This Is How The Names “Metroid” And “Samus Aran” Came To Exist

By Ishaan . June 18, 2011 . 10:25am

“Metroid,” in the language of Samus Aran’s adoptive race, the Chozo, means “Ultimate Warrior”. But how did the game’s designers come up with the name?


In a 2004 interview with Japanese magazine, Nintendo Dream, Nintendo’s Hiroji Kiyotake and Yoshio Sakamoto revealed how it came about.


“There was one more staff member, and the two of us decided on it,” Kiyotake told Nintendo Dream. “We attached ‘android’ to the ‘metro subway’ and that’s how we got ‘Metroid’.” Prior to this, the game was titled Space Hunter, added Yoshio Sakamoto, current director of the Metroid series.



What about Samus Aran, then? It turns out, Samus’ name is based on Edison Arantes do Nascimento, the soccer player better known as Pelé, Kiyotake revealed. “Even the name of the protagonist could be put together in this manner, and if I wanted to give someone a strange name, I could refer to Pelé’s name,” he joked.


“Kiyotake, If you check if Pelé’s real name was ‘Samus Arantes,’ that’s a little incorrect,” Sakamoto joked back. “He’s called ‘Something’ Arantes Nascimento, and only ‘Aran’ matches. (Laughs)”


Finally, Kiyotake also revealed where the name “SR388” came from. SR388 is the name of a planet formerly inhabitated by the Chozo. The entirety of Metroid II takes place on SR388, where Samus is sent to exterminate the Metroid race.


“In addition, ‘SR388,’ the planet on which the Metroids were discovered, comes from a bike engine! (Laughs)” Kiyotake revealed. “In Yamaha’s bikes, there is a series called SR400, and in those days, while it was called 400cc, you didn’t have any choice but 388cc, but it was written like that for the time being, and that’s how it came out! (Laughs)”


You can find all these quotes and much, much more relating to the early days of Nintendo game development on the Famicom Disk System over at the Metroid Database, where the staff have transcribed the first half of the 2004 Nintendo Dream interview. It’s a fascinating glimpse into development history, especially if you’re a fan of Metroid and Kid Icarus.

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  • IceRomancer

    The naming of Samus Aran part of the interview was the most confusing thing I’ve ever read, ever. I get the Aran part but that’s about it. :/

    • Guest

      maybe they were just high

      • papuruka

        Cocaine’s one helluva drug.

      • fanoultimate


    • doomspeller10

      Yeah I know… but if you read it with Japanese phonetics you kinda get it… something –> “samusin/samusingo/samusingu” probably… okay, it still doesn’t make sense to me, how does “Edison” relate to “something”? they don’t sound similar at all.
      It kinda reminds me when Japanese pronounce long-name FF titles, they’re hilarious to hear.

      • Ren

        Samusu. So simple and you had to draw such strange conclusions. It’s not like she’s Balthier whose japanese name is spoken like Barufurea. Occam’s Razor guy, Occam’s Razor.

        • Actually, I thought exactly the same thing that doomspeller did, but didn’t mention it because there was no way to be sure, and it might’ve sounded a little rude.

          • Ren

            …And I though I was bad at putting words into katakana.

      • Scrooge_McDuck

        They probably simply forgot his first name and said “It’s ‘Something’ Arantes”. 

    • Ren

      Samus = Samusu. Edison = Ejison(closest to the right pronunciation)/ejisan(how they probably pronounced it). Take the ending ‘san’ and mangle and toss it around a bit and you can probably get samusu. Maybe.

  • XypherCode

    i really don’t get the name part :P

  • Haha, well, whatever works!

    Also, I read up on Specknose! Awesome stuff!

    • I went >< at that part. Poor Hip Tanaka…

  • That’s not too dissimilar to how I come up with names for my RPG characters.

  • kupomogli

    I always thought they got the name from Metrosexuals and Hemorrhoids.

    • blah blah

      I’m gonna go with that.

  • TenRX

    And this is why you don’t need a lot inspiration for getting names and stuff, you can make your own game very easy too!!! :D

  • Way more complicated than how they came up with Link and Zelda.

  • What!! Samus Aran’s name is based on Pele?!! LOL

  • This is all very interesting.  I don’t get how they named Samus after Pelé, but the origins of the SR388 and Metroid names are pretty clever.

    Great article!

  • And interesting and confusing bit of trivia.

  • CrisSpiegel

    Something Arantes => Samusuingu/Samushingu Arantesu => Samus Aran? They would not use “something” instead of “something in Japanese”… Ok, I’m lost.

    (Edit: something = nanika. Not even close)

  • mattcoz

    Hmm, I always thought SR-388 might have been a play on LV-426.

  • VGMStudios

    Your all welcome. If it werent for me and the mdb you would of never read this article. I don’t like the fact that this site cited the source at the end of thier article.

  • VGMStudios

    Your all welcome. If it werent for me and the mdb you would of never read this article. I don’t like the fact that this site cited the source at the end of thier article.

  • PrinceHeir

    lol never knew that :D

    the more you know :P

  • Dammit, they are very, VERY high to do that, base samus name on Pelé? They are REALLY MAD .-.

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