Star Fox Zero Does a Barrel Roll into 2016

As another Nintendo series ditches its 2015 release date, this season is looking weak for the Wii U.

Analysis by Bob Mackey, .

Not too long ago, this holiday season promised to send the Wii U off with a bang, thanks to two series still absent from Nintendo's newest console: The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox.

Unfortunately, life isn't fair. Late March brought news that the latest Zelda game (still missing a subtitle) wouldn't release in 2015, and the lack of any E3 presence only added salt to the wound. And if you thought you'd still be able to fill your fall season with Platinum Games' reboot of Star Fox, well, you'd better start taking an interest in Xenoblade Chronicles X if you haven't already: the latest installment in Nintendo's furry-friendly shooter series is now due in the first quarter of 2016.

This was a decision that didn't come easy, according to some official statements from Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, who played a huge part in developing the series' debut in 1993:

"We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year," he says. "Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes. While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing.

"To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry."

Those familiar with The Legend of Zelda probably weren't too surprised by news of its move to 2016; if you've been following the series in recent decades, you'd know it's practically synonymous with delays. And while the calendar isn't exactly empty for the Wii U this fall, Star Fox promised to be Nintendo's highest-profile release of the season—possibly because it's been missing from consoles for a decade. (And Star Fox Assault wasn't exactly the series' finest hour.) Based on Miyamoto's comments, this delay may be for the best; Nintendo's a company that isn't afraid to take the time to rework ideas, or even scrap them entirely, as was the case with the Super Nintendo's Star Fox 2. Our own Kat Bailey ended being up disappointed by Star Fox Zero's E3 showing, and critical reception in general has been pretty mixed.

Even if the possibility of a better game comes as slightly good news for patient Star Fox fans, the fourth quarter of 2015 is looking pretty grim for the Wii U. And even if Star Fox once stood as one of more important releases of Q4, it's arguable whether or not the series is still that popular to begin with. But one thing is certain: If you're looking to have adventures with a fuzzy fox companion this November, you'll need to find a suitable replacement.

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Comments 14

  • Avatar for Mikki-Saturn #1 Mikki-Saturn 2 years ago
    Hopefully the game turns out well (I was a little concerned with the game play videos shown so far). But there's no doubt that this is the weakest holiday for Nintendo in some time. This is the main reason I don't believe that Nintendo knew all along that Zelda would be delayed. That would mean they intended this holiday line up, which was weak even with Star Fox. Now it's a disaster.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #2 jeffcorry 2 years ago
    Well. There's always Wooly World...
    For me personally, this may actually be a good thing. I tend to buy Nintendo games when they release...and my backlog of PS3, PS2, PS1, PSP, Wii, DS, Steam, and 3DS and other old system is...
    There. I said it. Now if I could just stay away from Steam and Humble Bundle sales...
    Xenoblade will be plenty...and Mario Maker will probably last for some time...and then there's the backlong. I'm still working on finishing up Dragon Quest VIII (which I've probably had for at least five years...almost done!).
    So. I'm good. I just don't know if Nintendo will be. Unless they have some great surprise we don't about...this could kill already struggling sales. Unless parents are waiting for Christmas to dive into the Wii U. I suppose that with as many great games as are already available a tempting bundle could go a long way.
    And a price drop.
    It's probably time for that...Edited 3 times. Last edited September 2015 by jeffcorry
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  • Avatar for Whinybabyclub #3 Whinybabyclub 2 years ago
    I don't think any amount of time is going to make it a good game to be honest. I think they're too afraid to do something new with the franchise, so they're just remaking the 64 version with terrible, shoehorned gamepad usage. Don't be surprised when they announce Zelda will be NX only, I have a bad feeling it's going to happen. Unfortunate too, because the WiiU is my last Nintendo purchase. I've lost faith.
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  • Avatar for TotalHenshin #4 TotalHenshin 2 years ago
    Good. Most of what I've heard (and personally seen) is that that game could use some work. Whether they delay it enough to give it the TLC it may need is up in the air, but delays result in better games.
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  • Avatar for CheeryBones #5 CheeryBones 2 years ago
    Certainly for the best, given the shaky reception it received upon its reveal. Hopefully they'll have some time to polish the promotional character art of Fox as well (don't even get me started on the dreadful character designs and cutscene illustrations of Star Fox Command, ugh).
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  • Avatar for docexe #6 docexe 2 years ago
    I’m not particularly surprised. Unlike other people, I actually liked what has been shown of the game so far, but even then I think it certainly needs more polish. And given Miyamoto tends to be a perfectionist, I was actually anticipating a delay.

    Granted, the problem now is that the Wii U now doesn’t have any particularly big release this fall season outside of Super Mario Maker. Now, it does have some good games coming (Fatal Frame 5, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X), but let’s be honest: None of them are exactly “big names”. It’s really sad, but then again, most people are already considering the days of the console numbered.

    At least I hope this convinces Nintendo of giving more marketing to Xenoblade and, maybe, enacting a price cut.
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  • Avatar for themblan #7 themblan 2 years ago
    Let us not despair.
    Skylanders SuperChargers - 9/20
    LEGO Dimensions - 9/20
    Yoshi's Woolly World - 10/16
    Guitar Hero Live - 10/20
    Just Dance 2016 - 10/20
    Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations - 10/20
    Just Dance: Disney Party 2 - 10/20
    Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water - 10/22
    Monster High: New Ghoul in School - 10/27
    Snoopy's Grand Adventure - 11/3
    Barbie and Her Sisters: Puppy Rescue - 11/3
    Shovel Knight (retail) - 11/3
    Rodea the Sky Soldier - 11/10
    Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends - 11/17
    Xenoblade Chronicles X - 12/4
    Devil's Third - 12/11
    Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival - Holiday
    Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash - Holiday

    If that's not enough, remember there are new amiibo arriving for us to play with, we can always catch up on games we've missed, replay old favorites, and/or work on our backlog of pride (not shame).Edited 3 times. Last edited September 2015 by themblan
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  • Avatar for ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop #8 ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop 2 years ago
    never mind, leaves me more time for playing Splatoon
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  • Avatar for pixelatedsoul #9 pixelatedsoul 2 years ago
    I want to play StarFox. I want to play Zelda. I also want to play these games on the Wii U. But a part of me wants Nintendo to cut their losses, cancel all these games for Wii U and give the NX the best launch lineup a console has ever had. I know that won't happen, but I wonder if that would be the best for them.
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  • Avatar for wii-bert #10 wii-bert 2 years ago
    @larkan511 I think Zelda on NX is a good thing, the sooner they ditch the Wii U the better
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  • Avatar for Neifirst #11 Neifirst 2 years ago
    I have no problem with this delay, especially if it means they're working on muppet-like Star Fox amiibo. Or at least get me a Slippy Toad regular one!
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  • Avatar for DrCorndog #12 DrCorndog 2 years ago
    I'll be pre-ordering both Yoshi's Wooly World and XBCX, while Star Fox was always an "eventual" purchase. The delay won't really affect me.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #13 Nuclear-Vomit 2 years ago
    I'm totally excited about the Car Fox game. A car buying simulator? How can I ask for anything more?
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