Shigeru Miyamoto has given an interview with Time about the forthcoming Star Fox Zero, and has revealed that an "invincible" mode will be included for those who find the challenge a little too daunting.
While this might sound like dumbing-down, the legendary designer reveals that other modes will be included to make the challenge even more intense:
We have additional ones for people who like the game but find it too hard to get past certain levels. So for instance there'll be a way for them to get an invincible Arwing, so that they can fly through and see the levels. But at the same time, we're also preparing modes for Star Fox fans looking for an even harder challenge, such as a ship that does more damage, but which also takes more damage.
The topic of difficulty is something that Miyamoto seems particularly concerned with, in fact:
One thing that I think is a misunderstanding, is that I'm not very supportive of simply making a game easy so that people who don't play games can play the game themselves. Obviously part of the fun of taking on a challenge is that the challenge has to be a hurdle that you overcome. Simply lowering the hurdle doesn't necessarily mean that the challenge will be fun. What's fun is you mastering the skill and having that sense of accomplishment—of achieving something that's difficult.
So I think that action games like this have to have a certain level of difficulty to achieve that satisfaction. And particularly with Star Fox Zero, if you try to complete this game, I think you're going to find it to be quite challenging. But it's because of that, that we have things like Star Fox Guard and the cooperative mode in this game. What those do, is allow people who maybe can't deal with that level of challenge or difficulty to easily be a part of the gameplay and enjoy this universe.
The game's controls have been the subject of much discussion, and we've heard rumours lately that the title was very nearly delayed (again) because of a lack of confidence in the setup. However, Miyamoto seems sure that he and his team have ironed out all of the issues:
We realized that for players who were seeing it for the first time, we needed to come up with additional ways to make it easier for them to understand. So that was an area where we put in a lot of effort. For instance, since you have many different vehicles, and because the gameplay differs where each of those vehicles appear, people may have different control expectations. So we worked very hard to try to find the right balance on each of the vehicles. Those are some of the things that have changed.
Additionally we looked at how we were sharing information with the player in the form of things like icons on the screen. And we also worked on the response of each of the vehicles, because certainly you have expert players and they need the right kind of response. But then you have newer players, and if the controls are too responsive, it becomes difficult for them to play. So we spent a lot of time identifying the right balance in control responsiveness for each of the vehicles.
It's long been known that Star Fox Zero takes inspiration from Star Fox 64, and Miyamoto goes into a little more detail on where the Wii U game fits in the series canon:
Because the game is split between two screens, we feel the gameplay this time is going to feel very fresh, and thus we thought it would be a good opportunity to go back to the roots of Star Fox. The game itself is not a Star Fox '4' or '5', and it's not a new spinoff. It really is going back to the roots, and that's where the 'Zero' comes from.
For the Star Fox story, what's really important are the relationships between General Pepper and Andross and Fox and his father. I didn't want to try to tell a new story, so by keeping those relationships at the core, then going back to the Star Fox 64 story framework, we've added quite a bit of story to that and introduced the idea of these teleporters. The teleporters have an important role both from a story as well as a gameplay standpoint, and that's allowed us to strengthen the original story that existed in Star Fox 64.
And so the characters that appear will have the same names, but of course the boss battles are all new, and also the way that you attack each of the routes and approach the levels is very different. It will feel like you're playing that original style of Star Fox 64 gameplay, but in an all-new version.
Miyamoto also explains that Star Fox Zero now follows a movie-like structure, as opposed to the TV show setup he hinted at when the game was first revealed:
At the time of E3 2014, that was the direction. Afterward, going back to work on the game in Kyoto, we got a lot of feedback from Star Fox fans and fans on the staff. And what we decided to do at that point was take the game more in the direction of Star Fox 64. So it will feel more like a longer form movie, and we did that because we wanted to try to complete the game in a way that will satisfy those longtime fans.
But I still have a desire to create Star Fox in a form that's maybe better suited to the current age, where people have different competing demands for their time, where you'd be able to play maybe in shorter bursts in a more compact form. So I'll continue to look at those ideas and see what we can do with them in the future.
Star Fox Zero is out this April.
Thanks to Benson for the tip!