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    SFOCast Community Roundtable #1

    By DZComposer, in SFOCast,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    SFOCast Community Roundtable with DZComposer, Robert Monroe, Fedora, High Executor, and Commitment to Purple.

    Topic: Star Fox Wii U and the future of Star Fox.



    And because it never goes as planned, here's a blooper reel:



    Teaser Paragraph:

    Miyamoto gave an interview to Edge magazine. A Neogaf leak reveals that in it he said that Star Fox, along with Project Guard, Giant Robot, and Splatoon, are part of Nintendo's new "Garage" team.

    In Garage, "they gather together and think about new projects completely apart from their everyday business assignments."

    Sounds a bit like how Valve operates.


    NOA also tweeted an image showing dates for upcoming releases. Star Fox is still pegged for 2015. Interesting, Project Guard is listed as a separate title, throwing some water on the idea that the game was actually part of Star Fox.


    RUMOR: The Year of Star Fox?

    By DZComposer, in Star Fox News,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    I'm tagging this "Rumor" because it could be a mistranslation, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Miyamoto said something of huge interest to Star Fox fans.

    It started when they asked who Miyamoto would play as in Smash. He said "Star Fox" (C'mon, Shiggy, you should know the character names in your own creations!) because it would be harder than playing as Kirby.

    It was the next question, though, that suggest more was coming for Star Fox:

    Q: You prefer a challenge.

    A: This is gonna be the year of Star Fox. I’ll play as Star Fox for awhile.

    Wait, did he say "The Year of Star Fox?" I fully admit that the statement may not actually mean anything, but for the Love of Lylat let this be true!

    You can read the full interview here: http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/06/11/shigeru-miyamoto-star-fox-wii-u/


    SFU E3 Screens

    By DZComposer, in Star Fox News,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    Nintendo released a video of Miyamoto talking about his games. We got another small glimpse at Star Fox for Wii U.

    Menu Screen:



    Peppy Confirmed:

    Small glimpse of what appears on the pad while flying:

    The video was very carefully edited to not show any actual gameplay, however, so this is the best we get for now.


    Star Fox Wii U details

    By DZComposer, in Star Fox News,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    Here are some details that have come out today:

    * Weapons and the Arwing can be controlled independently.

    * All-Range gameplay was in one of the demo levels, with Falco and Slippy as wingmen

    * In a nod to Star Fox 2, the Arwing transforms into a tank. (Farewell, Landmaster, you served us well)

    * One of the demo levels featured a Star Wolf battle

    * The third level was the most-interesting:

    * The main enemy was a Kaiju-like monster.

    * Other enemies included quadroped robots

    * Hovership with a remote robot

    * Story seems like it will be very little.

    * You will be able to choose levels to play

    * Nintendo is seeking development partners for the game

    * The game was not intended to be shown at E3, but Miyamoto "liked it enough" to show. TBH, I think they had to show it to generate hype for the Wii U.

    * The plan is for an episodic release

    All-in-all, it looks like this will be a VERY different Star Fox game. Using both the gamepad screen and the TV is pretty much required, making off-TV play highly unlikely.

    The game is VERY VERY early, and the things I am ready are suggesting that it really was TOO early.

    In a strange move, Nintendo released an asset dump for the game that is quite puzzling: The picture in the previous article, the Star Fox Assault logo without the "Assault," Star Fox 64's title screen, a screenshot from Corneria in SF64, and a very unprofessional screenshot from Corneria in SF1 that looks like it was taken with a cellphone camera.

    Given this, I highly doubt this game will be ready next year. Despite Miyamoto's assurance that this will be a 2015 title, I think it is more realistic to think into 2016.



    By DZComposer, in Star Fox News,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    Time Magazine published an online article that seems to have spoiled a couple of announcements!


    This really looks like a tech demo, meaning the game is likely very early in development.

    In his new version of Star Fox — still fundamentally a spaceship-based shooter — players now use the GamePad’s motion controls to aim and fire the Arwing’s weapons, simultaneously controlling the nimble craft itself by thumbing the joysticks to accelerate or turn and pull off signature moves like barrel rolls, loops and the tactically essential Immelman turn. And you can still morph your Arwing into a land tank, rocketing down to the surface of a planet, then rattling around the battlefield and laying waste to the landscape.

