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Yeah I'm well aware of... the abundance [of games in the] the Metroidvania genre. I know there are a lot, but I haven’t played them, it however, one thing I think we’ve learned from that is, there’s a need for this there's a thirst for that genre. People are excited about the genre, and so from a marketing stand point, understanding that that market exists, it’s been helpful to have all of those people clamoring for them. And it really solidified the ability of this desire to creating another 2D Metroid game.

Yoshio Sakamoto on the popularity of indie Metroidvanias.[1]

Super Metroid is viewed as the game that started this genre.

"Metroidvania" is a genre of 2-D or 2.5D platforming action-adventure games that emphasize non-linear exploration and story, with access to new areas restricted until new abilities are gained. The player often comes across obstacles that require an extra ability, and must find this ability before backtracking to the obstacle. The word "Metroidvania" is a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania, two game series that are credited with creating this genre.[2]

Super Metroid was universally acclaimed upon release and was said to have revolutionized gaming. Beginning with Symphony of the Night, Castlevania games borrowed influences from Super Metroid. The 2004 indie game Cave Story, another pivotal game in the Metroidvania genre was inspired in part by Metroid, one of the childhood favorite games of the director Daisuke Amaya. Metroid-like enemies called Jellies, which have a queen appear in the game. [3]

Other examples[]

First of all, as one of the people who basically created the very original of one of these exploration games that led to this huge game genre called metroidvania that is so big and so popular, I am very thankful for this big fanbase. I also feel very happy about it.

—Sakamoto in 2021.[4]

Playing with Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics[]

Super Metroid wasn't the first game to feature non-linear exploration (the original Metroid and The Legend of Zelda are also early examples), but it absolutely popularized the formula. Combined with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which was directly inspired by Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, the Metroidvania genre was born.

The most notable instances of Metroidvania games are, unsurprisingly, from the Metroid and Castlevania series. However, the genre experienced a modern resurgence thanks in large part to the best-selling Shadow Complex, as well as indie games such as Cave Story, Axiom Verge, Guacamelee, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Hollow Knight. But Metroidvania hallmarks such as exploring a large interconnected map and backtracking after obtaining new equipment are not confined to two dimensions, also being featured heavily in recent mainstream games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and the Dark Souls and Batman Arkham franchises.


  • Coincidentally, both Castlevania and Metroid, the series that created the genre, had their roots in vampire stories (as the latter had been significantly influenced by the Alien series, which had itself been largely influenced by the 1965 Italian sci-fi/horror film Planet of the Vampires).



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