Round Table: Let's Talk About the F-Zero Franchise
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Tom: So, onto a favourite in NL HQ, F-Zero GX. I'm out as I don't have it, but what did you guys make of it?
Jon: It's my favourite racing game, period.
Martin: The N64 entry will always be my favourite, but I can objectively say that F-Zero GX was and still is the best entry in the series to date.
Jon: Honestly though, it's the one reason I won't unplug my Wii. Until they release it as a Virtual Console game or something, that is.
Ron: I think I played it once, enjoyed it enough, then NEVER AGAIN.
Jon: I never made it all the way through the story mode but a few months ago I picked up from where I left off and, wow, I used to be awesome at that game to have gotten that far. Not any more.
Ken: Very cool game - liked it a lot. Some of the tracks were mightily confusing though - moreso than they should have been.
Martin: What did people think of the soundtrack? I kinda missed being able to air guitar to everything...
Jon: It was thrilling but I honestly couldn't hum any of its tracks.
Ron: With the little that I played, I do remember agreeing with Ken. The tracks were a bit much for me.
Ken: Couldn't remember any off the top of my head, but it fit the bill. With a decent sound system, it sounded like a real arcade experience for me. I loved that about it.
Jon: Speaking of arcade experiences, I think it's bonkers that we are just now learning that AX was on the disc the whole time.
Tom: I know, hell of a story there Ken.
Ron: Yeah! That article was awesome. I love stuff like that.
Tom: What an extra though, makes me wish I had it more.
Ken: I'll be honest and say that I was genuinely surprised. I pointed it out to Damien, thinking he'd say "yeah, I know...I knew that in 2004."
Jon: I haven't been so excited about hidden content since I learned that GoldenEye had controller inputs for its cheat codes.
Ken: I think it’s fantastic that it’s been found - real solid work.
Martin: It's got to be one of the best kept secrets in gaming for some time?
Ken: For sure, Martin.
Tom: So, it's rant time. Why hasn't there been a new F-Zero game in a gazillion years?
Jon: I don't know how they would top GX.
Ron: Didn't Miyamoto say he didn't think the fans were interested in a new game?
Tom: He did. Is he right?
Jon: Well, I'm a fan and I'd buy a new one in a heartbeat. So, no?
Martin: Well, I kinda respect Nintendo's decision to skip over a Wii entry; I highly doubt it could have done much (if anything) beyond GX, with the exception of online play.
Ron: Honestly, I think fans would love a new game, but I don't know that the fan base is large enough to warrant a new one being made.
Tom: One word, eShop. Small team, smaller scale is surely perfect?
Martin: Or an F-Zero X remake for 3DS, perhaps?
Tom: No remakes please…
Jon: I agree, they shouldn't do one out of obligation, nor remake an old one. Ideally I'd really want an HD crazy spectacular thing but only if they've got the right people to do it.
It's been so long now that I'm not sure anyone at Nintendo proper would know how to make a great one.
Ron: Miyamoto obviously didn't think it was time for a new F-Zero, but I don't necessarily think he was right. Maybe skipping it on the Wii was a fair move because motion controls at such high speeds would be disastrous, but I think Wii U is perfect for it. I'd love to play a new F-Zero game with the Pro Controller in HD.
Jon: Perhaps that's what Nintendo Land is really for, though: another way to see which properties are popular?
Martin: I think you could be right there, Jon - it seems like an odd inclusion for Nintendo Land given how the series hasn't been in the public eye for some time now.
Tom: Balloon Fight was also in it, and that ninja one.
Jon: Plus let's not forget that GX was a beautiful game and a Wii edition wouldn't have added much there, and F-Zero is about spectacle just as much as it is about speed. Perhaps even more so as each entry has been a showpiece for the hardware it's on.
Now they finally have something to show off again, even if the rest of the gaming world is moving past that level of tech. That's where art design comes in though.
Martin: I hope that any new instalments don't get even faster - GX is so lightning fast that it melts my face when I play it.
Ken: I think that a Wii U version could be pretty awesome. A real HD experience. But it would need to be developed properly. Not rushed.
Jon: I wouldn't necessarily want it faster — it was already plenty fast — and it seems that they've hit the ceiling on reasonable skill level with GX.
So, where to go? Not sure.
Ken: I agree - GX's speed was the absolute top end.
Tom: I feel a download title may be a start, to be honest, less risk in terms of money spent. Or maybe that's what Retro's been doing all this time…
Ron: I think F-Zero could use a little innovation, but I have no idea what that might be.
Martin: Online multiplayer would be a priority for me - I've dreamed of 30 player races since F-Zero X, but doubt it'd ever happen.
Even then, being able to play with a decent number of people over the net would be fun.
Ken: Online multiplayer would be a must.
Jon: Nintendo finally mastered 8, let's not get too hasty!
Martin: I'd be happy with just 12, as per Mario Kart Wii.
Jon: Yeah, if they can do that then sure, but going from 30 to 12 would feel awfully empty IMO.
Maybe a smaller scale is the right course of action. It'd be totally rad in 3D.
Tom: I remember the mock-up of F-Zero 3DS got a lot of people dreaming.
Ron: I could see a 3DS game before a new Wii U game.
Martin: Definitely, it'd be the perfect title to push the tech side of things.
Tom: What would it be called? How about F-Zero MEGA X.
Jon: Hah, they'd probably go with something stupid like F-Zero UX.
Martin: F-Zero 3DX?
Ron: I'd like to see them drop it back to just F-Zero.
Kind of a refresh.
Jon: The Eff Zero.
Tom: In Jon's game, the racers trash talk as they spin each other out.
Jon: That's every game I play, mother***ers.
Tom: So, in conclusion, what's your favourite of the four games so far?
Jon: There were more than 4!
Tom: Not the arcade one or Nintendo Land…
Ken: GX - easily, followed by the original.
Ron: I've got to go with the SNES classic. It's the F-Zero game that I've spent the most time with, and that soundtrack, man. That soundtrack.
Jon: GX, because it perfected the series and broke it forever.
Tom: For me it's F-Zero X, mainly due to nostalgia and an early 3D experience that impressed me a huge amount (admittedly, I can't talk for GX).
Jon: You really need to get your hands on GX.
Martin: My favourite is F-Zero X. I know GX is technically better, but this old timer just finds it too fast. X on the other hand just blew my mind when I finally saw the franchise in 3D. The speed and the overall presentation were right up my street (although the visuals were pretty crude).
Tom: And odds on a new F-Zero at E3? Can we hope for an announcement this year, or is that crazy talk?
Ken: Crazy talk, for my money. I don't see it happening.
Jon: Same, unfortunately.
Martin: I'm not hopeful for a new F-Zero at E3...it just doesn't seem to be a priority for Nintendo at the moment. Although, I'm more than happy to be proven wrong on that one.
Jon: If it does I'd be thrilled.
Ron: It'd be nice to see, but like Martin said, it doesn't seem like a priority.
Jon: Maybe merge F-Zero with Excitebots so we can throw pies at Captain Falcon.
Ron: Falcon lunch.
Jon: And Ron wins.
Martin: I just hope Nintendo doesn't look too closely to Nintendo Land when potentially making a new game - Super F-Zero Kart would not be cool!
Ken: I dare say that Nintendo' priority is to get ANY software out for Wii U.
They'll probably overlook F-Zero...
Tom: Well, who knows, let’s be optimists. We’ll leave at that, thanks guys!
We’d love to read your thought and memories of the F-Zero franchises in the comments below, as always. Keep an eye out for more franchise and classic game round tables in the future.