The game - which was originally supposed to launch in 1995 - was considered lost by many fans, despite the existence of unfinished ROMs online. However, this September we'll finally get the chance to play the mastered and complete version of the game, and the timing has led some to speculate that Nintendo was waiting for the patent to expire on the Super FX chip - designed by defunct UK firm Argonaut - before releasing the title.
However, we've spoken exclusively to Argonaut founder Jez San - the man who dreamt up the concept of the Super FX chip - and he's poured cold water on that idea:
I doubt that's why they’re releasing it. Nintendo owns that patent anyway. I think they’re releasing it because it's time.
So there you have it, direct from the horse's mouth. Nintendo always owned the patent to the Super FX chip because it paid for its production and presumably retained all rights, despite Argonaut's involvement. Perhaps it's like San says; Nintendo felt it was time to release the game and the creation of the Super NES Classic gave it the perfect excuse.