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When it comes to seeding rumours about supposed unannounced first-party Nintendo games, adding a reference to Retro Studios' involvement in order to add plausibility is rapidly becoming the equivalent of "A wizard did it". So prolific has the Texas studio been in rebooting core Nintendo franchises since Metroid Prime that it's name has become the default go-to authenticator with which to add weight to a story without adding too much troublesome detail.
To that end, this latest of the swelling number of E3 2012 rumours is a tricky one to gauge. On the one hand, it's too damn obvious to be plausible, and so has very likely been made up by an internet hoax-merchant of limited imagination. On the other hand, it's so damn obvious that it must be true.
Above: This sort of thing, please. But with the right names. And not another remake
The details of the story, such as they are, are that Retro is working on a new Astral Vulpes game (why Nintendo didn't use that alternative title instead of Star Wing or Lylat Wars in Europe, I don't know), but that while the game will be on show at E3, it won't be out for the Wii U's launch. Any more than that, we do not currently know, and the fact that the site seeding this one mentions a quote from Retro regarding its current Wii U project (“It's a project everyone wants us to do”) without any citation whatsoever is a bit dubious.
Looks like we'll find out at E3 then. But is this plausible? Personally, as a tech demo at least, I reckon a new HD Star Fox would be a perfect fit for the Wii U's all-important re-reveal following Nintendo's bungled attempt last year. Satoru Iwata has been speaking with increased frequency lately about the need to sell this console to core gamers, and emphasising the processing grunt is going to be a vitally important part of that equation.
Above: Because in lieu of anything concrete since last year's E3, Photoshopping screenshots onto the Wii U controller is just what you do
Zelda aside, there's no first-party Nintendo franchise better placed to do that that Star Fox. Spaceships. Huge explosive battles. Lasers. Shiny anthropomorphic toads. You know a fully current-gen iteration could be visually mind-blowing. Though on the flipside, it's debatable whether a furry-baiting rail-shooter would really be enough to pull in much excitement outside of the core Nintendo-fan crowd. And with a machine that's reportedly mighty of horsepower but certainly not next-gen, Nintendo is going to need a hell of a lot of crossover appeal in its exclusive line-up if it's going to get the Wii U into the homes of existing PS3 and 360 owners.
(Also, yes I am fully aware that Retro Studios' previous work on Donkey Kong Country Returns gives me all kinds of opportunites to make jokes about rolling barrels and barrel rolls on this page, but you'll understand if basic self-respect stops me.)
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