Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64
April 27, 1997
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Attachment An earlier logo for Star Fox 64 found within the 2020 Nintendo Gigaleak seems to indicate that its subtitle was, at one point, going to be "The Cosmic Crisis".
Star Fox 64's development began with a series of experiments by character designer Takaya Imamura and programmer Kazuaki Morita. As Morita was new to 3D programming, creating something entirely new was difficult, and to make matters worse, they didn't have the final N64 hardware itself to work with, instead having to utilize a bulky dev computer and a modified SNES controller. The pair decided to begin development by porting the original Star Fox, which they thought would be better for easing into 3D. As this was Morita's first attempt at learning 3D, he began with inputting his own data and placing objects like cubes on a course, and then launched basic-looking Arwings. This prototype was affectionately named "Star Box".
person Dinoman96 calendar_month January 28, 2024
User's translation of Star Fox 64 developer interview from official Japanese guidebook:

Nintendo Dream Star Fox Adventures interview:

General SF64 development timeline overview:
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox 64 3D (Game), Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment According to Takaya Imamura in a 2011 Nintendo Dream magazine interview, Fox McCloud's mother is actually still alive and well on their home planet of Papetoon. This is in contrast with the 1994 Nintendo Power comic series, where it was revealed that Fox's mother (named "Vixy Reinard") was accidentally killed by a car bomb planted by Andross that was intended for her husband ("James" as he would referred to in the games starting with Star Fox 64).

According to Imamura, Fox's mother disapproved of her son following in her husband's footsteps and potentially getting himself killed the same way, and thus they have become estranged from each other, though they haven't exactly broken off from each other completely. Imamura even hints that she's secretly supporting her son's actions from behind the scenes.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month October 27, 2023
Nintendo Dream interview:

Star Fox Nintendo Power comic:

Snippet from the original Nintendo Dream 2011 Magazine interview:
Attachment Originally, the development team behind Star Fox 64 themselves actually tried to provide the voice lines for the characters:

—Back in the day, a lot of Nintendo’s games used voices provided by the staff.

Imamura: We dubbed Star Fox 64 ourselves at first, too. We were all like, wow, this is gonna be so cool! But when we showed it to people outside the team, they responded with “laaaame” (laughs). We were told “this is unforgivably bad” (laughs), and so we switched to professional voice actors.

—Ahahaha! But, now I want to hear it for myself… (laughs)

Imamura: Rare did the same thing with their game, except they were really good at it (laughs)

The culture around voice acting isn’t cemented in the US to the extent that it is in Japan; in the US, voice acting is performed by regular actors, whereas in Japan, voice actors have a very specific and distinctive style of delivery, and it could be that it’s left such an impression on us that we’re not as capable of tolerating amateurish voice acting.

What’s funny is that some of the sales people who didn’t like our N64 dub told us that the Super Famicom “buh-buh-buh-buh” voices were cooler, so as a trial, we looked backwards and imported those SFC-style “buh-buh-buh”s, but the reaction was, “nah, that sucks” (laughs). We really did experiment with the animal language (laughs).

As mentioned by Takaya Imamura above, this was met with negative reception internally and thus they switched over to using professional voice actors. What remains of this lost developer dub was recently discovered within the Nintendo gigaleak from 2020.

The official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook reveals that it was programmer Nobuhiro Sumiyoshi who provided the original voice for Leon Powalski, who is voiced by Shinobu Satouchi (who also voices Fox McCloud) in the final Japanese version of Star Fox 64.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month February 12, 2024
Star Fox 64 rejected developer dub discovery Reddit thread:

Rejected developer dub:

2002 Nintendo Dream interview:

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook:
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox 64 3D (Game)
Attachment One of Falco Lombardi's most famous lines in Star Fox 64 is "Hey, Einstein! I'm on your side!"

This line is somewhat controversial because it implies that there exists some version of scientist Albert Einstein within the Star Fox universe. It is worth pointing out that this was added in for the Western localization of Star Fox 64, as in the Japanese version of the game, Falco simply just says:

クッ!敵と味方の区別も出来ねえのか!(Damn it! Can't you even distinguish between friend and foe?!)

