Yesterday, a rumor broke that a new Star Fox game could be coming to the Wii U. Retro Studios, the developers behind Donkey Kong Country Returns, didnt come right out and say they were putting Fox back in the Arwing, but claimed they were working on a project everyone wants us to do. We beg your pardon for getting so excited, but as soon as we read that news, we couldnt stop thinking about ideas for a new Star Fox game on the Wii U.
Are we the only ones that feel like Star Fox 64 never got a true sequel? After that N64 classic we got Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox: Assault, then Star Fox Command and the Star Fox 64 3D remake for the 3DS. These games all introduced new ideas to the anthropomorphic-dogfights-in-space concept, but moved the series away from the pitch perfect gameplay of the 64 original. A new Star Fox Wii U game would be a opportunity to return to that classic combo of on-rails combat and All-Range Mode, while keeping the some of the interesting ideas from the sequels. Without further ado, lets plot a course to the Lylat system with what we want from Star Fox on Nintendos Wii U...
Introduce some new aircraft
Were not dissing the Arwing. Wed never diss the Arwing! Why do you think were dissing the Arwing? All were saying is letting us choose from two or three different ships would add serious replay value. Maybe they wouldnt be available on every mission, but certain levels could have multiple paths to explore, depending on which aircraft we chose.
For new fighters, the obvious choices would be the nimble Interceptor-class Arwing from Star Fox 2 (an unreleased sequel to the SNES original) or the X-Wing-esque Cornerian Fighter from Star Fox: Assault. Wed also like to see a heavy bomber, maybe it could have unlimited homing missiles like the Blue-Mariner. Perhaps a stealth fighter with radar jamming and invisibility? It could be like the Blackbird in Battlestar Galactica!
Let us upgrade our Arwing...
RPG-style leveling and customization is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It adds a level of personalized strategy to shooter combat that renders games without it stale by comparison. Let us earn experience or collect tech points to deck out an Arwing however we see fit. A tougher hull, quicker boost jets, more powerful lasers, anything that would make for varied dogfights.
While were on the subject, how about an open weapon slot that we could fill with the gear of our choosing? A second set of laser cannons, extra bomb storage, maybe even a tractor beam that pulls in items. The possibilities seem limitless!
...but keep in-level power ups
Upgradeable ships would be awesome, but that doesnt mean we want good old fashioned power-ups to go away. Having to nab bombs, laser upgrades and healing rings is part of what defines the fast, frantic gameplay of Star Fox. Its also a great incentive to fly hard and avoid getting shot down. Nothings worse than losing your maxed out laser and having to start over with your little green pea shooter. We hate it even more than hearing Peppy yell, Nooooooooo!!! And dont get us started on desperately searching for a Wing Repair.
Online multiplayer and co-op, please
A new Star Fox game could be Nintendos chance to boldly go where none of their systems have really gone before: the internet. Online gaming wasnt exactly one of the Wiis strengths, to put it lightly. Remember how Crimson Skies and Warhawk helped get Microsoft and Sonys respective networks off the ground? A twitch space shooter like Star Fox could get Wii U gamers shooting each other down all across the web, and with co-op we could finally hear something besides Do a barrel roll! from our teammates. Actually, people would probably be shouting that constantly, at first at least.
If Star Fox Wii U does have multiplayer, we hope that they introduce multiple ships with customizable stats and loadouts, like we mentioned. Imagine Call of Duty style RPG elements applied to an online, twitch space shooter. Our G-Diffusers are humming with excitement.
Bring back the on-rails levels...
Star Fox Command for the DS introduced a lot of solid ideas to the series, but did away with the straightforward on-rails levels. Why? We loved those adrenaline-infused space shootouts. Think of Corneria, The Forever Train and The Andross Space Armada. Some of our favorite Star Fox levels were on-rails. Part of the challenge was being fast and efficient enough to bring down clusters of targets and rack up a high score. If Star Fox Wii U is to be a true sequel to N64 and SNES classics, these levels need to return. Earn your name and bring em back, Retro Studios!
...and expand All-Range mode with bigger battles
All Range-Mode was pretty mind blowing on the 64, and Star Fox Command added to it with time limits and identifiable targets. We definitely want these static, 360 degree battles to return in Star Fox Wii U, but Retro Studios should continue to build on what Command started. Make them them less linear with multiple objectives. There could be friendly targets to protect, named enemies to take out, and lots of bonus objectives that would determine the course of our battle for the Lylat system.
