Editorial: Why It Took So Long For STARFOX 2 To Release

The Super NES Classic Edition is here, and with it one of Nintendo’s highest profile cancellations Star Fox 2.  For all of you unfamiliar with the tale, Star Fox 2 was set to release in 1995 as a sequel to the original 1993 Star Fox.  Star Fox 2 once again has players assume the role of team Star Fox to stop the return of the evil Andross and his continuing assault on Corneria.  Controlling two ships on an overhead map to intercept Andross’s forces before they could destroy Corneria brought a level of strategy to the franchise.  Battles this time around focused more heavily on full 3D engagements instead of the on rails mechanics of the original Star Fox.  Adding two new characters and transforming Arwings, Star Fox 2 was looking to be an amazing sequel.  But as development on the game was drawing to a close, it was cancelled. 

No official reasons have ever been given from Nintendo for canceling Star Fox 2.  Dylan Cuthbert, former programmer at Argonaut Software has come forward in the years since the cancellation to explain what happened.   

"Star Fox 2 was fully completed. I was lead programmer and whilst Giles made Stunt Race FX, myself and the rest of the original Star Fox team (i.e.. Nintendo's artists and designers) expanded Star Fox into a full 3D shooting game. We used state-of-the-art technology such as arbitrary plane clipping (which has only been seen recently in such games as Crash Bandicoot 2 & 3) to create some rather spectacular effects. (for the time)
The reason for non-release was the then impending Nintendo-64 which of course was intended to be released a lot sooner than it actually was. Miyamoto-san decided he wanted to have a clean break between 3D games on the SNES and 3D games on the new superior 64-bit system. In retrospect, he could have released Star Fox 2 and there would have been over a year and a half before the N64 came out. But hindsight is always 20/20.

Even after the cancellation, Star Fox 2 would leave a lasting impact on the Star Fox Franchise.  Many of the features introduced in Star Fox 2 would find new life in future titles like Star Fox 64, Star Fox Command and Star Fox Zero.  Various ROM images have also managed to be leaked to the internet including a fan translated version of what is believed to be the completed game.  Now, after 22 years of cancelation purgatory, Star Fox 2 is finally coming out officially!