Many Nintendo fans are aware of how much success Metroid Dread has had since its release.
What fans may not know, though, is that this game has been in the works since 2006. Metroid Dread went through one of the most tumultuous and crazy developments in gaming history. For a time, fans had just assumed it was a dead project, which is why the announcement of Metroid Dread at E3 2021 was so shocking.
Why did it take so long for Metroid Dread to release?
The first time gamers heard of Metroid Dread was way back in 2005. There was an internal Nintendo software list of games that they were planning to work on. Among these was Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, which did end up being released on the Nintendo Wii.
Metroid Dread was also on the list. Since then, there had been rumors amongst fans who were wondering if the game was being worked on and when, if ever, it would be released.
Many fans believed that, if Metroid Dread existed, there would be a trailer for it at E3 2006. No such trailer was shown at the event, though. The same thing happened on E3 2007. After a while, fans believed Metroid Dread to be a lost cause.
Early hints on Metroid Dread release status
Any remaining hope for Metroid Dread just about died out at the end of 2007, when Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released but the game featured an Easter Egg that referenced Dread.
When exploring Valhalla, an enemy spaceship, the players were able to scan a data entry which read: Experiment status report update. The Metroid project Dread is nearing the final stages of completion.
This was followed by another scan that read: Experiment results unsuccessful.
Many fans took this as Nintendo’s way of saying that Metroid Dread wasn’t happening. Retro Studios, though, have since claimed the reference to the fifth Metroid title was only a coincidence.
Metroid Dread sprang up again before E3 2009. Reports had hinted at a new 2D Metroid in the works, but that game turned out to be Metroid Other M.
After this release, producer Yoshio Sakamoto claimed that the concept for Metroid Dread still existed, and that he was waiting for the technical advances needed to achieve his vision.
The final push from MercurySteam
In 2017, MercurySteam released Metroid: Samus Returns. This was a remake of the second game in the series and a relatively big success. Since the game worked out so well, Sakamoto felt like MercurySteam could complete his original concept for Dread.
Several mechanics of Metroid Dread, including the melee counter, were introduced in Samus Returns.