The Games that Weren’t: Star Fox 2

February 14, 2013

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The Star Fox series was an iconic one for Nintendo, even at its debut. With the success of the original game, it would only make sense to release a new game that expanded on the already-successful formula. Fans would eventually get that news in the form of Star Fox 2 at the 1995 Winter CES in Las Vegas.

Everything Nintendo premiered at the show was either pegged as second rate or a failure. Most of the games would be canceled.

Star Fox 2

What it was: The highly-anticipated sequel to the successful SNES rail shooter.

What happened: With the N64 on the horizon, it was scrapped and some elements made it into later games.

Why we wanted it: With all the new changes introduced, it would’ve shifted the series in a different direction.

Considering the success of the first game and the praises from many of the people who had played the demo, everything seemed to be flowing smoothly for the game’s release the same year. Ultimately, the release never happened and anything from that point on were speculation or rumors.

Star Fox 2 was set to feature many different gameplay elements that we would eventually see in future releases. The game featured six different characters; four were returning cast members from the first game (Fox, Peppy, Slippy and Falco), and joining them were Fay, a poodle, and Miyu, a lynx. Each had a ship with different strengths and weaknesses.

Instead of the traditional linear map system that we would see for several games, this one featured a free-movement system that let you defend Corneria from incoming missiles and defeat Andross’ forces on various planets. A lot of the incoming attacks would play in real-time, forcing players to strategize on attacks they could deal with quickly before Corneria was attacked by another incoming attack. This game would also mark the first appearance of Wolf O’Donnell and his team of mercenaries to stop Fox and his team in their tracks. These features would eventually come to see the DS release of Star Fox Command.

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The release date came and went, and the game never saw the light of day. Nintendo would eventually release its next-generation console, where we were introduced to Star Fox 64, and the rest would eventually become history.

But whatever happened to Star Fox 2? Dylan Cuthbert, part of the original Star Fox team and now head of Q-Games, cites the Nintendo 64 as one of the reasons it was eventually canceled. With the system releasing so soon to the game’s release date, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to have a distinct break between 3D games on the SNES and Nintendo 64. From a corporate standpoint, it makes a lot of sense.

But perhaps Nintendo wasn’t only worried about its console clashing with this game. Considering both Sega and Sony would put out their own new consoles in 1995, perhaps it was worried it wouldn’t stand up to the graphics these more powerful systems were delivering.

Would Star Fox 2 have ended the series as we know it? Would this game eventually do well and change what Star Fox 64 would become? No one really knows. The game definitely had the punch that could’ve pushed it in either direction, but things happen for a reason. Maybe Miyamoto saw this coming and called all the shots right, despite the anticipation this game received. Perhaps it was for the best.

{ 2 comments }

Shawn Vermette February 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

So wait, was Star Fox 64 basically Star Fox 3? I always thought Star Fox 64 was the sequel to the SNES release.

retrosportsgamer February 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

This is one of the more popular (and expensive) SNES repros you can find. Involves overclocking the FX chip IIRC but there are carts out there so you can experience the game.