E3 2014: Shigeru Miyamoto Confirms Star Fox for Wii U
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
"It’s been maybe 6 to 10 months that we’ve been experimenting with it"
In a shock reveal less than two hours before Nintendo's Digital Event, Time has published — and it seems is attempting to pull down — an interview and hands-on time with a new Star Fox title for Wii U. One of the most demanded franchises is actually coming to Wii U, but promises to be a rather different take on the series.
As part of Shigeru Miyamoto's brief to focus on the GamePad, this title will utilise the motion controls and physical inputs to control the ship — it's a spaceship shooter, with motion used for aiming and sticks used for controlling speed and moves such as barrel rolls. You can transform your Arwing into a Land Tank, while a Helicopter mode for two players that will include controlling both the chopper and a mini robot.
It sounds fascinating, albeit with a learning curve for the controls. Here's what Shigeru Miyamoto has had to say:
We originally began working with Star Fox back on Wii, and we had a small group of people experimenting with it for many years, maybe about six years, but we didn’t find an idea that really brought that together for the Wii. So instead we moved experimentation to the Wii U using some of the same assets. It’s been maybe 6 to 10 months that we’ve been experimenting with it.
...When we were developing a game, I wind up playing it for many hundreds of hours, and so because of that, I tend to get a little further away from the experience people have when they’re playing it for the first time. But that’s something we always pay attention to when we’re developing the game, and in this case I think Star Fox will be a game you spend a little bit of time getting used to the controls, but that once you do, then you’ll understand what’s fun about that experience.
I don’t think it’ll take a lot of play time for people to get used to it. For most people, it’ll take maybe 30 minutes to an hour. So from that standpoint it’s not a game that’s particularly well-suited to displaying at a show like this, where you only have a short amount of time to play, so that’s why we held the event yesterday, to get everyone in to play for a longer period of time than they might normally.
And then I also think that for a lot of people, they don’t have experience playing this sort of dual-screen gameplay, where you’re aiming with motion control and playing across two screens at once, so that also is maybe taking people a bit longer to get used to. But I look at video games as something that people who play them… One of the thing they enjoy is learning the controls, learning to master the game. And once they do, that sort of opens it up for them, they’re thinking about, “Oh, what’s this play style?” And then as they get deeper and deeper into the game and get better at it, they feel that sense of accomplishment having mastered it.
And then once you get used to the play style… I didn’t go into this detail the other night because it starts to get a little bit complicated, but once you get it, you’ll also be able to press a button to switch the view from one screen to the other. So you could play with the cockpit view on the TV and the fighter view down on the GamePad screen if you feel like that’s a better way to play.
...With Star Fox, one thing we’re doing is to make the game feel like you’re piloting your own aircraft. And so in that sense, probably initially one of the best ways to play is to have it up in front of you, in your line of sight from the TV. But also as I’ve been playing Star Fox more and more, what I’ve noticed is that it gets easier to play the game looking at the TV with the GamePad down. So as you get better, you’re gradually able to depart from holding it up.
...With the helicopter, we’ve been thinking of the two-screen gameplay, and so that was one of the early ideas. One of the things we’re considering at this point is making the helicopter so you could have two pilots, two people playing together, and what that’ll allow is you could have one player piloting the helicopter, and another player who’s using another controller to control the robot.
In the case of the Arwing spaceship, if you have two pilots, they’re most likely going to be sitting front-to-back, and you’ll have one piloting, the other able to look around. When you have someone piloting but someone else who can look around, what’s most beneficial to the person who’s looking around is the ability to look down below. In designing the Arwing we couldn’t quite think of a good way to have to redesign it so you’d have one player who could look down below. Thus we decided to create the helicopter.
...One thing I’m thinking is that with this Star Fox we may take a different approach, so that rather than one big title we have multiple releases that are connected through different missions. If I was to describe the Star Fox series up until now as being sort of a movie series, I guess I’d describe this new approach as something that’s more like a TV series for Star Fox.
Whether this was supposed to emerge before the Digital Event is unclear, but it's exciting nevertheless. The project's structure sounds interesting, though it's thought to be at least a year away.
Are you excited by this reveal?