A former Nintendo game designer doesn’t believe the F-Zero franchise is dead. However, Nintendo’s own design philosophies are likely behind why we haven’t seen a new entry in the racing series in more than 16 years.
Speaking to IGN, retired designer Takaya Imamura said that he doesn’t believe F-Zero is dead at Nintendo, even with such an extended absence. However, he said that without a “grand idea,” it’s a difficult series to revive. The other games were fairly straightforward sci-fi racers, not featuring major overhauls aside from much better visuals when coming to different platforms. These days, that might not be enough.
Nintendo isn’t one to pump out sequels to games without some sort of hook or huge, innovative idea, and we’ve seen big franchises like Star Fox also suffer long inactive periods.
In the past, legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto has expressed similar reservations for making a new F-Zero game, saying that it needs a new idea in order to come back as a great game. He also said at the time that Nintendo prefers to work on games internally and doesn’t want to outsource projects like this, though it has used development partners like Bandai Namco and Platinum Games, as well.
New, innovative ideas don’t always translate to great games, either. In the case of Star Fox Zero, it was the franchise’s first game in over a decade, but its troublesome two-screen setup made it difficult to enjoy what was basically a remake of Star Fox 64. The franchise has been silent ever since, save for the once-canceled Star Fox 2’s eventual release.
F-Zero is far from the only series Nintendo has kept on ice. The Mother series is mentioned so much to former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime that continuously teases fans about it online. The Wars series, which includes Advance Wars and Battalion Wars, has also been absent since 2008 despite the similar Fire Emblem series getting four games.
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