Nintendo We Volume 3: Lylat
I’ve been particularly excited about writing this volume, since not only do I have a plethora of ideas for how it could possibly make for one of the best Nintendo games of all time, but it is an idea that I have considered time and again, and have made mention of on multiple occasions whilst writing. Another game series of theirs I have been sorry to see absent from home consoles, which is thankfully scheduled to be rectified some time in the near future, is Star Fox.
Debuting on the Super Nintendo, the Star Fox series was once one of company’s flagship franchises, until the days of the Nintendo GameCube when Star Fox Assault was released; since then, the series has taken a sharp downwards spiral, with only one new game in the series released since, Star Fox Command, and a 2011 3DS remake of Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars, as it was named in Europe), the most critically acclaimed title in the saga.
However, Long-time Nintendo employee Shigeru Miyamoto was at the 2014 E3 conference in California to showcase an early tech demo for a new Star Fox game planned for release in the near future, so encouragingly, it looks like the series will be making a long-awaited home console return on the Wii U. My hope is that Miyamoto was merely scratching the surface of what the final product will consist of in terms of gameplay with that tech demo. In my opinion, the fact of the matter remains that a lot can be done to create a fantastic new game in the Star Fox series, which is where I hope this week’s volume of Nintendo We comes in.
In the franchise’s absence, the Mass Effect series has taken the industry by storm and has been one of the most popular game series of the seventh generation. I have been overly impressed with all three games in the trilogy despite some of the criticisms levied against the third game in particular with the ill-received ending to Commander Sheppard’s story. Ever since, I have always thought it would be a fantastic idea for Nintendo to incorporate elements from Bioware’s masterpiece trilogy into a new Star Fox game. I think it would not only give Nintendo fans a game that would last a significantly long time, but if done properly, it would satisfy fans of both styles of Star Fox gameplay; the rail-shooting style and the 3D adventure style.
Although I did enjoy Star Fox Adventures for what it was, unlike many other fans, who preferred the classic rail-shooting games, there are still many significant changes I would like to make. For example, I believe the combat system could do with being much more refined than what it was, and for it to have a lot more variety than what was on offer in the early GameCube title. Although the exploration aspect was very satisfying in my opinion, combat did feel a little dull compared to other action adventure games released on the Nintendo 64, such as Ocarina of Time.
For a new instalment, I would also add much more depth to the rail-shooting sequences compared to what was seen in Star Fox Adventures, so that they would be a lot more akin to both Star Wing and Lylat Wars. Though it was pretty fun to occasionally switch between both styles of play in Star Fox Adventures, I did feel very much that they were tacked on in comparison to classic games in the series, and thus created an obvious imbalance of quality between the two gameplay styles. Apart from that, I think the biggest and most visible improvement I would make would be the inclusion of an open world bigger than any that the franchise has ever seen before; and since the Lylat System in Star Fox has become a very big place over the course of five games, and even over the various games in the series that were cancelled, I believe it would make for a wonderfully long experience.
In terms of story, I don’t think it would be worth carrying on from where Nintendo left off with Star Fox Command, since despite its positive reviews, its far too easy to disregard in terms of story, as considerably fewer people played that game than they did most other games in the series (rightfully so in my opinion, as Star Fox Command is one of the worst games I’ve ever played), and also, there is too much debate and ambiguity on Nintendo’s part as to which of the multiple endings is actually the true ending. Even the most widely accepted ending would result in the inclusion of mostly unfamiliar characters in future games, making continuing the series from the latest point in the timeline that more difficult. Takaya Imamura, who produced Star Fox Command, also threw everybody for a loop and said “this is where the story ends”, and although Shigeru Miyamoto wants to revive the series, I believe its very unlikely that he would want to continue from where Star Fox Command left off, since he had little to do with its development, and would have considerably less faith in the idea than someone who did work on the game, and lost faith in it himself.
I personally believe that the best period in the timeline to place a new game would be between the events of the Nintendo 64 classic Lylat Wars and the manga entitled Farewell, Beloved Falco; whereby Falco leaves the Star Fox team temporarily. This way, the four most familiar characters in the series would be present, and there would also be a lot of possibility in terms of new story elements, such as new characters, new enemies and a new crisis for the Star Fox team to resolve; there could also be room to explain exactly how the series’ main antagonist Andross begins to set in motion the events of Star Fox Adventures, or what exactly happened to Fox’s father James following the events of Lylat Wars.
But out of all my ideas regarding the revival of the Star Fox series, the most interesting idea that I have is in regards to the game’s control scheme, and how Nintendo could possibly align the title with the hardware of the Wii U. Shigeru Miyamoto looked very confident whilst showing off his tech demo at E3 this year, but at the risk of sounding arrogant, I believe my idea is worthy of attention too.
To better align it with the Wii U, Nintendo could release a special edition of the game including a set of gaming chair arms, which can be screwed on in place of normal ones, but which include pilot flight control stick attached to the ends. With these in place, there could also be another attachment, which is fitted between both arms and in front of the chair; adjustable so players can remove it when they go to sit down or stand back up, but this additional attachment would also be tailored so that the Wii U GamePad can be fitted in the middle. This would be designed to resemble the flight deck of the Arwing in the Star Fox series, so that during the rail-shooting sequences, players can feel a lot more immersed into the game, as the pilot flight control stick can be used to steer the Arwing and operate its weaponry, and the Wii U GamePad could be used to start up the ship and to pick a destination on the game’s map, very much like the similar gameplay mechanic in Metroid Prime 3 Corruption; and then players can use the GamePad for the action-adventure sequences to explore planet surfaces and to battle enemies on foot.
Since I’ve had this idea of mine fully concocted in my head since the release of the Wii U, I am very eager to hear what people’s thoughts about it may be, so like every other idea I have discussed in the series so far, I encourage anyone reading to offer feedback. I believe the biggest limitation of this idea would be that although I think the entire game could theoretically be played using only the GamePad, the special edition peripherals I’ve proposed may be too limited, since not everyone has a gaming chair. But regardless, any feedback would be most welcome, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.