The SNES Classic Mini arrives later this month and brings with Star Fox 2, a game which was supposed to come out in the mid-'90s but was canned at the very last minute.
There are countless theories as to why Nintendo decided to pull the plug on what was essentially a finished game, but the general consensus is that the company was afraid of looking weak when placed against the newly-launched Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation, which arrived in late 1994 and brought with them cutting-edge 3D visuals which made the Super FX-powered Star Fox 2 look rather tame in comparison.
Star Fox 2 developer Dylan Cuthbert has been speaking to Red Bull about the reasons for the original cancellation, and makes it clear that Nintendo was well aware of the amazing things rival systems were capable of - just like any other self-respecting games company, the Kyoto giant kept its eye on the competition by investing in consoles and testing out their best games, sometimes to destruction.
Cuthbert reveals that a Sony PlayStation - complete with a copy of launch title Ridge Racer - made its way into the office at Nintendo and became something of a focal point for key members of the company's development staff:
The FX chip had simply fallen behind in the 3D technology race. Things were advancing at such a pace at that time. I had been playing the PlayStation a lot; we had one in the Nintendo offices and all the Star Fox 2 team would be playing it at lunchtime and in the evening. It was either [Veteran Star Fox producer] Takaya Imamura or [Animal Crossing creator] Katsuya Eguchi who unlocked the black Lamborghini in Ridge Racer first, but we were all trying!
While the concept of developers sampling the works of rival firms certainly isn't anything out of the ordinary - after all, it's only logical that they would want to keep an eye on developments elsewhere in the industry, and the PlayStation was a huge deal back in the '90s - we can't help but smile at the mental image of Cuthbert, Imamura and Eguchi all fighting over the PlayStation controller in the hope of being the one who finally unlocks Ridge Racer's infamous Devil Car.
Cuthbert would go on to join Sony after his tenure with Nintendo and would work on the 32-bit PlayStation for a time before returning to Japan to found Q-Games, which continues to work with both Sony and Nintendo on titles. It was responsible for Star Fox Command on the DS, and also created the excellent PixelJunk series, primarily on Sony hardware.