Interview with Star Fox Command producer reveals its based on the unreleased Star Fox 2

Star Fox Command on DSStar Fox Command was released in the US on August 28 last year. But tomorrow the game will be released in Europe, and so Nintendo of Europe interviewed the man behind the new Nintendo DS game.

If there’s one man that knows the Star Fox series inside out, it’s Takaya Imamura. Beginning his career as an artist on the SNES original Star Fox (Star Wing in Europe), Imamura-san went on to become lead artist on Star Fox 64 (Lylat Wars) on N64 (Nintendo’s first rumble game), then supervisor of the GameCube’s Star Fox Adventures and co-producer of Star Fox Assault. Now at Nintendo’s Entertainment Analysis & Development Division (EAD), Imamura was the ideal choice to become producer of Star Fox Command, the series’ Nintendo DS debut.

Star Fox Command introduces not only intuitive touch screen controls but also a new turn-based strategy element to the long-running saga of Fox McCloud and co. Before each thrilling 3D dogfight, you can now plot your ships’ flight paths simply by drawing on the touch screen.

We began by asking the question that’s been on the lips of Star Fox fans since ‘Command’ was first announced…

Nintendo of Europe (NoE): Imamura-san, why did you decide to bring strategy to a series that is most famous for being purely a shooter?
Takaya Imamura (TI): “A game called ‘Star Fox 2’, which was not actually released, once existed. In that game, there was a strategic system, which we thought suitable for Nintendo DS. That is how we started the project.”

NoE: Star Fox Command has much more of a storyline than previous games in the series. Why is this?
TI: “This time, we wanted a somewhat different storyline of destiny for the characters, and not just a regular story like Hollywood movies. Consequently, we incorporated a multi-story system.”

NoE: Where does Star Fox Command fit into the series’ timeline?
TI: “It tells the story of about 2-3 years after Star Fox Assault.”

NoE: What can you tell us about Q-Games, the development team behind the game? How did Nintendo come to work with them on this project?
TI: “Mr. Dylan Cuthbert, the president of Q-Games, is one of the team members who created Star Fox [Star Wing]. I think this is the main reason why Nintendo came to work with them.”

star fox command dsNoE: Why did you choose to use only spacecraft and not include any land- or sea-based vehicles, as featured previously in the series?
TI: “In this game, we incorporated a new control scheme involving the stylus. Because of this, we did not create vehicles other than spacecraft because we wanted players to focus upon controlling spaceships. However, players will be able to control various different kinds of spaceships.”

NoE: Were there any other characters or vehicles that didn’t make it into the game that you can tell us about?
TI: “During the beginning of the development process, we experimented with the Arwing transforming into a robot, but we decided not to include it in the end.”

NoE: What made you decide to leave the strategy element out of the multiplayer mode? It would have made for an interesting addition if players had to plot their courses not knowing what other players would do.
TI: “From the beginning of the planning of the game, we decided to incorporate only dogfighting. Of course, we many times investigated the possibility of having strategic features in network play. However, we decided not to this time. I really would like to if there will be a sequel.”

NoE: Were you surprised to find that stylus control for the Arwings worked so well? Did you consider just using the control buttons instead?
TI: “Stylus control is the one thing we were thinking about from the start of the development. We believe we could make it work well after trial and error. There was an idea of controlling with buttons, but we decided to use only stylus control for this feature because we realised that controlling with the +Control Pad to fly around in the all-range mode is not comfortable enough.”

NoE: Star Fox would be perfectly suited to Wii’s controls. Are we ever going to see a Wii version?
TI: “I wonder how the adventure of Fox and friends is going to go next time?! I have come up with some idea in my mind, but it is still just a small one. I will try my best so that I can deliver it to you some time!”

NoE: Whenever it might happen, we and a lot of Star Fox fans will certainly be looking forward to it!