It's been a long time since Nintendo was able to make a hit Star Fox game. Star Fox Zero was one of Miyamoto's biggest bombs, though it wasn't the first time the series struggled to appeal to its audience. The last all-new Star Fox game to perform up to expectations was probably Command on the DS, but that's only if you don't count Star Fox 2, which remained unreleased for over 20 years before it was included on the SNES Classic. While not technically a "new" game, it was new to all of us who'd never pirated it before. More so, the fact that Nintendo was willing to release it after all these years led Star Fox essentialists like myself to feel seen in a way we hadn't in a long time.
With flat, largely untextured polygon models, a short-but-replayable campaign, and generally straightforward gameplay, Star Fox 2 was not like any Star Fox game we'd gotten in a while. It gave us a new story and characters, but when it came to the look and feel of the game, it stuck to the basics. This seemed to be what fans wanted from Star Fox all along.
That was a few years ago now, and it looks like indie dev Ben Hickling is ready to capitalize on the large, Star Fox-shaped hole in the current gaming landscape. Ex-Zodiac doesn't feature anthropomorphic characters or a John Williams-inspired score, but otherwise, the game is Star Foxthrough and through. The big differences are that the ship is purple, the frame rate is solid, and the crab boss doesn't have a sassy pilot that quotes Deliverance. But who knows, that may be an upcoming feature.
This video shows off a demo for the game built especially for EGX, so it's early days yet for Ex-Zodiac. Hopefully the finished game makes its way to Switch soon enough, complete with wise-cracking rivals who scream bloody murder as they go down in flames.