While it won’t be named ‘Metroid Dread’, a new 2d Metroid will be released for Nintendo DS around November 2010. You can bet money on it.
How do I know this?
Nintendo’s strategy for recent Metroids has always been two pronged. It is not just one game for handhelds and one game for consoles released around the same time. It is one traditional Metroid game and one experimental Metroid game. Metroid games have been released in pairs.
Why does Nintendo do this? It is because they want to popularize and expand the Metroid series. However, their expansionary game could easily backfire among the core Metroid fans. Therefore, it is necessary to have a traditional Metroid game to fall back on.
Nintendo has no intention on letting the Metroid series blow up. They aren’t going to let Sakamoto go and ruin Metroid. Other M will be paired with another Metroid game, a traditional Metroid game, around the time Other M is released.
History shows this is the pattern. In 2001, two Metroid games came out at the same time: Fusion and Prime. Fusion was the traditional Metroid. It was even titled ‘Metroid 4’. This game was the fallback position in case the new 3d Metroid was rejected. Metroid Prime ended up selling better than any other Metroid game. In 2004, two new Metroid games came out (in a sense). In this case, the traditional title was Metroid Prime 2. The experimental title was the Metroid First Hunt demo that came with the DS systems. Metroid First Hunt, which became Metroid Prime Hunters, was trying to expand Metroid into a Quake type of a shooter. It was constantly delayed (likely due to online multiplayer) and released in 2006 and had voice support.
Other M is playing a very big risk with the Metroid series. Whether you like this direction or not, it is a major risk to go with a cutscene and ninja action approach based on ‘story telling’ with the Metroid series.
There is no way that Nintendo will let Other M be the only Metroid released at that time. To do so would mean to risk the entire collapse of the over-extended Metroid franchise. Other M, which is taking an experimental direction, will be coupled with a traditional Metroid. And it will be the 2d Metroid on the DS.
Seriously, the DS was designed for 2d Metroid. The button layout of the DS matches the SNES gamepad controls perfectly. The dual screens means that the map screen can always be present (which will be a huge plus in a game like Metroid). The DS is fantastic with 2d games anyway. And with its superior music capability, the DS could really make a 2d Metroid sound as fantastic or better than Super Metroid.
It makes absolutely no business sense to put Other M out there alone. It is too much risk. It will be coupled with a traditional Metroid game to keep the fans happy in case Other M backfires (which it very well likely do).
From Kotaku, we read:
For a few years, there have been rumors that Nintendo was working on a new side-scrolling Metroid game called Metroid Dread. There was even an easter egg reference to entities known as “Metroid Dreads” tucked into Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
So, we wondered, could the long-incubating Metroid: Other M, which we learned was conceived in 2006, be the Dread project?
“He’s very familiar with that [game,]” Sakamoto’s translator said after posing our question to him. “No, this is different.”
We pressed for details on what Dread is. Sakamoto’s response: “The day may come when Dread hits the stores, but this one is something that’s completely different. This is other M.”
Metroid Dread is real and did appear on the E3 Expo documents in 2005. This means that the game could have been geared to be made to couple with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. However, since it became seen that Prime 3 wasn’t a risk (as an experimental title that could implode the franchise), there was no reason to make Dread. However, more indications are lately coming that something is in the air about Dread or what Dread became.
I’m learning that Nintendo is very conservative with its traditional titles, especially 2d ones. Remember, this is the company that had not made a 2d Super Mario Brothers in almost twenty years. What Nintendo does instead is to try new things and use the 2d games only when they are needed. For example, if Sony didn’t come out with the PSP and threatening Nintendo’s reliable space in handhelds, we would never have seen New Super Mario Brothers. (Inside Nintendo, the ‘old guard’, and this includes Miyamoto, hate making these older 2d games. The reason why is that they have made them before and want to make new things. The ‘younger employees’ all want to make the old stuff, ironically.)
Metroid Dread would have been completed and coupled with Corruption if Corruption was seen as an ‘experimental title’. Apparently, Nintendo didn’t think it was so Dread got dropped.
But there is no denying how radical a departure from Metroid that Other M is. It is inevitable that a traditional Metroid game will appear alongside with Other M (of course, on the DS since people have been asking for it).
Nintendo is not going to risk letting Sakamoto destroy the Metroid franchise with his manga game.