Whither now, Samus Aran?
By 1986, Nintendo was ascending. The Famicom was hot in Japan. The NES had struck gold worldwide. After making cards and toys that eventually turned into arcade cabinets and video game consoles, modern Nintendo had taken shape by this year. After Mario and Zelda set the standard from the core Shigeru Miyamoto-led team, other developers at Nintendo started to experiment and make their own characters and full worlds. The group headed up by the late Gunpei Yokoi at Research & Development 1 (aka R&D1) debuted one of their most ambitious games in 1986 with Metroid. Originally a Famicom Disk System joint, it took some time before it came to America, but Metroid soon became an NES classic. But how exactly did that happen? How did Metroid become one of Nintendo’s most beloved series? And why is it borderline absent these days? Join me as I go over the path Samus took to get to today and ponder what the future might hold.
Metroid is a series that, while often dormant, has always been seen as a shimmering jewel in Nintendo’s crown. It has been instrumental in essentially creating or redefining genres throughout its 30-plus year history. The reveal of heroine Samus Aran as a woman at the end of the first game is the original go-to twist in gaming. The music is classic and moody. The isolation sublime.
While Metroid has gotten some love in the past few years, it’s safe to say we’re battling to get out of a dormant period right now. Over the generations, Metroid has struggled to find a consistent foothold in Nintendo’s release schedule, but it’s always on the minds of fans. Right now, we’re all wondering when we might be able to explore worlds as Samus on Nintendo Switch, but before we speculate on that, let’s dial it back and go over the history of Metroid.
Check out the video for the full story of Metroid, from the 1980 origins from Yoshio Sakamoto to the Metroid Prime revolution on the GameCube courtesy of Retro Studios and Kensuke Tanabe. We'll also go into what the near future could hold. When will Metroid Prime 4 launch? What's the deal with 2D Metroid? What about Metroid Dread?!?