The indie game Axiom Verge was certainly inspired by Nintendo’s Metroid series. However, the connection between the two games was originally intended to be deeper. It was revealed in a Reddit AMA that Axiom’s developers asked for Nintendo’s permission to put a Samus costume in the game. Dan Adelmen handled the request but Nintendo eventually declined. While Adelmen claims that some people at Nintendo liked the idea, the company is usually very reserved about handing out their characters. However, the developers did put some Metroid references into their game. Just like Super Metroid, using the code “JUSTIN BAILEY” puts Trace in a leotard.
“We would have loved to have a secret code to have Trace where a Samus costume. Some people inside Nintendo really liked the idea, but after a lot of internal discussion, they ultimately had to decide not to give us permission to do that. I think the idea that someone could play the entire game of Axiom Verge looking like Samus Aran was too big of a concern for them.
There is a similar kind of callback, though. If you type JUSTIN BAILEY into the passcode tool, it has Trace in a leotard, just like in Super Metroid.”