This is a topic that we’ve discussed on the podcast before (I believe aaalllll the way back in episode 21? But I could be wrong!), and it’s something that I’m sure has crossed the minds of many Metroid fans.
In typical Metroid fashion, Metroid games almost always kick off with some kind of event that results in Samus losing all of her upgrades and arsenal from the previous game. One of the most memorable ways (and one of the most odd) that this happened to Samus was in Metroid Prime, when an electrical shock sent her flying into an elevator and resulted in the loss of most of her abilities at the beginning of the game.
Samus losing all of her gear at the start is nothing new for Metroid fans. But what if this didn’t happen in the Metroid Dread sequel? What if the follow-up to Dread didn’t have a moment like this? What if Samus kept all of her upgrades from Dread, and continued forward?
Fans might balk at this for a few reasons, and that’s understandable. Game design-wise, Samus doesn’t keep all of her upgrades from the previous game so she isn’t overpowered heading into the start of the next game. It wouldn’t be much fun if Samus was able to Screw Attack and Power Bomb her way through the opening section of a new game with little effort. And, much of the DNA of a Metroid game consists of collecting all of the upgrades and abilities that Samus needs in order to complete her mission.
I’m suggesting a few things here. First, Samus wouldn’t lose all of her abilities and weapons she already has, but the beginning of the next game would account for that. The Dread sequel could scale itself, on difficulty and structure, to be in tune with Samus already starting the game with a lot of capability. Let us jump right into the “endgame” of a Metroid game at the beginning, and then scale the rest of the game from there. Then, make the sequel require even more upgrades, abilities, skills, and know-how towards the end than you have ever needed in a previous Metroid game.
Second, you then give Samus even more all-new abilities and gear to collect on top of her existing arsenal, giving her an even larger array of options at her disposal. Now, this new endgame for Metroid requires not just everything you had in Dread and beforehand, but even more gear you need to collect.
Personally, I’ve felt that Metroid has stuck to this formula of losing abilities -> get classic abilities back -> gain new abilities for too long. Let’s spice it up! Instead, start with all abilities, both classic and new from Dread, then add more new abilities on top of that. From there, you’d have such a larger sandbox of tools to work with, more than ever before in a Metroid game!
This would also address one of my long-standing issues with Metroid storytelling — the reasoning and logic behind Samus losing her stuff at the beginning of every mission. Eventually, it feels so contrived and forced. I think Samus should be at the point where she doesn’t just spontaneously lose all of her stuff before getting to work.
I’m imagining a Metroid game that goes 0 to 100 at the very beginning, and then ramps it up even further from there. A game with a more diverse and deeper sandbox, and a change to a worn aspect of the Metroid formula. I think it would be a lot of fun!
What do you think?
Dak is Editor-in-Chief and Podcast Host at Omega Metroid. If he’s not playing Metroid Prime Remastered, he’s definitely playing Destiny 2.