Things X 5 – 5 Developers for F-Zero

by Francois Joron

It has been 11 years – yes 11 years – since F-Zero saw a proper release in North America. To this day, I still consider  F-Zero GX for the GameCube (developed by the now defunct Sega’s Amusement Vision studio) as one of the finest arcade racers around. If it was to be the latest entry in the series, I would be mighty fine with it.

Still, along with Star Fox, F-Zero is one of the most demanded franchises for revival by Nintendo fans. But who could make it? Just like I did last year for the Metroid series, here are 5 potential developers that could handle the highly sought-after F-Zero comeback.


Retro Studios
Related titles: Metroid Prime Trilogy (GameCube/Wii), Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)


The Austin, Texas based studio has repeatedly been a prime fan candidate for a F-Zero revival and was even once rumored to be working on a spin-off on the series, although this was most probably all made-up. Regardless, one of the strengths of the studio is to elevate a series to new heights while staying true to the soul and spirit of the original games. If only for this, I would be entirely comfortable with F-Zero in Retro Studios’ more than capable hands.


Masahiro Sakurai
Related titles: Kirby Air Ride (GameCube), Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)


F-Zero’s universe is bizarre and entirely laughable. Amusement Vision knew this and nicely exploited this aspect in F-Zero GX with silly cutscenes, odd characters and a cool soundtrack. But, I would take it even further with Sakurai taking over the reins and turning the series upside down, just like he did with Kid Icarus: Uprising. Sakurai’s penchant for in-game craziness along with his highly technical signature would make for an interesting take on the speed racing franchise. Also, isn’t he the one behind the infamous “falcon punch”?


Monster Games
Related titles: ExciteBots (Wii), ExciteBike: World Rally (Wii), Pilotwings Resort (3DS)


Monster Games would certainly bring a pretty tight F-Zero experience and be another possibility with an air of silliness, if only based on their work on ExciteBots.  Both ExciteBots and Wii’s launch title ExciteTruck, featured a very unique arcade racing experience that has yet to be replicated elsewhere. The mix of unpredictable track design, simple controls and, in the case of ExciteBots, total craziness is a perfect fit for the futuristic series.


Sumo Digital
Related titles: Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC), OutRun Online Arcade (Xbox 360, PS3)


While Mario Kart has often been imitated but never toped, Sumo Digital took a slightly different road with Sonic All-Stars Racing and tried to embrace the genre instead of copying was has already been done. Sonic All-Stars Racing is a finely tuned, super fun kart racing game that keeps the player on their toes thanks to inventive track designs and a kart/boat/jet transformation mechanic that is creatively exploited throughout the game. It might not be as tight overall as Mario Kart, but Sonic All-Stars has plenty of bursts of creativity that could be transposed in a new F-Zero game.


That new studio founded by Criterion co-founders, Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry
Related titles: the Burnout series, Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)


Early this year, it was announced that Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry, co-founders of Criterion Games, would leave the EA-owned studio to start afresh and start a new game company. With the Burnout series and some of the best Need for Speed titles under their belts, I’m pretty sure they could handle a brand new F-Zero pretty well. The Burnout titles are some of the very best, most respected arcade racers and Wii U’s Most Wanted U is still a consistent part of my gaming routine. More importantly, the most prominent aspects of their games are an unparalleled sense of speed complimented by crisp, stylish visuals, two of the most important ingredients for a successful F-Zero.

And what about you? Who would like to see handling the next F-Zero? I know Shin’en has often been a popular contender amongst fans. How about Platinum? Maybe even Suda51 with his Grasshopper team just to see the kind of twisted world he would come up with. Let me know in your comments below!

Don’t forget, you can drop me hints on my Twitter account. Also, you are welcome to send me a friend request on my Wii U, my Nintendo Network ID is Jorf-Jorf. My 3DS Friend Code is 5069-3920-3758. If you want to snoop at what I’m playing on PS3 my PSN ID is l_am_error. Have a great week!

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