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Was Trevor McFur Atari's answer to Fox McCloud? [VIDEO]

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Hey guys,


We just released a new video that I feel is quite a fun discussion piece about Nintendo and Atari.




Would love for you to take a look.


In the video we discuss how in November of 1993, Trevor McFur felt a lot like an attempt to cash in on the Star Fox theme and branding.


Tell us what you think and please subscribe if you haven't. We've made the show weekly now, so lots of content to follow.


Thanks!






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I seriously doubt it. Given the lead time for cartridge manufacturing, there's no way Atari could have moved quickly enough to release anything in the same time frame as Nintendo. The jaguar character is a tie-in to the console name, and there's no tie to Starfox, explicitly or otherwise in this game. Now would you please stop shilling your monetized videos here?

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I seriously doubt it. Given the lead time for cartridge manufacturing, there's no way Atari could have moved quickly enough to release anything in the same time frame as Nintendo. The jaguar character is a tie-in to the console name, and there's no tie to Starfox, explicitly or otherwise in this game. Now would you please stop shilling your monetized videos here?

 

 

Longtime member of the retro community here. Just looking to spread some love for the hobby. I don't make squat and it's a lot of hard work and passion that goes into what I do.

 

I must say that video games go into production well before their release (sort of like movies... ARMAGEDDON & DEEP IMPACT I'm looking at you!). I think it's easy to assume that Atari at the very least knew of Star Fox when Trevor McFur went into production. I can't think of another game in history starring a carnivorous animal in sci-fi space shooter.

Edited by NowThereAreNoLimits

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Longtime member of the retro community here. Just looking to spread some love for the hobby. I don't make squat and it's a lot of hard work and passion that goes into what I do.

 

I must say that video games go into production well before their release (sort of like movies... ARMAGEDDON & DEEP IMPACT I'm looking at you!). I think it's easy to assume that Atari at the very least knew of Star Fox when Trevor McFur went into production. I can't think of another game in history starring a carnivorous animal in sci-fi space shooter.

 

I think you're right. The Tramiels were marketing geniuses and were setting up an entire cross-promotional line of products that would have revolutionized modern gaming, modelling, and the makeup industry. I happen to know that Tyra Banks was in talks to have Skylar as an AI panel judge on America's Next Top Model, but the idea was scrapped when it was felt that her comments were too on-point and logical for the core audience. ANTM was slated to be the Jag's killer app, and Atari bought the Casio Loopy's printer tech so that gamers could print off unique nail decals and apply them while playing their favourite games! Atari insiders secretly called the Loopy's printer 'the sink' so that it would match the CD unit player's 'toilet' handle.

 

While we know now that the Jag 'sink and toilet' combo never materialized beyond the less glamorous "JagDuo" concept, the Tramiels did manage to make a substantial profit by selling Skylar's distinctive look to Britney Spears in 2007, when the singer shaved her head in tribute to CyberMorph's revolutionary aspects and lasting impact on the gaming industry.

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Wow, this is a new Jag conspiracy theory. Let's see, in Trevor McFur the character is a jaguar and the game was on the Atari Jaguar. Yep, definite Nintendo ripoff happening there. In Trevor McFur there are stages where you shoot dinosaurs, insects and other flying animals. It's been awhile since I've played Star Fox but I don't remember shooting any flying animals or bugs in that one, just other ships and a giant floating head.

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I agree with what some random person on YouTube wrote: "If you are making the correlation between the two simply because of the use of animals then that is all there is to compare. As to the games themselves, neither one is anywhere related or can even be compared. TMF was not the Jag's answer to SF. It would be the Jag answer to any other type of 2D side scrolling shmup not a 3D-esq on rails type of shmup. That would be like comparing God of War to Gears of War because they both have the letter GoW to abbreviate their names."

 

And from your Facebook page there's this: "Starfox was a forced 3D rail shooter with some charm / character. Trevor McFur was a half-cooked 2D shooter that was pretty but bland. I can't really see any comparison. *Maybe* it could be argued that Cybermorph (or even better Battlemorph) on Jaguar could be considered Atari's 'answer' to Starfox."

 

...and this: "Cybermorph was also released in the same year too (as it was 'the' launch title for the Jag) ;) As someone who was around and an active gamer when these systems were released, I just don't know how a one could go about comparing a good 3D shooter on an older, more mature system (that needed an extra chip to give it more oomph) to a rushed 2D shooter that was released on the Jag just to boost it's release game numbers. Even the high score table on Trevor McFur is broken as it doesn't save initials / names! If Atari were even half smart they'd have sat on it for a few more months to make it a decent game. It never got any good reviews back then. Star Fox will, and should, wipe the floor with Trevor McFur.

