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Star Fox 2 cut characters revealed in latest gigaleak finds

Hippo! Cow! Bear! Lemur!

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.

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:

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:

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:

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".

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