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.