After almost nine years since the last original title in the series, Nintendo announced on their Digital Event @ E3 on Tuesday that Star Fox Zero should arrive on the Wii U this holiday season.

Among the content available on the show floor, according to the Treehouse Live event, were playable demos of the first stage, the classic Corneria City, and the third stage, a dogfight with Pigma above a space colony. Nintendo also revealed the game is a reimagining of Star Fox 64, featuring many of the same story elements but entirely new stages and features. For instance, while Corneria City was the first stage of Star Fox 64, Star Fox Zero‘s version of the game plays out a different scenario. Within the first few seconds of entering Corneria’s airspace, new enemy ships with saw-like attachments attack Fox’s Arwing.

While controlling each vehicle, the screen on the controller reflects the first person view, making for easier tracking and targeting of enemy fighters. When the game switches to All-Range Mode at the end of the Corneria stage, the Arwing gains the ability to transform into a walking mech. Players retain the ability to target with the controller’s screen, and gain the ability to hover and strafe around enemies. The Arwing seems able to transform at the will of the player, promising dynamic fights which require the strategic knowledge of choosing the right tool for the job as mission objectives change.

Another stage features Zoness and the Gyro Wing, a new helicopter vehicle. In Zoness, the player must use the Gyro Wing and its little robot attachment to infiltrate an enemy base. The screen on the controller is once again used as the first person view when deploying the robot. The robot hacks enemy computers and retrieves items in areas otherwise too small to reach with normal vehicles. In addition to these new toys, the Landmaster tank returns, featured in the Titania stage. Sandstorms rage and toss debris into the path of the tank as it rolls accross Titania’s desert sands, but if things get too hectic on the ground the tank can now transform into a jet, much like an Arwing, but appears to be somewhat slower.

It looks as though the developers have put a lot of thought into keeping the series fresh, and although this is a reimagining of Star Fox 64, Star Fox Zero succeeds in creating an identity of its own. Nintendo says to expect the game to come to stores by this holiday season.

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