Ex-Nintendo Designer Says F-Zero Isn’t Dead, It’s Just ‘Hard to Bring Back’

Takaya Imamura, the now-retired Nintendo artist and designer who helped create The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and characters like Captain Falcon and Fox McCloud, has said that while F-Zero isn’t dead, it is a series that is “hard to bring back” without a “grand idea.”

Imamura spoke to IGN about his 30-year career at Nintendo, and he revealed that he considers F-Zero GX to be “the ultimate F-Zero.” However, 2003’s F-Zero GX is 18 years old and is the last console F-Zero game to be released.

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While many Nintendo franchises have lived on with new entries, F-Zero has been quiet for nearly two decades, although it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“Of course, I’ve thought about it many times, but without a grand new idea, it’s hard to bring it back,” Imamura says.

Despite that, Imamura reassures us that the F-Zero series isn’t dead, even with him no longer being at Nintendo.

Imamura also delved deep into the development of F-Zero GX, which took inspiration from Daytona USA and was developed by SEGA’s Amusement Vision alongside Nintendo.

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“I think it started with [Amusement Vision’s] Toshihiro Nagoshi proposing the project to Miyamoto,” says Imamura. “I really liked Daytona USA (which Nagoshi produced), so I was honored to work with him. We had an arcade system board called Triforce which was based on the GameCube’s architecture, so when Nagoshi proposed doing an arcade version of F-Zero, I was really happy, as I had always been a fan of arcade games.

“Back then, Nagoshi was the top of Amusement Vision, a subsidiary studio of Sega. I don’t think many people outside the company were ever allowed inside the actual development offices. Companies don’t usually let people inside their development offices, but they showed me the arcade cabinets they were working on, which has become a special memory for me,” recalls Imamura. “Nagoshi had a professional darts machine in his office, which I thought was very stylish. In those days, Nagoshi still had long hair, but he was already quite imposing.”

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While he discussed F-Zero, our interview with Imamura also touches upon his work on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Star Fox 64, how he got into the video game industry, and much more.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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