When you think of Nintendo as a whole, what’s the thing you picture first? Many of you likely think of the systems you’ve bought, played, and enjoyed over the years. Many more of you likely think about their various franchises and the characters they’ve brought to life over the years. By and large, Nintendo has the most expansive 1st party library out there. It’s not even close. Moreover, they’ve proven successful with many of them time and time again, as the Nintendo Switch has shown. But, there are series that many want back, like F-Zero, their fast-paced racing title.
For those of the younger generations, this was one of two racing franchises that Nintendo had going ever since the days of the SNES. While one featured Mario and friends, the other featured the legendary Captain Falcon and was based in the far future, where their races took place at much higher speeds.
The franchise had many entries on both consoles and handhelds and then they stopped. Cold turkey. Fast forward to now, and the reason people know Captain Falcon is because he’s a mainstay in Super Smash Bros. So why hasn’t Nintendo restarted F-Zero?
Takaya Imamura used to work for Nintendo on Captain Falcon’s series, as well as Star Fox, and he had some unique insight into why the Captain hasn’t made his big return, as he told VGC:
“I think it’s a question of sales.”
That’s something that every franchise has to deal with, sadly. Even if you’re good and fun, can you make the sales to survive? Not every quality game does. He also noted that the problem here is that the racing franchise has direct competition from Mario Kart, which, as the Nintendo Switch has proven, is massively popular with fans.
However, many fans will note that series like Fire Emblem, Metroid, and others have been going through a “revival” of sorts in recent years and getting consistent sales. But Imamura warned that these were specific things and not necessarily easy to do:
“It is easy to revive IPs, but careful consideration is needed to produce them as something that really satisfies customers.”
That’s very true. We’ve seen plenty of recent titles that had “established developers,” yet they botched the launches of the titles. Then, an upstart will come along and change things by making games how they should be.
To that end, talented people may be waiting to make the next great game with Captain Falcon. Perhaps Nintendo simply hasn’t found them yet.