Could this be the end for Star Fox after poor sales of Star Fox Zero in Japan?

Star Fox Zero, the latest game in the Star Fox series released for the Nintendo Wii U a bit more than a week ago and things aren’t looking good for the franchise. Although no one expected the game to sell GTA numbers, the initial sales reports from Japan aren’t encouraging.

For reference, below are the latest sales numbers from Japan courtesy of Famitsu:

Famitsu Sales: Week 17, 2016 (Apr 18 – Apr 24)

01./00. [PS4] One Piece: Burning Blood # (Bandai Namco Games) {2016.04.21} (¥7.600) – 31.162 / NEW <40-60%>
02./00. [PSV] One Piece: Burning Blood # <FTG> (Bandai Namco Games) {2016.04.21} (¥6.800) – 28.831 / NEW <40-60%>
03./00. [PSV] Bullet Girls 2 <ACT> (D3Publisher) {2016.04.21} (¥6.800) – 21.706 / NEW <60-80%>
04./01. [3DS] Yo-Kai Sangokushi (Level 5) {2016.04.02} (¥4.600) – 21.255 / 437.159 <80-100%> (-48%)
05./00. [WIU] Star Fox Zero + Star Fox Guard Double Pack <Star Fox Zero Star Fox Guard> <STG> (Nintendo) {2016.04.21} (¥6.500) – 17.063 / NEW <20-40%> 
06./00. [PS4] Phantasy Star Online 2 Episode 4: Deluxe Package <RPG> (Sega) {2016.04.20} (¥4.990) – 14.059 / NEW <60-80%>
07./02. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (Square Enix) {2016.03.24} (¥5.250) – 13.882 / 567.272 <80-100%> (-37%)
08./00. [PSV] Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Toukidan # (Idea Factory) {2016.04.21} (¥6.300) – 9.749 / NEW <80-100%>
09./00. [PSV] Kamigami no Asobi InFinite # (Broccoli) {2016.04.21} (¥5.800) – 8.951 / NEW <60-80%>
10./00. [WIU] Star Fox Zero <STG> (Nintendo) {2016.04.21} (¥5.700) – 8.175 / NEW <20-40%>

Considering that Shigeru Miyamoto worked on the game itself and that Star Fox Zero was a long-awaited return for the franchise on consoles, these numbers are disappointing. With a score of 69 on Metacritic, the game wasn’t received well by critics either.

star fox zero

Nintendo from now on will certainly be hesitant is releasing future games in the series considering the poor sales and reception. Personally all things considered, Nintendo didn’t do the game any favours by releasing it on the Wii U when prepping up the NX. There was also little hype for the game after its announcement, at least for me anyway.

So what do you guys think? Could this mean the end for the Star Fox games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

    Sure there was hype! Did you see the last few videos before it came out!? Besides, I hear that Star Fox never really was that popular in Japan anyways.

    • Nova

      StarFox generally sells better in Japan than the entire Europe, US is the only part of the world where StarFox find a relative success, but even there the success of the series is badly decreasing since Assault.
      Actually I really think that it’s because StarFox still trying to appeal a public which doesn’t exist anymore since the end of 90s, A.K.A. the “rail-shooter” players.

      Casual rail-shooter is just a dead market and only the really hardcore shmup still find a place in the heart of some few players, as long as Nintendo will not understand this fact and as long as they do not shake deeply the fondation of the series (maybe by going on a gameplay similar to the Ace Combat or Rogue Squadron series, far more popular to the public), StarFox is doomed.

      • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

        Not really. Maybe elsewhere, but according to VGChartz, not by that much in the U.S.. In two days, Star Fox Zero sold 157,609 copies. Considering it’s the Wii U, I don’t really think that’s terrible. Another fast fact according to the site? Star Fox Zero was #1 on the 23rd, while Rachet and Clank was #4, behind Dark Souls III, and Call Of Duty: Black Ops III in the U.S.

        • Nova

          You just confirm what I’m saying, US is the only place in which StarFox still have a relative succes, since you have check VGChartz, then check again the sales of the whole series in Japan and Europe, it’s a catastrophe, especially in Europe.

          + you know the common rule, first week is almost always the biggest sales, arround 225k copy of Xenoblade Chronicle X has been sold during its first week in the US, and he never reach the millions in the US at the end.

