64. However, there was actually a team working on a Metroid game for the system titled Metroid 64. The project fell through due to the lack of concrete ideas on the teams part. The game's co-creator, Yoshio Sakamoto wasn't involved in this process, so that may be seen as another reason for its failure. According to Sakamoto, he was never against the idea of a Metroid game for the Nintendo 64, but he himself just couldn't see how a game would work with its unique controller. He went one to state that it just wasn't the right time for Metroid to make the jump to the world of 3D video games.
1 Long running franchise? Not always.
Nintendo has a track record of taking their existing popular franchises and reiterating on them in the handheld and console spaces. Unlike some of the business models and 10-years plans we have today, a lot of the early games were seen as flash in the pan type franchises by their creators. Many of these creators had the idea of making one or two games in a series and then creating something new. Metroid and Super Metroid were games that fell into this exact camp, but sales numbers and popularity led to it becoming a long running franchise that fans fell in love with. It's been a total of 7 years since the last entry and fans are worried Metroid may be a thing of the past, lost in time. Here's hoping we see Samus' new adventure in the coming years.