Lost Game Series: Star Fox.

Games that once ruled the game and now dangle somewhere at the bottom on the successes of the past. Unfortunately, there are a lot of games that belong to this category and the beloved Star Fox is also starting to move in that direction. Karim investigates how this could have happened …

If you grew up in the ’90s, Star Fox could hardly have escaped you. The franchise was launched here in Europe in 1993 through the game Starwing on the Super Nintendo and could count on very high figures from the press. Not very surprising, because the game was able to make revolutionary use of the graphics Super FX chip at the time, making it one of the few good 3D games of its time. Shigeru Miyamoto had recreated a franchise that turned everything it touched into gold.

Nintendo achieved this unanimous success one more time with Star Fox 64, better known in Europe as Star Fox: Lylat Wars. The game sold more than 4 million times and became one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo 64. This is not entirely surprising, considering the game was ahead of its time by having voice acting, super precise controls, cool multiplayer modes and multiple ways to finish the game. Star Fox 64 is even placed by many media and gamers in the list of Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, those other two legendary games from the Nintendo factory.

Lost Game Series: Star Fox

However, things seem to have gone wrong when Nintendo chose to get second and third-party developers to work on the series. Although the undersigned is personally a big fan of the game, Star Fox Adventures, released in 2002, received considerable criticism and the game was received mixed. Rare was at the helm of this game and had largely turned Star Fox into an action / adventure game, rather than a space shooter. A bold move for a franchise that did so well on the SNES and N64, which turns out to be a pretty fatal one.

The problem with this game in particular seems to lie in the fact that not the entire development team was behind this game. Originally, Star Fox Adventures was not a Star Fox game at all, but went through life as Dinosaur Planet. Inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, this game should have been Rare’s last game on Nintendo 64 before the developer shifted its focus to GameCube. However, Miyamoto thought there were so many similarities between Dinosaur Planet and Star Fox that Dinosaur Planet had to be the new Fox game. A lot of people within the Rare development team were not at all happy about this, given that much of the game had to be rewritten. In the end, this all happened nicely, but the last game from Rare for Nintendo in 2002 was not as successful as its predecessors.

Lost Game Series: Star Fox

After this, the franchise fell into disrepair. Nintendo wanted a predominantly classic Star Fox game again and left this to Namco, the company that at the time Ace Combat games like they were nothing. Star Fox Assault ultimately evoked more nostalgia in the media for old times than it managed to get the franchise back on track. The game had absolutely not the quality of a first-party Nintendo title and at the time was the death warrant of the franchise, which was not heard on a Nintendo home console for 11 years. In 2006, Star Fox Command was released, a minimal decent game that at least had everything in order than Namco’s predecessor for the GameCube.

The big return eventually took place on Wii U and was developed by both Nintendoa and Platinum Games. Star Fox Zero was born and was announced at E3 2014, before releasing in April 2016 for the least successful console Nintendo ever released. Star Fox Zero could not change the Wii U, in fact: this game was also quite disappointing. This was mainly due to the controls, which could be called quite bizarre. You were supposed to control the game with the Wii U GamePad’s gyro controls, while keeping the same controller pointed at your television screen. This game only proved that the Wii U was a failed concept and again was no boost for the Star Fox franchise. The accompanying tower defense game Star Fox Guard also failed to save the day.

Lost Game Series: Star Fox

The last thing we actually saw from Star Fox came out this year in the form of Starlink: Battle for Atlas. This franchise is also not exactly lucky, given that less than a month after the release we were able to find it for half the price on various web shops. If there was something successful about this game, it was precisely the fact that Fox and his gang were in the game on the Nintendo Switch and that efforts had even been made for a separate storyline. However, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is also not successful and this game seems to be the death sentence of the toys-to-life market. Not very nice that Fox McCloud’s signature can be found under it as well.

Incidentally, this course is quite unique for Nintendo. Franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong have all really had a smaller share, but have never gone as far through the ice as Fox McCloud. There are now rumors that Retro Studios is working on a Star Fox game with a good Diddy Kong Racing sauce on top. Sounds cool, but we wouldn’t be able to take that game with us as a new game within the main series of Star Fox. It is hoped that Nintendo will be able to boost the reputation around one of its most appealing characters, but that will not happen with games of the Star Fox Zero level.

Lost Game Series: Star Fox

If the undersigned may then leave a tip for Nintendo. Go back to the days of the Super Nintendo, when you made the game from scratch. Give the franchise a fresh new start, sit down with the original developers and, together with a fresh and young in-house team, make a great reboot of it!