The Final Metroid Dread Report Delves Into Design

The final Metroid Dread Report is here. This time around, the developers discuss the thinking behind various elements of the overall game design. These range from Samus herself, to the world, the E.M.M.I., and more. Better yet, players are finally starting to experience it all firsthand for themselves!

The Final Metroid Dread Report Delves Into Design Cover

The final Metroid Dread Report covers the thought process behind the game’s design. The idea is to highlight certain things the developers and artists put extra effort into. Meanwhile, the semi-final report last week was a bag of tips, particularly for newer players.

Metroid Dread‘s development used an iterative process in which the level design and gameplay feed into each other. They kept the whole picture in mind, along with the type of experience they wanted to build. This helped them avoid losing focus as they constructed the labyrinthian world of Planet ZDR.

. . .every area has a distinct premise behind it—something that makes it unique. The layouts have been thought through and adapted to perfectly fit all the capabilities of the most versatile Samus that we’ve ever seen. Events, enemies, abilities, secrets, and so forth—we had to balance all these pieces and their placement, not only for the first time a player visits an area but also the next, where they may be bringing new perspectives and opportunities for further exploration. Please enjoy the core element of a Metroid game: the fun of exploration.

Designing Samus For A New Generation

The developers wanted to visually update the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy. As a result, Samus Aran got a new, more agile look. However, they also had to make sure to keep her essence intact. This meant some parts of the suit needed flexible, more robust materials to support a more agile Samus. Meanwhile, the design retains some elements of her more classic design. This new, more anatomically realistic look makes it appear as if someone is really in the suit unleashing her dangerous moves.

Beyond the design of her suit, Samus’ animations were also meticulously tweaked. The animators strived to make all of her animations look both exhilarating and powerful, both in-game and in cutscenes.

Samus Aran's agile new suit in Metroid Dread.

Samus Aran’s agile new suit in Metroid Dread.

The Deadly E.M.M.I. Research Robots

The final Metroid Dread report also delves into the new mechanical threats of Planet ZDR, the research robots. After the E.M.M.I. concept solidified, the developers knew it needed to be a serious threat for Samus. These murderous, mechanical foes were designed to be dangerous even when Samus has new navigational powerups at her disposal. The Metroid series is known for making you feel all alone on an alien world. However, the E.M.M.I. zones are meant to make you feel incredibly vulnerable as well. That’s why they can move in eerie ways and traverse many terrain types. This is somewhat like the SA-X encounters in Metroid Fusion.

Each E.M.M.I. poses its own unique threats to Samus, as they all have their own particular abilities. They will look and listen carefully as they patrol and pursue her.

Metroid Dread - Trailer 2 - Nintendo Switch

The Sounds Of Isolation and Vulnerability

The Metroid franchise is also well known for its atmosphere. Sometimes it can be a very lonely, empty feeling. Other times, the music evokes a more bombastic sense of determination, like the classic Brinstar theme. However, the E.M.M.I. zones in Metroid Dread necessitated a more fear-based musical style.

Naturally, the final report says the developers were once again going for sound design evoking isolation and solitude. Planet ZDR is full of audio details to that end. They include ambient elements from wind to waterfalls, while dark synths will fill players with dread. The E.M.M.I. zones especially have this in mind.

With the final report in the books, the developers wish to thank everyone for reading them. They bid you farewell, as it’s finally time for you to venture into Planet ZDR’s dreadful depths for yourself!

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