This article is about the overall historical continuity of the Star Fox series, for other uses of the term see here.
Star Fox is a series of sci-fi rail shooter video games created by Nintendo, featuring anthropomorphic animals as characters. The setting mainly takes place in outer space in the Lylat System. Games in the series have been released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Wii U. The majority of the Star Fox games are considered rail shooters, although Star Fox Adventures is more of an adventure title in the vein of The Legend of Zelda.
Developed by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software members in Japan, Star Fox was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993, and was quite bold in breaking technical barriers with the revolutionary Super FX chip. The chip simulated three-dimensional graphics -- a first for console games.
Star Fox 64
Many years have passed since the supposed death of James McCloud, the former leader of the Star Fox team. Andross, a psychotic anthropoid scientist and powerful dictator of the planet Venom, has built an army and unleashed an invasion onto the neighboring planets of the Lylat system. Under direct orders from General Pepper, the new Star Fox team, lead by James' son Fox McCloud, must battle their way through Andross' forces in hope to stop him and liberate the Lylat system.
Released in 1997, Star Fox 64 included and introduced the Rumble Pak to the North American gaming audience. Full spoken dialogue replaced the original game's Lylat speech, and it was the formal introduction of many series staples.
This Nintendo 64 game is considered a series reboot and shares the "official" first title of the series along with the original 1993 Star Fox game. The Japanese Star Fox Adventures website suggested that their events are really two sides of the same coin.
Star Fox Adventures
Eight years have passed since the end of the battle against Andross. Down on their money and luck, the Star Fox team is contacted by General Pepper to investigate problems on the distant planet Dinosaur Planet (referred to as Sauria in later games) after receiving a distress call. The remaining team agrees to do so and sets forth on another adventure.
Star Fox Adventures was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. The series took a very different turn in gameplay and style. Originally called Dinosaur Planet and unrelated to the Star Fox series, the game was later given the Star Fox in development, ported from Nintendo 64, and overhauled to include flying missions and the series' trademark characters. Instead of being a rail shooter like its predecessors, Star Fox Adventures was more of an action-adventure game, akin to the Legend of Zelda series. Some gamers were disappointed with the lack of Arwing fights and the use of a "magical staff", but it received decent reviews. A manga titled Farewell, Beloved Falco was published on the official Japanese website to serve as an explanation for the game's absence of Falco Lombardi.
Star Fox: Assault
A year after the crisis at Sauria, a new threat haunts the Lylat system and brings up images of an old enemy -- Andross. His nephew Andrew Oikonny has taken over his uncle's army and has begun to attack Corneria. To add to the threat, a new alien force has come to threaten the system -- the Aparoids. Bent on absorbing the life in the system, the alien invasion brings about massive devastation to the citizens of these planets, and the Star Fox team is forced to protect them.
Star Fox: Assault was developed by Namco for the Nintendo GameCube and released in 2005. The gameplay in Assault returned the series to its roots with trademark ship-based shooting. New features were added, such as the addition of on-foot missions. Assault was released to mixed reviews, with the main complaints being control problems, the short length of the main game, and the amount of on-foot missions.
Star Fox Command
Andross may have been defeated, but a new threat is rising from the poisonous Venom Sea -- the Anglar army, lead by the Anglar Emperor. And that's not all; Team Star Fox has broke up, and Fox McCloud stands alone against the Anglars.
Released in 2006, Star Fox Command was the only Star Fox title developed for the Nintendo DS. Multiplayer is possible with up to 6 players. Another feature is the use of the DS's built in microphone to make recordings that can be used in the game.
It is implied that Command is non-canon (or at least its outcomes) as it has many different endings. It remains to be seen in any future titles if this game is indeed relevant going forward.
Star Fox 64 3D
At E3 2010m a promo trailer for the then-upcoming Nintendo 3DS was shown. The trailer depicted an Arwing flying out of a DS along with other iconic Nintendo-related objects -- including DK barrels, the Master Sword, and a Hylian Shield. Nintendo confirmed that they were producing a remake of Star Fox 64 along with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. They were released early in the handheld's run, though not as launch titles. Star Fox 64 3D was released in 2011.
Star Fox Zero
The first original Star Fox title since Star Fox Command in 2006, Star Fox Zero was released for the Wii U in April 2016. It takes place during the "Lylat Wars", making the game the third interpretation of the Star Fox team's conflict against Andross (after Star Fox and Star Fox 64), with a few twists. Additionally, it features more elements that were borrowed from the then-unreleased Star Fox 2. As well as traditional Arwing and Landmaster gameplay styles, Zero introduced new Walker and Gyrowing vehicles, which are used for stationary exploration like collecting Medals in areas that require slower pacing. The Landmaster can now transform into a fully flight driven jet instead of just hovering.
Star Fox Guard
Released simultaneously with Star Fox Zero for the Wii U, this game is a spinoff taking place after Andross began his original Lylat system takeover but before Star Fox intervenes on his attempted invasion of Corneria. The game follows a Mii who is hired by Grippy Toad - uncle of Slippy - to remotely operate the AegisCam and defend his mining facilities from various robots trying to steal his resources. The gameplay is in the style of a tower defense and includes level editor. While it is available for a Wii U eShop digital download, physical copies were bundled with First Print Editions of Star Fox Zero.
Star Fox 2
Andross survived his encounter with Fox McCloud and has returned to annihilate Corneria. With an arsenal of new enemies and giant missiles aimed at the planet, Andross's sudden insurrection is large enough to demand the attention of the Star Fox team. With new custom Arwings, a Mothership, and two new team members, Star Fox must defend Corneria and take the battle to Andross himself.
The game was originally in development for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System from 1993 to 1995 as a direct sequel to the first game, but was cancelled due to Shigeru Miyamoto's desire to release a Star Fox game for the then-upcoming Nintendo 64. Despite the cancellation order, Dylan Cuthbert briefly resumed development until the game was fully completed, and some planned gameplay elements were later implemented in Star Fox 64, Star Fox Command, and Star Fox Zero. After over 22 years, the game will be officially released in its final form for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic in 2017.
Super Smash Bros. series
The Star Fox series has been represented in all Super Smash Bros. series titles, with Fox as a default playable character in all games, followed by Falco as an unlockable as of Melee and Wolf as unlockable character only in Brawl.