Ultimately, the Western version of Star Fox 64 3D would have this line be changed to: "Hey, genius! I'm on your side!"
person Dinoman96 calendar_month January 8, 2024
Star Fox 64 Uncompressed Audio - Falco Lombardi:

Star Fox 64 3D - Falco Lombardi's Quotes:

Star Fox 64 Falco voice clips (Japanese):
Attachment Star Fox 64's infamous Killer Bee enemies were actually designed and implemented by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Miyamoto wanted to include them throughout development and after insisting upon it, he was told by the development team to design the enemy himself. He then drew up three different designs and asked which one the team would utilize in-game, with the final design being used near the end of development.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox 64 3D (Game)
Attachment As admitted by Mitsuhiro Takano (the original script writer for Star Fox 64) in an issue of Iwata Asks regarding Star Fox 64 3D, the development team had initially planned on including more aquatic stages based around the Blue Marine in the original game, but these were removed because they felt they dragged down the pace too much. In the Japanese version of the Aquas stage in Star Fox 64, Falco says:

こんな物 後にも先にも1回きりだぜ!(This is like the only time in our life we'll ever use this thing!)

English SF64's equivalent to this is "This thing will never hold together."

Apparently, this was the result of Takano feeling bad about there only being one underwater stage in all of SF64's single-player mode.

Going by files pertaining to Star Fox 64 found within the Nintendo Gigaleak, it seems one of these cut Blue Marine stages was known as カトレア (Katorea), which properly translates into Cattleya. Cattleya is a genus of orchids, which adds more credence that this was planned to be a beautiful water planet. The planet's initials (CL) show up in many other other source files, which gives clue to what it would've been like; for example, fox_edisplay references CL_SHIP0, CL_SHIP1, and fish00, whereas fox_boss.h refers to CL's boss as 鯖/saba, or "mackerel.” fox_jyuza.o meanwhile refers to a "saba snake", which heavily implies that the stage's boss would have been a giant fish creature or an eel of some kind.

Most of the other files label CL as "Colony", which implies that Cattleya would have been home to underwater cities. In beta versions of the map, CL is positioned between where Area 6 and Bolse would be, and presumably would have led into the cut planned Venom Normal route where Fox would have battled Andross on-foot with a bazooka.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month December 20, 2023
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Command (Game), Star Fox (Game), Star Fox 2 (Game)
Attachment In the original Star Fox on SNES, Venom was said to be a beautiful, green planet in the vein of Corneria before Andross, after being banished by Corneria due to his dangerous experiments, invaded and ruined it, transforming it into a dark, polluted world of military machines, all while enslaving its inhabitants who he drafted into his new army. Star Fox 2's Venom stage on Expert mode would actually depict Venom in its lush green state again, indicating that it was being terraformed back into its original state.

Star Fox 64 would essentially retcon all of this, and claim that Venom was already a desolate wasteland to begin with, which is the entire reason General Pepper banished Andross there after the latter nearly destroyed Corneria with his weapons. That being said, Star Fox Command would later reveal that during his banishment on Venom, Andross had actually created a terraforming device that he planned on using upon Venom as a means to transform it into a beautiful green world similar to Corneria, for prosperity and to also give his heirs and descendants a home to live happily in. This is essentially an inverse of his original SNES backstory, where he's now trying to save Venom and turn it into a hospitable world, as opposed to invading and transforming it into a polluted wasteland.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month November 18, 2023
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment In Japan, Pigma Dengar's name is ピグマ・デンガー (Piguma Dengā).

His surname seems to come from the Kansai expression, デンガナマンガナー (Denganamanganā). In the Japanese version of Star Fox games, Pigma tends to speak in Kansai dialect like people from Osaka. In Japan, people from this region are characterized as rude, bad-mannered, and even criminal lowlifes, very befitting of Pigma.

It is worth pointing out, however, that this is considered an offensive stereotype of Kansai people, and they do not enjoy being characterized this way in Japanese media.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month November 17, 2023
Star Fox character name origins Reddit thread:

Japanese video on Pigma Dengar origins:

Kansai dialect discrimination article:
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Adventures (Game)
During the development of Star Fox Adventures, Nintendo considered re-releasing Star Fox 64 for GameCube, likely as a pre-order bonus similar to how The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was re-released with the first ever release of "Ura Zelda" or Master Quest as a pre-order bonus for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox 64 3D (Game)
Attachment One of the more enigmatic characters in Star Fox 64 is the tanuki or raccoon dog that only appears in its training mode. On the official Japanese Star Fox 64 website, Slippy reveals that his name is ヤル・デ・ポン (Yaru De Pon), and that he is the president of Space Dynamics, the manufacturers of the Arwing and other vehicles the Star Fox team utilizes in their missions.

His surname seems to reference the du Pont family (ポン spells both "Pon" and "Pont"), a wealthy American family who made their fortune selling gunpowder, and later chemicals and motor vehicles. A popular rumor is that Henry A. du Pont secretly sold gunpowder to the Confederacy during the Civil War; fittingly enough, Slippy implies that Yaru de Pon is involved in "shady weapon deals", suggesting that he might be supplying Andross' forces as well.

Yaru de Pon is also notably the only character in the original Star Fox 64 to not have any voice acting. This was addressed in its 3DS remake, Star Fox 64 3D, where he is now properly voiced by Jay Ward (who also voices Wolf O'Donnell in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as well as the Nintendo Switch version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas) in the English version, and Kunpei Sakamoto in the Japanese version.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month November 1, 2023
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox (Franchise)
In Japan, Andrew Oikonny's name is アンドリュー・オイッコニー (Andoryū Oikkonī).

His surname seems to be a pun on the Japanese word for nephew, 甥っ子 (Oi-kko). Obviously this is a pun/reference to the fact that Andross is canonically Andrew's uncle.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox: Assault (Game), Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment In Japan, Slippy Toad's father, Beltino, is called ベルツィーノ(Berutsīno) which comes from ベルツノガエル (Berutsunogaeru), meaning Bert's frog or Belted frog. This is also the Japanese name for the Argentine horned frog, better known as a Pacman frog. Funny enough, after being alluded to on the Japanese Star Fox 64 website, Beltino would go on to have a major role in Star Fox: Assault, which was developed by Namco, the creators of Pac-Man.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Zero (Game), Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment It would seem the entire overall story of Star Fox 64, and also its reimagining, Star Fox Zero, spans about 10 years.

Going by the manuals and guidebooks, the story begins with Andross being banished to Venom by General Pepper after he unleashed a deadly weapon of some kind upon Corneria. Five years later, the original Star Fox team are sent to investigate strange happenings on Venom only for its leader, James McCloud, to be betrayed and killed by Pigma Dengar, which was also meant to be Andross' declaration of war upon Corneria and the Lylat System, and he and his new army he build up over time would spend the next five years attacking them, leading to General Pepper calling upon the new Star Fox team, which leads directly into the events of Star Fox 64.

Curiously, most of SF64's ancillary material leave it vague on how long it's been between James' death and the events of Star Fox 64, typically only saying that "several years" have passed, all except for Pigma's biography in the official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook, which makes it more clear that it's been five years since he betrayed James and Peppy. Beta Star Fox 64 images, as well as the lost developer dub discovered in the Nintendo Gigaleak from 2020, show that Peppy was originally meant to have a line on Titania where he says "This reminds me of 10 years ago!”, obviously referring to when Andross nearly eradicated Corneria with his bioweapon, which is what led to his banishment to Venom in the first place.

Star Fox Zero, whose story and lore is almost completely identical to Star Fox 64, fully verifies that it's been indeed five years since James' death and also overall 10 years since Andross was banished to Venom, both through its opening prologue, the Star Fox Zero - The Battle Begins animated short that was created to commemorate its release, and also the official Japanese Star Fox Zero website.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month October 30, 2023
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox: Assault (Game), Star Fox Command (Game), Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment The official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook reveals that Andrew Oikonny was essentially forced onto the Star Wolf team purely out of nepotism on Andross' part, and that he was actively disliked by his teammates due to his poor piloting skills and also massive ego in regards to his relationship with Andross. Effectively, the only reason Wolf put up with him during the events of Star Fox 64 was due to the fact that he was using said connections to Andross to provide his team with immeasurable technological and financial backup.

