A staple of the Metroid series since it’s inception is Samus amassing a large arsenal of weapons and tools that she can use to eliminate foes and explore alien planets, and another staple is the fact that she loses most if not all these abilities by the time the next game rolls around.

The way she loses her powers varies, sometimes an explosion slams her into a wall damaging her suits components, sometimes an alien parasite infects her suit rendering it useless, and sometimes it just isn’t explained at all. Nevertheless, it’s practically guaranteed you won’t be starting Metroid Prime 4 with the Power Bombs or Space Jump already at your disposal. This does beg the question though, does Samus need to lose her abilities for the Metroid Games to work? According to Metroid Dread’s Director José Luis Márquez via an interview with Gamereactor, yes she does.

In the case of Metroids, yes, it has to be like that. You can’t start the game without losing things. It’s mandatory. Otherwise, I think you would be disappointed. It’s like, what? You get everything from the beginning? It can’t be!

[José Luis Márquez via Gamereactor]

Márquez goes on to elaborate on his other design preferences for Metroid-vanias, for example he believes the gameplay thrives best with a shorter total playtime. He goes on to elaborate that a more compact experience can still leave a player satisfied and that a longer playtime runs the risk of introducing filler into the game. Considering the Metroid series encourages the player to speed run the game on subsequent playthroughs we can certainly see where he’s coming from.

He then goes on to add that he personally isn’t a fan of including Souls-like elements in Metroid-vania titles. While he understands the appeal for some players he claims that he is “not one of those who likes to make it hard for the players.” which is ironic considering how much Metroid Dread was praised for it’s difficulty at the time of release.

What are your thoughts on all these ideas? Does Samus need to lose her abilities for a Metroid game to work? Should the series consider pushing for a longer runtime or dabble with souls-like elements? Let us know in the comments below.

About jmaldonado


A recently graduated creative writer hoping to work his way into the greater gaming sphere.

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Comments (3)


25d ago

I agree with him. I think a big part of the fun of Metroid games is gradually acquiring the abilities that help you navigate the world and survive. It's not just a satisfying experience, it's a staple of the genre that has emerged from Metroid.

The challenge is probably thinking up a way for Samus to lose her powers that doesn't feel contrived. Having a parasite take over her suit worked really well. But having Adam Malkovich tell her she can't use certain abilities without his permission wasn't a very good method.


25d ago

It's a given, but the execution also needs to make sense, I'd say most games have nailed that so far, of course there are exceptions though.

For me at least is a bit weird that there are so many copies of things like the Varia or Gravity suit just waiting around in other planets and such.


25d ago

*Sees Batman Arkham City*