    But Miyamoto and his team have added a new vehicle mode, one that’s designed to exemplify the new motion control scheme: It lets up to two players pilot a helicopter-like craft, one player controlling the helicopter itself, the other controlling a tiny robot you can drop from a tether to roll around a limited area, either snatching up booty or blasting enemies. Leave the robot hanging as you fly around the battlefield and it becomes a kind of dangling, swingable cannon.

    I hope traditional controls are still possible, as I'm not a fan of motion controls for flying games. But this new hovership and robot idea is intriguing and has an interesting Star Fox 2 vibe.



    Blue Marine as Steel Diver DLC

    By DZComposer, in Star Fox News,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    After seeing Peppy appear in Steel Diver: Sub Wars, it really was only a matter of time until the Star Fox team's submarine, the Blue Marine, appeared.

    If you get Steel Diver premium before Jun 19 (in the UK at least, I will update if other regions) you'll receive the Blue Marine for free! Else-wise, it will be a paid DLC item.

    Now if only we can see it return in an actual Star Fox game it would be awesome.


    The Blue Marine is available worldwide and can be downloaded immediately if you have premium.

    The Blue Marine is paintable in all unlocked paint schemes. It has a crew of 4 and a 4 torpedo capacity.

    The sub's stats are speed-focused, at the expense of health. The torpedo reload is quite fast, my guess in an attempt to balance the original unlimited torpedo capacity in SF64, while still retaining a feel for it. The sub's blasters are not usable nor do the torpedoes you fire create a lighting effect.


    PSA: Beware of fake E3 "Leaks."

    By DZComposer, in General Article,

    Teaser Paragraph:

    It's that time of year: the month-long buildup of hype for inevitable E3 letdown.

    Why does this hype end in letdown?


    Never is the time right for a gamer to use critical thinking skills than in the run-up to E3 where every troll with a fanbase they want to laugh at fires up MS Word or Photoshop and concocts a load of false hope.


    1. If it is a list, who is the intended audience for it and what purpose does it serve to that audience. Lists with no context mean nothing to anybody.

    2. Does that screenshot/logo/boxart use assets from a previous game in the series? If yes, then fake.

    3. Does the photoshop work look like the product of a n00b rather than the work of a professional graphic designer?

    4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Teaser Paragraph:

    (Open article to read entirety)

    I'm DZComposer. I've been a Star Fox fan since the N64 days, and I've been active in the online Star Fox fanbase since 2000. I currently run starfox-online.net, one of the last remaining active Star Fox fan communities. But enough about me.

    For those that haven't read it, Dromble writer Emily Rogers published a scathing piece on Star Fox that many fans will probably consider to be a hatchet-job. You can read the article, and I recommend you do before reading my response, here: http://www.dromble.com/?p=6282

    I will start by saying that I normally respect Emily's work, She often seems to have her finger on the pulse of the industry and has a reputation for publishing articles that are well-researched and well thought-out. To her credit, I will start by saying that she made some fair and reasonable points in her piece on Star Fox, but I think she may have went a bit too far.

    I will start by going over what I feel was unfair or incorrect. I will then go over what I agree with followed by my own thoughts on a future for the series.

    The thesis of the article is that Star Fox in its early years depended on left-over demand for arcade shooters and hardware gimmicks and that since then the series has declined because arcade shooters have become a niche audience, and Nintendo has not used Star Fox to introduce a new "gimmick" since Star Fox 64, and the only way to save the series is a radical genre-shift.

    Evolution vs. Unoriginality

    The first claim she makes in the article is that Star Fox "never offered anything original to begin with." After making this statement, she goes on to list overhead and rail shooters such as Starblade, Space Harrier, and Star Wars on the Atari arcade and Atari 2600. To go for the jugular on this point, she includes a screenshot of a robot head from Silpheed and puts it next to Star Fox 1's Andross. She fails to disclose that the robot head from Silpheed is from an intro cutscene, and is not a boss (Though in her defense it does represent the "Big Bad":

    The real problem with an argument like this is that video games as an art have been evolutionary. Sure, you couldn't have Star Fox without Space Harrier, but you wouldn't have Call of Duty without Doom or Ratchet and Clank without Super Mario 64. Truly genre-shattering or genre-defining games are rare. For every Portal you point to, there are hundreds of Calls of Duty. Does that make every FPS less of a game because there were similar FPSes before it? What was so original about Halo when compared to Half-Life or Tribes or even Quake? Yet Halo is considered one of the greatest FPSes of all time despite it not offering much in the way of original gameplay.

