Did You Know Gaming? has uncovered Star Fox Armada, a discarded pitch for Wii U that ex-Retro Studios artist Eric Kozlowsky has taken the chance to look back on.
After reimagining Samus Aran’s bounty hunter adventures with Metroid Prime and letting us once again swing from vine to vine in Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kozlowsky had worked on the pitch in his free time as a “what if” scenario if Retro Studios ever had the chance “to tackle another beloved but dormant franchise.”
As the YouTube channel’s video went live, he was keen to reiterate that the pitch “was totally not sanctioned by Retro [Studios] at all” and was something that he had worked on “for fun.”
Unofficial as it may be, his pitch still had many ideas that would be worth exploring. It would pick up where Star Fox 64 left off, rebooting the series as if Fox McCloud had not been on any more adventures since then.
With Andross defeated, General Pepper recognises that after the war that they had endured Corneria and the Lylat system needed to be rebuilt. Without the resources needed to restore the military and civilian sectors, Star Fox would be hired to search nearby systems for the allies and resources that they need only to discover a threat far greater than Andross ever posed.
The gameplay experience would have combined “the classic gameplay of Star Fox 64 with new open world and multiplayer mechanics,” with a single-player mode placing you aboard the Great Fox and travelling to planets, sectors, installations and asteroid belts to complete missions. The money that you earn from these is either able to be sent back to Corneria, spent on upgrading your ships or buying new vehicles such as the Land Master Tank or Blue Marine Submarine.
With all of the action occurring on your TV, in the single-player experience, the Wii U GamePad screen would work as a ship’s control panel – displaying information about your mission and letting you perform repairs if it becomes badly damaged. The game would really come alive in cooperative multiplayer, though.
Kozlowsky’s concept saw player one wielding a Wii Remote and Nunchuk for the “traditional Star Fox experience,” flying through levels while attacking enemies and dodging obstacles. Whereas the second player would use the Wii U GamePad as a co-pilot, gunning down enemies that attack you from all sides, repairing damage and diverting shields to respond to an overwhelming threat.
His pitch also had ambitious plans for online multiplayer. Those ideas included a drop-in drop-out battle mode where you could ambush players in missions on your Friends List – to which you could send out a distress call to request help.
You would also be able to band together with your friends to form your own Star Squadron, choosing whether to “take down notorious pirates or raid trade ships. If you found a band of outlaws too tough for you, you would be able to leave a bounty for other players to accept on Miiverse.
“You and your friends have your own team like Star Lion, you know, and you’re a lion character. And you could go on multiplayer missions and stuff like that,” Kozlowsky explained to Did You Know Gaming.
“I was thinking of the Miiverse, and you could say like, ‘Oh man, Star Llama came in and took me out, I’m putting up a bounty if anyone sees Star Llama, I’ll pay them 500 credits in-game to take them out.’ And I thought that would be a fun Miiverse integration, because Miiverse at the time was really cool and there was a lot of opportunity there.”
The concepts for his pitch are resoundingly bold, even if some showed more ambition than perhaps the ill-fated Wii U went on to show it was capable of in its short lifespan.
You can learn more about the Star Fox Armada pitch in the full video, which you can catch below: