Star Fox: What’s Next?

Posted: November 18, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Star Fox

The Star Fox series was riding high as we moved from the Nintendo 64 era to the Gamecube. Star Fox 64 was widely considered to be one of the best games on the Nintendo 64 and most fans were anxiously waiting to see where Fox McCloud journeyed next. Suffice it to say that Star Fox hasn’t matched it’s former glory on the Nintendo 64, though it did have some very fun and well received games. Still, Fox was last heard from in a remake on the 3DS, with the last new entry being Star Fox Command on the DS. When will we next hear from this series in a new entry and what direction will that entry go?

Where are we now:
The timeline for the Star Fox series:

– Star Fox
– Star Fox 64 (Star Fox 64 3D)
– Star Fox Adventures
– Star Fox: Assault
– Star Fox Command

While Star Fox may not be as heavy on the plot narrative as many games, if you are willing to read up on the plot of each game, there is indeed a story to be followed. One that is very character focused. Star Fox Command offered nine separate endings that varied wildly, so it’s difficult to say where the series currently stands in that regard though. All the more reason to hope for a new entry, to determine which of Command’s endings was the canon ending.

The Story:
As stated above, we’re not quite sure where we sit in terms of story continuity. Did Krystal actually leave the Star Fox team and join Star Wolf? Or did she indeed join back up with Fox? We do know that any new entry will most likely concentrate on a new threat to the Lylat system. Andross has been destroyed, appearing only in a spirit form in Command. The Aparoid threat from Assault was also vanquished as was the Anglar race from the planet Venom in Command.

In regards to the Star Fox team, they seem to be a splintered bunch at the start of Command, having broken up. I would suspect that any new game would have them reforming to take on a new threat, but what team would that be. Peppy Hare now pilots the Great Fox, which essentially takes him out of action. Falco Lombardi has left the team in the past, only to rejoin in times of need. Peppy and Fox are the only two that seem content to stay with the team. My guess on this would be that we would have a team consisting of Fox, Falco, and Slippy. Krystal could potentially be there given her membership in Assualt, but this is hardly a guarantee as Fox removed her (due to his worry over her being harmed) in Command. Whomever is on the team, I’m certain we’ll see appearances by past characters in the series such as the Star Wolf team and allies of Fox such as Bill Grey and Katt. Like most story elements, this hinges on knowing what events in Command were canon.

Star Fox has quite a list of supporting characters at this point.

Star Fox has quite a list of supporting characters at this point.

The Gameplay:
Few game series have touched on as many different play styles as that of Star Fox. The original game focused on straight-forward Arwing missions, in which you advanced forwards on rails. Star Fox 64 introduced the Land Master and Aqua Marine vehicles. 64 also introduced All-Range Mode, which allowed the Arwing to be taken in any direction in what was essentially an arena setting. This mode was utilized for both boss battles as well as a few normal levels. Adventures was closer to a Zelda-esque quest than a typical Star Fox game, taking place almost entirely on foot, excepting a few Arwing missions that seemed to be added in solely as a callback to past games (actually added in later because this game didn’t start life as a Star Fox title). Assault married all of these, giving us All-Range Mode levels, on foot sections, and use of the Landmaster, sometimes all three in the same level. Command is a bit different to past entries in that it was entirely in All-Range Mode (much like the unreleased Star Fox 2 for the Super NES), but also had elements of real time strategy as you would move ships on a overhead map in an effort to keep enemies away from Great Fox.

Based on the success of Star Fox 64 and its 3DS re-release, I believe that any future entry would return to that play style. The bulk of the game would probably be Arwing centric, in both on-rails and All Range Mode sections, with a few uses of the Landmaster thrown in. The on foot missions in Assault have received negative feedback from most people, though I personally thought they were well done. That said, I can understand why Star Fox fans would see that as taking away from more action using the Arwing.

I found this fun, but it doesn't seem that many others did.

I found this fun, but it doesn’t seem that many others did.

I also strongly suspect that a future entry would land on the 3DS. This is for a couple of reasons. First, the 3DS re-release of 64 worked extremely well and took great advantage of the 3D screen on the system. That said, it would also work fine on the 2DS as well meaning that not having 3D would not be a detriment to the game. Secondly, Star Fox, while popular, isn’t a game to move systems. Given the ongoing struggles of the WiiU, I suspect that Nintendo would want to place this game on their most popular system in order to boost sales of the game, as opposed to using the game to boost sales of the system.

Fox and company keep popping up in rumors and in Smash Brothers, and the 3DS re-release of Star Fox 64 shows that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten this franchise, but at the moment, it seems that it’s going to be at least a few years before we get to revisit this series with a new game. There’s also the comment by an art designer on Command when questioned about the game’s multiple endings, he stated that “the story ends here.” I’m not sure how to take this, but refuse to believe that Nintendo would abandon a franchise that, while having a few misfires, has generally been strong for them. How can we get through the future without being asked, just one more time, to do a Barrel Roll?

Star Fox (end)


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