A realistic F-Zero was turned by Nintendo according to a developer who made a demo to pitch the idea to the company.
The Star Fox developer, who was one of the first Western employees at Nintendo, talked a little about his pitch on the show, saying: "I thought it would be really cool to have an ultra-realistic F-Zero, still with sort of really cool futuristic graphics, but just really realistic physics – we thought that'd be a really interesting thing to try out."
"So we made a demo for the Switch and PC. It was also more to show the capability of our engine – we had a multiplatform engine that was running on 3DS, Switch, PC, whatever – so we just made a demo of some really cool F-Zero cars going around this crazy track... Just hundreds of the cars using AI to race each other."
Goddard went on to explain that the realistic part of the demo was less to do with photorealistic graphics and much more about the physics of the game. For instance, the four jets keeping the cars up were realistically implemented and if one turned off a car could begin to sink or flip-over. He added: "It was like a sandbox-type thing just playing around and seeing what would happen if you caused a crash there and whatever."
However, the pitch was eventually turned down. Unlike most studios who love attaching established IP to projects, Nintendo seems to be much more cautious. Goddard said: "Nintendo is very wary about using old IP because it's such a huge thing for them to do. It's much easier to go with a new idea, a new IP than to reuse an old one."
The designer also went on to explain that his developer Vitei would express interest in the IP and ask for money to make it, and Nintendo would say that the developer didn't have a big enough studio: "I'd say, 'well if we had the money we could get the people,' you know. So it was forever this ridiculous catch-22 with them wanting us to make a game, us pitching a game, and then them saying you don't have enough people."
It's a shame the project never came together as F-Zero fans have been waiting a long time to hear from the franchise. The ultra-fast-paced racing franchise hasn't seen a new entry since 2004. However, there is perhaps some comfort in the fact that if the game comes back, it will likely be well considered and not rushed out.
While there is no new F-Zero on the horizon, here are all the upcoming Switch games to keep you busy instead.