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Friday, 30 June 2017

The Story Behind Star Fox 2

Earlier this week, Nintendo set the Internet ablaze with official word of the Super NES Classic, a miniaturized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System set to follow in the footsteps of last year's highly coveted, poorly supplied, NES Classic.

Pre-loaded with 21 classic titles ranging from Contra III: Alien Wars to Yoshi's Island, the system promises to transport gamers back to the glorious 16-bit gaming era like never before! However, no title has fans more excited, or intrigued, then Star Fox 2.

Let's take a look at what is perhaps the most famous cancelled video game of all time...

Known as "The Game That Almost Was", Star Fox 2 was set for release on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System right near the end of the console's shelf life. Widely hyped through numerous gaming magazines and trade shows,  Nintendo would end up cancelling the title late in 1995. This has always come as a shock to fans of the franchise, especially given the critical success of the first Star Fox title released back in 1993.

Star Fox 2 was to serve as a direct sequel to the original, with the army of Andross once again attacking the peaceful planet of Corneria. Fox McCloud once again assembles a team of crack pilots - including Falco, Slippy, Peppy, along with newcomers Miyu and Fay - to face the new threat head on!

Breaking away from the linear format of the original title, Star Fox 2 would give players complete control of where they wanted to go throughout the galaxy, with the ultimate goal to defeat the invaders and to, once again, restore piece to Corneria. Each pilot would be given their own ship and unique set of abilities to aid gamers throughout the course of the story. If that wasn't exciting enough, players could even land on planets and take out corresponding enemy bases, transforming their Arwing into a mechanical walker for ground-based combat.

In short, everything about Star Fox 2, from its improved graphics and frame rate, to its shooter-meets-strategy layout, is downright awesome!

When it was first showcased at the CES show back in 1995, Star Fox 2 was an instant hit! Audiences praised the increased freedom and action-packed gameplay of the sequel and several magazines listed the title as their most anticipated video game from the trade show. Nintendo planned on releasing Star Fox 2 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the summer of 1995, but that never happened. As time went on, rumors began to spread that the title had been delayed, until Nintendo announced their hopes of releasing it in the first half of 1996.

And then, in September 1996, the Nintendo 64 arrived in North America. Not long after that, Star Fox 64 arrived on store shelves, killing any hopes of Star Fox 2 ever seeing a release on the Super Nintendo. So, the question still remains: What exactly happened to Star Fox 2?

Well, with Nintendo being well aware of the next generation of video game consoles coming out from SEGA and Sony, the company wanted to focus all their attention and resources on the Nintendo 64. Shigeru Miyamoto, the co-representative director for Nintendo, apparently didn't want to see the company embarrassed by putting out a new title on an older gaming system. The next generation of home video gaming was upon them, and it only made sense to move forward.

Nintendo would end up carrying some of the concepts from Star Fox 2 over to Star Fox 64, but the Super Nintendo sequel would never end up seeing an official release. Throughout the late 1990's, several versions of the game would released online, with one of the sequel's original programmers eventually leaking a near finished version of the game online in the early 2000's. Fans would scoop it up fervently, translating it to English and cleaning up the final product for their fellow gamers.

When the Super NES Classic arrives this September, it will mark the first time Nintendo has officially released Star Fox 2 to market. For many, it will also mark the very first time they'll be able to experience the game, in full and in their own homes.

While there are a lot of exciting titles set for release with the Super NES Classic, it's Star Fox 2 that will have us doing everything in our power to obtain one of these mini gaming consoles! 

Are you ready to experience "The Game That Almost Was" this coming Fall?

We know we sure are!

Until next time, Infinite Earths fans!

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