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Although Sounds of Dread implied that ZDR was a homeworld for the Chozo in general, Quiet Robe only refers to it as the homeworld of the violent Mawkin tribe of Chozo. Before Samus Aran, it was unexplored by humans.
Under the leadership of Raven Beak, the Mawkin tribe plotted to bring the Metroids from SR388 to ZDR and use them for galactic conquest, and returned to ZDR in order to prepare for the task of gathering the powerful creatures. Before it could be set in motion, their plan was nearly ruined when one of the Chozo Soldiers returning to ZDR revealed itself as an X Parasite (also native to SR388); Raven Beak narrowly managed to contain the subsequent X outbreak in the area of Elun, but the X had infected all Chozo on the planet except Raven Beak and the sole remaining Thoha Quiet Robe, and the chaos they caused had left much of the Mawkin architecture on the planet in ruin.
Years later, a mysterious video transmission from an unknown source is received by the Galactic Federation and traced to ZDR. The message shows an X Parasite, suggesting they had not been entirely eradicated when Samus Aran crashed the B.S.L. Station into SR388. The Federation sends a team of E.M.M.I. robots to investigate and loses contact with them not long thereafter. Samus, who has immunity to the X Parasites due to her Metroid vaccination, travels to ZDR to confirm for herself if the X have survived.
During her exploration of the planet, Samus discovers that the X are indeed present on the planet, albeit quarantined in Elun, and that Raven Beak had recorded the footage of them in order to lure Samus to ZDR and extract her Metroid DNA. After she has explored Elun, Raven Beak releases the X from quarantine, allowing them to quickly begin infesting all living things on the planet, including Quiet Robe who was killed beforehand by a Robot Chozo Soldier for helping Samus.
ZDR is ultimately destroyed after Samus and Raven Beak's battle.
According to Volume 8 of the Metroid Dread Report, ZDR shares similar planetary conditions, including temperature, humidity, gravity and atmosphere, with SR388, another planet formerly inhabited by the Chozo.
- Artaria — A group of facilities in the lowest part of the planet, and the area where Samus awakens at the start of the game.
- Burenia — A former marine research site built in and around an ocean.
- Cataris — A volcanic area where thermal energy is routed to other parts of the planet.
- Dairon — A biological research laboratory.
- Elun — The area where the X Parasites were quarantined.
- Ferenia — A sanctuary where the Mawkin performed ceremonies and rituals.
- Ghavoran — An underground forest close to the planet's surface.
- Hanubia — A region of the planet's surface containing military facilities with Mawkin starships. The area where Samus landed and took the elevator to Artaria in the game's prologue.
- Itorash — A fortress in the sky above Hanubia where Raven Beak dwells.
ZDR contains a variety of native lifeforms, but because the Mawkin tribe was not above usage of bioweapons, certain species below were evidently altered or completely engineered by them. There are also many robots on the planet, which are of Chozo design with the exception of the E.M.M.I. dispatched by the Galactic Federation.
- Chozo Base Asset 04
- Daivo Swarm
- Experiment No. Z-57
- Ground Shocker
- Kraid Bouncing Creature
- Lightened Krill
- Light Insect
- Lum Ell
- Magma Crab
- Rock Diver
- Central Unit
- Central Unit Cannon
- Robot Chozo Soldier
- Chozo Zombie
- Raven Beak X
- DISCOVER A SPRAWLING WORLD
- "Planet ZDR is home to many secrets and dangers. Get a glimpse at some of the hazards standing between Samus and the surface as she escapes the deadly depths of the planet."
- FIERCE FAUNA
- "The planet’s native species can be deadly. Stay on your toes to stay alive."
- ZDR is the second planet to have a purple atmosphere in the Metroid series, preceded by Dark Aether. In astrobiology, the purple Earth hypothesis posits that early life forms on Earth were retinal-based, rather than chlorophyll-based, making Earth appear purple. This hypothesis may provide insight for potential life on exoplanets. Interestingly enough, alien life roams freely on ZDR.
- How and why ZDR was destroyed is unclear. The planet may have been unstable due to lack of maintenance and later Experiment No. Z-57 sabotaging the thermal generator, with a room exploding after Samus activates a thermal power flow machine; Itorash crashing into Hanubia may have set off a chain reaction that further destabilized the planet. Alternatively, since its self-destruction began immediately after the death of Raven Beak X, it is possible that Raven Beak rigged the planet to explode upon his death as a fail-safe (either if he was bested in battle, or as a last resort to prevent the X from infecting the rest of the galaxy if he got infected), similar to Mother Brain's final death causing the destruction of Zebes.
- Each area of ZDR begins with the first nine letters of the English alphabet, beginning with Artaria and ending with Itorash. They are alphabetically ordered by depth, with Artaria being the deepest and Itorash being located in the sky.
- Cazadora, the development codename of Metroid Dread, includes the consonants Z, D, and R in that specific order (albeit separated by vowels). It is unconfirmed whether there was an intentional link between ZDR's name and the Spanish word for "huntress".
- ^ Spelling confirmed by Chozo writing appearing on a hologram; see #Gallery.
- ^ Nintendo of America (NintendoAmerica). "Samus touches down on Planet ZDR in #MetroidDread. She’ll encounter strange new life forms, radically different environments, and the rogue E.M.M.I. of course, as she explores the planet’s hidden secrets and takes on her mission." 16 June 2021 11:25 a.m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/1405184665481269251
- ^ Looygi Bros. "11 Cool Details in Metroid Dread (Part 6)". YouTube. January 16, 2022. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
- ^ Jose Luis Márquez (J_Luis_Marquez). "Today is a very special day in the studio. Thank you so much @daariiin for these delicious cakes!. For all those out there who dare to go to ZDR... enjoy the journey! #MetroidDread" 8 October 2021 7:38 a.m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/J_Luis_Marquez/status/1446439783635505152
|Planets in the Metroid series|
|Bilium | Oormine II | Tallon IV | Twin Tabula | Zebes|
|Alinos | Arcterra|
|Aether | Dark Aether|
|Federation Solar System|
|Bryyo | Elysia | Norion|
|Unknown Solar System|
a.k.a. Planet SN-883 or Urtraghus ("large booty")
|SR388's solar system|
|SR388 | "SR387"|
|Earth | Jupiter|
|Excelcion | Talvania | Bion|
|Outlaw | Maru | Agricultural world | Jatsuk | Ocean world |
Graveyard planet | Galactic ruins
|2466 URSA | Bes III | Devon III | Daiban | Demon Planet | Degrade |
Jamoru | Jasdam | Jigrad | K-2L | Kankei | Liberty
Mondreus | Naishii | Nest | RX 338 | Solairon 12 | Tivus | Vho | ZDR