Star Fox (series)

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This article is about the Star Fox Series as a Whole. For the In-Game Team called Star Fox, please see Star Fox (team). For the Game Called Star Fox, See Star Fox (game).
Series: Star Fox (series)
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The Star Fox series is one of Nintendo's most notable video game franchises which debuted commercially in 1993 with the game Star Fox (or Starwing in the PAL region) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Overview

The series is based on a fusion of an experimental video game development from Argonaut Software and a kemono concept that was created by Shigeru Miyamoto.

This series has often been generally categorized as a scrolling, third-person arcade shooter, although not every game necessarily had that as its main element of game-play. The series had been notable in Nintendo's gaming history, with games such as Star Fox being one of the earliest console video games with actual three-dimensional graphics, as well as being the first video game to use the Super FX chip, and Star Fox 64 being the first console game to support force-feedback technology. Each previously mentioned game's respective innovation was key to that game's success in the video game market. This series is one of Nintendo's few franchises that features full-voice acting and progressive plots.

The series closely follows a team of space-trekking, anthropomorphic animal characters called "Star Fox" in space-based mercenary missions, within a star system called the Lylat System, in order to save their home planet Corneria from various antagonists. The titular team is composed of four main, reoccurring characters known as Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare. However, overtime, the series added other notable characters such as Krystal and Star Wolf. The series is considered to be situated in a futuristic science-fiction setting, usually using fighter spacecrafts called Arwings as the games' players' main element of progression.

Due to the anthropomorphic nature of the characters, the series overall is often perceived as a furry video game series.

History

Origins (Circa late 1980s - early 1990s)

The Star Fox franchise originally began as a mere technical demonstration for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) that was never really meant to become a fully fledged game. The story begins when a British video game developing company called Argonaut Software (at the time) were working on various technical concepts for games with three-dimensional graphics for different video game home consoles. During the late 1980s, Nintendo had a dominant share in the video game market, and most notably in the United States with its own developed home consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the original portable video game console Game Boy.

Argonaut Software had two notable employees behind its 3D game concepts: Giles Goddard and Dylan Cuthbert. After a successful attempt to simulate actual, real-time three-dimensional wireframe graphics using the NES's own technology alone, the company allowed Cuthbert to program another 3D game for the slightly more technically inferior Game Boy, and he managed to successfully create a video game shooter called Eclipse, one of the first ever 3D games for a portable console, and one of the extreme few 3D games ever attempted or released on the Game Boy. Although the game was licensed to American video game publisher Mindscape, Argonaut's president and founder Jez San had presented the game before Nintendo of America (NoA) at a Consumer Electronics Show. NoA were so impressed with the game that they flew San and Cuthbert to Nintendo's mother company in Kyoto, Japan and meet up with game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and Nintendo's then-president Hiroshi Yamauchi.

After the meeting, Nintendo quickly decided to invest into this new development that they fully bought the rights to Eclipse from Mindscape, and flew over Goddard with the rest of his team to the mother company as well. Argonaut's team worked on the game closely with Nintendo's own Research & Development 1 team, and they even renamed the game from Eclipse to merely X. The game was then released on the Game Boy early 1992, exclusively in Japan, and it had seen a moderate success, and was critically well-received.

After helping Nintendo behind the development of the Super Famicom (Japanese version of the SNES), including attempting to fix the last-minute problems of the early batch of games that supported Mode 7, Argonaut Software was then contracted by Nintendo to work with them exclusively for three gaming projects at least. One of Argonaut's first releases was in 1992 with a new chip called the DSP2, a graphics co-processor which can significantly assist the console's main central processing unit, improving over Nintendo's own original DSP chip, in rendering Mode 7 a bit further than usual. The chip was first commercially introduced embedded within the game cartridges of the racing game Super Mario Kart. The DSP2 allowed the support of a smooth graphical transition of Mode 7 during a split-screen, multiplayer mode, which was not possible before. However, Argonaut had not stopped its hardware enhancement of the SNES right there.

Nintendo and Argonaut Software, working closely with another British company called Flare Technology, came up with a far greater powerful graphics co-processor. Initially, it was called the MARIO Chip 1, but was later renamed by Nintendo as the Super FX chip. The chip far exceeded the DSP2's Mode 7 capabilities by rendering actual, real-time three-dimensional polygon graphics using the SNES's power alone. Argonaut then worked on a simple game demo to test out possibilities with the Super FX chip. The demo was a free-roaming, 3D space fighter title dubbed Starglider. Initially, it was thought they could evolve the demo into an actual game, but the idea was later scrapped by Cuthbert due to the very slow frame-rate the game presented, which underestimated the real power of the Super FX. Nintendo's Miyamoto did not like these results either, but he insisted that the game be reworked from the ground up again rather than be totally canceled.

