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The Creators Behind F-Zero Talk About How It All Began

Nintendo has published an interview with the legends behind the original F-Zero for the Super Nintendo. Of course, there’s plenty of things to discuss including why they decided to make a high-speed futuristic racer. It turns out they originally pitched Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race part two but it wasn’t very well received by Nintendo of America. The team had some fighting spirit in them and then decided to make a “cool” racing game.  You can read the full interview which has been translated by Siliconera here.

What made you decide on creating F-Zero in the first place?

Isshin Shimizu, Director: It all started with Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race. It was a top-down racing game, and I made a part 2 for it, so I went to America and had the staff at Nintendo of America check it out. Then they completely criticized it…


So the game you put such effort into wasn’t well-received.

Shimizu: They said “This isn’t a racing game. Racing cars are cooler than that.” To make matters worse, they even said “It’ll never sell,” and that really ticked me off.


What were you working on, Nishida-san?

Yasunari Nishida, Main Programmer: At the time, several  young programmers were assigned themes on experimenting with Super Famicom functions. My theme was a racing game that used “Mode 7.”


The Super Famicom had all kinds of modes used for rendering.

Nishida: That’s right. We had from Mode 0 to Mode 7. And Mode 7 had one of the Super Famicom’s characteristics, the function to expand, reduce, and turn the background.


Shimizu: Nishida used Mode 7 and turned the bottom of the screen by four-fifths and used the remaining fifth to display the background. When I saw it, I thought “This is it!”


And that’s when you thought that you could make a cool racing game?

Shimizu: Yes. I believed we could surprise everyone by using that to make a racing game.

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10 thoughts on “The Creators Behind F-Zero Talk About How It All Began”

    1. Don’t tease me like this…

      And why 2019? Wouldn’t 2018 be better? Now that both divisions of Nintendo can work on Switch since it has handheld and console capabilities, it should be faster than ever for a Nintendo device to get all of the company’s franchises on it.

  1. This is all great as far as history goes but…..

    I believe I was at one of my happiest states of gaming when I picked F-Zero GX & my copy of Soul Calibur II for GameCube. Two amazing games and Soul Calibur has gotten sequels.

    Nintendo make a new F-Zero! Tired of saying it! #FreeF-Zero #TakeF-ZeroOffTheBench

  2. King Kalas X3 {I only buy exclusives that interest me on Switch. For everything else that interests me, there is PS4.}

    If they aren’t working on Mario Kart 9 for the Switch, maybe you guys might finally get a new F-Zero. Or Nintendo will feel that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is good enough as the only racing game on Switch from them, so Nintendo will think to themselves those expecting a new F-Zero or a new Mario Kart can go fuck themselves. To use the words of one of Nintendo’s own developers for Splatoon, you may have bought the Switch but they made it. They know what you will like & not like on Switch from them. If you think to the contrary, well…

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