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If you haven’t heard yet, Nintendo is making the SNES Classic, a mini plug-and-play version of the 1991 Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As exciting as the reveal is, the most surprising part isn’t the system itself but one of the 21 pre-installed games — the never-before-released Star Fox 2.
Why was this game never released? Was it already developed or is it a modern creation? Don’t worry, the game’s programmer Dylan Cuthbert has given all your answers in an interview with IGN.
Cuthbert worked with Nintendo in the ’90s to program both Star Fox and its ultimately cancelled sequel. Star Fox 2 was fully mastered and ready to go, but development took longer than planned. Nintendo ended up pulling the title due to the outdated style and fear of losing to competitors.
“The PlayStation and Saturn had just come out,” Cutherbert told IGN, “and suddenly our form of 3D felt old and Nintendo had a strong rivalry going with Sony and Sega – I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to lose face or be seen as inferior.”
Since the game’s cancellation, several different versions of Star Fox 2 leaked as ROM’s for avid fans to play, albeit illegitimately. Cutherbert said those leaks “lacked the final magic” of the last few months of development. He also noted “the encounter systems didn’t seem to work very well” in those ROM’s.
Fast forward 20 years, and that nostalgic retro pixel art style is just what consumers are after, making this the perfect time for a surprise Star Fox 2 release. It was even surprising to Cuthbert, who thinks “it’s absolutely awesome” fans will finally get to play the game he put his heart into.
The Super NES Classic is due out September 29th, 2017.