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Metroid Dread concept is something Sakamoto 'can't say never existed'

Immediately following his well-attended GDC panel, Nintendo's Yoshio Sakamoto talked with us about (what else?) Metroid: Other M. In addition to all sorts of questions on the unique Team Ninja collaboration, we asked Sakamoto about the long-rumored Metroid Dread project and, barring a confirmation of that product, when we'd see another 2D handheld Metroid.

Joystiq: Speaking of the core Metroid development team that last worked on the GBA, there have been rumors of a game known as 'Metroid Dread' – purportedly a 2D Metroid game for DS. First question: Was 'Dread' a real project? Second question: If not, where is a 2D Metroid on DS?

Yoshio Sakamoto: It seems we get a lot of questions about Metroid Dread, especially at interviews following E3 for example. But nothing's ever been announced about this game; it's all just been rumors so far. So we never know exactly how to respond to questions like this.

While there actually was a point where some teams were meeting to discuss if it was possible to create a 2D Metroid for DS using a relatively small team size, it's not something that we ever really announced or thought of as "Metroid Dread." But whenever people bring out that idea, we recognize that the basic concept is something that we can't say never existed. But at the same time, we can't of course, make any official comment about a Metroid Dread-like project coming out.

Our main goal [with Metroid: Other M] is to, as I said earlier, first raise knowledge about the Metroid universe and the Samus character before we start to introduce different elements like online or even going back to another handheld game for the next in the series. So there's nothing coming immediately, we want to think about these new challenges first.

But, of course, we never say never.