Nintendo approached Burnout developer Criterion in 2011 about creating a new F-Zero game for the Wii U, it’s emerged.
According to Nintendo Life, an anonymous source tipped them off about the story, which they have since confirmed with Criterion founder Alex Ward.
Ward stated that Nintendo had approached the studio hoping for a quick turnaround on the game, so that it could be announced as a launch title for Wii U. Unfortunately, Criterion was busy working on Need for Speed: Most Wanted at the time, and so wasn’t able to commit to it.
That Nintendo would approach third parties about making a new F-Zero isn’t entirely surprising; previous comments from Shigeru Miyamoto made it clear that he had no real idea of what to do with the franchise, feeling that it would need something fresh in order to justify its existence. It wouldn’t be the first time that Nintendo has outsourced development of its properties – Retro worked on Metroid Prime, after all.
Ultimately, all we can do is imagine what a Criterion-developed F-Zero might have looked like. Given the general excellence of everything the studio has developed over the last decade and a bit – Burnout 3 remains one of the greatest arcade racers of all time – my brain can’t help but conjure images of Captain Falcon slamming hard into Samurai Goroh’s Fire Stingray (and yes, I had to look up the name of the vehicle to remember it) and sending him flying off the track at the peak of a loop-the-loop.
Savor that image – with over a decade since the last game in the series, it looks unlikely that we’re going to see a new installment any time soon. Here’s a video of F-Zero GX on the Gamecube to remind you what we’re missing out on: