Star Fox series inspired by Thunderbirds
Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed that popular sixties British puppet television series Thunderbirds was a source of inspiration for sci-fi shooter Star Fox.
Discussing the game within the latest Iwata Asks column, both Miyamoto and Iwata stated they were fans of the show. Miyamoto even envisioned that Star Fox could be successful enough so that Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson would travel “all the way from England for negotiations to adapt it into a puppet drama.” He admitted that licensing the game would have been “a dream.”
“So for Star Fox 64, even though we would usually want the character animation to look natural, we had puppets in mind, so the characters’ mouths pop open and closed,” Miyamoto explained.
The choice of using animal characters was to directly contrast with Japanese sci-fi at the time, which featured robot anime, superheroes and monsters. “I wasn’t interested in doing the same thing,” he discussed. “We were like, ‘But animal characters in a shooting game?’ and then ‘That’s precisely why it should have impact!’ and started thinking about which animals to use.”
The use of ‘Fox’ derived from the aerial shooter’s arches, through which Arwings fly, that had reminded Miyamoto of Japanese shrine gates which are often linked with the imagery of a fox. Similarly, a baseball team near his former studio who used this imagery were also named ‘the Foxes’. “So it was the English word ‘fox’ from the start.”
As for the other choice of animal races, these were taken from Japanese folk tales… aside from Slippy Toad. He was inspired by a former staff member, with Miyamoto explaining: “There was a staff member who used a toad like a personal mascot, always writing ‘ribbit, ribbit’ and such on memos.”
So, there you have it – a little Star Fox history!