Scheduled for release for Nintendo Switch on October 8th, the highly anticipated Metroid Dread is being touted as the final chapter in the Metroid story that began nearly 35 years ago. This isn’t necessarily the last time we’ll see Samus in action (Metroid Prime 4 will finally be released one day), but it will likely act as the culmination of her bout against the titular alien menace.
For all those reasons and more, the pressure is on developer MercurySteam and director Yoshio Sakamoto to deliver an epic Metroid tale that also answers the many unresolved questions and unsolved mysteries in the Metroid lore. What, exactly, are those mysterious narrative elements that need to be addressed? Conveniently enough, that’s what we’ll be running through here today.
We’re not claiming to have explored every hanging thread in the greater Metroid storyline, but we can’t help but wonder about some significant plot points that we’ve been left to dwell on since we last saw Samus. These are the main unsolved mysteries we want to see answered in Metroid Dread.
What Connection Does Planet ZDR Have to the Chozo Plans?
As is typically the case for most Metroid games, Dread takes place within an isolated (yet detailed) setting full of secrets and hidden areas. This time around, though, that detailed setting happens to be an entirely new location (planet ZDR) which is – unfortunately for Samus – infested by a gauntlet of dangerous E.M.M.I robots. All the Dread pre-release trailers that have been shown so far tease that planet ZDR is somehow tied to the Chozo: an ancient race of extraterrestrials previously revealed to be responsible for creating the Metroids. But what, exactly, are the Chozo doing on ZDR?
Thanks to Metroid II: Return of Samus, we know that SR388 is the Metroid homeworld and that the Chozo have a habit of settling down on various planets across the cosmos. That being the case, what is so special about the ZDR, and how does the planet tie into their master plan?
This is surely one of the many conundrums Samus will be getting to the bottom of as soon as she touches down. While it’s rare for Chozo figures to appear in person, we already know that at least one of the Chozo plays an important role in Metroid Dread. Besides, aside from creating the Metroids, the Chozo did raise Samus. What are they hiding on Planet ZDR?
How Did the X Parasite Survive Planet SR388’s Destruction?
Metroid Fusion ended in an appropriately bombastic fashion with Samus going against Galactic Federation orders and setting the BSL station on a collision course with planet SR388. The resulting chaos seemingly destroyed the dangerous and wildly hostile X Parasite for good, but as we’ve learned from some of Metroid Dread‘s previous trailers, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Samus is led to planet ZDR at the beginning of the Dread by a video transmission claiming that the X Parasite still exists. That message is either part of an elaborate ruse to draw Samus in, or the X Parasite is indeed somehow still alive in some capacity.
If the latter is true, then how? When trying to unravel the possibilities, it might be worth considering that while the X Parasite was first introduced in Metroid Fusion, they were retroactively inserted into the series’ canon in 2017’s remake of Metroid II: Samus Returns via a cutscene. With both SR388 and BSL destroyed by the time Dread kicks off, we’re left to wonder just how the X Parasite is alive.
Why is Samus Still Working With the Galactic Federation After the Events of Metroid Fusion?
Samus and the Galactic Federation have always had a fractious relationship. That said, the two have almost always come together in the past to help try and rid the universe of any Metroid threat. However, the ending of Metroid Fusion throws a bit of a wrench into even that part of the relationship.
As mentioned in the previous point, Samus went directly against the Galactic Federation’s request to keep the BSL research station intact. It turns out when you lie to the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter about breeding Metroids for use as weapons, things tend not to go so well.
We already know that Samus is once again working on behalf of the Galactic Federation at the start of Metroid Dread, but we don’t know why. Could it be that the threat down on planet ZDR is too great for petty rivalries, or does Samus have another reason for wanting to go there? Not helping matters is the fact that the game’s E.M.M.I bots were designed to solve the alleged X Parasite issue, but they’ve since gone haywire and left Samus to pick up the slack.
The big question is: Can Samus trust the Galactic Federation long enough to get the job done?
Why Are The E.M.M.I Bots Hunting Samus?
Prior to the events of Metroid Dread, the Galactic Federation sends E.M.M.I robots to ZDR’s surface in the hopes of preventing the X Parasite (or any other treat, for that matter) from spreading. They soon go offline, as previously discussed, but if they were initially programmed to hunt a virus, why have they suddenly set their sights on Samus?
One possible explanation is Samus’ integration with the X Parasite at the beginning of Metroid Fusion. Since then, Samus gained new suit abilities and became stronger, but she also became susceptible to all of the Metroids’ many weaknesses. Could it be that the E.M.M.I robots see the X Parasite trait in Samus? Given what we know now, that might just be the most likely explanation.
Of course, it could just be that the bots have since been reprogrammed by another force entirely (the Chozo?). Hopefully, all will be revealed by the time the credits roll on Metroid Dread.
How Will Metroid Dread Conclude the Story of the Metroids?
Look, the game is called Metroid Dread, so even though the X Parasite seems to be the primary threat this time around, we’re certain the Metroids themselves will make an appearance one way or another. Yoshio Sakamoto even stated that this game will “mark an end” to the main series story arc, which for 35 years has focused on Samus’ battles and mysterious relationship with the Metroids. It all leaves us wondering not just how the team is going to satisfying end this story but how they’re going to do it in a way that leaves enough room open for future stories in this universe.
We know this isn’t the last time we’ll see Samus. Although it takes place between the events of the first two Metroid games, Metroid Prime 4 is still deep into development at Retro Studios. So far as the Metroids themselves go, though…well, I suppose there are only so many times the same bounty hunter can keep bumping up against them even within this series’ expansive universe. So while it makes sense that these games may eventually move past that part of the story, many questions remain regarding how has this series is going to move past a part of itself that’s so big it’s literally in the name of the games.
My best guess is that Dread will be a full stop of sorts for the main series that ultimately segues into something new, but will Sakamoto and MecurySteam be able to pull that off? We won’t have too much longer to find out.