According to Hiroji Kiyotake, the character designer who worked on the original Metroid, Samus Aran was named after Pelé, one of the most famous soccer players in history.
Kiyotake was the one who named Samus Aran in the first place, back when
Metroid was in its early stages in development. Apparently, Kiyotake is a huge fan of soccer, and when he first started working on Metroid, he decided that he wanted to name the game’s main character after Pelé, the “King of Football.” However, Kiyotake more or less failed, as he misremembered Pelé’s real name (Pelé is just a nickname), and he ended up giving Samus a completely different name by mistake.
Kiyotake originally believed that Pelé’s real name was “Samus Arantes Nascimento
,” so he came up with the name “Samus Aran” for
Metroid‘s protagonist. In actuality, Pelé’s real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, which bears little similarity to “Samus Aran;” however, the old name was kept, since it fit the character very nicely.
The origin for Samus’s name was first revealed about ten years ago, in an old interview with Yoshio Sakamoto, the director of
Metroid. In a recent interview with Nintendo, Kiyotake was asked to confirm Sakamoto’s claims about the story behind her name. Kiyotake proudly admitted to his mistake, and joked about it with the interviewer, recognizing the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
Kiyotake-san, weren’t you the one who named Samus Aran?
Hiroji Kiyotake: Yes, I was.
About ten years ago when I did a magazine interview, I heard from Sakamoto-san that you’re a soccer fan and took that name from the real name of Pelé, the King of Football.
Kiyotake: Yeah. (laughs) Even though it may not really be his name…
Yeah, it isn’t. (laughs)
Kiyotake: I thought so. (laughs)
Apparently, you thought Pelé’s real name is Samus Arantes Nascimentos.
Kiyotake: Yeah, yeah, something like that.
But if you look it up, it’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
Kiyotake: Yeah, I was totally off! (laughs)
Pelé, now seventy-six years old, is often regarded as the single greatest soccer player of all time. He is the only player to have won the FIFA World Cup on three separate occasions (in 1958, 1962, and 1970), and he is one of the top goal-scorers in the history of the sport. Most Brazilian soccer players use a nickname while on the field, which is why Pelé is so commonly known by his nickname and not by his legal name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
What do you guys think? Are you big fans of Pelé? Would you ever have expected to hear that Samus Aran’s name came from the greatest Brazilian soccer player of the last century? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Nintendo Everything