Metroid Dread invincibility glitch patched. Reason explained by Nintendo, in a rare move

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-11-17 12:46 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

On November 16, Nintendo released version 1.0.3 of Metroid Dread. The update fixes an issue where Samus’s damage detection would disappear under certain conditions. At a glance, it’s just a simple bug fix. But in a rare move, Nintendo explained to fans their reasoning for removing the glitch.

“We made the decision to fix this issue because there is a possibility that it may occur unintentionally, and if it does, it will result in a play experience that is far different from the way Metroid Dread was originally intended to be experienced.”

It kind of sounds like a roundabout way of explaining it, but when you consider that there are players using the glitch intentionally, it makes sense. As for why they explain that the glitch can occur “unintentionally,” it’s because the glitch they removed was among the techniques used by speed runners of the game.

The bug was referred to as the invincibility glitch. It would occur when players entered an E.M.M.I. Zone as a Morph Ball and released it just before transitioning through the door. Pulling off the glitch would remove damage detection from Samus, so even if an enemy charged right into you, your health wouldn’t drop. It also made it so players could enter hot and cold areas without upgrading their Power Suit. As the name states, it would make the player invincible and had practical uses for speed runners.

The glitch was easy to recreate, but if you passed through an E.M.M.I. Zone door, the effect would disappear. It would also disappear if you moved to a different area. While it was fairly limited, it made it possible to cross through hot areas and skip parts of the main route through the game, which was helpful for speed running.

On the other hand, there were also reports of players soft locking their games when using the glitch. When you consider that the glitch can likely occur unintentionally, it’s easy to understand Nintendo’s decision is patch it out.

The Metroid Dread speed running community is flourishing. Currently, the fastest any% completion time is 1:10:42 (1:25:46 In-game time) and is held by a Japanese player that goes by bane. Like other games in the series, Metroid Dread has various techniques and shortcuts that can be used for sequence breaking. The invincibility glitch was one of these techniques, so Nintendo’s explanation was likely out of consideration for the game’s speed running community.

Nintendo is a company that rarely acknowledges unofficial fan communities which makes this a somewhat rare sight. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the speed running community which sees records updating on a daily basis.