Dylan Cuthbert is a familiar name among Nintendo aficionados - he was a key figure at Argonaut Software and with the development of the original Star Fox on SNES, and has produced some excellent titles over the last 15 years through his own studio Q-Games.
Just recently Cuthbert hosted a fascinating AMA on Reddit, so we've read through and picked out some of the most interesting parts. First up he shared some thoughts on Switch, while also confirming that his studio isn't yet working on anything for the console.
I think the Switch is awesome - perhaps the res could have been higher but maybe that would have resulted in a smaller screen to keep the cost down. The idea is very cool though and I'm playing Zelda (of course). I'm sure Nintendo must be thinking about StarFox for Switch but we aren't involved in that (I must admit it would be fun to do though!).
We aren't working on anything for Switch right now, but I have some ideas for original titles. I just need to find a publisher crazy enough!
On the topic of the original Star Fox, Cuthbert explained that Q-Games pitched a demo of a 3DS remake of that title, which like Star Fox 64 3D would have included stereoscopic 3D; unfortunately Nintendo "weren't interested". He also joked about how the original cast were based upon key figures that worked on the game - "Slippy was based on Yamada for sure. Falco was Watanabe or Giles, Fox was Miyamoto or myself."
As for Star Fox 2, Cuthbert insisted once again that the widely circulated 'leaked' ROM is not fully representative of the final product, and frankly we'll take his word for it - some try to argue that it's a final build of the game, as if they'd actually know better than Cuthbert. In any case, he wrote a little about the disappointment of that game never being released, and why we're unlikely to ever see its final form in public.
It was very disappointing of course, I had spent two years making the game and put so many ideas into it. I could understand the marketing/publisher logic behind the decision but it was still disappointing.
I can't really comment on that [feelings about the ROM], and it's illegal to do reproduction cartridges. The videos I've seen of that build show it to be an old build and not the final one as there are some major gameplay elements missing such as the rogue-style encounter system and more variations of the various arenas and setups.
I doubt Starfox 2 will ever get a proper release because it would require re-negotiating contracts with Argonaut, which of course doesn't really exist now.
When quizzed about what he would like to do with a new Star Fox entry, especially after the mixed response to Star Fox Zero, Cuthbert was pretty clear in his goals.
It would have to be epic, the game is always best when it takes on and copies the big classic scenes in science fiction movies such as Independence Day and Star Wars. But at the same time I would want to work on the controls and gaming loops surrounding the player's actions, and arguably this is what I added to the original StarFox too, with the hit-flashes and rings and direction-flickable barriers, that's the stuff that is really good fun.
Finally, we found some interesting comments around the nature of working for Nintendo and Sony; after his time with Argonaut he worked with Sony America on PlayStation projects. He referenced "the 'hospital' nature and stuffiness" of Nintendo's offices as daunting, though said "the people inside are warm and friendly". Later on he explained how differently Nintendo and Sony operate.
Completely different. Nintendo is a very rigid working environment where you need to be creative to "break free" of those constraints. Sony is a little too free and the constraints are ill-defined, or even worse the constraints are monetary. There are benefits to both systems and I've built Q-Games to be a hybrid.
It's an excellent AMA, and certainly well worth a read (link below).
As for that Star Fox 3DS remake left on the cutting room floor, we're just going to find a quiet spot to mourn that one's rejection...