    But it gets worse. She goes on to speculate on whether or not Star Fox 1 would be a noteworthy game if it came out on another system or from a different publisher. This is meaningless filler. It literally is asking "What if the game was what it isn't?" It doesn't matter. Star Fox was not published by Namco. Star Fox is a Nintendo title on a Nintendo system. That is part of the very identity of the game. These "what ifs" ignore that and really add nothing to the point of this section of the article.

    This was a very sloppy argument and I really expected better from Emily. She has to know that games don't have to reinvent the genre to be compelling. Star Fox 1 was challenging, technologically revolutionary, and above all fun to play. Sure, its main draw outside the technological achievement was its character design, but it doesn't matter. The game may not be a Portal, but it does stand on its own and that is why it is included on all of these "100 greatest games of all time" lists that get published from time to time. Sure, the great shooters like Starblade were a base for Star Fox to stand on, but Star Fox 1 deserves its place on the great shooter shelf just as much as Starblade, Galaxy Force II, Space Harrier, or any of the others Emily mentioned.

    Correlation and Causation

    The next argument rolled-out was "Star Fox Can't Sell Without Gimicky Technology."

    There is an old adage in the world of Statistics about claims like these: "Correlation does not imply Causation."

    Star Fox's series-wide sales chart is not pretty to look at:

    Yup, that's a serious downward trend. In fact, this chart is probably a big factor in why we haven't seen a new Star Fox game in a while.

    Emily says that SF1 sold millions of units "because it was the FIRST SNES game to use the Super FX chip" and that SF64 sold millions of units because it "was the FIRST console game to support rumble."

    She goes on to say that Stunt Race FX would probably have outsold Star Fox if it came out first, and that people bought SF64 because they wanted rumble for Goldeneye (which, according to VGChartz, sold twice the units SF64 did) and Star Fox gave them an "extra" game.

    Again with the hypotheticals. Both SF1 and SF64 blew well past the 2m sales mark. In fact, Star Fox 64 was once held the North America launch week sales record until Goldeneye snatched it away a few weeks later.

    She compared Star Fox 64 to Wii Play, which was recieved by the critics. While critic ratings for SF1 are hard to come by, SF64 was well-reviewed according to Metacritic and I don't doubt that critics received SF1 well, too, I just can't find the data. What an insulting comparison. I don't deny that the hardware innovations positively influenced sales, but to claim that they turned mediocre games into blockbusters is dubious and really needs some additional data support.

    Gamers have POSITIVE memories of these Star Fox games. Very few have positive memories of Wii Play, assuming they played it for more than 5 minutes.

    She then points to the other games, without hardware, and points to their lesser sales performance as evidence. She bases this off of ONE VARIABLE. Let's look at how Nintendo market Star Fox games, for instance. SF1 and SF64 were hyped to all ends. Game stores were sent 3' statues of Fox McCloud for SF1's release. Star Fox 1 got a huge display at Space World. SF64 had a corny infomercial and also a significant Spaceworld presence. The rest of the games in the series were not considered marketing priorities. Star Fox Adventures did receive some marketing support, Star Fox Assault got a little, but Star Fox Command got almost nothing. Star Fox 64 3D got a little, but it was in the shadow of the other N64 3D Remake, Ocarina of Time. Also, the genre taste changes that Emily mentioned were a contributor as well, but more on that later. Does she take any of these variables into account here? Nope. It must be hardware.

    Once again, I am not saying that hardware didn't help the sales, especially in SF64's case. But these games stood on their own. People positively remember them. They were well-received by critics. The exact impact of the Rumble Pak on Star Fox 64 is difficult to measure, and the impact of Super FX, which WAS NOT a peripheral, is even harder to measure.

    The argument sees a correlation and assumes causation when there are other variables. Instead of bolstering the claim with data, the claim is "bolstered" with hypotheticals.

    So, what did Emily Rogers get right?


    I'm sure most Star Fox fans agree with her here: The games, especially the later ones, are too damn short. Though I will pause and posit that Star Fox 64 has something called "replay value," meaning the game is fun to play through multiple times.

    Anyway. I agree here. The Games are getting are expensive, but they are short. Emily rightly points out that this is an industry-wide problem. And trends like pre-planned DLC that should be part of the main game exacerbate the problem.

    Now, you can make games longer, yes. But that is expensive, which is why it doesn't happen. 30+ Hr games are rare. Another way to address the problem is replay value. Star Fox 64 had it. Many games today, especially on mobile, have it. But many don't.

