Portal: Star Fox
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Star Fox is a series of science fiction games following the adventures of Fox McCloud and his team Star Fox. The series has focused on space-fighting gameplay, although later games have experimented with forms of ground-based combat.
The original Star Fox game for the Super NES developed from a collaboration with Argonaut Software. The game was built to showcase the Super FX chip which Argonaut had developed for Nintendo. The characters and title were then conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto after they decided to make it a starfighter. He decided that the cast should be animals in order to deviate from science fiction norms, and he was inspired to use a fox for the title character by a local shrine of Inari, a fox-like kami (spirit) from Shinto mythology. There was also a local boy's baseball team called the Inari Foxes at the time, and it was hearing how cool the name sounded which led him to use the English word "fox" instead of the Japanese "kitsune". The game itself utilized polygonal starships which engaged in "on-rails" combat. The player could also choose one of three routes (separated by difficulty level) of planets to take through the game. The game was popular enough to warrant a sequel, and Star Fox 2 went into development.
Star Fox 2 introduced a variety of new concepts, such as "all-range" areas where the ships could move freely instead of in a fixed path, the ability for Arwings to transform into robot-like Walkers and a multiplayer mode. This game also would have introduced a rival team for Star Fox, Star Wolf. It was also made using an advanced Super FX 2 Chip. The game was technically completed, but it was cancelled before release. This was because of the impending release of the Nintendo 64, which was already more advanced than Star Fox 2 and its new Super FX chip, which was expensive in itself. A near-complete version of Star Fox 2 would be leaked to the internet and emulated years later.
Miyamoto instead oversaw a new Star Fox game for the Nintendo 64 that combined elements of both games. Star Fox 64 has been referred to as a remake of Star Fox, but in actuality it only reuses the game scenario as well as some of the basic gameplay, and it also featured levels that were based on Star Fox levels, but significantly altered ones. Elements of Star Fox 2 such as the all-range mode and the Star Wolf enemies were also implemented into the game. Star Fox 64 was more original in the way that it improved on the gameplay and graphics, and it also featured voice acting amongst the characters. This installment also added two new vehicles: the Landmaster Tank and the Blue Marine. It featured a branching path like the original Star Fox, but in this case various multiple paths could be made between planets depending on the player's choices or performance within specific levels. Only certain paths led to the true ending. Star Fox 64 also featured a separate multiplayer mode.
Star Fox 64 was popular enough that Nintendo sought to make a new Star Fox on the Nintendo Gamecube, although it was initially done through an unusual process. Rare had been working on a game called Dinosaur Planet since late in the Nintendo 64's life. Due to the main character's physical resemblance to Fox, Nintendo was able to convince Rare to alter Dinosaur Planet so that it could act as a new Star Fox game. The end result was Star Fox Adventures, which was released in 2002. As it had been developed as a fantasy adventure game in the vein of The Legend of Zelda, this game wound up being a stark departure from the rest of the Star Fox mythos. With Fox wielding a magic staff as the new main character, Rare added the other Star Fox characters to act as support and several segments in which Fox temporarily rode an Arwing in order to connect it with the other Star Fox games. The game caused critical divisions and seemed to alienate fans of both Star Fox and Rare's original vision of Dinosaur Planet, although it also affected the franchise in a positive way in that it moved the continuity forward and introduced Krystal, who would become a supporting character for the following games.
Nintendo employed Namco to produce Star Fox Assault in an attempt at making a more traditional Star Fox game for the Nintendo Gamecube in 2005. This game was based more directly on the Star Fox 64 gameplay and featured a series of missions that included on-rails areas as well as all-range areas. However, this installment also experimented with ground combat, by allowing Fox to fight on foot and switch vehicles, with the returning Landmaster being the other vehicle. Assault also advanced the Star Fox story further by bringing back characters such as Star Wolf. This was followed by 2006's Star Fox Command, which was developed by Q-Games and was the first handheld installment as well as the first Star Fox game to be compatible with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Command featured a unique new strategy-oriented gameplay in which the player had to navigate the character's ships along the grid, entering combat with enemies that were encountered. This game notably featured all battles in all-range mode and was apparently used to channel more unused Star Fox 2 ideas. Command was also known for having a more thought-out story than usual, with several branching paths which could result in up to nine different endings.
The series went for years without any new games, and it remains uncertain how a new game in the original continuity would cope with the multiple endings of Command. In an interview, Dylan Cuthbert and Takaya Imamura suggested that instead of any of the endings being canon, a future Star Fox game would start "in the middle" of the Command storyline. While no wholly new Star Fox game has been put into motion, Star Fox 64 was remade for the Nintendo 3DS as Star Fox 64 3D in 2011. Miyamoto has hoped that this will allow the franchise to be "reborn" and has wagered the future of the franchise on its success.
A new Star Fox would not come until 2015, when Star Fox Zero was released for the Nintendo Wii U. This game acted as a "reimagining" of the Star Fox series outside of the original continuity. Zero returned to the original status quo from Star Fox/Star Fox 64, featuring Fox's original Star Fox team and General Pepper providing orders while going up against the original Star Wolf team and Andross. This game was accompanied by a spin-off title called Star Fox Guard and an animated short based on the game.