A few weeks ago an Edge article was unveiled in which Yugo Hayashi, the Nintendoside director of Star Fox Zero, spoke about the game and its development. Since its revelations, many people have been citing the article in hopes of disparaging the game’s visuals.
One thing that is interesting about that though, is the majority of the people that have been down-talking the game due to visuals are strangely the same who claim to hail Nintendo for game-play first. Now, I know there are those who would be of the camp for whom high graphical fidelity is of utmost importance in their gaming, so honestly I am not referring to them, as they are not speaking double. I would however say that those who are oddly taking an alternate tone now are doing a disservice to themselves and to others by perpetrating such a track.
When Hayashi-san spoke to Edge, he shared how many aspects of the game came to be, such as the desire to create a heavy emphasis on asymmetric play by using the GamePad in a very unique method.
“We were experimenting with ways of playing using two screens, and we really liked the experience when we tried having a cinematic view on the TV with the other screen showing the view from the cockpit. We also really liked being able to aim using motion controls at the same time.
Once we had created this system of aiming using the GamePad motion controls, we started coming up with lots of new ideas for how we can make the most of this system.”
In addition to the video asymmetry, there will also be audio asymmetry, as the GamePad speakers will be used to create a 3D sound, as well.
Hayashi promises that the effect will be like having Falco and co right in your ear. “I hope you’ll turn up the volume
and make the most of this new audio experience,” he says.
Aside from the aforementioned details, Star Fox Zero has received a lot of attention (much of it negative) for the displayed visuals in most of the early footage that has been shared. A lot of what has been said, though, is strange, in that you have a lot of people saying how they don’t like the visuals, and others agreeing with that. The thing is, when asked specifically what they mean by it, you have one group of people saying that it’s the art style that they are not a fan of. Then, you have another group who say it needs more polish. You even have that group who are comparing the visuals to a PS2-era game. And still others have said the game looks too empty.
What I think is lost on so many people though, is the fact that when Nintendo builds a game, they are not building it in the way that a Ubisoft would, per se. Nintendo builds their games up, from first creating the game play, and mechanics, then mold the visuals around that game play. That is how they created Splatoon, and that is how they created Super Mario 3D World, and how they have created (and will create) many more games. On the flip-side, take Ubisoft’s handling of games like Watch Dogs and The Division. These are games that looked hyper-impressive when they were first shown off, but the more we saw in subsequent reveals, the less polished they became. That cannot be said for Splatoon, Super Mario 3D World, or most other Wii U games that Nintendo has released for Wii U.
This fact leads me to question, why is it that so many people are so ready to expect that visuals (however you mean) will be sub-par? The bare bones of the game were created early on by Miyamoto-san, and he was even open enough to divulge that the company was looking for a development partner, that turned out to be PlatinumGames. The same PlatinumGames that developed the vibrant and frantic The Wonderful 101 and the visually stunning Bayonetta 2…yes, that same PlatinumGames!
I think that today’s mindset of pretty visuals before all else is damaging to the essence of video games, and where there seemed a strong pocket of gamers who understood that games are made fun by the ability to play them, not just look at them, now it seems that group has given in to the Dark Side. The same people who have enjoyed games of all types and heralded their wares for game play, have now flipped their allegiance and are now upset about the visuals of a game again.
Remember when Super Mario 3D World was coming out and people were upset about its visuals. Over and over, it was said that the game didn’t look good, but when it came to market, it was a phenomenal masterpiece of visual brilliance. Is this generation of gaming so ridiculous that we can no longer have patience and give the benefit of the doubt to two proven companies to get it right, when that is what they do?
What exactly is wrong with Hayashi-san’s statements below, anyway?
“We decided to have two screens displaying 3D graphics at 60 frames per second,” Hayashi explains. “It was this and da a few other factors, including it being the firsti time players will be using two screens like this on the Wii U, that led us to decide to base the graphical design on Lylat Wars. But I’m sure that seeing the Arwing, which everyone is so familiar with, transform naturally into a landbased Walker will be a fun and exciting new experience.”
What that says to me is, a decision was made to create a true next-gen experience with an incredible undertaking of dual-screen simultaneous gaming with 60 fps rendering. How much talk of frames per second have we heard during this generation of consoles, especially from the PlayStation and Xbox “fans”? I mean, PlayStation has sold gang busters on the premise that it is the “most powerful” system on the market, yet the Wii U has more 60-fps games, and we already know the woes of fps for Xbox. The Kinect was abandoned, just to help the console achieve better resolution and framerates. But, Wii U is pushing Star Fox Zero at 60 fps on two separate screens simultaneously, and now the crowd can’t acknowledge that?! The cry is to reduce that feat to meaninglessness if we can get a different (or really the same as everything else out there) result, visually.
I am of the camp that trusts the track record of Nintendo, for one, and in addition to that, I enjoy different art styles and the experiments that are tried out. Casual consumer trends would have suggested that Splatoon would not have worked. Mario Kart 8 should not have worked because, Forza, Need For Speed, DriveClub, and even Project Cars…I mean, come on! Wishing for everything and everyone to be the exact same is an exercise in futility, and a class I refuse to sign up for.
During a recent Active Gamer Life Podcast, The Red Knight and Mizzah Tee even addressed this same issue, so feel free to check them out, as well.
How much do you think the current thirst for hyper-impressive visuals, even at the expense of game play is hurting the industry? Do you feel that it is hurting the industry?
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!
As a point of note, Miyamoto-san announced a delay of the game until early 2016.