    Yes, please give us a longer game. Or at least make it fun to play repeatedly. And if you're going to make it short, don't charge me $60 for it.

    Blame the Fans

    Emily's final section compares Star Fox to Donkey Kong. I don't agree with the comparisons she makes (The original Donkey Kong was a platformer, so there really wasn't as great a genre-shift as she claims), but there is some merit to her suggestions.

    She shows that she unfamiliar with the Star Fox fanbase: "...for some reason, nobody is cool with the idea of the Star Fox franchise branching out to other genres, or trying something new and experimental. Nobody is cool with the idea of Star Fox broadening its appeal outside of a currently unpopular niche genre (shoot em ups, railshooters) so it can become more marketable."

    This is forgivable, though. Sure, the fanbase has its purists. Hell, I used to be one myself and still am to a degree. But Star Fox Adventures brought a new breed of fan into the fanbase. One that is more open to the very changes Emily is suggesting.

    I do see that the arcade shooter is a genre that has been supplanted. No one but a few dedicated fans are interested in them. This is not something that can be denied.

    But I think Emily failed to see what Star Fox fans really disliked about Star Fox Adventures. SFAd is a better game than Star Fox Assault hands-down (SFAs had potential, but it was not met). But, I find myself more drawn to SFAs than to SFAd. Why is this? Because SFAd, no matter how much Miyamoto wanted it to be, is not a Star Fox game. Is this a swipe at the genre? No. It's a swipe at how Star Fox Adventures came to be.

    While I cannot say much for the gameplay, the story for Dinosaur Planet was better than the one for Star Fox Adventures. The code repository for Star Fox Adventures was not cleaned-up prior to final compilation. The result is that quite a bit of the original Dinosaur Planet remains on that Star Fox Adventures disc. While I do not condone the use of emulators to play pirated games, the emulation community has pounced on this unclean repo and a lot has been learned. For sake of length, I will not go into much detail, but it is much darker than Scales stealing spell stones and causing the planet to break-up. How about Sabre's father killing Krystal's entire tribe? Anyone game for some time travel? How about a brewing war between god-like races? A wealth of DP information can be found here: http://www.rareminion.com/dp.html

    This game was gutted, fileted, and then reassembled with Star Fox characters and elements in a manner that was not only disrespectful to Star Fox, but to the original game. The Arwing missions were pointless. The ending was a letdown with them bringing back the same Andross battled that debuted in the Expert run of Star Fox 2. Even the more open-minded fans saw through it. Now, the game did bring new people into the fanbase. Had Star Fox Adventures been built from the ground-up as a Star Fox game, I think the fans would have liked it more.

    Also, the fanbase hates Star Fox Command, the closest of the new games to a classic game, though this is more over what the did to the story (what little of it there was) which many fans classify as a first-rate atrocity.

    Inverse of the Flaws of Marx

    The Diagnosis was wrong, but the prescription was right.

    I'll just come out and say it here: despite all of its flaws and terrible set-up, I actually agree with the article's conclusion.

    I will use a different analogy: Metroid. Metroidvania is a genre that is also pretty much dead. Games like Ocarina of Time showed that in the age of 3D, adventure games had to be on a whole new level.

    Yet, Metroid got a move to a similar modern genre and was done in a way that retained the best things about the original while adding some new. I'm of course talking about Retro Studios' excellent Metroid Prime trilogy.

    Star Fox needs a Prime. Modernize the franchise in a way that preserves its identity while allowing new generations of gamers to enjoy the series.

    The story doesn't necesarilly need a reboot, though starting-over would not hurt at this point given what has been done.

    Vehicular combat should remain the focus of any new Star Fox game. Vehicular combat in action/adventure games is usually done as a side-mechanic. Star Fox started with a focus on vehicular combat, so it should continue. Arwings, Landmasters, Blue Marine; let's see it all. Heck, let us fly Great Fox for a mission or two. Though we need to keep the cheesy dialog and redundant character names to keep the feel there. Vehicle upgrades. Side quests. Etc.

    In the end, though I don't see it being likely. I honestly don't think Nintendo has an idea for Star Fox anymore. The series seems to be in the same hole F-Zero is in. We remain hopeful, though.

    While I agree that rail shooters cannot survive in today's market, I think Emily really missed it on her reasons why the first games did as well as they did. I also think she misunderstands the fanbase. We're NOT the Sonic fanbase here. We're just like any other fanbase: the purists are vocal, but most of us just want a new game period.

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