News Article

Dylan Cuthbert Talks Star Fox, Game Development and Miyamoto

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Interested in returning to Star Fox in the future

Dylan Cuthbert is a name well-known to fans of the original Star Fox, as a member of the Argonaut development team that relocated to Nintendo HQ in Kyoto to work on the Super NES title. Cuthbert's had a long and successful career since, and his studio Q-Games was most recently seen on a Nintendo system as co-developers of Star Fox 64 3D.

Cuthbert recently completed a Q&A on the GAME Facebook page, and as we've already mentioned it twice let's first go to his comments on the Star Fox series, as he avoids being drawn on Wii U GamePad uses but hints at a return to the franchise in the future.

Those questions are best geared towards Miyamoto. I know what I’d try and do with that tech but at the end of the day the ball’s in Nintendo’s court.

... Star Fox is a great world and series of characters and one day I’d definitely like to go back to it and expand it further.

As a developer that's worked on a number of platforms and game styles, Cuthbert shared some advice on prioritising what really counts with a development project.

I remember many years ago when I presented an idea for a game with elaborate concept art and a strong storyline to Miyamoto-san at Nintendo and he quickly rushed through the document and then said “ok, and where’s the game?”. He then went onto a bit of a rant about how games should be made from a core concept and only vaguest of story concepts, and then once you find the core of the game you start layering on the story and the world, and he used Zelda as an example of this. Thinking back to StarFox too and it was similar; we developed the game without any sign of intrepid furry space explorers for the first 70% or so, and then suddenly POW!, “let’s put a fox in the concept and make it a saga about his missing dad and the fight against Andross” and it sewed the game up nicely.

So my advice is to always be creative; make your concepts, be imaginative, but remember that the game doesn’t make itself and you need to focus on the core gameplay as early as possible and even perhaps swap out the story later if you need to, or something doesn’t quite match up. For example, if you designed a character that was made to jump a lot but you discover your core gameplay is a ton more fun without the jump mechanic, then well… go with the fun every time.

If that sounds like the kind of game design philosophy that would be shared by Shigeru Miyamoto himself, then it's no surprise who Cuthbert names as his biggest inspiration in the industry.

Most definitely Miyamoto; his private face is different to his public face, and his style of chasing ideas and cutting through bull**** is brilliant – internally he’s kind of like a slightly more friendly Steve Jobs but just as cutting.

It's always interesting to read an insider's perspective of game development and, of course, Shigeru Miyamoto. For all of us Star Fox fans, meanwhile, we can but hope that the franchise will return; if we're lucky it'll be with Q-Games and Dylan Cuthbert at the helm.


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User Comments (23)



Mutilatedpuppet said:

No thanks, Star Fox Command was a huge step in the wrong direction. I'd rather him never lead another Star Fox game again, Namco did good with the Arwing portions of Assault, I'd say get that team back together and give us more of that.



clavier141 said:

I think that before nintendo makes a new star fox game, they should give star fox 64 3d for 3ds online play through an update like they did for mario kart 7 glitches and make me a lot happier. Plus Nintendolife staff, if you read this, please can you find a way of suggesting it to Nintendo. I WANT STAR FOX 64 3D ONLINE BATTLES!



Nintex said:

Now that was a great article and a surprise read! My morning starts off lovely. Thanks, Thomas for the informative information.



LavaTwilight said:

@Shiryu I'd like to see a new F-Zero game too and with HD graphics AND the gryo/motion sensor gamepad? It's gona be a game to orgasm to!



FonistofCruxis said:

This worries me. I've thought about being a game designer and I've spent much more time thinking about the stories and characters of my game ideas than the gameplay.



Nintendoro said:

Star Fox would be greatest ever comeback if it was action-adventure based with R-wing missions too. I personaly loved Star Fox adventures myself. Would want nothing more than it's sequel for Wii U



Shock_Tart said:

eh starfox has kind of gone downhill. the only real good starfox game was the 64 one and after that the rest of them turned out rather bad.



warioswoods said:

Actually, upon further research, he did not marry Miyamoto's daughter. This adorable wedding pic does show that Miyamoto attended the ceremony, however, as did many Nintendo rank and file. But the daughter bit was evidently just a misread of the photo (the young Japanese woman and Miyamoto are not related).



Neram said:

Dylan Cuthbert is awesome. I really hope Q-Games makes the next Star Fox game. It would be the closest thing to Nintendo making themselves really.



ThreadShadow said:

Star Fox for Wii U:

Dylan Cuthbert (Q-Games) + Retro Studios
Yoji Shinkawa -mechanical designs
Hajime Hirasawa -music



aaronsullivan said:

Make many games if you want to be a game designer. Board games, word games, verbal games you play in cars, sports, tiny video games. Start right now.

Also, start small and FINISH each one.

Also there are a few very valuable books you can search for. One about challenges for games designers and my favorite is The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell.

Or, maybe your passion is storytelling, not game design. In that case, learn to write like a mad man. I still advise you to start small (short stories) and FINISH each one.



AcesHigh said:

I love this! Shiggy is my kind of guy! There are so many examples today of games bogged down in "story". And I think the media also gives too much emphasis on the story too sometimes. When I think of the games I used to play before storage mediums allowed for extensive sory lines, story branches, long cut scenes, etc., the simplest games that had the best play mechanics and game concept got my attention for hours and hours at a time.

If you don't have a core game with good mechanics and fun-value, you don't have a game that someone wants to play. It doesn't matter if Speilburg wrote the story. You might have a great story, but what good is it if people stop playing to see the conclusion?



FonistofCruxis said:

@aaronsullivan Thank you for the advice! I'll have a think about what you said. I have wondered if maybe storytelling is my passion but most of my ideas seem like they would be well fit better as a story line for a videogame rather than a novel. I guess some of them might work as a graphic novel or manga book but I can't draw to save my life. Also, this may seem like a stupid question but when you say board games, word games and verbal games you play in cars, do you mean videogame versions of those?



MeloMan said:

I was just thinking lately about how it would be nice if the original folks that created SF came back and shocked the world with a new SF done right. Ah well, Cuthbert and I can dream I guess...



Infernapeking said:

Give me another Star Fox 64 or Assault I be fine on 3DS or Wii U when it comes. Please no Adventure or Commands I dislike both.

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