Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 2: F-Zero: Mute City
The last series of Nintendo We covered many of the franchises conceived over the years by the Japanese gaming giants that have had only one or few instalments dedicated to them; and series 2 will be covering many more of these. One franchise that has been left alone for quite some time by Nintendo, but one that has had elements of which featured in many of their other games since it’s last instalment, is F-Zero.
F-Zero is a series of futuristic racing games that first featured on the Super Nintendo back in 1990; 2 years before the release of Super Mario Kart. For the following 14 years, the series remained relatively prolific with F-Zero X Released on the Nintendo 64 and subsequently F-Zero GX on the Nintendo GameCube. Along with several spin-off games, and even an arcade counterpart made of F-Zero GX, the last official instalment of the series was F-Zero Climax released on the Game Boy Advance back in 2004. Since then, the game’s central character Captain Falcon has made appearances in every instalment of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series as well as the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land, and both Mute City and Big Blue have appeared as downloadable tracks in Mario Kart 8.
It’s come as a surprise to me over the years that Nintendo haven’t wanted to keep F-Zero as prolific as they have done with many of their other series; especially since with almost every instalment, the franchise has garnished both commercial and critical acclaim scoring average percentages of 70 to 80 on both Metacritic and GameRankings, and having also gone on to influence the creation of the racing game series Wipeout. However, I think if Nintendo simply released the same kind of F-Zero game as what they have done in the past, then it may simply be looked upon as either a Mario Kart or Wipeout clone, since both series in most recent years have become much more prolific than F-Zero; especially Mario Kart. Therefore, I believe the correct manner in which to bring the series back would be to re-invent the gameplay and bring gamers an F-Zero title unlike anything ever seen before within the series. The developer I’ve chosen as a possible collaborator this week is Rocksteady Studios.
Throughout the course of both the seventh and eighth generation of video games, Rocksteady Studios have set new standards within the industry concerning the release of video games based on pre-existing licensed properties, with their Batman Arkham series of games. Batman: Arkham Asylum took the industry by storm back in 2009, followed by Batman Arkham City in 2011, and most recently, my personal choice for game of the year for 2015 Batman: Arkham Knight. Another game in series was also developed by Warner Bros Montreal called Batman: Arkham Origins, which also garnished favourable reviews, but nowhere as much as the games developed by Rocksteady. It’s the style of play that the company have perpetuated over the last 6 years that I think would work well within a series like F-Zero quote nicely.
In terms of combat, Captain Falcon has been portrayed enough times in Super Smash Bros as being both physically adept and exceptionally agile, which makes me believe there is scope to implement the fighting styles of both male and female characters from the Batman Arkham series. There are also supernatural elements to Captain Falcon’s fighting style displayed in some of his moves such as the Falcon punch and the Falcon kick, which could potentially bring something new to the table and keep things fresh. In terms of presentation and personality, although Captain Falcon is portrayed primarily as a racer, he also has the potential to fall into the category of the superhero archetype quite easily; he wears a costume, has a name that sounds like another person’s alter ego (something that could be developed upon within the plot), and he also has a special means of transportation.
Speaking of which, since as I believe the best thing would be to set the game in an open world, and that Rocksteady have also experimented with the idea of vehicular travel and combat within Batman: Arkham Knight, There’s nothing to say that the game couldn’t still have elements of the original F-Zero series attached to it as well as it’s core gameplay mechanics of hand-to-hand combat and story-driven quests (as well as side quests, of course). If Captain Falcon is also given an additional flying vehicle as well as his F-Zero machine, then would also be scope to bring both vehicular travel and combat to a whole new dimension. For example, there could be combat implemented akin to that of the Star Fox series, which would coincide well with the fact that there is a character called James McCloud in the F-Zero series, who is modeled after the Star Fox character of the same name.
Not only that, but throughout the course of it’s existence, the F-Zero has been portrayed as also having a potentially massive science fiction mythology attached to it, as there have been potential enemies such as aliens, cyborgs, mutants and other racers, as well as there being many other geographical locations outside of Mute City, such as Big Blue and Port Town. Other planets are also alluded to, which seem to make it possible to increase the size and scope of a game like even more than any game in the Batman Arkham series. Ideas like these would also take it beyond leading gamers to think that something like this could be considered simply as a Batman Arkham clone with Nintendo characters in it.
In the regrettable and unjustified absence of the Metroid series, I believe a game like this would easily standout in the list of sci-fi games created by Nintendo. F-Zero certainly deserves another instalment, and I think a game like this would be an ideal way to reboot the franchise.