Star Fox for Wii U was one of the most peculiar reveals of E3 2014, in that it was leaked hours before Nintendo's Digital Event, teased but not shown by the company, and remained a behind-closed-doors demo away from the thousands in attendance on the main show floor. It was one of the biggest stories of the entire event yet, ultimately, one of its greatest mysteries.
With no video of the title, we've been reliant on details from interviews and a small number of hands-on accounts. Its approach of aiming being controlled with the GamePad's gyroscope and screen while conventional flight is controlled with sticks and shown on the TV may seem baffling, but Shigeru Miyamoto explained the concept further in an interview with Kotaku.
To me, what's most important is probably the gyro sensor in the GamePad. It's a little bit hard to understand, but when you're looking in that third-person view, you can see what's happening straight ahead of you, but when you have the cockpit view, you actually have to look over and see what's to either side.
The third-person view of the entire area, what it does, it gives you a broader view of what is happening around you, certainly more than you can see when you're in that cockpit view. And so as we get deeper into the missions of the game, we'll be able to use that to give people reasons to take advantage of that. So, for example, if they're in a course or a level they may need to figure out where the exit is, so they'll have to be flying around, looking up and around to find that.
Is there a danger that these controls — perhaps with some tentative similarities to Metroid Blast in Nintendo Land — could be overcomplicated for some gamers? Naturally Miyamoto-san has that in mind, as he's revealed that co-op will be supported in the title, allowing one player to focus on the gunner role with the GamePad while another flies the ship.
We're still developing the game... but one thing we always like to try to do is have some sort of way for people to play together, and the thing about these types of space shooter games is that they're fairly easy to get into but they can look somewhat intimidating and complicated, so this time what we're doing is we actually have a mode — we just didn't show it — we've designed it so there's the ability for cooperative play where one player is able to pilot the ship and the other player is able to use the GamePad and be the gunner. So they can just aim and shoot. They don't have to worry about flying.
How will the GamePad and its screen enhance play, meanwhile? Somewhat like Project Guard and Project Giant Robot, it'll serve to provide a more immersive and intimate experience.
If there's an event scene or cinema scene—because you've got your cockpit view that's reserved for you—the event could be playing out on the TV and you've got a different view of that. So we'll be able to take advantage of [you] being able to feel more like you're part of the event that's happening because of your ability to look around with that second screen.
It's the co-op aspect that's eye catching, particularly as it could be a fun way for less experienced players to enjoy the game with family and friends. Let us know what you think of the concept in the comments below.
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.