The Metroid series is rich with lore and backstory, but it’s never overt with its storytelling. Metroid Dread, the most recent installment, concludes the saga that started on the NES in 1986. In Dread, you learn more about the X Parasite from Fusion and how it connects to Samus, the series’ main character. It also tells more about Samus’ origin, which helps contextualize who she becomes at the end of the game. Here, we’ll explain Metroid Dread’s ending and speculate on where the series could go from here.
Metroid Dread spoilers ahead.
Metroid Dread ending, explained
Before diving into the ending of Metroid Dread, it’s important to be aware of some backstory that occurs in the previous installment, Metroid Fusion. In Fusion, Samus becomes infected with X Parasite, nearly killing her. Luckily, she’s stabilized thanks to a vaccine that contains Metroid DNA. It saves her, but at a cost of potentially corrupting her DNA.
This X Parasite was reportedly spotted on Planet ZDR, so Samus heads there to investigate, and that’s where Dread begins.
Right away, Samus is ambushed by a Chozo (a bird-like species) named Raven Beak. It’s unclear why, but later on, the two butt heads and more is explained. After defeating numerous Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers (E.M.M.I.) that were programmed to kill Samus, you encounter a friendly Chozo named Quiet Robe. He explains that the X Parasite had irradicated nearly all the Chozo except save for him and Raven Beak.
After this, Raven Beak kills Quiet Robe. In the final battle against Raven Beak, he reveals that he is Samus’ father, which makes sense considering she was raised by Chozo.
Raven Beak then tells Samus his plan was to awaken her true potential — due to the Metroid DNA in her body — and use it to make an army of Metroid clones. The E.M.M.I. encountered throughout the game were designed to awaken Samus’ power and extract that DNA. Evidently, cloning Samus when she’s at max potential will lead to a more powerful army.
Samus doesn’t take kindly to this and just as she’s about to be defeated, her true potential unlocks as she becomes 100 percent Metroid. Her suit transforms and becomes more organic-looking, just like a Metroid. Raven Beak is then infected by X Parasite, but Samus defeats him once and for all thanks to her newfound powers.
In typical Metroid fashion, the planet is set to self-destruct, so Samus races to her ship where she’s confronted by Quiet Robe.
Well, sort of. It’s not the real Quiet Robe because he died at the hands of Raven Beak. This is a version of Quiet Robe infected by X Parasite, which can recall their host’s memories. It’s revealed that Samus cannot pilot the ship because she would drain it of its power. However, the X Parasite version of Quiet Robe sacrifices itself and is absorbed into Samus, somehow stabilizing the Metroid DNA, allowing her to pilot the ship successfully.
Samus then flies away from Planet ZDR as it explodes.
What are the Metroid Dread ending rewards?
There isn’t a secret ending in Metroid Dread, but depending on whether you’ve met certain criteria, you can unlock artwork that references each of the mainline games in the series.
Below are the parameters and the rewards you earn for your efforts:
- Metroid: Zero Mission art — Beat the game on Normal Mode
- Metroid: Samus Returns art — Beat the game in under 8 hours on Normal Mode
- Super Metroid art — Beat the game in under 4 hours on Normal Mode
- Metroid: Other M art — Beat the game on Hard Mode
- Metroid Fusion art — Beat the game in under 8 hours on Hard Mode
- Metroid Dread art — Beat the game in under 4 hours on Hard Mode
- Zero Suit Samus (bonus) art — Unlock all other Ending Rewards
What’s next for Metroid?
Since Samus fully embraces her Metroid power at the end of Dread, the possibilities for what’s next are endless. While this game is referred to as the conclusion of this story arc, Metroid Dread’s producer Yoshio Sakamoto told Eurogamer that “Samus' adventure will continue” after this game.
In the next game, she could take on the role of the antagonist, wherein the Metroid powers overtake her and a new bounty hunter must step in to defeat her. Or maybe an all-powerful evil being will appear, matching Samus’ power, leading to the most dangerous fight of her career.
Whatever happens, we hope the 2D saga continues because the formula has done so well thus far. Keep in mind, Metroid Prime 4 is also coming at an unknown date, but this will presumably be separate from whatever comes after Dread. Given Dread’s immediate success, it’s likely we won’t have to wait another 19 years for the next installment.
Metroid Dread is available exclusively on Nintendo Switch.