When I first bought my 3DS, I did so in anticipation of a new Metroid game. How foolish I was! Though the console was far from a poor investment (we have Zelda and Fire Emblem to thank for that), Nintendo continued to neglect one of their most beloved IPs. With the exception of Federation Force, which we shall never speak of again, Nintendo hasn't released a proper Metroid title in seven years. And with the recent release of yet another Nintendo console, I'd say we’re well overdue for another adventure with our favourite bounty hunter.
But what could such a game entail? Samus found great success with her jump to 3D in Metroid Prime, but should Nintendo stick to the first-person formula or try something completely new? Should Samus’ aesthetic change or should she remain recognizable? These are the questions we seek to explore and have assembled 15 ideas that could be incorporated into a new Metroid game to make it great. These ideas are not meant to be in a single game, but could easily be mixed and matched. Everything you are about to read is pure opinionated conjecture, but a good starting point for brainstorming about a new Metroid. And with E3 2017 looming on the horizon, perhaps we’ll hear about one before too long!
15 Take Inspiration From Dark Souls
Can you imagine a Metroid game developed by FromSoftware? Just the idea of it makes me giddy. In Dark Souls, you explore a dangerous and lonely land, and build your arsenal and skill set as you go along. Sounds a bit like Metroid, doesn’t it? Dark Souls does modern dungeon crawling right and the Metroid series could certainly take a few cues. Not to mention an updated third person view on Samus would look great.
A Dark Souls inspired Metroid could have you discovering gun attachments and suits above and below the surface of a hostile planet, with lore explained through the environment. Shooting could work like Other M or like spellcasting in the Souls games, and melee moves could also be incorporated. The game could have the challenge of Dark Souls, though this is not integral. No matter the details, a Souls inspired Metroid would be incredible.
14 Power Suit Customization
Samus has one of the most recognizable power suits in all of gaming, right up there with Master Chief and the power armor in Fallout. Crafted by her Chozo foster family, Samus’s suit is one of a kind and usually goes through several transformations in each of her games. These changes are generally plot driven or designed to solve environmental puzzles, but what if the player had finite control over the suit's appearance?
Suit customization could one of the most enjoyable aspects of a new Metroid and an addictive reason to keep playing. Finding news pieces of armor in secret areas would be more than satisfying, especially if these pieces granted you new abilities or stat boosts. Furthermore, what if we had complete control over the colour scheme of Samus’s suit? The creative possibilities are near endless.
13 Mix Of Enemies Old And New
One of Nintendo’s greatest marketing strategies is banking on nostalgia while incorporating new ideas at the same time. They have done this countless times with their games and a new Metroid could benefit from this approach as well. Samus would undoubtedly need to face a new threat on her adventure, but old enemies could rear their ugly heads as well.
Phazon was eliminated at the end of the Metroid Prime trilogy, but we could have a reintroduction of Kraid or perhaps Mother Brain. These ideas almost made it into the first Prime game, but were cut for various reasons. We may never get enough of fighting Ridley and Metroids, and perhaps the X parasite from Fusion could even make a return. These enemies mixed with something entirely fresh could make for an awesome Metroid experience, one that would excite fans old and new.
12 Take Inspiration From Dead Space
The Metroid series has often flirted with the horror genre. The opening scene in Super Metroid is as gruesome as they come and the first encounter you have with SA-X in Fusion is all kinds of creepy. Dead Space is a game that gets sci-fi and horror down perfectly and a new Metroid could borrow from the style it pioneered.
Playing as Samus in a third person over-the-shoulder view would feel very natural. You would get to see her badass power suit throughout the entire game and control your shots intuitively. The creepier elements of Dead Space would also work very well within a Metroid game. Exploring tight, dimly lit corridors within derelict space stations is what Samus was born to do and she would be right at home taking down aliens akin to the Necromorphs.
11 Entirely New Power-ups
This is one that goes without saying, but ought to be emphasized all the same. Samus’ abilities are what make her games fun and what inspire us to explore. We have come to love classic power-ups such as the morph ball, charge beam, and screw attack, and have happily accepted newcomers such as the grapple beam. To keep us hooked, however, Nintendo will have to come up with new ways to play and abilities that Samus has never experienced before.
There is always room for new beam and missile attacks. Samus could have some form of lightening or acid beam, just to brainstorm a few. She could have homing or cluster missiles, and perhaps spider-like legs that allow her to crawl up walls in her morph ball. The possibilities are limitless and rely solely on the creativity of Samus' next developer.
10 Sophisticated Multi-player
Now before you run for your pitchforks, hear me out. Metroid is primarily an exploration game, sometimes dipping into horror elements, and these styles rarely call for multi-player. The last thing I’m envisioning is shoed-in co-op, a la Dead Space 3. Instead, I’m picturing a multi-player mode that compliments the single player without imposing on it.
Metroid has explored this field in Prime 2: Echoes and Hunters. These games tested the idea of competitive multiplayer and these modes were a lot of fun, especially in Hunters, where you could play as the other hunters. An updated version of this could go a long way. Other multiplayer possibilities include a co-op puzzle-solving mode, such as in Portal 2, or combat against spawned enemies, as seen in Mass Effect. Multi-player prospects are quite open ended and with the right creative direction, great things could be achieved.
9 Embrace An M-Rating
The Metroid series has always felt like the most mature of Nintendo’s IPs. You have the family friendly Mario games, the multi-tonal Zelda games, and the pure nit-and-grit of Metroid. A mature rating could allow a Metroid game to fully explore its genre and embrace the hostility of the universe that it takes place in.
