It's taken more than three decades, but Metroid fans are about to reach the conclusion of the story arc set out in the original 1986 title. Metroid Dread will finally hit the Nintendo Switch on Oct. 8 (the same day the Nintendo Switch OLED model is released), concluding the original arc and giving an opportunity for the story to take an entirely new direction going forward.
While the game is the first 2D Metroid game in 19 years, Nintendo is throwing players for a loop already by introducing some new and exciting changes to our protagonist.
The trailer showcases what looks to be a new suit for Samus, though this new hardware wasn't explained in the trailer. Why does Samus look different in this new game? It's actually an important piece of continuity for the franchise.
Why does Samus look different in 'Metroid Dread'?
The opening of the Metroid Dread trailer shows our protagonist in an orange suit as she flies to Planet ZDR, the setting of our new title, but before the closing scene, she's on the ground in a slick new blue suit that isn't recognized by players.
While there are various iterations of Samus's suit in the franchise, with it often changing colors as new upgrades are implemented, this blue shade is not one she's donned before on a mission.
But the explanation for this change is actually really simple and lies in the continuity between Metroid Fusion and Metroid Dread.
For those who don't remember, Metroid Dread is meant to be the fifth and final installment in the current arc longtime Metroid players have been attempting to complete, but the events of this game are directly preceded by Metroid Fusion, which was released in 2002.
At the beginning of Metroid Fusion, Samus receives the organic Fusion Suit, though she is almost killed by an attack from the X parasites. This new colored suit is actually supposedly the result of the organic Fusion Suit returning to its original form.
"In Metroid Dread, Samus's suit appears to have changed quite a bit from her previous missions. This is the result of the organic suit from Metroid Fusion — which was greatly transformed following the attack by the X parasitic lifeform and the injection of the Metroid vaccine — gradually returning to its original, mechanical Power Suit form," Nintendo wrote in "Metroid Dread Report Vol. 3."
In previous games, the Power Suit has three distinct colors to indicate the different upgrades; in Metroid Fusion, the suit begins as a blue color instead of a yellow, before being upgraded to orange, and then a yellow and mauve design.
All of the previous Metroid games begin with Samus losing the upgrades to her suit, forcing the player to work to earn them back as the story progresses. It's possible that in this trailer, we're just seeing the opening color of her new suit.
Fans can play Metroid Dread when it releases exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on Oct. 8.