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Tobiichi avatar 9:30 AM on 01.16.2012
What happened to F-Zero?


Ever since the Super Nintendo era there have been two large racing franchises for Nintendo to cash in their sweet dollar juice on, the first being the obvious Mario Kart which even though it's growing more stale than Adam Sandler, still sells better than any racing title on the market, topping the charts at release and being one of the best selling titles of 2011. The other title is F-Zero, the high-speed overly serious sci-fi action racer (without weapons) that space-drifted on to the fast-lane of the SNES era in 1990.

F-Zero was pretty big for a good while, spawning a jap-only SNES sequel, a near-perfect Nintendo 64 game, a possibly even better Gamecube title, a N64DD expansion, three GameBoy Advance spin-offs, an anime and a arcade game developed by SEGA. The last game, F-Zero Climax, introduced some pretty neat things, including a level editor and the ability to play multiplayer on several GBA's using only one cartridge, something later replicated with various DS games.

However, Climax was only released in Japan, and that was eight years ago. The irony of the game being titled Climax is well noted, but why wasn't the series heard from again? One could look at sales decreasing, but the last console title, F-Zero GX, sold pretty decent, warranting a Player's Choice re-release from Nintendo and everything. It certainly wasn't the critical reception as the games tend to get better and better response by each major release.

Perhaps Nintendo felt that a Wii title wouldn't do a new game justice due to F-Zero, unlike a lot of other Nintendo games, rely a lot on it's evolution being based on hardware rather than the a control scheme that the Wii would offer. But wouldn't that at least warrant a New Play Control release like Pikmin and Metroid Prime got? Or perhaps an even better question, why no DS game? You'd think after three games released on Nintendo's previous handheld it'd at least be considered for their new one.



Perhaps Nintendo simply wanted to try something new, the Wii got Excite Truck and Excite Bots, the latter not releasing the the Europe because of disappointing sales. But even if we accept that line of thinking, the DS still stood empty past the release of Mario Kart DS in 2006. But at the same time, it doesn't seem as if Nintendo wants us to forget the series, because not only do they keep releasing F-Zero games on the virtual console, they also put Captain Falcon on display along with Samurai Goro in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the countless F-Zero microgames in WarioWare only opens the wound wider.

There was a rumour back in 2008 that Nintendo was developing a game called F-Zero Z, it was going to be for the Wii and be the first F-Zero title to feature weapons as a feature, making it more like Mario Kart in terms of execution. Whether or not the game was cancelled or the rumour just was plain bullshit never surfaced, either way I think that was for the best. Because if Nintendo's plan to make F-Zero relevant again is to make it more like Mario Kart, I don't think many people would be interested. They'd just buy Mario Kart instead.

Well, now we have the 3DS and the Wii's time is almost over. Perhaps Nintendo simply skipped a generation to set up for something awesome, I wouldn't say no to a full HD WiiU launch title going even faster than GX and looking even better, in fact, that'd make everything right in my book.

But I want to know, what do you think?
You think F-Zero should be left in the ditch where it crashed eight years ago?
You want it to be retooled a bit in the Pit Stop for a new audience before it races back out?
Maybe we should just scrap the rusting wreck and get ourselves a new fresh model, call it "F0" and act as if the other fourteen years of history never happened?

...okay that's enough of bad racing puns for a lifetime.


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