Giles Goddard has a mile-long resume but is the founder of Chuhai Lab and Vitei, a former Argonaut Software developer, and a former Nintendo programmer, and he recently did a lengthy interview about his career with GameXplain. The discussion touched upon various topics, like his work developing Star Fox and Stunt Race FX on SNES, but one notable topic involved F-Zero. Goddard explained that he and his team at Vitei developed an “ultra-realistic” F-Zero demo for Nintendo Switch as a way to prove the versatility of their game engine across Switch, Nintendo 3DS, and PC, but Nintendo rejected the F-Zero pitch due to the great challenges that come with reviving a classic Nintendo IP.
“I thought it would be really cool to have an ultra-realistic F-Zero still with sort of really cool futuristic graphics but just really realistic physics,” explained Goddard. He went on to elaborate: “So we just made a demo of some really cool F-Zero cars going around this crazy track and just hundreds of the cars using AI to sort of race each other, but they’d all have realistic physics, like… a bit too over-the-top realistic, so the hovering was actually caused by four jets in the bottom (that) sort of adjust themselves. But it meant that if you for instance… killed one of the jets, it would sort of end up sinking, and if you kill the other one it would flip over and all this kind of stuff.”
So at the least, it was a pretty wild physics demo. However, unsurprisingly, Nintendo passed on the ultra-realistic F-Zero concept, and Goddard explained why: “Nintendo are vary wary about using old IP because it’s such a huge thing for them to do. It’s much easier to go with a new idea, a new IP, than to reuse an old one.” This is actually a somewhat fascinating explanation, as many companies are happy to keep bringing their IP back to make an extra buck, whereas creating new IP from scratch is a dramatic undertaking. Nintendo evidently treats its IP past and present with deep reverence — for better or worse.
How does Giles Goddard’s story make you feel? Empty, lost, soul-crushed? Indifferent? Tell us about how we ruined your day! Then go read up on the time that Shigeru Miyamoto wouldn’t stop smoking in Goddard’s office.