Let us pick our wingmen
If youve played any of the Star Fox games after Star Fox 64, you know there are a lot more characters than just Slippy, Falco and Peppy. Theres Katt, Bill and Androsss grandson Dash, to name a few. Thats way more than just your standard three wingmen, so why not let us choose who we want covering our six in battle?
The various characters could have different personalities and banter, and different ships, of course. Also, taking a certain character to the right fight, like a battle on their homeworld, could result in alternate dialog and new story paths to explore.
We want to fly the Great Fox (or at least man the guns)
The Great Fox is a truly untapped source of awesomeness in the Star Fox universe. Remember Area 6 on Star Fox 64, when ROB 64 says, Great Fox will cover you, and unleashes turbo laser hell on Androsss battleships? We want THAT. We mean, we want to DO that. Let us pilot the Great Fox, or at the very least man the guns.
Star Fox Command brought the Great Fox into gameplay by making it an important resource that we had to protect. What if we could fly it into battle, firing its laser cannons and deploying our teammates at strategic locations? It would play like a combination rail shooter and strategy mission, and would work perfectly with the Wii Us tablet display. Battle map on the tablet, main screen on the television. It would make our living room into an anthropomorphic Starship Enterprise.
Make the characters muppety again
Some people found it a tad creepy, but we love the real fur and feathers look of the characters on the Star Fox SNES box art. Were not asking for Jim Hensons Star Fox (actually, that does sound pretty cool), but show off some of the Wii Us processing power to render some more realistic looking characters. Leathery fox noses, shiny falcon beaks, fur that looks and moves a little bit like real fur.
Also, let's see more ape bad guys rendered this way. Imagine the final fight with a giant Andross that actually looks like a giant maniacal baboon, and then a giant maniacal, somewhat realistic looking baboon brain? Now that would be creepy.
Keep the screen HUD-less
We cant get over how perfect the Wii Us tablet display would be for a space combat game like Star Fox. Instrument panels, radar, friendly or enemy communications could all be displayed on the handheld screen. Not only would that keep the main display nice and HUD-less, it would add to the franticness of gameplay. Wed need to divide our attention between combat and instrument readouts, just like real anthropomorphic animal pilots!
Back to the no HUD idea, wed really like to see Star Fox Wii U go with a minimalist approach to whats displayed on our TV screens. Give us just the ship and our aiming reticle, thats all we need. Itll be a gorgeous, cinematic space shooter that proves the Wii Us tablet display can be integrated into gameplay in meaningful ways. Also, if Retro Studios brings back the route planning from Star Fox Command (and we hope they do), what could better for drawing battle plans than a tablet?
Stay in the ship (or Landmaster, or Blue-Marine)...
Were firm on this one: no foot mission for Star Fox Wii U, please. We liked Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox Assault just fine, but we want a game that harkens back to the purely vehicle-based action of Star Fox 64 and Star Fox on the SNES. This doesnt mean we want to be in the Arwing the whole time either. Give us some cockpit time with the Landmaster and the Blue-Marine. Flying missions should still be the meat of the game, though. How about a 5:1 ratio of flying levels to land and sea missions?
If Nintendo really feels it needs another Banjo-Kazooie knock-off, we wouldnt mind a new Star Fox Adventure game, but let it be its own series. For everyone who grew up with the N64, Star Fox means space combat, not running around helping dinosaurs. Helpful Fox and his Needy Dinosaur Friends Adventures? Again, were just spitballing here. Its not all gonna be gold.
...but how about some giant mobile suit combat?
Ok, if Retro Studios is really itching to let us run around and swing staffs and fire pistols at each other, then how about letting us do it by piloting giant mechs? Mobile combat suits were introduced in a couple of Star Fox boss fights, and then never really touched on again. Also, anyone who played Star Fox: Assault should remember that on-foot combat played like controlling a some sort of robot, not a furry foot soldiers. Characters had jet assisted sprints, big, on-screen targeting reticles, and laser cannons that charged up massive blasts. Already sounds like something out of a Gundam game, doesn't it?