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The Franchise Needs a New Entry

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F-Zero is one of Nintendo’s most neglected franchises, but the high-speed racing title could stand out from Mario Kart and utilize modern graphics.

Nintendo has many iconic franchises that consistently make use of its consoles, such as the Mario Kart racing series. One of several Mario spin-offs, this game series combines bright colors and a fun, exciting atmosphere for the whole family or a group of friends. Unfortunately, its success has seemingly come at the expense of another racing series from the developer.

F-Zero pushed graphical and sensory boundaries forward on the Super Nintendo, but its last new entry was way back in 2003. Fans have been begging for a new game ever since, and F-Zero character Captain Falcon’s popularity in the Super Smash Bros. crossovers has only heightened this demand. The hardware of the Switch could provide for a great new F-Zero entry, making it a perfect time for gamers to return to Mute City.

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F-Zero Is Far Less Child-Focused Than Most Nintendo Franchises

Player is racing in fourth place on lap one in F-Zero GX

For the most part, Nintendo’s intellectual properties are still seen as more “kiddy” or family-friendly options, with many of them typically featuring a more cartoonish and whimsical aesthetic. That’s not the case with F-Zero, which always gave off a cool, futuristic vibe on the cutting edge. With its high speeds and pulse-pounding turns, the series has a much more “hardcore” feeling to it.

This extends to the challenge level, which created an experience that was meant for advanced racing game fans. It was certainly much less of a family party game when compared to titles like Mario Kart, with the sci-fi character and vehicle designs being worlds apart from the playful nature of the Mushroom Kingdom. Such a title fits right in with the likes of the Metroid, allowing Nintendo to expand its potential target audience and marketing scope. It helps that Sony hasn’t had a major hit with the so-called “F-Zero ripoff” Wipeout in years. The difficulty of the game could also be a huge boon in terms of marketing, with the title being easy to sell as “the Dark Souls/Bloodborne of racing games.” Sadly, this hasn’t convinced Nintendo to move forward with a new entry in the franchise yet.

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F-Zero Could Thrive On Modern Console Graphics

F-Zero GX racing action in progress

The somewhat dated Switch might not be as much of a graphical powerhouse as its competition, but it’s still a far stronger console than the hardware that hosted the last F-Zero game. This alone could make a new entry a far more visceral and sensory game, with tracks sprawling through futuristic cities and cars turning at almost nauseating angles. The game could combine stylized physics, designs, and lighting that blitz the eyes, showcasing that even merely decent graphics can still provide great visuals today. The cyberpunk genre has also seen a huge boost in popularity thanks to titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and its accompanying anime adaptation. There’s also the fact that online play has become the norm since 2003, with this feature automatically adding more replay value than the franchise has ever had.

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto stated in 2012 that a new F-Zero “wouldn’t have much to offer,” which is a rather ridiculous statement given the huge gap between now and the most recent game. If nothing else, it would allow a new generation of gamers to experience the game and see who that weird Captain Falcon guy really is. Likewise, more mainstream Nintendo games have had far less to differentiate their latest titles, yet they’re still made because of the fan base.

F-Zero is not without such a fan base, and it would be an easy game to market and sell as a console killer app, even to those who might usually overlook Nintendo hardware. Sure, the past sales of the series may not have been great, but the same was the case with Fire Emblem before Fire Emblem Awakening revitalized the franchise. With Nintendo going all in on the more mature Fire Emblem and bringing back Metroid, a new F-Zero is the Falcon Punch it needs to further bolster its older-audience gaming options.

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