The team behind the 3D remake of the N64 classic discuss how the game came to be.
The latest "Iwata Asks" column focuses on Star Fox 64 3D as Nintendo President Satoru Iwata sits down with Q-Games, the developers in charge of the remake. The team is composed of Q-Games founder Dylan Cuthbert, Yusuke Amano from Software Development Department of the Entertainment Analysis & Development Division (EAD), Mitsuhiro Takano of EAD and Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto.
One of the first topics behind the game's development was the idea of using animals as the main characters in a space themed game. Miyamoto reflects that at the time many sci-fi stories focused on robots, super heroes and monsters, stating that "I wasn't interested in doing the same thing." When Iwata asks further about the animals-in-space concept, Miyamoto explains that he had been drawing animal characters for a long time, and when he suggested the idea, people thought that it was surprising.
Miyamoto then reveals the surprising relationship between the many arches that you fly through in the game to Star Fox's titular character. "Star Fox has a lot of scenes in which the fighter goes through arches, which reminds one of the gates at Shinto shrines called torii", Miyamoto said. "And torii made me think of the thousands of such gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha. In a prototype, there were lots of scenes like going through there. And when you think of Fushimi Inari, you think of foxes."
The discussion then moves onto Star Fox 2, the sequel to the original Super NES title that was later cancelled just as it was nearing the end of its development cycle. The discussion yields to one of the most interesting moments in the article as Amano realizes for the first time that a Star Fox 2 ever existed. This moment serves as a segue into the development of the title.
Cuthbert and Miyamoto, who were also involved with the original two games, state that for Star Fox 2, they had developed an upgrade to the Super FX chip first used on the original Star Fox game. Then they discuss some of the ideas they had implemented in the canceled title, such as a tank that would have been able to turn into a robot and the ability to fly in a 360 arena. Many of these ideas would end up on the Nintendo 64 game.
Ultimately, they felt that the release of Star Fox 2 would be too near the release of the new system, and the graphics and cost of the new chip could not compete with rival's 32-bit games. "It's something that often happens", Miyamoto said. "Release gets set back about a year or so, and a half a year later, the Nintendo 64 system would come out, so we were like, "Is it too late to ask people to shell out for this?"
Iwata then asked about the 3DS title and what additions players could expect from the remake. Amano explains that the game will have two methods of play: Nintendo 64 mode in which players control the vehicle through the Circle Pad and the Gyro mode where the players move the entire system in order to pilot the vehicle. This new control method was proposed by Miyamoto near the end of the development cycle, forcing the team to re-invent the game, according to Amano's recounting.
Star Fox 64 3D is available in Japan. In North America the game will be released on September 9, 2011.