Cancelled F-Zero Switch game would’ve boasted ‘massive multiplayer’

A former Nintendo programmer details his rejected prototype for an F-Zero Switch game, with 32 player races and ‘super realistic physics.’

Nintendo has a number of IPs that it’s let fall to the wayside over the years but, out of all of them, it’s F-Zero that seems to be the most in demand for a revival. At the very least, its fans are the loudest. One even became a shareholder in the company, just to ask Nintendo about a new F-Zero game.

While Nintendo has insisted that F-Zero isn’t a dead franchise, there hasn’t been a new game since 2004, with retired series producer Takaya Imamura stating that any new F-Zero would need a ‘grand, new idea’ for it to be made.

Other studios have picked up the slack with obvious pastiches like Fast Racing Neo and Redout 2. However, it’s been revealed that one such studio pitched a new F-Zero for the Nintendo Switch, but was rejected.

Knowledge of this F-Zero pitch was first revealed last year, courtesy of Giles Goddard, a former Nintendo programmer who left the company in 2002 and is currently the CEO of Chuhai Labs.

More recently, he shared some more details on precisely what his team’s take on F-Zero was like, explaining that it would’ve featured ‘super realistic physics’ and ‘massive multiplayer,’ allowing for up to 16 human and 16 computer players at once.

‘It was super fast, super chaotic, super realistic physics, so it feels like F-Zero, but there’s a lot more depth there… It was quite interesting to see what situations you could get the entire race into,’ he told DidYouKnowGaming.

‘You could bump one car, it would bump into two other cars, and they would bump into the rest of the pack and it would cause an entire pile-up. So it was just fun playing around and seeing how badly you could screw up the race.’

It would’ve also featured the option to create and share your own race courses with friends, and would’ve aimed to run at a smooth 60 frames per second.

Despite Goddard’s history with Nintendo, and having a working prototype to show, the pitch was rejected. As Goddard explained in a separate interview with GameXplain from last year, Nintendo was both wary of returning to an old IP and felt Goddard’s team lacked the manpower needed.

‘We were kind of stuck in a catch-22 working with Nintendo, because we’d say to them ‘We want to do this F-Zero game, can you give us all this money,’’ said Goddard.

‘And they say, ‘But you don’t have enough people.’ And I’d say, ‘Well if we had the money, we could get the people.’’

Goddard did agree to share footage of the prototype and even upload a playable demo for free, but the arrangement fell through due to legal complications.

While F-Zero remains trapped in the void, its aforementioned producer, Takaya Imamura, has decided to return game development, though not with Nintendo.

Recently, Imamura released his debut manga Omega 6, a retro sci-fi story starring a pair of bounty hunters. The manga’s currently only available in French, but it’s already getting a video game adaptation.

Gematsu reports that Imamura is handling the art direction (which makes sense as he was also an artist and character designer for F-Zero and the Star Fox series), with Japanese studio Happy Meal in charge of development.

Rather than a racer like F-Zero, or space shooter like StarFox, the Omega 6 game will be a text adventure, but it’s said to feature battle scenes and other unique features.

It will also tell an original story and not just adapt the plot of the manga. It’s scheduled to launch for the Switch in 2023.

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