Nintendo Releases Original Star Fox 2 Design Docs

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Releases Original Star Fox 2 Design Docs

Last week, Nintendo quietly uploaded the digital manual for Star Fox 2, which will be included on this month’s SNES Classic hardware. But what’s really interesting is that said manual included a whole batch of concept art and game design documents for the canceled Super FX Chip shooter.


Nintendo doesn’t often release these sort of internal materials that give a look at how the sausage is made. Then again, Nintendo doesn’t often release Super NES games that it shelved in 1995, so I guess anything can happen.

The documents aren’t clearly labeled in the manual’s table of contents; you’ll have to click through to each section and scroll down to see them. Besides some standalone bonus images like concept art of the evil Star Wolf team, the design docs are collected into two PDF files.

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Releases Original Star Fox 2 Design Docs

The first file contains concept art for the game’s different models of Arwing ships, in flight modes and also the Walker ground transportation mode (example above), which was originally planned for Star Fox 2 and ended up showing up much later in Star Fox Zero.

The designers drilled down with some serious detail here: Even though the in-game models would be made up of just a few polygons each, they actually show in these designs how the joints and arms of the Arwings could be structured so that the ship could feasibly transform from flight to walking!

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Releases Original Star Fox 2 Design Docs

The second PDF file appears to be pages from three separate documents collected together. The first seven pages are titled “Star Fox 2 Game Instruction Manual” and look like a draft of what would have been the manual packed in with the SNES game. They lay out the game’s control scheme, the various menu options, the icons on the map screen, and the flow of gameplay. This is dated June 19, 1995, which would have been just before the game was canceled.

From page 8 onward, we see a rundown of the hidden Medals that can be found throughout the game, with maps of the stages showing where the medals would be hidden and what they look like. As the player collects them, stars would be added onto the game’s title screen, forming a constellation. (These medals do exist in the final game, but in the leaked prototype version, they do nothing. We will likely find out what they actually do when the finished version is released.)

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Releases Original Star Fox 2 Design Docs

Finally, the last page of the PDF features designs for various enemy formations that would be encountered during the game.


This was certainly a pleasant surprise! Hopefully you’ll actually be able to get your hands on a SNES Classic on September 29 so you can play Star Fox 2 and spot the differences between the design docs and the final version.

Hey Nintendo, how about releasing the Yoshi’s Island design docs next?

Features Editor, Kotaku. Japanese curry aficionado. Author of the books Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life and Final Fantasy V from Boss Fight Books.


Sora Hjort

*looks through the concept art for the arwings*

... Dear Nintendo. Please turn these into transformable toys and/or model kits.

Signed - Sora

Edit: Seriously, that is what the detail on these concept looked like were the plan. Either as model kits or toys.