Nintendo's upcoming SNES Classic Edition contains nearly two dozen games in the package, one of which includes the never-before-released Star Fox 2, which was originally designed for the SNES but never quite saw a proper release. Well, it turns out that it was a lot closer to release than a lot of people thought, because Nintendo had finished the QA testing and English localization for the game, even though it was canceled.
In an interview with US Gamer, Dylan Cuthbert, Q Games founder and one of the programmers who worked on Star Fox 2, explained that Nintendo of America had already worked on the game's localization all those years ago, but it never saw the light of day on the market.
Star Fox 2 was fully localized as far as I'm aware and went through the full QA process. It was one of the rare occasions where even though the game wasn't going to be released Nintendo decided to spend the final few months properly finishing it off--I suppose because it was canceled so close to the end and after all the announcements, they wanted something to show for their efforts.
Now that's typical Nintendo for you.
The company spent resources and time on completing a game decades ago that was never going to be released... until now.
The original Star Fox 2 was going to be a follow-up to the 1993 release. However, it was canceled before its 1995 release since the SNES was aging and just wasn't up to par for handling some of what Nintendo had planned for it. Instead, Nintendo began focusing on the revolutionary N64, which took many of Nintendo's classics and evolved them from the 2D realm to the 3D realm.
Ironically, Star Fox wasn't a property that ever had to rely on being stuck in 2D, and even in its inception, it was always in 3D. So instead of getting a Star Fox 2, Nintendo released Star Fox 64 in 1997 for the N64. It was two years after Star Fox 2 was supposed to release, but it marked a huge step up in graphics technology and playability over what the SNES was capable of back during that time.
Of course, this leads to a lot of people questioning exactly how Star Fox 2 could have been completed if all the ROM prototypes out there are of an unfinished and untranslated game?
Well, it turns out that the leaked ROM was from one of the older prototype builds of the game, and didn't reflect the gold-state version that Nintendo was keeping close to its chest. For those of you unfamiliar with the situation, the prototype version has been circulating around the net as a ROM for SNES emulators.
Modders, part-time programmers, and weekend localizers actually took the time to finish the prototype and properly translate it into English. According to Cuthbert, however, Nintendo won't be using any of those fan-modified prototypes, or modded versions of the game for the SNES Classic Edition. Gamers will get to play the fully tested and internally finished version of the game when the SNES Classic Edition arrives in September.