          And in fact, the last StarFox game to reach the million of copy sold in the US was SF64, the original, not the remake.

          And finaly, there is another issue which may be a pretty bad factor for Zero, not enough content and short campaign, if there is a market to monitoring actually, it’s the secondhand market, because I’m pretty sure that the game will probably be widely re-sold , that’s where I bought my copy of Zero in fact (I do not wanted to pay full price for a game that I can beat in 3 hours…)

          • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

            You are missing out, then! A Star Fox game is not about how long the campaign is! It’s how much it’s worth playin’ again and again! Isn’t that why Star Fox 64 was as successful as it was? Replay Value??? Does that even exist anymore!? Are we all so caught up in games that try too hard to be an interactive movie!?

          • Nova

            I know but read again my first comment, StarFox still use the exact same formula since its origins, this formula was popular in the 90s but not anymore, otherwise the “rail-shooter” would not become a kind of game extremely marginal on the market.
            The hardware have evolved and the video games have evolved with it, the needs of the public have also changed but StarFox is still in the past.

            Replay value? Scoring is not a main factor of replay value for the general public (it’s almost as well boring than the collectible and success trophy), scoring is a factor of replay value for the “bullet hell” players, does the the bullet hell players also play StarFox? Hell no, far to easy for them.

            Then who is the typical players of StarFox and why he love this series?

            I’m almost sure than 75% of the fanbase will answer that they play StarFox for the lore, the ships and characters design or the OST and to be honest, it’s also my case.

            The lore of StarFox is completely unique, unusual and that’s what pleases its fan base (IMHO).

            But the issue is that the fanbase is now not big enougth to allow StarFox franchise to be lucrative on its own, that why I think StarFox had to evolve in its formalu, to shake its fondation, in order to just reamain alive.

          • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

            Well, truth be told. I came in after Smash Melee and Brawl for the ships and characters, but I swear, call me a child, I’m 18, but for a year, I replayed Star Fox 64 for the high score.
            I do the same thing here, too, except while also figuring out which path goes to where. And there are collectibles which lead to rewards in this game, like more training (Training? More like challenge) missions, the Sound Test, and each time you try new paths in Arcade Mode, you unlock opportunities to unlock more missions to have fun in, which I will not spoil for you, cos some of it’s too good to spoil.

            Anyways, in my opinion, the reason the rail-shooter genre is dying is because, well, nobody else tried to capitalize on Star Fox’s early success. Name one other game by any major publisher that tried to attempt the 3D rail-shooter genre that Star Fox established. When Star Fox itself attempted to try new genres, and let’s face it, failed, that’s when Star Fox as a franchise fell off the radar, and had to hibernate until the effects of the failures subsided like a dark storm clearing itself. Oh, and also, because Nintendo thought a Wii Star Fox game was somehow out of the question for ‘innovation’ reasons… what a missed opportunity.

            I guess with these in mind, it’s easy to understand why Star Fox is having troubles finding it’s audience. They had nothing to hold onto for years, nothing to tide them over except what few games from Star Fox did at least HAVE the genre in it, and didn’t have such an awful story in it, looking at you, Command (2006). So when Star Fox 64 3D came out in 2011, it’s only audience was those who even remembered Star Fox and it’s earlier genres were a thing, and let’s face it, it couldn’t do much more for what it was. It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece remake, anyways, especially visually and audibly. So for five more years, the audience continued to become smaller and smaller. Star Fox Zero is at this point the only hope that audiences can remember the genre they used to like.

          • Mrkbizzle

            It’s good to know u smart enough nd know yourself well enough to jus play games that u find fun, unfortunately as was said above, although it’s a good game with neat characters, it’s a bit outdated and shares a formula of a game that came out in the late 90’s. It’s not that we just want flash and movie quality games, but it’s also the responsibility of the publishers to craft games worth a 59.99 price tag. And for what it’s worth, I think most people do not see a need to spend their time and or money playing a game that really doesn’t help to push boundaries of gaming. Yes it does try to innovate with the dual screen stuff, and yes there’s plenty of exploring, and branching paths, but the perception seems to me that people would rather pass because they don’t see anything new in Starfox.

          • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

            And they see anything new in Call Of Duty? Or EA’s Star Wars Battlefront? I mean, define new? Star Fox Guard, anyone? Otherwise, what kind of new should Star Fox try that wasn’t like, already attempted in other franchises like Ace Combat, or Halo? … Without having a horrible story in it (again, looking at you, Command. Don’t you cry on me like that.)

          • Tyler Falcon

            There’s plenty of new things in Call of Duty!

            Like different looking (but still the same) zombies, newer generic textures and ridiculously over priced DLC!

          • Nova

            The idea behind Command was good (finally the possibility to choose our pilot / ship) but the control was just a pain, which is the only thing that you HAD to make it flawless when you develop a shmup.

          • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

            Not really bashing anything from Command except for its story (Why would Fox want to suddenly force a valuable member off the team for safety reasons?). The story is really what killed the game for a ton of Star Fox fans!
            Can’t say if the touch screen controls were anything bad, though, I’m kinda biased in favor of it, but I agree that if you can play Star Fox using an SNES controller, why can’t you play Star Fox Command using those same controls? Live with your controller, and let others live with their controller, right?

          • Nova

            Remember when I said that the best sales are still on the first week and that sales will decline after?

            Well here we go, but honestly I did not think that the fall would be as hard, from 157K copy sold the first week in the US, Zero have dropped to… 28K copy sold.

            Only the japan resist (a bit) with “just” a drop of 50%, I will laugh if the japanese sales exceeds the one from the entire EU and look like it will be (again) the case.

          • A C.R. Star Fox fan.

            You and me both… It was the f*ckin’ motion controls and lack o’ content, wasn’t it?

          • Tyler Falcon

            That’s where Assault went wrong, making it cinematic instead of the multipal paths that encourage replay.

          • Roman Spork

            “cinematic instead of multiple paths”
            What the fuck is with star fox fans and Assault. Seriously, does nobody no about the replay value to unlock medals and unlockables in multiplayer as well as survival mode. All I hear is bitching about the controls and linearity, but when SFZero does it it’s fine.Yeah sure when Miyamoto’s involved and something’s wrong everyone turns a blind eye. It’s really sad people not acknowledge the fact that Assault is 64’s true successor. The amount of content in that game makes SFZero look like if EA games made a Star Fox game.

          • Tyler Falcon

            Calm down its my opinion…

            Not that cinematic is bad or anything, but the level designs… they’re way to empty and bland.

            Mostly because Assault was supposed to be a 16 player LAN game but for whatever reason they scrapped that idea.

            Also… Why couldn’t the multiplayer have AI players?

          • Roman Spork

            “empty and bland”
            Bro, what are you smoking?

          • Roman Spork

            Don’t get the impression that I’m yelling or anything, I’m just really annoyed with the star fox fandom and how regressive they want their games to be. You get something like Assault, which had multiple weapons, you can switch vehicles in some missions, and it had the best multiplayer in any star fox game to date. And literally the only thing everyone keeps whining about is the controls, the level design, and the linear path. Um excuse me a sec but how long does it take to finish a single playthrough of star fox 64 going through one path?
            45 minutes, right?
            How long through all of them then?
            3-4 hours
            How long does Assault take?
            3-4 hours
            Next you’re gonna be telling me it has no replay value 😔
            Um didn’t I mention the medals, the multiplayer unlockables, and survival mode.
            Also please explain to me what you mean by “empty levels”

          • Tyler Falcon

            Please understand that I’m not just saying this as a Star Fox fan, but as a video game in general.

            The levels felt huge but somewhat plain and repetitive.

            Now don’t get me wrong this game had some really awesome ideas.

          • Roman Spork

            I could say the same about star fox 64 and its cookie cutter design.

          • Tyler Falcon

            Can we agree that Super Mario World was the best game?

          • Roman Spork

            I suppose I can agree that Melee is the best Star Fox game.

          • Regigigas29

            I’m not sure why Assault gets so much hate, the game was re-playable with a decent Story Mode and awesome Multiplayer Mode.

          • Roman Spork

            😤 I’m glad to see somebody appreciates Assault. I’m seriously confused as to why most star fox fans want a more regressive star fox game.