FWIW, Cybermorph did get some decent reviews despite what revisionists might say. Here's a good link re: Cybermorph http://apeworld.tumblr.com/post/43061638372 And here's a decent Battlemorph review: http://www.atarijaguar.co.uk/2014/05/battlemorph.html(Battlemorph is one of my top five Jag games, it criminally underrated).
Again, I reckon either of these two early Jaguar 3D (free roaming) shooters would make for a much better comparison (graphics, gameplay, controls, audio) with Star Fox. In fact, if I remember correctly, the unreleased Star Fox 2 on SNES had free roaming sections that may (or may not ;) ) have actually been influenced by the Jag games."

Having watched the video, the position taken is 'worse' than I'd have expected. It's pretty easy to attack Trevor McFur, it's ridiculously low hanging fruit, especially against a top tier title like Star Fox. I dunno, you just takes the 'obvious' stuff and roll with it, often harping on the points made. Rather than take the position you did, why not look at things from a comparable gameplay and tech perspective and do a decent comparison of Battlemorph and Star Fox (given they were released well into the life of both respective consoles) rather than the extremely tenuous (and likely non-existent) link you used for this video?

I actually follow you guys on FB, but I honestly don't think this is your best work IMHO...oh, 'parallax scrolling' not just 'scrolling' (yes, this was just one of a myriad of weak things about McFur). I too think the lack of in game music and decent attack patterns are inexcusable, it's obvious that the game was rushed for release. Who knows what a couple more months would've/could've done to the game. Maybe it might have gone from a mess to something playable and borderline average ;)
Edited by skip
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Guys, he's talking about the characters themselves for the most part.

 

Is it so much of a stretch to think that Atari was "inspired" by Nintendo's success with Fox McCloud to create their own feline anthropomorphic Scottish space pilot, Trevor McFur? It would have taken all of a week, tops, to insert that art into the game. As static screens, none of which affect the gameplay at all, it would have been simple enough to do as a running change during development.

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Is it so much of a stretch to think that Atari was "inspired" by Nintendo's success with Fox McCloud to create their own feline anthropomorphic Scottish space pilot, Trevor McFur?

 

Not at all. I just think the premise of 'comparing' the games based on that one similarity is a bit odd, perhaps even pointless. Unless the whole aim of the exercise was to have a crack at Trevor McFur (there's that low lying fruit again).

 

I wouldn't actually be surprised if Atari did this. Once the PS1 and Saturn came out, it's well known they pushed for t-mapping in games, even if it resulted in the framerate being halved or worse (even 8x or 22x according to Martin Brownlow and even Atari), so copying the latest trend isn't out of the realm of possibility. It'd be interesting to go back and look at when McFur was announced to see if it was before or after Star Fox was released and became a bit of a hit.

 

Personally I'd find it much more interesting to deconstruct the (many) faults of Trevor McFur. Imagine what could be fixed (music, wave structure, powerup structure, parallax scrolling, more dynamism and less 'static' aspects to the environments etc) relatively easily to improve the quality of the game. Hell, on a related note, I even think that applying some Micro Machines style level design and approach to game modes (race, battle, elimination etc) could've made the otherwise deplorable Club Drive a minor classic. I try not to think too much about these mis-steps though, I'll likely get depressed about "what could've been" haha.

Edited by skip

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Racerx stated exactly what was the motivation we had to do this video. It aoways felt like to us that the character of Trevor McFur and storyline to the game was a direct grab at some of that success Nintendo saw with Star Fox.

 

Just really stating how we feel, trying to be very genuine. I love the Jaguar, but Trevor McFur shocked me by how bad it was. Star Fox, which I'm certain they were trying to copy (at least in story and character) is a million times better. No argument there.

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FWIW, Cybermorph did get some decent reviews despite what revisionists might say. Here's a good link re: Cybermorph http://apeworld.tumblr.com/post/43061638372 And here's a decent Battlemorph review: http://www.atarijaguar.co.uk/2014/05/battlemorph.html(Battlemorph is one of my top five Jag games, it criminally underrated).

 

 

Not that this has much relevance to the topic, but...

 

Dave Halverson (editor-in-chief of Diehard GameFan) was literally tripping on acid when he did that Cybermorph write-up. He also wrote all four of the reviews, as was common practice with that mag. Take that as you will.

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Poor Trevor.. don't worry buddy, I know times have been rough for you, but, I'm sure there's another timeline running parallel where you're king of the stars and a bigger brand mascot than Mario.

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I seriously doubt it. Given the lead time for cartridge manufacturing, there's no way Atari could have moved quickly enough to release anything in the same time frame as Nintendo. The jaguar character is a tie-in to the console name, and there's no tie to Starfox, explicitly or otherwise in this game. Now would you please stop shilling your monetized videos here?

Sounds like you need ublock.

 

LOL, so Atari still thinks they don't need music in games. Times have changed since the 2600 days.

