[Disclaimer: all images acquired from Google search.]
I live about a three-minute walk away from an elementary school—the same elementary school I attended when I was a child. Behind the school (or perhaps in front of it, depending on direction) is a track used for P.E. activities, football, and other school activities. Occasionally, I like to walk around this track to clear my head or get some fresh air. My most recent visits had me thinking about F-Zero GX, the last game in the F-Zero franchise (not counting spin-offs like GP Legends). It’s been over fifteen years since then, and no new F-Zero game has made itself available for the Wii, Wii U, or the Switch thus far. I think that’s unfortunate.
Shigeru Miyamoto has gone on record saying that he was never under the impression that people actually wanted a new F-Zero game, and if it does come to fruition, he wanted to know what people would want from it that hasn’t been done before. It seems Miyamoto wants a new F-Zero title to have a sort of innovation that would make it a unique experience unlike any F-Zero game prior. Walking around that track, I came up with something. This post plans to detail the things I came up with while also gauging any viewer response to the legitimacy of my ideas, just so I don’t think I’m bouncing ideas off me, myself, and I.
In each F-Zero title starting with F-Zero X, the statistical grades attributed to each F-Zero machine included Boost, how much faster one goes after boosting; Body, how durable a machine is; and Grip, how controllable a machine is without sliding around the track. There are smaller nuances to each, but what I’ve given is a general explanation of the attributes. My main proposal is the inclusion of a fourth attribute that would affect the entire game’s core: Repair.
My thoughts on a Repair feature would give rise to a machine-based repair grid that would be shown perhaps in the top-right corner of the screen, where a machine’s energy bar is traditionally shown. The repair feature would supplant the need for an energy bar, so I would completely remove it from the game. Yes, I’m proposing the removal of the franchise-standard energy bar, along with the recovery strips found in patches on each track. It sounds drastic, but hear me out.
With the inclusion of the Repair attribute, one can slide and boost to whatever consistency they prefer—even on the first lap, the player will be able to boost. However, the grid shown where the energy bar used to be will be used to display the strength of the three other attributes of the machine—Boost, Body, and Grip. If one boosts too much, the grid will begin to turn yellow, then orange, then red. The darker the color, the slower the player’s machine will go. The more the player uses drift turning and slide turning, the less effective they will be. The more punishment one takes from opponent attacks, the more likely one will crash from body disintegration.
Oh, and on the topic of Body, I would make the player (and others) a little tougher to kill in this game via spin attack and bumping. One can typically kill someone with one well-timed bump in GX; here, I’d make it two to three hits, dependent on the body types of the machines involved.
This is where the Repair feature makes its mark. Throughout the course of the race, the Repair feature will slowly, but consistently repair these three things for the player; the speed at which it does depends on the strength of the machine’s Repair stat. If at an “A” rank, the Repair feature will fix the machine at a faster rate; if “E,” it may take a little while longer. Whatever the case, this feature will ensure that players keep a steady eye on the rate at which they boost, slide, or take damage, creating strategy going into every race and dependent on the structure of the track. If a track features many sharp turns and wide angles, one may want to conserve their drifting, for example.
Something else I was kind of pondering on (but didn’t think too hard on) was the incorporation of stat-boosting items to be bought within the game’s store, through credits one earns from completing grand prixs or, perhaps, a story mode or online races (might be asking too much with the latter). Just some little trinkets that can be used once per race to improve one statistic of a machine, or perhaps boost up one statistic twice and lowering another by one. Things of that nature. It could add further value in earning credits and going to the game’s store past what GX did with new machine parts for customizable machines.
On one last note, and this would be asking way too much from the developers, I would allow the game to be split between two modes: Standard and Classic. Standard would include everything I mentioned above. Classic, however, would switch back to the traditional style of F-Zero, sans the Repair feature and the return of energy bars and repair strips and what-not. Maybe Classic Mode would be a reward for completing a hypothetical Story Mode or buying it for an insane amount of credits in the store.
These are all just the suggestions of an often-wandering mind, and are very unlikely to come to reality. Nevertheless, these are my suggestions for new features within a new F-Zero game. I would personally find this fair and worth a challenge for old and new fans of the franchise. Although, I do acknowledge that such a drastic change from the norm might alienate older fans. Whatever form it might come in, I’d just like to see a new F-Zero game thrive.
What do you think of my suggestions? Do you have any ideas for what should be put into a new F-Zero game?
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.