So here we are, at the start of another year. I'm sure you're all still busy enjoying the masses of chocolates and treats you received over the holiday period, or, like me, only just finishing the leftovers of a very ill-advised 18 pound turkey.
2012 was a great year wasn't it? The world united during the Olympic and Paralympic games, a very brave man jumped from the edge of space, Mars is being explored in more detail than ever before and we all survived an imaginary apocalypse. Nintendo have had a decent year too. We've all enjoyed some great titles such as Kid Icarus: Uprising, Resident Evil Revelations, The Last Story and Pokemon Black and White 2. On top of that, the Wii U finally found its way to the hands of gamers everywhere.
What's next for Nintendo? 2013 is already looking rather promising with the likes of Luigi's Mansion 2 and Pikmin 3 coming our way, and there's no doubt in my mind that there's a whole host of wonders that remain unannounced. We all have our own version of what will make a perfect year for Nintendo gaming, and here's a glimpse into mine...
In 2005, rumours of a new Metroid title for the Nintendo DS arose. The game was thought to be called Metroid Dread, a direct sequel to 2002's Metroid Fusion with more classic 2D side-scrolling gameplay.
Dedicated Nintendo/Metroid fans know how the story goes. Whispers of the game persisted throughout the rest of 2005 and all of 2006 and it frequently appeared on release schedules but after a couple of E3 no-shows, many fans, including myself, assumed the game had been cancelled or was in development hell.
However, a small glimmer of hope appeared in the form of an easter egg in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii in 2007. Scanning a Space Pirate terminal would yield the message: "Experiment status report update: Metroid project 'Dread' is nearing the final stages of completion." Naturally fans went crazy and interest in this elusive game shot through the roof. Did it exist after all? Was Nintendo going to surprise us with an official reveal soon?
Sadly, as you know, it was not meant to be. Here we are a whole five years later and Metroid Dread is simply nowhere to be seen. Personally, I'd love to see it brought back from the depths of obscurity. If you think about it, the return of Metroid Dread is not in the realms of impossibility. Let us not forget that Kirby's: Return to Dreamland on the Nintendo Wii is actually the final result of an unnamed Kirby title for the Gamecube revealed in 2005, which subsequently slipped into uncertainty in much the same way that Metroid Dread did.
Why do I want Metroid Dread to return? We need a new 2D Metroid game. Metroid: Other M did a respectable job of trying to merge the first-person action of the Prime series and third-person platforming, but it didn't replicate the quality of Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion.
In a way, I've become attached to what Metroid Dread stood for rather than the specific game itself. It promised to be the two things I've been wanting most from a Metroid game for a while now. The first is a proper traditional 2D adventure, because we've been without one for about ten years now. The second is a sequel to Metroid Fusion, which is currently the latest story chronologically, as I'd like the series story to progress rather than filling in the blanks (as is the case with Other M).
With that in mind, I'd be more than happy to settle for a Metroid game on the 3DS or DS that ticks those two boxes regardless of if it is called Dread or not.
Although, the title Dread really piqued my interest as it seemed to imply a horror element. Personally, I think that's something that would work really well with a Metroid game, even a 2D one. If you think back to Metroid Fusion, it did an excellent job of making you feel fearful of the SA-X, a clone of Samus not too dissimilar from Prime's Dark Samus. The SA-X was horrendously powerful and was pretty much invulnerable to all of your weapons to begin with, meaning for a large portion of the game you had to hide from it, sneak past it, or run the hell away if it saw you. If Nintendo took that element and developed it significantly, that could make for a really interesting direction to take the franchise.