Unlike the last several Star Fox games such as Star Fox Command and Star Fox Assault, Star Fox Zero looks to return the series to its dog-fighting, barrel-rolling vehicular roots. Using the GamePad, you can take aim at enemies from a cockpit view, while the TV screen gives the more traditional third-person use that has been the default mode for previous games.
With the addition of the gyro sensor to the GamePad, Shigeru Miyamoto says that this greatly opened up space for other buttons on the controller to serve new functions. They are now used to speed up and flip the Arwing, while the face buttons can transform the Arwing into a “Walker,” sprouting legs and walking along the ground like a sort of Metal Gear. Although the game was cancelled before release, the idea for the Walker originally came from Star Fox 2.
In addition to transforming modes for existing vehicles, Star Fox Zero also introduces the Gyrowing, a drone-like hovercraft capable of entering small openings and arches. Miyamoto claims that the idea of going under arches stems from his interest in Japanese architecture, and Japanese Kanji lettering even inspired the game’s logo: The “0” was written to resemble a fox’s tail.
Star Fox Zero may very well be Nintendo’s heavy hitter for the Wii U this holiday season, and with the recent success of its online shooter Splatoon, an online dogfight mode also seems likely. Welcome back, Fox McCloud — it’s been far too long.