A timeline of events provided in Star Fox Command's official guidebook claims that after Andross' defeat at the end of SF64, the Star Wolf team moved away from the Venom army effective immediately and in turn kicked out Andrew, who no longer had the support of his now deceased uncle, hence why at the beginning of Star Fox: Assault, he's on his own trying to rebel against Corneria using the remnants of Andross' forces.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month October 29, 2023
User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook:

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox: Assault guidebook:

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox Command guidebook:
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox 64 3D (Game), Star Fox (Franchise)
Attachment According to the brochures distributed with Star Fox 64 3D in Japanese retail stores in 2011, it was Pigma Dengar who designed the Star Fox logo during his tenure with the original team, before he betrayed them.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Adventures (Game)
Attachment Star Fox Adventures notably takes place eight years after the events of Star Fox 64. In an interview with Nintendo Official Magazine in 2002, Takaya Imamura admitted that he felt it'd be better for Fox and his friends to grow and change over time, as opposed to other Nintendo characters like Mario and Bowser who never age.

Imamura would touch upon this again in an 2002 Nintendo Dream interview regarding Star Fox Adventures. In addition to wanting to come up with a justification for why Fox, Falco, Peppy and Slippy would reunite to fight the enemy, he also wanted to reflect the change in genre from SF64 to SFA and how the relationships between the characters had evolved since then.

As mentioned in the same interview, Imamura had already stated some years prior he'd like to make a sequel to Star Fox 64 taking place 20 years later (Fox would be 38 years old) in the official Japanese guidebook for Star Fox 64 released in 1997.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month October 28, 2023
The developers of the game were originally going to have Fox say "I guess it's your turn to be thankful" to make him sound cooler, but felt that the line was too showy for him. They instead gave the phrase to Falco, who says it after saving Fox from an enemy.
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Command (Game)
Attachment In Star Fox 64's ancillary material, Planet Aquas is said to be an entirely water planet with its surface 100% covered by oceans. Star Fox Command however, would contradict this by showing there to be islands on Aquas in the Slippy's Resolve ending; Command's official Japanese guidebook even claims that Aquas' surface is now only 80% comprised of oceans.

In a Q&A with Takaya Imamura in 2023 on this subject, he theorized that perhaps, somewhere in-between the events of Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Command, the islands were created by underwater volcanic belts within Aquas' oceans, likening it to the emergence of Nishinoshima, a volcanic island in the Ogasawara Archipelago.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month March 17, 2024
Q&A with Imamura on Aquas' islands in Command:

English Translation of the above:

Q: According to the guidebook for "Star Fox 64," Aquas is said to be made entirely of water. However, in the guidebook for "Star Fox Command," Aquas is described as being 80% water, and one of the endings with Slippy and Amanda depicts the presence of islands. Is it permissible to speculate unofficially about what happened between '64' and 'Command'?

A: It's a recent memory, but the emergence of Nishinoshima, a volcanic island in the Ogasawara Archipelago, happened in the blink of an eye. Perhaps such a natural phenomenon occurred. Their environment is much more volatile than ours. It wouldn't be surprising if there were underwater volcanic belts on Aquas.

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook:

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox Command guidebook:
subdirectory_arrow_right Star Fox Zero (Game)
Attachment According to Takaya Imamura in a Q&A in 2024, James McCloud, Fox's father, seemingly returning from the dead to help Fox escape from the depths of Venom at the end of Star Fox 64's hard route was inspired by Obi-Wan Kenobi returning as a ghostly mentor for Luke Skywalker by the end of the 1977 film "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope".

According to Imamura, whether James is actually still alive, or some kind of ghost or vision that Fox saw, is ultimately up to the players to decide. Curiously, while Star Fox Zero (whose story is mostly just a straightforward retelling of Star Fox 64) also contains a sequence at the end where an apparition of James guides Fox through Venom, it appears that Andross can also see him, even shouting:

"Curse you, James McCloud. Why won't you stay dead?!"

Which further adds to the ambiguity on whether James is still alive or not.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month March 17, 2024
Imamura Q&A on James' fate:

Star Fox 64 hard route ending:

James and Fox fight off Andross in Star Fox Zero:
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