F-Zero designer believes that Mario Kart’s popularity is why the series has yet to be revived
Takaya Imamura, a former Nintendo designer, and artist who worked for the company for over 30 years, has shared his thoughts on why the company has left F-Zero in the dust since the early 2000s, implying that the absence is due to the success of Mario Kart.
- In a new interview with VGC, Imamura was asked about Nintendo's policy of only creating new games in a franchise if it can come up with a new idea, as well as why both Star Fox and F-Zero have seen few if any, new releases like Kirby or Fire Emblem. He responded, saying that he believes it is a "question of sales" and that on "several occasions," projects have been in the works for a "long time" before being canceled, though he did not clarify whether this is related to the two franchises.
- He was then asked if the fact that F-Zero projects were not led by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto resulted in "less love" from the company. According to Imamura, Miyamoto is "always thinking about Nintendo as a whole," which has left him little time to focus on F-Zero in particular, and went on to clarify that Miyamoto created the "game ideas" for both F-Zero and Star Fox, with Imamura's assistance in bringing them to life.
- When asked why Nintendo hasn't released a new F-Zero game since 2004, Imamura explained that the company's most popular racing title, Mario Kart, as well as development costs, may have resulted in F-Zero being overlooked. When questioned if he believes the series will make a comeback similar to Metroid after being outsourced to external studios, he said that while it's "easy to revive IPs," the franchise's renaissance is due to the "careful selection" of its new developers. "Considering the cost, lots of people couldn’t work on franchises like F-Zero because they had more important games coming out. It’s difficult to manage everything with just Nintendo’s internal developers," Imamura said. "That said, there are tons of people who want to make Nintendo titles, so if Nintendo has the confidence that they can make Nintendo games, they should pass it on to those people. Just look at how Donkey Kong Country turned out!"
- F-Zero GX, the most recent console title in the series, was rumored earlier this year to be getting a Nintendo Switch remaster. Next Level Games, the developer of Luigi's Mansion 3, is said to be behind the project, with the game set to be released in 2023. There isn't much else known, but the success of a remaster could lead Nintendo to work on a new entry.
More gaming news:
- A 272-page PDF containing classified documents from Sega during the Saturn's lifecycle has surfaced online. The documents include information on manufacturing costs, marketing strategies, retail margins, internal emails, and even plans for future console releases such as Shenmue and VectorMan.
- Multiple key developers from the original Banjo-Kazooie development team have stated that a series revival is unlikely anytime soon due to concerns about the size of its potential audience. Grant Kirkhope, the series' composer, believes that the fanbase exists in a "bubble," and it's difficult to predict how large the player base would be outside of that.