Metroid Dread Could Begin The Series’ Third Era

Metroid Dread Could Begin The Series’ Third Era

After such a long a long hiatus, Metroid Dread has the potential to revitalize the whole franchise, beginning a new era of anticipated releases.

The announcement of Metroid Dread heralds the return of the mainline, 2D series 35 years after it began, and 19 following its previous entry. A fifth Metroid had long been rumored for the DS, but it never came to fruition, and it increasingly appeared that the influential side-scroller had been put on indefinite hiatus. Long waits are not foreign to the series; the first four Metroid games were released over a span of 16 years. When Fusion released alongside Metroid Prime, it appeared the series was entering a new era – a sentiment that, in retrospect, was confirmed by Prime receiving two sequels while Metroid 5 never came.

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The first era of Metroid includes only three games: 1986’s Metroid, 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus, and 1994’s Super Metroid. Following Super Metroid, another game wasn’t released for eight years. When Metroid 4 finally came in the form of Fusion, it passed the proverbial torch to Metroid Prime, beginning the series’ second era in 2002. The Prime series highlights Metroid‘s second era with the original and its sequels, Echoes and Corruption, releasing in a span of seven years.

Related: Metroid Dread Gameplay: New Abilities & Enemies Explained

Following Metroid Prime 3, the iconic franchise tends to flounder. Large stretches between releases only resulted in two lackluster spin-offs, the notoriously derided Metroid: Other M, and Metroid Prime: Federation Force, an odd, cooperative FPS. During the long wait for a fifth Metroid, the first two games in the series were both remade, but a new coat of paint and some quality of life improvements don’t satisfy the way the long-awaited Metroid 5 would. Luckily Metroid Dread is now on the way, and has a chance to usher the series into a prosperous third era.

Metroid Dread Can Refocus and Reinvigorate the Franchise

Why Metroid Dread Took So Long To Develop

For a while it seemed as though Metroid‘s glory days were well in the past, with the terminally delayed Metroid Prime 4 the only release to look forward to. 19 whole years after Fusion, the announcement of Metroid Dread was a complete and inspiring surprise. Even more inspiring is the intact vision for Dread that longtime Metroid developer Yoshio Sakamoto has held on to since the 2000s. According to IGN, Sakamoto was hard at work on Metroid 5, attempting to develop the game at least twice, repeatedly being thwarted by hardware limitations.

Sakamoto mentions how now, so many years later, Metroid Dread is turning out better than he ever imagined, which is a good sign for the franchise that has another highly-anticipated game already announced. The mainline Metroid games and the Prime spin-offs are generally regarded as the series’ winning formulas, and moving forward with both on the Switch could reinvigorate Metroid as a whole.

Following its predecessor after almost two decades, Metroid Dread will conclude the original story started in 1986. Sakamoto assures fans that this isn’t the end of Metroid, and “that there is some kind of new episode that is waiting in the works.” Hopefully the series has learned from past mistakes, and can leverage the excitement for Prime 4  and Metroid Dread into a bright future for the dearly missed franchise.

Next: Everything Included In Metroid Dread’s Special Edition

Source: IGN

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