With the impending release of the SNES Classic Edition, Nintendo has been hosting a series of interviews to reveal new information about many of the games that will be included in the system. The latest of these focuses on the original F-Zero, and in it the devs revealed a surprising bit of information about the racing series’ star character, Captain Falcon: he wasn’t originally designed for F-Zero at all. In fact, the great Captain was intended to be the mascot of the Super Nintendo itself.
According to veteran developers Takaya Imamura and Kazunobu Shimizu, who worked as the designer and director of the original F-Zero title, Captain Falcon was initially conceived as “Captain Something-or-Other” and designed using the color palette found on most Super Famicom controllers—red, blue, and yellow. After including this character in a short F-Zero comic sketched out by Imamura, the “overwhelmingly positive” reaction of Nintendo of America eventually led to that comic being included in F-Zero‘s manual and Captain Falcon becoming the face of the series.
You didn’t think about characters at all during development?
Imamura: No. Captain Falcon was originally the mascot character for Super NES.
Shimizu: That statement is a bit shocking, isn’t it? (laughs)
Yes! (laughs) I’ve never heard that Captain Falcon was the mascot for Super NES.
Imamura: Even most people at Nintendo don’t know that. When development of F-ZERO was almost complete, I was doing a bunch of illustrations and someone expressed a desire to make a mascot character for Super NES, with a name like Captain Something.
Imamura: Originally, he was Captain Something-or-Other, but we started talking about what to do for the F-ZERO packaging, and I tried drawing something in the style of an American comic.
Shimizu: When we showed that to Nintendo of America, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Then all sorts of ideas came up, like including it in the game manual.
So a character originally created for Super NES suddenly became the face of F-ZERO.
Imamura: I think that’s what happened, anyway.
Captain Falcon would of course go on to star in several other F-Zero titles, and even non-racing fans got introduced to him when he joined the original Super Smash Bros. as a secret unlockable character, complete with his now-iconic Falcon Punch.
You can check out some of the concept and comic art that was included with this interview in the gallery below. What do you think about the surprising origins of F-Zero‘s primary star? Let us know in the comments!