Metroid Dread, first teased in 2007’s Metroid Prime 3, is coming this year

At the Nintendo Direct at E3 2021 today, the publisher showed off Metroid Dread, a brand new 2D Metroid game and the first one since the remake Metroid: Samus Returns from 2017. The Metroid Dread Switch game has actually been both rumored, planned, and supposedly canceled since 2007, so it’s a shock to fans to see it return. Nintendo specifically refers to the game as Metroid 5 rather than a Prime title, but does the story tie into the upcoming Metroid Prime 4?

Is Metroid Dread connected to Metroid Prime 4?

Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread was revealed at the Nintendo Direct E3 show today with a release date of October 8, 2021. A shock reveal, especially considering the fate of the long-delayed Metroid Prime 4 is still unknown. Despite an early tease during the game’s trailer showing a first-person perspective, Metroid Dread doesn’t have any apparent connection to the Prime series — they are prequels, whereas this seems to be a full sequel that Nintendo describes as Metroid 5.

Calling it “Metroid 5” is interesting as it suggests it comes after Super Metroid (Metroid 3) and Metroid Fusion (Metroid 4), and producer Sakamoto Yoshio says the game will “mark an end to that story arc” concerning the Metroid species. The name Metroid Dread is even more interesting because it’s the title of a canceled 2D Metroid game that was referenced in a small scannable memo in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption back in 2007, which read:

“Experiment status report update: Metroid project ‘Dread’ is nearing the final stages of completion”

Obviously, nothing came of that, and Sakamoto confirmed in 2010 that the project was canceled but that Nintendo might return to it in the future. Clearly, they did.

While exciting and something for Metroid fans to get excited about, Metroid Prime 4 is still completely absent and wasn’t even mentioned, despite the rumors that it would finally appear. The game was also missing from Nintendo’s previous major Direct in February, and seeing as Prime 4 went back to the drawing board with original developer Retro in 2019 it may still be a while before Nintendo is ready to show it off.