Working as a team, Argonaut used their experience and knowledge in the technical and programming aspects of the Super FX and 3D games respectively alongside with Nintendo's solid reputation in highly acclaimed game design, they developed a much improved version of Starglider. They did this by scrapping the idea of free-roaming and making it a fixed path scrolling game instead. Additionally, Goddard and Cuthbert worked together to create complex machine bosses for each level, and Nintendo's own game composer Hajime Hirasawa had implemented new scores to the gameplay which is later believed to be critically worthy of the game. The game's engine was based during this time, and many level designs were implemented.

After seven months of development, Starglider was basically close to completion, but unfortunately the team decided that, despite it working a lot better now, the game's concept as a mere arcade shooter was very cliché and unimpressive, as if the game was a total waste of time and money. At this point, Miyamoto began to brainstorm for good plot to back up this visually superior game. At first, many of his concepts about epic wars in distant galaxies was very confusing, but suddenly inspiration had hit him as he wandered the streets of Kyoto. Miyamoto happened to come across the Fushimi Inari Sanctuary, the biggest shrine dedicated to the Shinto god of grain Inari. Inari happens to take form of a kitsune (a fox), and many of his statues depict him wearing a red bandana around his neck. At this point, Miyamoto then realized how he could develop the game further. He then went back to his office started to flesh out the plot concept further by adding animal characters from different Japanese myths, including a fox character, inspired by Inari, as the main protagonist of the game. Later, Miyamoto's plot concept was fused into Starglider, and Nintendo decided to rename the game as Star Fox instead.

A few months later, in 1993, Nintendo began extensive marketing campaigns in Japan, the United States, and even Europe for a brand new game, advertised to the public for having "ground-breaking, three-dimensional graphics and special effects never seen before." After its initial release, Star Fox became one of the best sold games that year, and so because of that a brand new Nintendo franchise was born!

Game Page

Star Fox (SNES)

Main Article:Star Fox (game)


Star Fox 64 (N64)

Main Article:Star Fox 64

Star Fox 64 3D (N3DS)

Main Article:Star Fox 64 3D

Star Fox Adventures (GCN)

Main Article:Star Fox Adventures

Star Fox: Assault (GCN)

Main Article:Star Fox: Assault

Star Fox Command (NDS)

Main Article:Star Fox Command

Future of the Series

Aside from recent release of Star Fox 64 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, not much is known about the future of the series. One possibility that exists, is Hideki Kamiya making a Star Fox game[1]. But Nintendo has not expressed anything officially or unofficially related to this statement. Dylan Cuthber, one of the makers of the orginal Star Fox games, has stated that he has no real interest in continuing the series[2]. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the series, on the other hand, wishes he could continue the series[3], but tends to forget about it[4]. Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the Super Smash Bros. series and the Kirby series, has stated that the new game, Kid Icarus: Uprising was originally meant to be another Star Fox game[5].

Cancelled Games

Star Fox 2

Main Article:Star Fox 2

Star Fox Arcade

When Star Fox: Assault was announced, Nintendo also announced the development of a Star Fox arcade game. Unfortunately, nothing was heard about the project since and it has been assumed that the game was scrapped. As further proof that the game has been discontinued, nothing of the sort was unveiled at nintendo's E3 presentation, marking the fifth year of silence about the game.[6]


References

  1. IGN. 2010. "Bayonetta Creator Wants to Make Star Fox". Accessed Decemmber 27th, 2010. http://wii.ign.com/articles/108/1084489p1.html.
  2. http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/694530/original-star-fox-creator-not-interested-in-making-star-fox-for-wii/
  3. http://www.destructoid.com/miyamoto-wishes-you-d-like-star-fox-as-much-as-he-does-153350.phtml
  4. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2009/10/27/mario-creator-talks-disappointment-with-star-fox/
  5. http://techland.time.com/2010/06/28/e3-2010-masahiro-sakurai-makes-kid-icarus-fly-again-on-the-nintendo-3ds/
  6. IGN. 2002. "Namco Brings GCN Support". Accessed 4/6/2010. [1].

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