|Star Fox character|
Fox McCloud, as he appears in Star Fox Command.
|First appearance||Star Fox (1993)|
|First game||Star Fox (1993)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Designed by||Takaya Imamura|
|Voiced by (English)||Dan Owsen (1994)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Shinobu Satouchi
Fox McCloud (Japanese: フォックス・マクラウド Hepburn: Fokkusu Makuraudo) is an anthropomorphic fox video game character and the chief protagonist of Nintendo's Star Fox series. He was created and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takaya Imamura. In each game, the player controls Fox in his Arwing, with a few exceptions, such as Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault, where he is controlled on the ground. He is the leader of the Star Fox team and is joined by his wingmates on various missions.
Concept and design
In 1992, Nintendo and Argonaut Software collaborated to produce a 3D space shooter for the Super NES, provisionally titled 'SnesGlider'. The development team, led by Shigeru Miyamoto, redesigned what had been a tech demo into a rail shooter, with Nintendo designing the game and Argonaut handling the programming aspects. However, without a story, it lacked any incentive to play beyond flying and shooting. Miyamoto sketched out a fictional universe, but could not decide on a natural hero to convey a sense of an epic space saga. Names under consideration included "Star Wolf", "Star Sheep", "Star Fox", "Star Sparrow", and "Star Hawk". Miyamoto finally settled on having a fox as the main character after visiting Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, the head shrine of Inari, a Japanese kami associated with foxes. Inari is portrayed as being able to fly, and its shrines, particularly the one in Kyoto, are surrounded by red arches (torii), giving Miyamoto the idea of a fox that could fly through arches. Fox's face was modeled after Inari's, and usually wears a "red turtleneck" or "red scarf" around his neck, like the statue. Fox McCloud's personality is heavily based on Shigeru Miyamoto's own personality, with the surname 'McCloud' being suggested by Dylan Cuthbert, one of Argonaut's programmers.
Fox McCloud is an anthropomorphic fox with orange-brown fur, with golden-brown or white highlights. He has a stereotypical bushy white-tipped tail. His eyes are inconsistently shown to be either green or blue. As with the rest of the characters in Starfox, both of his legs were replaced with mechanical prostheses to better withstand the g-forces experienced while flying spacecraft.  He will occasionally wear large tanker boots over his legs when fighting on the ground. Fox's outfit has changed in every game he appears in, but generally includes an orange or green jumpsuit under a pale gray flight jacket or combat vest and a headset. In Star Fox 64, if the game is played in expert mode, Fox wears a pair of sunglasses similar to what his father wore. Nintendo has never officially cited Fox's age or height in a game manual, however, Nintendo Power released a card featuring Fox, which stated that during Star Fox 64 he is 18 years old, his height is 1.73 SM and his weight is 70.31 SK. The SNES Star Fox soundtrack booklet stated that Fox's height is 152 centimetres (4.99 ft) and his weight is 46 kilograms (101 lb). Fox would be 26 in Adventures (as Adventures takes place just 8 years after the events of Star Fox 64), 27 in Assault (the game manual stated 1 year had passed since the conclusion of Adventures), and 29 to 30 in Command.
Unlike the consistency with other Nintendo characters, such as Mario, several different individuals have voiced Fox. He was first voiced by Daniel Owsen in Star Fox, in both the English and Japanese versions of the game. His most consistent English voice actor has been Mike West, who first portrayed the character in the localized release of Star Fox 64. After a hiatus of fourteen years, West reprised the role for Star Fox 64 3D. He has since then consistently voiced Fox, supplying the character with his voice for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Star Fox Zero. In both the Japanese release of Star Fox 64 and Super Smash Bros., Fox was voiced by Shinobu Satouchi (speaking in English with a Japanese accent for the English version). For English dialogue of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Star Fox Adventures, Fox's voice was done by Rare's Steve Malpass. In Star Fox: Assault, his voice was done by Jim Walker in the English release, and by Kenji Nojima in the Japanese release. Nojima reprised his role for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as did Walker for the English version. Nojima reprised his role once again in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. In Star Fox 64 3D, he is voiced by Takashi Ōhara in Japanese.
The Star Fox franchise has always treated both the games and tie-in media as canonical. However, the Star Fox franchise has been rebooted twice: Star Fox 64 was a reboot of the original Star Fox, and Star Fox Zero is a reboot of Star Fox 64. The first reboot in particular changed Fox's personality and backstory substantially, including the name of his father.
