The creator of Metroid Dread on life among the Metroidvanias

The design of Samus’ costume and its evolution. The latest Metroid is coming to a world where Metroid-like games are everywhere.

Nintendo

The first new Metroid game in years (and the first new 2D Metroid in 19 years), Terror Metroid is the latest chapter in a series of games dating back to the original Metroid in 1986. It is now available with a new OLED display switch, aiming to be Nintendo’s big holiday title a year from now without any new Mario or Zelda games.

Producer Yoshio Sakamoto was the guide the creative force for Metroid games from the start: On a Zoom of Japan, I interviewed Sakamoto about Metroid, the design of the new game, and its future.

The following are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Metroid games have shifted from connected TV gaming to handheld gaming for a while. Now on Switch it’s a bit of both. Do you find a preference for yourself in terms of the way you play on the Switch?
Sakamoto: I don’t have a strong preference for television or the handheld.

Metroid has a large-scale world with a full-scale sci-fi vibe, so I personally think it could be more exciting to play on a big screen on TV. The visual quality is of course enormously improved and evolved. In that sense, Nintendo Switch hardware could be a very, very good game.


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You made many Metroid games for handheld systems. Did you find handheld a particularly good match for Metroid?
The original development department that I was in [with Metroid] was very familiar with portable games. However, I wasn’t particularly focused on handhelds – I did my best to create the best Metroid possible on each. [type of] Equipment. This idea of ​​Metro Dread was born 15 years ago, during the Nintendo DS era. I was thinking about what kind of Metroid ideas might work well with the uniqueness of the Nintendo DS. Now, finally, Metro Dread is on Nintendo Switch. Of course, there were ideas that we had to evolve and modify from the Nintendo DS era. But I think in the end, every idea has been refined and completely personalized.

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The look of Metroid Dread is mostly classic 2D, with a few exceptions.

Nintendo

As for Metroid’s influence on gaming: Your ideas spawned the term Metroidvania, and Switch games admit to being inspired by what Metroid started. What do you think of these games? Do you think about the way these designers play with your ideas? And that inspires you?
There are tons of games released in this Metroidvania genre. Of course, I don’t know them all. But the fact that I was one of the original members to create this genre, and that there are so many game designers who digest that and personalize their own style, create their own game … I’m very grateful . And also it’s very, very interesting. Honestly, I feel very happy and grateful that what we did back then was continued by so many game developers and game designers, creating so many different games.

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Some of the design sketches from the Metroid Dread art book.

Nintendo

Has your perception of what Metroid means changed? Has your relationship with him changed?
Do we have a very solid character or franchise image for Metroid and Samus, and did we really present it the way we wanted in the original game? I don’t really know how to answer this. However, I feel like Samus ‘character has developed over the years, and with all of his adventures, it really deepened my understanding of Samus’ character type and his inner self – what was thinking- she in each of the adventures? Metroid Dread concludes the interconnected fate between Metroid and Samus, which is a big theme of the tale. My understanding and vision for the Metroid franchise and the Samus has deepened over the years.

At E3, you commented that you know you want the show to continue, that you know you definitely wouldn’t want it to end. Do you see Dread as a closure?
As long as the character of Samus exists, I think his adventure will continue. I think Samus should continue his adventure, and it’s something that we really need to do our best on. Metroid Dread concludes the five-story arc that has lasted for 35 years. However, I feel like this is not the ultimate end. There should be something that can continue the franchise and the universe. So yeah, as long as your character Samus is loved, I would love to do whatever I have to do.

If you had to make another game for another Nintendo franchise, which one would it be?
Well, what can I say? This is a very, very difficult question. I think it really depends on when the time comes, what I would like to do, what my team wants to do, and is it something that Nintendo fans would like. Unless I see this vision, it will be very difficult to realize this idea. And of course, even if I had this idea, it would be very difficult to answer. Sorry for a very vague answer – this is a very difficult question to answer. The films would also be very interesting, but there is really nothing concrete that I can answer here.

Speaking of the recent super mario movie ad, a Metroid movie would be interesting. I have no idea who would be chosen as Samus.
So this is something very interesting. Personally, I hope this will become a reality one day.


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