The dreadfulness of the Space Pirates could be on full display in an M-rated Metroid and could help raise the stakes considerably. Samus has undoubtedly seen horror in her lifetime and her character could be given a realistic arc. More mature themes could also be tackled in an M-rated Metroid, some that are character based and others that are more philosophical or ethical in nature. The possibilities are endlessly intriguing.
8 Continue The Prime Feeling/Story
Metroid Prime was a smash hit and one of the best things to happen to the Metroid series. It brought Samus to the 3D realm with grace and ingenuity, and introduced a new generation of fans to her world. Echoes and Corruption carried on the legacy of the original game and took Samus to exciting new places.
If a new Metroid was a continuation of the Prime series, it could be incredible. The first person view has been proven to work beautifully with Samus’ arm cannon and a fresh coat of paint would give the series the modern aesthetic it desperately needs. While planet Phaaze is destroyed, there are story arcs in Prime that could be explored, such as the mysterious ship that follows Samus at the end of Corruption. What better place to start off a new trilogy?
7 Take Inspiration From Mass Effect
The Mass Effect series got sci-fi role-playing right in so many ways. The story was enthralling, the characterization was top notch, the combat was fun, and a galactic sense of scope was successfully achieved. There are many things that Metroid could borrow from this series to give itself a new identity.
Samus’s next adventure could be multi-planetary and Mass Effect's galaxy map is a perfect template for Nintendo to follow. An explorable hub-world ship like the Normandy would be a nice touch, especially if you could control it in real time. There could also be social elements involved, such as negotiations with Space Pirates, other bounty hunters, or the Federation. That being said, Samus is something of a loner, so squad based combat wouldn't be realistic, but the face-paced shooting and biotic attacks of Mass Effect would be right at home in a modern Metroid.
6 Ship Combat
This is something I’ve been dreaming of since Metroid Prime Hunters. When that game was announced, my over-excited mind imagined moments where you would fly through space between planets, dodging asteroids and taking on enemy drones. This dream was further inspired when each hunter’s ship design was released and I pictured emotionally laden deep-space dogfights against your greatest foes. But alas, such dreams never came true.
But is it too late? Nintendo already has a space-fighting sim featuring a certain fox they could draw inspiration from. Ship flying sections could break up the exploration of a Metroid game nicely and would look incredible on the Switch’s updated hardware. There could also be massive bosses that require you to jump in your ship to take them down and this would give the game a serious sense of scope.
5 Make It Open World
Now before you grab you pitchforks again, let me make my case. Nintendo has proven though Breath Of The Wild that they can take on the challenge of an open world game and reinvigorate a franchise in the process. This could be just the thing that Metroid needs.
The potential scenarios are pretty exciting to think about. Samus could crash land on a strange planet, which would be fully explorable from the get go and would have to find a way to fix her ship while becoming caught up in the lives of the locals in the process. Enemies old and new could make appearances, and the game could either be in third person like Mass Effect or first person like Skyrim. No matter the direction, an open world Metroid could be the next great thing to happen to the series.
4 2D With Modern Sensibilities
One thing Nintendo could do to revitalize Metroid would be to return to its roots. Undoubtedly, some of the very best entries in the series are 2D and Metroid essentially created a new genre when it was first released. Fans would clamor after a new sidescroller with Samus, and it could work very well on the 3DS, or if Nintendo feels like going all out, on the Switch.
Taking Samus’s latest 2D adventure on the go would be a dream come true and would undoubtedly sell a few more units of Nintendo's new console. The game, if done right, could be sprawling and visually stunning. There could be a myriad of new enemies and power-ups, as well as inspired puzzles and environments. I can just imagine the sprites now and it makes me ridiculously happy.
3 Awesome Art Style
The Metroid series has always been visually striking. From the alien labyrinth of Super Metroid to the vibrant blue of Planet Phaaze, these games have excelled artistically and have created lasting images that have resonated with gamers the world over. From the creature designs to Samus’ suits, Metroid knows how to do fantasy sci-fi right.
Any new game will have to carry on this legacy and perhaps even surpass it. These are games that specialize in alien environments, terrifying monsters, and high tech mechanisms. The design needs to have a certain tangibility, but also a foot firmly rooted in the fantastic. The colours need to be vibrant and organic, while the plant life needs to be imaginative yet plausible. There is a lot riding on the tone of a new Metroid game, but with the right team and creative vision, a world unlike any other could be created.
2 Make Use Of Existing Metroid Lore
The Metroid Universe has a rich mythology and Samus has history with countless planets and species. From SR388 to space pirates, Sylux to Mother Brain, there are dozens of avenues that could be fleshed out more, and given the dynamics they deserve.
There is one topic, however, that deserves more attention than the others: the Chozo and Samus’ upbringing. All we really know is that space pirates murdered her family and she was raised by the Chozo. These mysterious, birdlike creatures created her power suit and trained her to be the warrior that she is. There is so much to be discovered here. We could have a game featuring a young Samus or a game that involves the hunt for a surviving Chozo, who seem to have all died out. By the way, what really happened there? Even more fodder for future plotlines. Make it so, Nintendo!
1 Make Sure Samus Is A Badass
Samus is a near silent protagonist and her actions speak much louder than her words. She has taken on entire populations of space pirates, freed the galaxy from the menace of the Metroids, and has saved countless planets from destruction. Therefore, when she finally was given a voice and character in Other M, fans were dismayed to find that Samus was somewhat submissive and did not match the image in their minds.
The story goals that series director Yoshio Sakamoto envisioned did not translate through Other M, and this tarnished our view of Samus’s character. A new Metroid game needs to have the Samus we know and love; a Samus who is bold, brave, and takes control of her situations. We need a Samus who is a total badass, a Samus we can root for, and one who lives up to the title of best bounty hunter in the galaxy.