For the first time ever, Nintendo fans will be able to play Star Fox 2 on the upcoming Super Nintendo Classic Edition (SNES Classic), launching this September.
You may be asking yourself why this is such a significant announcement, especially when you consider the fact that the original Star Fox is still widely accessible, with a brand new expanded remake available for the Wii U, even. Sure, you can play Star Fox in its various iterations, but you’ve never actually been able to play the sequel, at least in a completed form. Nintendo’s official announcement that the game will be available via the upcoming diminutive console has fans the world over hyped.
Keep in mind that Star Fox 2 was actually canceled before it could ever reach eager fans’ Super Nintendo. Originally developed by Argonaut Games and Nintendo, Nintendo was poised to publish and release the game back in 1995, but it never came to fruition. When it was mysteriously canceled, Nintendo didn’t offer any sort of official comment at the time, though programmer Dylan Cuthbert has since offered insight on why the game was canceled in the first place.
Cuthbert has stated that the game was “fully completed,” but Star Fox 2 had the misfortune of being developed at the cusp of the fifth console generation. By the time Nintendo was ready to begin manufacturing cartridges and ramp up marketing for the title, the PlayStation and Sega Saturn had hit the market, and the Nintendo 64 was less than a year away. Instead of having the 3D models of the SuperFX 2 chip compared to the superior 3D Sony and Sega’s systems, Nintendo quietly canceled the game after it was completed.
Fans wouldn’t get their first taste of Star Fox 2 until the early 2000s when a Star Fox Alpha build leaked onto the net. This Alpha was basically unplayable, but could display some of the models and graphics planned for the game. A few years later a Star Fox 2 Beta build was leaked that actually featured gameplay. It was still a fairly rough build, but contained a basic multiplayer mode, test modes, and the ability to select several missions from a menu to play. However, this beta is a rough build made for developers and is missing a lot of the key menu graphics, and the metagame that takes place on the map of the Corneria System.
Eventually, a nearly completed build of Star Fox 2 made its way on the net and finally players were able to see just what the game would have looked like if it had hit the Super Nintendo. Fans released a patch that translated this rom into English and removed some of the remaining debug and unfinished parts of the game. However, programmer Dylan Cuthbert confirmed in an interview with Nintendo Life that he had a ROM image of the finalized copy of the game and that the final leaked build, while seemingly complete, is missing many elements that made it into the Gold master of the game.
The release of Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic Edition is exciting because Nintendo is finally acknowledging the title and giving us a chance to play it. It’s also exciting because for those of us that have followed the game since its cancellation, it’s a chance to finally see the completed version of the game we’ve spent hours playing and poring over. Perhaps this is a new trend with Nintendo and we get to see some of their other projects that were almost complete, but for one reason or another never saw the light of day.
With the Nintendo 64 Classic Edition being the next logical release in this series of retro machines, it may be time to open the door on what exactly went wrong with the Nintendo 64DD, and what happened to all the world that was done on the system before it was quietly released to die in Japan. Until then, we’ve only got until September to wait until we can get our hands on Star Fox 2.