If you asked any hardcore Nintendo fan which key first-party franchise they’d like to see appear next on Wii, you can be pretty sure that amongst F-Zero, Donkey Kong and Kid Icarus the name ‘StarFox’ would crop up.
The first game kick-started the 3D revolution as far as Nintendo was concerned; released for the SNES way back in the mists of time, it featured impressive polygon visuals (thanks the British-made Super FX chip) and fantastic gameplay.
As well as helping out on the hardware side of things, UK developer Argonaut (sadly no longer with us) also programmed much of the game too, and one of the leading lights within this team was Dylan Cuthbert, who now runs his own studio in the shape of Q Games. His involvement with the series didn’t end there, either; he also oversaw the production of the unreleased SNES sequel and his company developed the recent DS outing, StarFox Command.
You’d think that with such strong ties to the series, Cuthbert would be the ideal man to bring Fox McCloud and his team to the Wii, but you’d be damn wrong. Speaking to G4TV, Cuthbert ruled himself and his team out of any future involvement with the sci-fi franchise. “Maybe in another 10 years,” he commented.
He was also asked about why recent StarFox titles – such as the disappointing Namco-developed StarFox Assault on GameCube – had deviated so sharply from the traditional ‘fly and shoot’ template, to which he replied:
I think that’s all Miyamoto. Whenever I speak to Miyamoto about StarFox, he says it’s not meant to be just a flying, sci-fi shooting game. It’s meant to be anything we want to think up. But the core fans don’t want that, but Miyamoto doesn’t really care about that. He wants to make what he wants to make, so he just goes ahead and gets it done.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the entire interview is Cuthbert’s perception of the Wii itself. When asked about how a StarFox title might control using the Wii’s unique interface, Cuthbert wasn’t sure it would work correctly without the assistance of the Wii MotionPlus, before adding:
The Wii is a bit more of a toy, I think.
If you listen very carefully you can hear the sound of a million Nintendo fan boys gnashing their teeth with rage.
UPDATE: As reported in GoNintendo (and mentioned in the comments thread below) Cuthbert has been quick to clarify his comments:
Um...just like to point out here that I wasn’t having a dig at Miyamoto at all. I was just explaining how he works - he gets on and does his thing. He is an amazing creator and that’s what amazing creators do.
And the comment regarding not wanting to make a Wii Starfox is clear, it would take a very large team and right now I am having a lot of fun with smaller teams. That’s all there is to it really. That’s how I intended the comment not as “Dylan spurns Starfox, shock horror!”.
I also say the Wii is “more” of a toy and it is. It’s not derogatory, the Wii is a great machine with lots of bells and whistles and this makes it feel (to me) to be more toy-like. In comparison the PS3/XBOX360 are more “media center”-like.
You can put your knives away now, guys.