I have been, and always will be, a huge StarFox fan. I remember being absolutely blown away when StarFox hit the SNES. I can remember spending one of my birthdays with a bunch of friends, an SNES, and a copy of StarFox. We all sat and stared at the TV screen in amazement. Look at the graphics…how is this even possible! Once the graphics buzz wore off, I was addicted to the great gameplay that the title was built on. Straightforward shooting that took you from outer space to planet surfaces. I didn’t even start to think about how strange the game actually was until much later. Why on earth are these characters all animals? Wouldn’t it have been ‘cooler’ if Nintendo decided to go with humans instead of furries? Well, the answer is no, of course! I think I’ve just come to love the characters as they are…strangeness and all. That love went on to the N64 when StarFox 64 introduced the world to rumble. Once again, I couldn’t believe the innovations that the series had brought to gaming. After the 64 title, StarFox didn’t bring much in the way of innovation…but the series itself would go through some radical changes.
StarFox Adventures was a big departure for the series. The title was very light on flying, and big on exploration/adventure. The game was pretty much panned by multiple outlets, but I am not ashamed to admit that I love the game. I seriously mean that too…I love it! Next came StarFox Assault, a joint venture with Nintendo and Namco. This title brought back more of the signature flying portions, but it also threw in a lot of on-foot shooting as well. For me, this is the worst entry in the series. After that misstep, the franchise came back strong on the DS with StarFox Command. This time around, a huge element of strategy was introduced to the game. StarFox Command actually plays a lot like StarFox 2 would have, if the SNES project wasn’t canceled.
So…where does the StarFox series go next? According to some, the franchise should be retired. Matt Casamassina believes that Fox McCloud has served his purpose, and any future games should be left by the wayside. Since I am such a big fan of StarFox, I have to disagree with his statement…most of it anyway. It’s hard to argue that the franchise hasn’t run its course. At first, StarFox seemed to be about innovation on the platform it graced. SNES was for the SuperFX chip, 64 was for rumble, and then after that…the series branched off onto multiple paths. It’s almost as if the series has lots its way. Do I think that Fox and crew should be retired because of this? Not by any means! I think Nintendo is in a place, now more than ever, to address the concerns that fans of the series have. Nintendo obviously plans to continue support for StarFox, considering his reappearance in Brawl. If Nintendo wanted us to forget the character, they would have nixed him! What those plans are, remains to be seen.
I have a couple plans for the future of the franchise. I really think there could be some interesting things done. Allow me to go through my pair of ideas, and hopefully you’ll share yours with me.
StarFox WiiWare - I think a StarFox WiiWare title would be an excellent step for the franchise. The way I see it, the series should go in an episodic direction. I’d love to see Nintendo return to classic style StarFox play. These episodic missions could be downloaded in packs, all of them filled with tons of story as well. When it comes to gameplay, I just want straightforward flying missions. Take me down the road of classic StarFox gameplay, but this time around, give me as much story as possible. Give me a reason to fight, give me more backstory on the characters, continue the love/hate relationship with Krystal. Give me storyline cliffhangers…leave me dangling after a big boss battle…play up the strengths of a episodic medium. I think the mix of classic play and storyline elements would be fantastic. StarFox Command really started to dive deep into the universe of StarFox, and I would love to see that trend continued. A WiiWare title could even take advantage of unique Wii controls. Let me control my Arwing by tilting the Wiimote, or using it as a flight stick. I could even fly my ship with the joystick, and point my turrets with the Wiimote. There are so many ways StarFox could go on the Wii, but I believe a combination of all these factors would make for an excellent outing.
Co-op Starfox on DS - It’s time to let StarFox fans take on some co-op missions. That includes flying the Arwings of your companions. Yes, I know you could do this in Command, but I want to do it alongside friends. I don’t want anymore online battles….I want to work together to fight Andross. How cool would it be to work alongside three other friends as you take on flight missions? Enemies could go after specific ships/characters at certain points, and it would be up to teammates to help protect each other. Now you’ll actually want to save Slippy, because one of your friends is piloting the ship! I’ve always loved the idea of Fox’s team working together throughout the series. It would be fantastic to take that team mentality and translate it into real life.
What ideas do you have for the StarFox franchise? Maybe you are one of those people that would love to see it put to bed. If so, let’s hear why. If you have your own plans for the franchise, share those as well. I’m sure between all of you, some great ideas could pop up.