This holiday season, Nintendo’s biggest title was Super Mario Maker, which came out way back in September. It looks shrewd in hindsight, but the company’s plan was always for Star Fox Zero to be its big holiday hit… until that delay came out of nowhere and pushed the project to April 2016 instead. The surprising news will eventually result in a better game, of course. But I have to wonder—did all the fan bellyaching about Star Fox Zero influence the decision to delay the game?
Star Fox Zero Delay: Nintendo Responding To The Fans?
When Star Fox Zero was fully unveiled at E3 2015, its reception was lukewarm at best from most quarters (not this one—I was and am wildly excited for Star Fox Zero). Part of that had to do with an overall lackluster E3 presentation, which had no major game announcements for Wii U. But other reasons were a little more specific. The Internet complained about the graphics, for instance. And that the gameplay looked very similar, a little too similar, to Star Fox 64—which I would say is entirely a good thing, but I’m a Star Fox fanboy in the end. The lack of multiplayer wasn’t well received either, and lots of people were still concerned about the controls.
Whether these reasons are valid or not, they definitely influenced the public discussion about Star Fox Zero. Everyone seemed pretty excited to be getting a new Star Fox game, but many people wanted a little more. And I wonder if that influenced Nintendo’s decision to delay the game. Nintendo isn’t stupid, and the company has gotten a lot better about listening to consumer feedback about its games. Just look at the evolving Super Mario Maker. Gamers complained, Nintendo listened.
Don’t think Nintendo wasn’t aware of the Star Fox Zero complaints. It was. And a new Gamespot interview with the lead developer at Platinum Games, which is coproducing the title, reveals some of what the delay aims to address—the visuals, the controls, the level design, the cut scenes. Based on the game’s website, we may even have gotten some online features out of the delay too. These changes align pretty closely with what gamers were upset about.
Nintendo marches to the beat of its own drum. I’m not saying the company caved to public pressure to change Star Fox Zero. I am saying the company saw the game wasn’t quite ready yet… and that the gaming public didn’t want a Star Fox game that wasn’t quite ready yet. And so it got a few more months for perfection, giving us even more reason to be excited. Nintendo listens… more than it ever did years ago. Star Fox Zero and all of us stand to benefit.