Newly uncovered concept art for Star Fox 2 features an alternative menagerie of squadmates for Fox, Falco, Slippy and Peppy.
Designs for a gazelle, bison, hippo, cat, bear, sheep, lemur and more are the latest finds in the ongoing so-called gigaleak of Nintendo development data.
I love all of these cut characters from Star Fox 2's prototype.... they're all so good pic.twitter.com/SmyRizPdi6— morgankitten! (@morkitten) July 25, 2020
Rounded up by Kotaku, the artwork was uncovered from the gigaleak's treasure trove of data and posted to Twitter by numerous fans.
One of the concepts above is of a Black woman pilot - what would have been a rare example of representation for Nintendo at the time, and an unusual inclusion for a universe otherwise inhabited by anthropomorphic animals.
The unnamed character has already inspired fan-art:
the unused human woman from star fox 2, might just breathe new life into the series,. all imsaying pic.twitter.com/gUDmQhlwOX— im kris (@imkrisyim) July 27, 2020
Other leaked images show Fara Phoenix, a character who has never appeared in a Star Fox game but popped up as a love interest for Fox in a series of 1990s spin-off comics (way before Krystal appeared on the scene).
There's also this brilliant set of portraits showing the final Star Fox 2 cast having something horrible done to them:
I really hope more uncompressed audio from the leaks is released it'll make sampling so much nicer. Also I love these portraits from star fox 2 pic.twitter.com/V50DdQkUpK— Ant (@beansourcream) July 27, 2020
An early take on the Star Fox 2 main theme has also been discovered, along with placeholder sprites which include enemies from the Mario series:
early version of the star fox 2 title theme (and also placeholder sprites) from an august 8th 1994 build pic.twitter.com/M0QK4VZOWp— Mika Hates Cops (@MikaIzScene) July 25, 2020
It's hard to over-emphasise the unique and unprecedented nature of these leaks, especially from a company as secretive as Nintendo. Since their appearance at the weekend we've seen fans finally find Luigi in Super Mario 64 after 25 years, cut Zelda content from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
Star Fox programmer and director Dylan Cuthbert has so far been the only developer to discuss the leaks, and has said he feels the sudden re-appearance of private work decades later is "intrusive".