With the official announcement of the SNES Classic Mini and its inclusion of the previously unreleased Starfox 2, it’s time we focus on just what to expect from the lost Starfox sequel.
Planned to be released in 1995, Starfox 2 (like the original) is a game joint developed between Nintendo and Argonaut games. Using an upgraded version of the Super FX chip included in the original Starfox cartridge, Starfox 2 once again brings real-time 3D space action to the Super Nintendo. Heavily publicized in several gaming magazines as well as making appearances at various video game events, Starfox 2 was fully intended to release on time. However, as Nintendo was developing the game, next generation consoles such as the Playstation and Sega Saturn had already released in Japan. These then new consoles featured 3D graphics much more advanced that what could be produced on the Super Nintendo with the Super FX chip. To avoid comparisons between it’s more basic 3D graphics and those produced by these newer consoles (and to avoid scrutiny from Sony who was Nintendo’s bitter rival at the time), Nintendo decided to quietly cancel the game’s release. At the time it was cancelled, Starfox 2 was already completed and only required some cleaning up before being ready for release. The game would’ve seemingly remain lost to the public if it weren’t for anonymous insiders at Nintendo leaking various prototype builds of the game.
Ever since the game’s prototypes were leaked, the game has been available for play in a near complete state, enough to get a thorough understanding of what the developers were aiming for. In Starfox 2 you must defend Corneria and the Lylat galaxy from the forces of the revived Andross. As the game begins, you are asked to choose which member of the Starfox team (now featuring 2 new female members: Miyu and Fay) to control as well as a partner pilot. What makes this game unique is its departure from the original game’s formula in favor of a more open ended type of game. Similar to Starfox Command for the Nintendo DS, you are presented with a map of the galaxy with various planets and battleships. It is up to you the pilot the arwings, liberate planets taken over by Andross, intercept enemies and missiles aimed at Corneria, and diminish Andross’ forces. The game takes place in real time where enemies and missiles on the map continue to move as you battle Andross’ minions with certain boss enemies (such as Star Wolf who would’ve been originally introduced in this game) even being able to interrupt your missions.
According to one of the game’s original developers, this leaked prototypes still lack various features that are included in the final build of the game (a copy of which he owns). It can be assumed that the version included in the SNES classic mini will be this final version so people who have already played through the prototypes may still have new content to look forward to!