In the 1993 Nintendo Power Star Fox comic, Fox McCloud Junior was revealed to be the son of the best pilot on the planet Coneria: Fox McCloud Senior. (Who was later renamed James McCloud) Fox was also becoming an excellent pilot. He met Falco Lombardi, a rowdy but street-savvy bird who wanted to become a pilot. Fox helped Falco clean up his act, and Falco went on to become both a pilot and one of Fox's closest friends. Fox's father volunteered to test a new gravity bomb Andross had made, and was lost and presumed dead when the bomb detonated with a far greater effect than anyone expected. Andross was exiled from the star system, but returned and built a power base on the planet Venom. Fox protested this turn of events, but the leaders on Corneria, terrified by Andross' power, exiled Fox to the planet Papetoon, which was later taken by Andross. On Papetoon, Fox was shown early on to be a skillful and hotheaded combatant, and to have a strong desire to resist tyranny. He cared little for money, preferring to liquidate anything taken during a raid to support the oppressed peoples he fought for. Eventually, Corneria contacted Fox to pilot their newest space fighter, the Arwing, which could only be effectively used by the best pilots in the system.
After rescuing Fara Phoenix from Venomian military forces, Fox developed a romantic relationship with her. It is obvious that they held mutual affections for each other throughout the comics.
In the rebooted continuity, Fox is notably self-centered, as opposed to his previous depiction. He is much less motivated by any desire to resist tyranny, and more by revenge against Andross and money. In Star Fox Adventures he was constantly grumbling about not being paid enough for what he was being asked to do and made references to only caring about the inevitable pay-off. He frequently rolled his eyes or sighed when he found out that he was being asked to do even more work, or when a conversation with a character simply went on too long.
Fox becomes infatuated with Krystal when he first saw her trapped on top of Krazoa Palace in Star Fox Adventures. He is romantically involved with Krystal after the events of Star Fox Adventures, confirming that they love each other when speaking with Lucy about his relationship with Krystal. During Command Krystal soon leaves after Fox asked her to leave because he feared for her safety. Star Fox Command has several different endings in which they either get back together or split apart completely.
Fox is known for being professional, cocky, and shy, expressing each trait in different circumstances. His professional side is shown when he is in serious situations especially in his Arwing, this is most notable side to Fox shown in all Star Fox games. Fox's cocky side was more notable than his professional side in Star Fox Adventures, where he acted more like a teenager than compared to an adult, showing low enthusiasm when taking on difficult situations and showing a habit of grasping the back of his neck with his hand when he was put on the spot. Fox's shy side is only expressed when he is around Krystal, who flirts with him frequently. His reactions are shown as him blushing, temperature rising, and constant stuttering.
In Star Fox 64, Fox McCloud's friendship with Bill Grey is depicted during the game, and he fights Wolf O'Donnell of the rival Star Wolf team. The Black Hole of the SNES game is absent, instead, James McCloud is supposed to have died at the hands of Andross himself. Once Star Fox reaches Venom, they fight through its defensive lines or Star Wolf to Andross's base, depending on which route the player takes. Despite the protests of his team, Fox faces Andross alone. If the player has chosen the hard route, Fox's father James appears to lead his son to safety when Andross's base explodes, disappearing when Fox escapes. Whether this was living James, a ghost or a figment of Fox's imagination is yet to be seen. Fox then leaves victorious as Andross's base explodes behind him. Back on Corneria, General Pepper offers to integrate them into the Cornerian army. Fox declines, saying that they prefer doing things their own way. An action figure of Fox McCloud armed with a missile launcher was produced to accompany the game, but never got beyond the prototype stage.
In Star Fox Adventures, a Nintendo GameCube game set eight years after Star Fox 64, Fox McCloud is hired to stop Dinosaur Planet breaking apart. Fox rescues Prince Tricky, a young dinosaur of the EarthWalker tribe, from the Sharpclaw tribe. The villain of the game, General Scales, plans to conquer the planet piece by piece. The two find four Spell Stones, magical objects that hold the planet together, returning them to their rightful positions, and free Krystal, an imprisoned vixen, in which Fox and Krystal fall in love with a result in Krystal joining the team at the end of the game. Fox then defeats a resurrected Andross, who was the real villain behind the troubles on Dinosaur Planet. McCloud then returns to the Great Fox, and General Pepper pays him for saving the planet. Falco Lombardi, who had been absent for the majority of the game, is reunited with the team.
Star Fox Adventures was originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64 as Dinosaur Planet, an action adventure starring Krystal and a fox character named Sabre. Created by developers Rare, the game was essentially complete, and was ready for release in the fourth quarter of 2000. The game was shown off at the E3 video game trade show in May that year, but cancelled shortly afterwards. Nintendo had noticed the similarity between Fox McCloud and Sabre, and decided to convert the game into Star Fox Adventures. In an interview with IGN at the 2000 E3, Shigeru Miyamoto commented on the similarity between the two characters, jokingly suggesting he should call the development team about it.
