Nintendo's most iconic racing franchise is Mario Kart. However, there is one other racing series from the company. In fact, this series predates Mario Kart. Of course, we're talking about the F-Zero franchise. The first F-Zero originally released on the SNES as a launch title alongside Super Mario World. Unlike Mario Kart, which is a fusion of the race and party genres, F-Zero focused on speed and intensity. Players needed to adapt to the tracks and know how to control the hovercar to avoid losing energy. F-Zero would be followed by F-Zero X on the Nintendo 64. The final home console installment, F-Zero GX, was released on the GameCube 16 years ago. Outside of two Game Boy Advance titles (one of which never released outside Japan), the series has remained dormant on consoles since then. It's time for F-Zero to return.
One of Nintendo's Most Under-Appreciated Franchises
Almost all of the notable Nintendo franchises have continued past the GameCube era. Mario, Zelda, Metoid, Star Fox, Pokémon, Fire Emblem, Pikmin, and Animal Crossing have gotten installments on modern consoles. Even Punch-Out!! returned for a Wii outing. F-Zero (along with Mother/Earthbound) is a franchise Nintendo seemingly has shown no interest in reviving. Meanwhile, the company has gone on to make a number of Mario Kart installments. Interestingly, outside Mario Kart, Nintendo has not developed many notable racing games. Could it be that Nintendo figures all it needs to cover the racing genre is Mario Kart?
While Mario Kart titles do excellent in sales, that doesn't mean there isn't room for another racing series, such as F-Zero. Something to keep in mind is the demographic of the two franchises. Mario Kart aims at all ages. Every game has brought fun for the whole family, or a bunch of friends looking to annoy one another with Blue Shells and banana peels. Mario Kart doesn't lend itself to the intense competition as a standard racing title would. This is where F-Zero comes in.
F-Zero has been aimed at an older audience. F-Zero GX is remembered fondly for its story mode, and of course the difficult gameplay that demands a high skill level. Because of all this, F-Zero lends itself to a competitive crowd who enjoy intense races with no gimmicks. Plus, F-Zero separates itself from games like Need for Speed due to its unique cast of characters, hovercars, tracks, and stellar music. Now, a new F-Zero likely wouldn't sell as well as Mario Kart, but it doesn't need to in order to be successful.
Switch: F-Zero's Perfect Home
F-Zero GX featured visuals that still look good today. The Switch is Nintendo's greatest looking console to date, so a new F-Zero would look incredible. Nintendo could go all out, delivering mesmerizing new versions of Mute City and Big Blue, while introducing other futuristic tracks. F-Zero on Switch would catch the eye of many newcomers due to the potential graphics alone. The game would also lend itself well to online play, plus many would jump at the chance to play F-Zero on the go. The Switch is the perfect console to release a new F-Zero on.
F-Zero Switch: New Installment or Remake?
Since it has been so many years since the last F-Zero, some fans may think it wise for Nintendo to test the waters by releasing a remake of an older title, whether it be GX or something else. While not bad reasoning, it would probably be better if Nintendo released a new installment. After all, it's not as if the series has been completely out of the public eye. Captain Falcon has been a playable fighter in every Super Smash Bros. installment, including Ultimate. To market to both longtime fans and newcomers, it could be best to release a new installment featuring an original storyline.
F-Zero: The Time Is Now
The time is right for a new F-Zero game. The game would have great potential on Switch for the console's graphical power, online play, and handheld ability. As for F-Zero's place on the market, there is certainly room for it. F-Zero can be aimed to a slightly older audience than Mario Kart, and can delve into the darker side of racing with bounty hunter Captain Falcon. With many fans reminiscing of F-Zero, now is the time for a new installment on Switch. F-Zero hits its 30th anniversary next year, so hopefully Nintendo is cooking up an announcement for then.