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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Star Fox for a New Generation on Wii U

You know what? With all of the hype coming out of the upcoming launch of the Wii U, I got to thinking; "What is the Nintendo franchise I'd most like to see on the new platform"? We already have a "New Super" version of Mario on the way. And a successor to Super Mario Galaxy is a given. Rest assured, it's coming. Everyone already knows Namco is hard at work getting Super Smash ready. But what is the most loved, yet most neglected franchise of them all? My answer? Star Fox.
For way too long, Star Fox has been rethought and torn from what made it great. Worse, it's even been passed off to well-intentioned, but inferior third parties for development. It's time for Nintendo to take the reigns again and remember what made Star Fox incredible in the ninties.
It's far past time for a Star Fox reboot. But I'm not talking about some crazy adventure that totally forgets its roots. I'm talking about a fairly true remake of the original Star Fox for SNES. Why do I want this? There are several reasons that Star Fox was one of the suprise mega hits in Nintendo's past. The first: It had platform transcending graphics.

Graphics

Throw away the fact that the game has aged from its original release in 1993. For the SNES Platform, it was Earth shattering. The SuperFX chip was the first 3D accelerator for a consumer device. And with it firmly planted in every Star Fox cartridge, it made your eyes melt in the era of 2D sprite video games. It was revolutionary. For the first time, you could pilot a fully 3D craft, if only on rails. Nothing would come close until the launch of the Nintendo 64.

For a reboot of Star Fox, Nintendo will have to pull off this same feat. Push the Wii U to its limits. Startle us with pixel perfect graphics and unexpected gameplay. Make Star Fox the stunning game it was meant to be for a new generation of gamers.

Sound

And while we're rebooting Star Fox, for God's sake, bring back the original Star Fox main theme. It was by far the best music to come out of the Star Fox series. The quality of the music blew my mind as a kid playing my SNES. I hardly believed the platform could be capable of such orchestral nuance. Listening to it now, it still impresses. It was by far the epitome of what the SNES was capable of. But not only was it technically impressive, it was absolutely beautiful. Somehow both an orchestral opera like the music from Star Trek, a but also with twists through the game like the almost electronic dance feel of the Corneria level.

For a Star Fox reboot, it would be an insult to have anything less than a fully orchestrated soundtrack where possible. Return to the hills and valleys of the original Star Fox music. Wrap us in the gorgeous notes of a space adventure.

Gameplay

Lets get back to the roots of Star Fox gameplay. On the SNES, Star Fox was a straight on-rails space shooter. No ground levels. No on-foot adventures. No purple female foxes. Just Star Fox, his crew, and their Arwings... oh, and a hell of a lot of barrel rolls!
For a reboot, you don't necessarily have to omit anything but space levels, but the cornerstone, the bedrock of the game has to be space battle. If those levels aren't numerous, impressive, and fun, it's not Star Fox. Space is a big place. Floor us with set pieces and gameplay we've never imagined in a space shooter like flying through starships to destroy them did in the Space Armada level of the original Star Fox.
It's time for a new Star Fox. And by new, I mean old school. Bring us the power of a modern system with the values that made an aging 2D home console take flight into three dimensions and sing to us like we never thought possible. Like any established franchise, sometimes you have to look back down the stairs of the past to bring it to a new level.

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