Metroid Dread Report vol. 10: To those departing for ZDR
Welcome to the Metroid™ Dread Report! This series will introduce the latest information on the Metroid Dread game and the world of the Metroid series, along with behind-the-scenes glimpses from the game’s development team.
It’s time! Metroid Dread releases October 8 for the Nintendo Switch™ system.
To all who will explore this uncharted alien world alongside Samus Aran—and experience the dread within—we’d like to highlight a few points the dev team worked particularly hard on for the game’s design, visuals, programming, sound effects, and music.
Making the most of exploration
Once the key elements and the vision of the game were established, we started an iterative process of design where both gameplay and level design feed each other constantly.
A solid base lets us define the type of progression we would like to offer players. Having in mind the whole picture and knowing the kind of game we wanted players to experience allowed us to create such an interconnected world without losing focus.
Also, every area has a distinct premise behind it—something that makes it unique. The layouts have been thought through and adapted to perfectly fit all the capabilities of the most versatile Samus that we’ve ever seen. Events, enemies, abilities, secrets, and so forth—we had to balance all these pieces and their placement, not only for the first time a player visits an area but also the next, where they may be bringing new perspectives and opportunities for further exploration. Please enjoy the core element of a Metroid game: the fun of exploration.
The overwhelming power of E.M.M.I.
When the concept of the E.M.M.I. was decided, we immediately realized that it was going to be a challenge of extraordinary dimensions. For one thing, the E.M.M.I. had to be formidable opponents, capable of hunting down Samus even with all her new navigation enhancements. In addition, they had to make you feel afraid, so that every time you met them your heart would skip a beat.
They are creatures capable of deforming and twisting their bodies in eerie ways, allowing them to adapt to any type of terrain or mobility need. We created a whole new navigation technology, different from other characters, so that they would be able to tirelessly chase Samus through an intricate labyrinth.
Each E.M.M.I. has their own unique abilities they skillfully use to hunt down Samus. But that's not enough: the E.M.M.I.s are always looking for Samus, they remember where they deduce that she may be, and they try to locate her, even if they lose track of her.
If Samus is detected, the E.M.M.I. will relentlessly chase after her, and there is little room for error when escaping them. Heed our warning and please be careful around the E.M.M.I.
A Samus for a new generation
From the very beginning, we were clear that we needed to put special effort into visually updating Samus to modern standards while still keeping her essence. At the same time, we wished to make her appear more agile, fast, and lethal than ever before.
From a modelling standpoint, the armor needed to balance the traits from her more powerful and classic side with a mix of flexible and robust materials that stressed her more agile and athletic side.
To do this, we aimed to design Samus with a powerful, anatomically realistic appearance that stressed this duality. In addition, her proportions were adjusted to emphasize that there is someone inside the suit pulling off such extraordinary feats, giving Samus an unprecedented appearance.
Also, to translate this same feeling into her movements, each and every one of Samus’ animations in the game and cutscenes were exhaustively fine-tuned to look empowering and exhilarating, whether she is fighting or exploring. We are excited for you to see her in action.
The sounds of eerie isolation on an alien world
The goal we had in mind when designing sound effects for the game was to make the player feel the solitude of Samus on planet ZDR. There are hundreds of audio details in every area that will transport you, from realistic audio scenarios filled with waterfalls and winds to the darkest synths that will submerge you in dread—especially when inside an E.M.M.I. Zone.
Once you hear the E.M.M.I.’s call, your auditory adventure starts: several sounds will emerge depending on if it’s searching, if it’s aware of your presence, or if it finds you. Careful listening will be essential to survival, allowing you to plan your movements in advance to know where to avoid the E.M.M.I. or where to hide from it. Good luck out there.
Honoring atmosphere and legacy through music
In music production, as a general philosophy, we put a lot of weight on creating music that makes it possible to recall the atmosphere of the Metroid series.
For the E.M.M.I. Zones, which are a first in the series, we took on the challenge of creating a music presentation for a new fear-based experience, which is a departure from the typical Metroid atmosphere.
Through these music expressions, we believe it’s easier for players to imagine the atmosphere of Metroid Dread and get in the mindset of exploring planet ZDR.
Thank you for reading the Metroid Dread Report. You could say that Metroid Dread is the culmination of the 2D Metroid series. Now, it’s time for you to experience the next steps in side-scrolling Metroid action and exploration; discover what roles the E.M.M.I. and mysterious Chozo play; and, ultimately, witness the conclusion of the strange, interconnected fates of Samus and the Metroid.
See you on planet ZDR!