Dylan Cuthbert has spoken out once again about the future of one of Nintendo’s oldest and most popular franchises, Star Fox.
While most press will focus on the latest mainline release in the franchise, the doomed Star Fox Zero, that one game doesn’t accurately reflect the franchise’s popularity. While a critical and commercial failure, Star Fox Zero was a departure from the game’s conventions, and that was a factor in its lack of success.
We do have to note that since that time, Star Fox was licensed by Ubisoft for their own toys-to-life space combat game: Starlink: Battle for Atlas. On top of that, Star Fox and the unreleased Star Fox 2 where published on the Super NES Classic. Today, both games are playable on Nintendo Switch Online’s Super NES app. Star Fox 64 was also published on the Nintendo 64 app. So Star Fox has remained on gamer’s minds, if it isn’t quite on the road to becoming a blockbuster franchise again like Metroid ended up on.
Dylan Cuthbert was a key part of Star Fox’s history. As a teenager, he was part of British studio Argonaut Software. In that capacity, Dylan worked with Nintendo on making Star Fox and Star Fox 2. Later, by Shigeru Miyamoto’s personal request, Dylan was rehired by Nintendo to be the director for 2006’s Star Fox: Command, on the Nintendo DS, and Star Fox 64 3D, on the Nintendo 3DS. The latter was the last Star Fox game he worked on, released in 2011.
In a new interview with Video Games Chronicle, Dylan shared his optimism about the return of Star Fox in the future:
“Oh, I’m sure [it’ll return]. I mean, they keep trying, don’t they? They keep trying, not quite achieving the original.”
And with that, Dylan suddenly gets into a fascinating, if somewhat sober, monologue, about why he feels Nintendo has had a hard time reviving the franchise:
“But I think that’s one thing – my opinion is that the original was born out of the UK Amiga-style 3D at the time, games like Star Glider or Carrier Command. It was born out of those and a bit of the Star Wars Arcade game, combined with Namco’s Starblade.
And then there was all the Nintendo character building, all the characters and stuff, making it very family friendly.
It’s the combination of all those things that I suppose was what made Star Fox what it was. So some of the more recent titles – maybe, say, the Namco version, for example – are all great games, but there’s always that one element missing, that sort of UK old-school 3D shooting game element missing from it.
So that one was very slick – they got the Starblade side of it perfect, but it’s a combination of all [elements], you kind of need it all in there to make it work.
And then, of course, the one that Rare made, Star Fox Adventures, that was also a good attempt but that was too British, it didn’t have the Starblade side of it.
So I think Star Fox is a very complex title, because you’ve got to have all those elements in place, and that gives it the atmosphere it needs to make it really work.”
As you can see, Dylan has a particular vision for the game, and he tried his best to match that feeling himself in the games he directed. But if Dylan thinks Nintendo is going to have a hard time getting Star Fox right again, he’s still positive it’ll happen in the future.
To quote him again:
“I think it’s still a pretty original title really, isn’t it?
There isn’t really an equivalent game to Star Fox even now, so I think that’s why it’s kind of stuck around and kept in people’s minds. It’s weird, but it’s remained a fairly unique title and I think that’s really cool.
But I’m not bored of Star Fox, really. It was a fun project, it was fun to make, I was very young at the time but it was just a really good experience all around. Just one year of development time, everything packed in there, and there was only really a handful of us working on it.”