Since Star Fox first began on the Super Nintendo, its combination of arcade replayability mixed with frantic, fast-paced action has long been beloved by gamers everywhere. Now, we are on the verge of the release of the sixth mainline adventure in the series—Star Fox Zero—where we’ll once again get to see Fox McCloud and his ragtag band of wingmen for hire protect the Lylat System. Even though the game has been in development for quite some time, there are still a lot of unknowns out there among fans. So, we’ve decided to crack open the Arwing cockpit and give fans a peek inside at our top five things you might not know about Star Fox Zero.
#1: Nintendo isn’t working on the game alone
Although Star Fox is considered one of Nintendo’s heavily guarded first-party properties, the Big N has decided to ask for a little help on this new project from an outside studio in the form of Platinum Games. Platinum’s pedigree in the action genre is well established, and considering the studio’s familiarity with developing games for the Wii U and its gamepad—The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2—they were a perfect fit to come on board and lend a hand in this newest Star Fox adventure.
Funnily enough, it’s not the first time Nintendo has tapped third-party studios for help on one of their franchises. Some of the better-known instances include Sega (who Platinum has also done a great amount of work for) developing the GameCube’s F-Zero GX back in 2003, and Capcom being tapped for The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Seasons games for the Game Boy Color in 2001.
#2: Star Fox Zero is a re-imagining of Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64 has long been considered the pinnacle of the series. So, instead of continuing the existing storyline, or even slipping a prequel in there (as the Zero in the title might imply), Star Fox Zero is actually a re-imagining of Star Fox 64. Don’t take this to mean that it’s a reboot of the series, however. This is simply a love letter to one the best games for one of Nintendo’s best systems, giving new players a chance to experience something they might not have originally been around for. For veterans of the series, this also isn’t a one-to-one recreation, as there are plenty of new features and twists to be found—all while nods to the original game no doubt bring a nostalgic smile to your face.
#3: The day one physical edition of Star Fox Zero comes with a very cool bonus
If you pick up the physical version of Star Fox Zero on day one, you’ll get quite the bargain. Not only will you get the re-imagined adventure of Star Fox 64, but also an entirely separate, brand new original game called Star Fox Guard for free. Star Fox Guard is a tower-defense adventure with 100 levels, which sees you working for Star Fox mechanic Slippy Toad’s uncle, Grippy. Your objective is to protect Grippy’s various metal-mining operations from a horde of mineral-hungry robots using a dozen cameras that can be strategically place around Grippy’s facilities. You’ll even get to work directly with Slippy on occasion, as the two of you put your heads together to figure out where this metal menace is coming from.
If you’re unable to find a physical version of Star Fox Zero on day one, never fear: you can also buy Star Fox Guard digitally for a fee through the Nintendo eShop.
#4: First-person view with the gamepad will be more useful than you think
One of the biggest gameplay changes Star Fox Zero is bringing to the series is a first-person perspective via the Wii U gamepad. Using the game’s motion controls, you can move the pad around to aim as if you were actually sitting in the cockpit of an Arwing. For some, this might seem gimmicky, but once you actually play around with the control scheme, you’ll find it actually comes in handy during some segments of the game. For example, Star Fox 64’s all-range mode returns, taking Arwings off the rails they oftentimes stay on in most levels. In this mode, seeing the world from a cockpit view can be critical for lining up runs at special items, or focusing in on enemy weak points—especially in boss battles.
The first-person view opens up a fun little bonus feature: the ability to continue controlling your Arwing during mid-level cutscenes. This is great for collecting items or prepping your strafing run while bad guys pontificate on how doomed Star Fox is—right before they realize the error of their ways when they’re reduced to a flaming pile of slag.
#5: The game does support amiibo, but it’s a limited level of support
While Star Fox Zero may not feature as deep of amiibo support as other games out there, the two Star Fox-oriented amiibo on the market do offer some nice aesthetic changes to the game should you own or purchase them.
Using the Fox McCloud amiibo in conjunction with Star Fox Zero turns your in-game Arwing into the classic polygonal Super Nintendo Arwing, complete with SNES-style bomb explosions. Using the Falco Lombardi amiibo with Star Fox Zero, on the other hand, offers up a special Black Arwing, similar in color scheme to those used by Star Wolf. The Black Arwing is particularly special because it does more damage and can lock onto multiple targets. However, it also takes more damage, offering up an interesting risk/reward gameplay experience.