It’s been too long since we’ve had a proper Star Fox game. Sure, we had Star Fox 64: 3D last year, but that was a remake of a game made fifteen years ago. Before that, the last proper Star Fox game we had was Star Fox Command on DS in 2006. That’s too long, Nintendo, too long! Have the Arwings gone into retirement? I know Peppy was getting on a bit, but Fox and the rest of his team are practically spring chickens by comparison. Just, you know…with less feathers and more fur. Unless you’re Falco.
Anyway, enough talk about chickens. I’m here to talk about Star Fox, and I think it’s high time this series made a return to home consoles, because let’s be honest, I can’t be the only one who thinks that the original Star Fox 64 was the pinnacle of Fox’s stellar career. It may have been his first outing on a Nintendo console (Star Wing on SNES featured his dad, James McCloud), but Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox Assault, and even Star Fox Command never really recaptured Fox’s exquisite first mission to destroy Andross. Adventures had too many dinosaurs and not enough flying, Assault had too many tanks (and tank-controls), and Command involved a little too much real-time strategy, which is probably why Nintendo chose to remake Star Fox 64 for 3DS as opposed to developing a sequel for its lesser brethren.
Because that’s what we really love about Star Fox. We love flying. Flying through space blasting robots and asteroids and battling weird and wonderful aliens as Slippy crash lands for the nth time that day. That’s why we play Star Fox. We might play it for the barrel rolls, we might play it to shoot down Slippy on purpose, but ultimately it all comes down to the flying.
As for how that could translate onto Wii U, I think it could follow the slipstream created by Kid Icarus: Uprising and use the stylus and circle pad to really enhance its gameplay. You could use the left shoulder trigger to shoot, and essential secondary attacks and weapons like bombs could either be assigned to the d-pad, the second ZL shoulder button, or even the touchscreen itself. Even better, the whole control scheme could be reversed if you’re left handed.
But where would Star Fox be without its famed All-Range mode? This was when Fox broke free of his on-rails flight path and had complete control of his Arwing in a 3D air-space, so here you’d revert back to traditional controls, strafing with the shoulder buttons, firing and bombing with A and B, and moving around with the circle pad. Your controller screen could hold the map, or maybe display enemy weaknesses.
Of course, if by some strange turn of events Slippy wasn’t with you when you encountered a boss, you could even hold up the controller to the screen and scan the enemy yourself. However, you wouldn’t want to rely on this all the time, as this would also put you into a first person perspective and make it harder to dodge incoming fire (it’s got to give you some reason to keep Slippy alive, after all!).
But why stop at a game that’s simply an improved version of Star Fox 64? Of course, after the travesty of Star Fox Assault, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d never want to see Fox and his team take to the ground ever again, but I think it would be missing a trick if it didn’t return at least in part to the open-world exploration of Star Fox Adventures as well. There was a lot of lessons to be learned from Adventures after all, and imagine if a Star Fox game actually managed to strike a balance between awesome dogfights in space with epic land battles as well?
Yet the thing that’s been constantly hinted at and never quite realised is a proper Star Fox multiplayer mode. Star Fox 64 3D’s online multiplayer was great, but it was only local, just like every other Star Fox multiplayer mode before it. With the Nintendo Network at its disposal, a Wii U Star Fox could finally make a true online multiplayer a reality. You could compete with other players to shoot the most targets or enemies, duke it out in an All-Range mode battle, or maybe even capture the flag with only the flag bearer being able to see their opponents on their controller screen.
But hold onto your ejector seats, intrepid barrel-rollers, because imagine if there was yet another trick up Fox’s laser canon. Alongside our nostalgic single player and mind-blowing multiplayer, you would also have this: four player co-op. Scrap the on-rails, scrap individual levels. With Wii U’s increased firepower, we could have entire galaxies to explore with almost seamless pathways at our disposal (with a little loading time, of course). More importantly, we could do it all with our friends locally or online. If playing locally, the experience might dive down into your controller, with a full-split screen on the TV so you could see what your friends were doing. If playing online, you’d have the opposite, with split-screen on your controller and your own Star Fox experience on the TV.
This would also open the door for a more personal and customised experience too. You could create your own pilot, kit out your Arwing in customisable parts, and then carry that creation forward into the online multiplayer. If everyone can have their own Commander Shepard, we can definitely have our own Star Fox team (especially with Star Fox Command’s whole slew of endings potentially drawing the original team’s stories to a close).
Of course, I’m no game designer and these thoughts are nothing but my own wild imaginings, most of which would probably never work or be brought to fruition. Still, I really think another Star Fox sortie has the potential to be something great on Wii U, and I really hope Nintendo will check their G-diffuser system and get the team back out of retirement as soon as possible. After all, they need to use bombs wisely in this economic downturn and a new Star Fox on Wii U is surely a guaranteed hit!
All this week at Nintendojo —