Game News

Metroid Dread Report Vol. 5: The powers of Samus Aran

20 August 2021

Welcome to the Metroid Dread Report! This series will introduce the newest information on Metroid Dread for Nintendo Switch and the world of the Metroid series, along with behind-the-scenes glimpses from the game’s development team.

Samus Aran, the galaxy’s most powerful bounty hunter, is a consummate professional who has completed many missions believed to be impossible. In this edition, let’s take a closer look at the abilities and arsenal that Samus has within arm’s reach.

Growing up Samus Aran

Samus lost her family as a young child after a devastating attack by the Space Pirates. The Chozo took young Samus under their wing and raised her on planet Zebes. She received a DNA transplant from this bird-like species that altered her physiology and allowed her to adapt to this harsh new environment.

Before striking out on her own, Samus was once enlisted in and trained by the Galactic Federation Army. The face under her helmet remains shrouded in mystery across the galaxy.


~Transmission from the dev team~

"Samus is a true professional who takes a quiet and calm approach to her work. Because of this, you might think that she’s a cold-hearted person, but you’d be mistaken. In actuality, Samus is a woman with a very kind heart, as evidenced by her show of mercy to a Metroid hatchling while on a mission to eradicate the enigmatic species. Perhaps the hatchling sensed a nurturing nature within Samus when it imprinted on her."


Arm Cannon

Samus’ right arm is completely integrated with her powerful and iconic Arm Cannon, which can fire two types of weapon: rapid-fire Beam attacks and powerful Missiles. Because the Arm Cannon is so deeply integrated, Samus can toggle between weapon classes at will.

In Metroid Dread, you can attack from nearly any angle while running, jumping, or holding on to certain walls and ledges.

Beam attacks

The Beam attack is Samus’ go-to offensive ability. Acquiring upgrades can modify its power and properties, like increasing the attack’s spread or adding other functions.

One such functional upgrade is the Grapple Beam, which lends it a rope-like quality that makes the Arm Cannon capable of connecting to specific points. Once connected, Samus can tow objects or swing herself to otherwise unreachable parts of the environment.

Missiles

Unlike the endless wave of beam blasts at her disposal, Samus has a capacity limit for this compact yet powerful heavy weapon. It, too, can be enhanced with ability upgrades. Samus can increase her Missile capacity by acquiring Missile Tanks and Missile+ Tanks scattered throughout the world. Search with diligence!


~Transmission from the dev team~

"Each attack can be done while running or jumping. In Metroid: Samus Returns for Nintendo 3DS, Samus had to plant her feet to Free Aim and fire; now, you can aim forward in a wide range of angles while running. This makes it easier to attack from a distance while on the move.

"In Metroid Dread, most actions – like Arm Cannon attacks and Melee Counters – can be performed from nearly any position. We wished to emphasise the player being able to maintain their speed and momentum at any given time, aiming to make the flow through different types of gameplay feel as seamless as possible."


Actions and abilities

Melee Counter

This action creates an opportunity for Samus to stun an enemy by striking it right as it’s about to attack. If successful, the stunned enemy is then vulnerable to a powerful follow-up attack. Samus can perform a Melee Counter while running, too.

Morph Ball

Samus can pass through narrow passages by sliding, or by curling up into Morph Ball form.

The player can drop Samus into Morph Ball form by tilting the Left Control Stick down while crouching – effectively, the same way it’s always been done in the 2D Metroid series – but also now by pressing the ZL Button while standing still. Samus will also automatically take Morph Ball form when jumping into an elevated tunnel.

Jumping

Samus’ unparalleled physical abilities elevate her jump actions to another level. One such action is wall jumping, where she can jump up and kick off against a wall to climb even higher.

Her jumping capabilities can also be enhanced via ability upgrades. For example, the new Spin Boost ability lets her perform one additional jump while spinning in the air.

Aeion abilities

Samus can tap into a special, mystical energy called Aeion to temporarily use certain abilities.

One such ability is Phantom Cloak, which blankets Samus in an optical camouflage to render her invisible. Using this while standing still will slowly deplete her reserve of Aeion – she can also move while camouflaged, but it costs a greater amount of Aeion. When not in use, her Aeion reserve automatically regenerates over time.


~Transmission from the dev team~

"Just like her attacks, we strived to make all her other abilities feel quick, unstoppable, and seamlessly 'Samus-like'.

"In particular, this time, Samus can pull off counters without losing forward momentum. This paves the way for a more aggressive use of counters, letting Samus take advantage of momentary weaknesses in enemies otherwise out of reach.

"Successfully scaling walls, slipping through gaps, and knocking down enemies in a fluid series of quick movements will make you feel like the strongest bounty hunter in the galaxy."


Power Suit

The Power Suit that Samus wears is based on Chozo technology and was created specifically for her.

Incorporating ability upgrades can expand the functionality of the Power Suit's performance and the Arm Cannon's functions.

In addition to the Power Suit’s built-in defenses, Samus can increase its Energy – and thus its capacity to withstand damage – by acquiring two kinds of Energy Tank items. Standard Energy Tanks increase her suit’s Energy by 100 points each. She can also collect four Energy Parts to reconstruct the same functionality as a standard Energy Tank.


~Transmission from the dev team~

"Samus' Power Suit is one-of-a-kind, made with the superior technology of the Chozo.

"While the series has seen various suit designs, the Fully Powered Suit from Metroid: Zero Mission for Game Boy Advance (obtained by overcoming the Chozodia Ruins trial) is the basis for all of these new designs.

"The events of the previous game, Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance, changed a lot of things for Samus and her suit. But this time, we’re using a new Power Suit to imagine what would be beyond Metroid Fusion."


Immunity to the X parasite

The Metroids were created to be the natural enemy of the X parasite.

By receiving an emergency dose of the 'Metroid vaccine' – created from a cell culture previously sourced from the Metroid hatchling – Samus became the only living creature who cannot be harmed by the X parasite.

Because of her immunity, Samus alone is dispatched to planet ZDR to investigate the possible presence of the X parasite, a lifeform thought to have been eradicated.


~Transmission from the dev team~

"The X parasite is a terrifying creature capable of infesting any living thing, causing it to die, and then mimicking its host using the genetic information it copies.

"It’s no exaggeration to say that the X is the strongest and most odious of lifeforms, as it instinctively prioritises the preservation and expansion of its species, repeatedly dividing and merging to mimic stronger individuals.

"However, the only thing that can nullify its ability are the Metroids, which were created to be its natural enemy. Since the Metroids went extinct prior to the events of Metroid Dread, the only one who can rival the X now is Samus, as she has Metroid DNA in her."


Another glimpse of Dread…


~Transmission from the dev team~

"In the second half of this video, why is Samus wearing a different Power Suit than the one she started with? The answer will be revealed soon."


Next time…

In the next Metroid Dread Report, we shed light on new mysteries revealed in an upcoming game trailer. Please look forward to it on August 27th!

Haven't yet read the previous Metroid Dread Report? Go here to check it out now.

There's also more about the game on the official Metroid Dread gamepage ahead of its release on October 8th