The name of Dylan Cuthbert might not ring a bell for every one but if you’re a Star Fox fan, it will. The veteran game dev and programmer had a major influence at Argonaut Software, where he contributed vastly to the development of the original Star Fox on SNES. He has also produced two Star Fox titles through his own studio Q-Games (Star Fox 64 3D, Star Fox Command), among many other games. So when several players and fans of the franchise have the opportunity to exchange with him during an AMA on Reddit, it can only be filled with Star Fox anecdotes and secrets. Here’s a little selection of what we thought to be the best ones.
The StarFox Crew in real life
This one has been a long-time theory among fans: Was the classic StarFox crew actually based on folks who were working on the game? Well, Cuthbert has confirmed it! The game dev followed every part of the development of the SNES game, so you can take his word for credit.
“Slippy was based on [Yoichi] Yamada for sure. Falco was [Tsuyoshi] Watanabe or Giles [Goddard], Fox was [Shigeru] Miyamoto or myself.”
Intended for a release on SNES in 1995, StarFox 2 is one of the darkest moments in the story of the franchise. Argonaut Games and Nintendo developed the game but, to make it short, it got cancelled for legal reasons. However, a ‘leaked’ prototype ROM appeared online over the years. Cuthbert wanted to clear the story around the development of the game and the fact that this ROM isn’t representative of the final game.
“It was very disappointing of course, I had spent two years making the game and put so many ideas into it. I could understand the marketing/publisher logic behind the decision but it was still disappointing.
I can’t really comment on that [feelings about the ROM], and it’s illegal to do reproduction cartridges. The videos I’ve seen of that build show it to be an old build and not the final one as there are some major gameplay elements missing such as the rogue-style encounter system and more variations of the various arenas and setups. I doubt Starfox 2 will ever get a proper release because it would require re-negotiating contracts with Argonaut, which of course doesn’t really exist now.”
Of course, they had to ask the question. With the deception of the last episode,StarFox Zero, fans are desperate for every little glimpse of hope that could reveal what’s coming for the franchise on Nintendo’s new system. So first off, Cuthbert gave his point of view on the Switch. Then, he confirms that unfortunately, his studio isn’t working on anyStarFox title for the Switch at the moment. It doesn’t mean Nintendo isn’t necessarily doing anything, just that Q-Games isn’t a part of it.
“I think the Switch is awesome – perhaps the resolution could have been higher but maybe that would have resulted in a smaller screen to keep the cost down. The idea is very cool though and I’m playing Zelda (of course). I’m sure Nintendo must be thinking about StarFox for Switch but we aren’t involved in that (I must admit it would be fun to do though!).
We aren’t working on anything for Switch right now, but I have some ideas for original titles. I just need to find a publisher crazy enough!”
The future of the franchise
Let’s face it, StarFox Zero (Wii U) wasn’t a success. We’re not here to tackle down the game, so let’s just leave it like that. But it’s still important to look at how this episode will influence the future of theStarFox franchise. Cuthbert received a question about what he would like to do with the nextStarFox (if Nintendo wants to do it with them of course).
It would have to be epic, the game is always best when it takes on and copies the big classic scenes in science fiction movies such as Independence Day and Star Wars. But at the same time I would want to work on the controls and gaming loops surrounding the player’s actions, and arguably this is what I added to the original StarFox too, with the hit-flashes and rings and direction-flickable barriers, that’s the stuff that is really good fun.