In Star Fox: Assault, another GameCube game set after Star Fox Adventures, Fox and his team are hired to defeat Andrew Oikonny, Andross's nephew and ex-Star Wolf member, who has started a rebellion against Corneria with the remnants of Andross's forces. The team confronts Oikonny on the planet Fortuna, where the flagship is shot down by a creature known as an Aparoid; strange, bug-like organisms with the ability to assimilate things, living and nonliving. On planet Katina, Fox confronts Pigma Dengar, who sent out an S.O.S. signal to lure them and steals the core memory of a defeated Aparoid, which the team needs in order to locate the homeworld of the race and destroy the Aparoid Queen; the Aparoid leader. Star Fox then encounters and gets into a brief skirmish with the Star Wolf team while searching for Pigma. After defeating Pigma, the stolen core memory is obtained. After freeing Dinosaur Planet, now called Sauria, from the Aparoids, Fox then learns that Corneria has been heavily assaulted by the enemy. But, to the amazement of the Star Fox team, Star Wolf arrive on the scene and destroy the Aparoid army. Fox finally reaches Aparoid world, where the Queen is destroyed along with the home planet itself, once again with help from Star Wolf.
Once again, the Lylat System falls under peril in Star Fox Command, this time under attack by a new foe known as the Anglars, who originated from Venom's acidic oceans. It is up to Fox McCloud to save the galaxy once more by slowly liberating invaded territory and arriving at Venom to defeat the Anglar Emperor. This time, he begins the battle with only ROB 64 at his side, as the team has been disbanded for various reasons. Along the way, other characters will join Fox and the team becomes whole again. As Command has nine different outcomes, it is uncertain which is the true path Fox and crew take, and even whether or not Command is even canon to the series. Despite this, the developers have suggested that any sequel might ignore the endings and instead pick up the story from the middle. Fox's vehicle is called the Arwing II, which boasts a decent amount of health and boost, and can either receive plasma blasters or twin lasers, depending on the storyline. In this game, Takaya Imamura gave Fox a cartoonish appearance, compared to the more realistic look of Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault. According to Imamura, realistic fur was unpopular with players.
Super Smash Bros.
Fox McCloud has appeared in all five Super Smash Bros. games as a default playable character. He is considered to be the character with the most potential in Super Smash Bros. Melee, although his fast movements make him very difficult to control without practice. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he is light, has the third-fastest dashing speed in the game, surpassed only by Captain Falcon and Sonic the Hedgehog, and has fairly weak attacks that allow for a number of combos. His attacks include a blaster, a dash attack, a hexagonal reflector, the "Fire Fox" attack, and the Landmaster Tank as a "Final Smash". Falco Lombardi and Wolf O'Donnell, also from the Star Fox series, have similar movesets. In competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee, Fox is universally considered the best character in the game and is utilized by numerous top players, such as Adam "Armada" Lindgren and Joseph "Mango" Marquez.
Fox has small cameos in other games, notably Stunt Race FX, where a portrait of him can be found in track-side billboards. Additionally, in one of the tracks, an Arwing will occasionally fly overhead. In F-Zero X and GX, a character named James McCloud is a playable racer, bearing the name of Fox's father. He has a similar appearance to Fox, with his hair looking like ears, and wears sunglasses as well. As if an inside joke, one of the multiple endings in Star Fox Command, Fox and Falco join a G-Zero space racing team; a reference to the F-Zero series.[original research?] Fox's uniform appears as a clothing option in the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for some characters.
Since the release of the original Star Fox, Fox McCloud has gained a cult following. Nintendo Power listed Fox as their 18th favorite hero, stating that while some of his games weren't the best, he has a long list of accomplishments. Early in the Nintendo 64's lifespan, Fox McCloud ranked fifth in IGN's top five best Nintendo 64 character list. He was included in GameSpot's "All Time Greatest Video Game Hero" contest and reached the "Round 2" before losing to Link. GameDaily named Fox McCloud as the seventh top Nintendo character of all time. IGN praised Fox's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee, saying that he featured some of the best texture work and modeling in the game. In their preview of Star Fox: Assault, IGN editors Juan Castro and Matt Casamassina described Fox's voice as juvenile yet tough. Fox ranked eighth on GameDaily's Top 10 Smash Bros. characters list. In an IGN poll for voting from a list of ten Nintendo characters for favorite Nintendo character of all time, Fox came in fourth, behind Link, Mario, and Samus respectively. Entertainment Weekly elected Fox the twelfth coolest videogame character, adding he is a combination of "the heroism of Luke Skywalker, the bravado of Top Gun's Maverick, and the foxiness of, well, a red fox". In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 30th best hero in video games.
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