It has been an extremely busy day for the Metroid franchise. After years of keeping fans waiting, Nintendo finally announced the development of a new Metroid title in Metroid Prime 4, and the title screen alone has sent gamers down a dizzying spiral of analysis and speculation. Just after its E3 2017 presentation, however, Nintendo made the bombshell announcement that it would also be releasing Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS later this year.
The announcement came with a lengthy gameplay demonstration that detailed just what Nintendo and MercurySteam, best known for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, have in store for Metroid: Samus Returns. The new game is being called a “reimagination” of Metroid 2: Return of Samus, but it won’t just be graphics improvements – Nintendo also announced that the game would feature significant gameplay additions, including the new Aeion Abilities.
Aeion Abilities will give Samus a host of new skills that aren’t suit abilities, meaning players will have more ways to approach gameplay in Metroid: Samus Returns. Aeion Abilities will be limited abilities that rely on an energy bar called the Aeion Gauge, which means they’ll add another element of skill management that should appeal to Metroid players familiar with the series’ love of precise timings and mechanics.
Although the exact number of Aeion Abilities isn’t known right now, the gameplay demonstration discussed one in particular called Scan Pulse. Scan Pulse is an ease-of-life ability that will allow players to display more of the mini-map around them on-screen, showing players where hidden passageways or items might be hiding.
While fans likely would’ve been pleased with a straight-up remake of Metroid 2 on the Nintendo 3DS, the addition of new abilities shows that Nintendo is taking Metroid‘s reintroduction to modern gaming seriously. The announcement that Metroid: Samus Returns is getting amiibo further reinforces that sentiment, and 2017 finally feels like the year of the Metroid fan after a long, long time spent waiting for it.
Metroid: Samus Returns will release for the Nintendo 3DS on September 15, 2017.