You don't stick around for 200 years without learning how to project strength even in uncertain times, but venerable gaming company Nintendo can't help but appear to be in a state of limbo in recent months. Widely expected to announce a new console/handheld hybrid device to replace the underperforming Wii U console and technologically peaking 3DS handheld line, the company is clearly playing things close to the vest in terms of its future plans. Nonetheless, a new Nintendo Direct presentation landed earlier today bringing a host of news drops -- including a big addition to the April 22 release of the eagerly awaited Star Fox Zero.
Announced today, Star Fox Zero will come bundled with a new spin-off title from legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto: Star Fox Guard.
Fans have been anticipating a new console Star Fox title for over a decade, the last one having been Star Fox Assault on the GameCube back in 2005. Zero, from fan-favorite developer Platinum Games, has been awaited by gamers ever since it was announced, and that eagerness has only grown since it was delayed from its original holiday 2015 release. At this point, Nintendo likely could've confirmed to fans that there won't be any further delays and it would've qualified as good news, but instead they opted to announce a whole other game as well.
Star Fox Guard is a completed (and re-branded, with Star Fox characters) version of an experimental game prototype first teased by Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 2014. The game, a variation on security/surveillance titles like Night Trap and Five Nights At Freddy's, finds Star Fox sidekick Slippy Toad and his uncle Grippy controlling security cameras and remote-controlled defenses to protect an outpost from waves of advancing robots. In addition to the main game, players will also be able to make use of a level-editor and share their creations online, where the title will also be available. Though best known recently for experiments like this and the alien-gardening strategy franchise, Pikmin, Miyamoto's name carries near-untouchable weight with gamers, as he rose to prominence as the creator of Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda and other classic series of the mediums' arcade/console Golden Age.
In addition, the Direct report revealed the first confirmed Amiibo functionality for the main game: Tapping a Fox Amiibo will unlock the ability to play the game using a "retro" Arwing rendered using the original flat-color polygons from the first Star Fox on the original SNES. Making use of a then-revolutionary SuperFX chip, it was the first console game to render three-dimensional polygons in real time, paving the way for a generational shift from sprites to polys that would ultimately define the move from cartridge to CD-based consoles over the following decade. Amiibo specific to the new game, including an Arwing and new models of the main characters, have been hinted at in the past.
Thew news came amid a flurry of announcements that also included news of a new Paper Mario title, SNES games appearing on the New 3DS Virtual Console and a new portable Kirby installment that will launch a new line of Amiibo tied to the franchise. None of what's been confirmed is likely to satiate those who are mainly waiting on NX news. Fans are expecting that to come at E3, but longtime Nintendo fans would likely caution not over-expecting when it comes to The House Mario Built and divulging information.
Screen Rant will have more information on Star Fox and other Nintendo releases as they are made available.