 

Being animals isn't the only reason they are compared. They all pilot ships and shoot. Just that their perspective is different. It may not have started as a trevor mcfur tho. It could have been a generic shooter and they added the animals after Star Fox was released to much praise and high sales.

Edited by MathUser

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I don't need uBlock, I have YouTube Red. I just don't like all these topics that start with what could be an interesting discussion question that point to a video off-site. Especially when the people posting them don't seem to have much else to say in this forum.

 

I'm sorry to be cranky (turns out I'm already subscribed to his channel), but I think that's obnoxious behavior in a text forum.

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Interesting theory. How to quantify beyond endless debate?

Of all the stupid crap we've debated in this forum over the years, this topic would have to rank in the top 3.

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Agreed, haha. Still, mulling over it a bit more I still don't buy it as a reactionary move against Nintendo.

Star Fox release dates: JP: February 21, 1993, NA: March 26, 1993, EU: June 3, 1993.
McFur release date: November 30, 1993, one week after the Jaguar was launched. Let's suggest cartridge manufacturing and box/manual printing and assembly was initiated 8 weeks before hand. So, end of September at the latest then.

This video with an early version of Trevor McFur (that's him in the cockpit of an early non-animated ship...I think) was shown at the Summer CES in August 1993. Given it would have had to be prepared at least a few weeks in advance, the build could've been from July...or earlier. Link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENUBFslCpi8

 

The first public mention of Trevor McFur that I've seen was in Atari Explorer Online in the August Jaguar special issue: [ http://www.atarimax.com/freenet/freenet_material/6.16and32-BitComputersSupportArea/8.OnlineMagazines/showarticle.php?399 ]

So, assuming the Tramiels ignored the Japanese videogame market, there was roughly four working months where they could've insisted on rejigging "generic side scrolling shooter" based on ideas from Star Fox to create "stupid Photoshop anthropomorphic animal space pilot game". Possible, sure, I wouldn't be shocked if there was some influence. Likely...not so much. Not enough for me to bet money on it, on the balance of probabilities I'm going with the whole 'Atari wants a mascot' angle.

Interestingly, Faran Thomason has chimed in on reddit, suggesting "A bit of trivia Trever McFur Crescent Galaxy was named after TM & C. (Trademark & Copyright) The guy who coded it was more of a defender fan not a Japanese shmup fan." Hehe. Perhaps it's worth asking him, he might be able to clarify it either way.

 

 

That's enough time wasted on this exercise for me, I'm supposed to be doing my real video game graduate history studies at 3am (or testing Rebooteroids) not this frivolous stuff ;) Still, it would've been nice to see some related facts like these injected into the video to add a bit of weight to the discussion/argument.

Edited by skip

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Wow I wasted way too much time of my day off looking for history on Trevor McFur. The only thing I saw that maybe is a clue is that, according to the Internet, a game called "Crescent Galaxy" was under development for the Panther and later became Trevor McFur & TCG on the Jag. Of course that doesn't mean A) that's true or B) it was renamed and they added a new character just to ripoff Star Fox. Star Fox...ah hell, this is pointless and the OP won't be back anyway until he has a new video to spam so no point in continuing this.

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You guys are forgetting that Atari made a ET game in 6 weeks or so. Can you honestly say Trevor McFur had much more development? As simple a game as it is. They could have made Trevor just in time to capatilize on Star Fox's popularity.

Edited by MathUser

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Wow I wasted way too much time of my day off looking for history on Trevor McFur. The only thing I saw that maybe is a clue is that, according to the Internet, a game called "Crescent Galaxy" was under development for the Panther and later became Trevor McFur & TCG on the Jag. Of course that doesn't mean A) that's true or B) it was renamed and they added a new character just to ripoff Star Fox. Star Fox...ah hell, this is pointless and the OP won't be back anyway until he has a new video to spam so no point in continuing this.

 

 

Nice info you found. Kind of supports the "Slapped on a Star Fox character last minute" theory.

 

Sorry I don't contribute enough as a regular user. Honestly, I spend too much time making retro gaming videos to spend an adequate amount of time being a regular member on a message board. Got to spend some time with the wife and baby man.

 

On a side note - Nintendo Life thought the video interesting enough to write about it - so that's cool.

 

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2016/09/video_remembering_trevor_mcfur_ataris_not_entirely_convincing_answer_to_star_fox

 

Certainly has made for interesting discussion on the web and Youtube. I'm glad we did the video, even though it has been a little polarizing.

Edited by NowThereAreNoLimits

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Sorry I don't contribute enough as a regular user. Honestly, I spend too much time making retro gaming videos to spend an adequate amount of time being a regular member on a message board. Got to spend some time with the wife and baby man.

Nothing personal, this forum has a bunch of people who just drop in to do nothing other than get YT views and never participate in the discussion that results from their video. I liked the Sega videos you've done in the past, I assume that's you or you're the other dude in that video. The guy who looks like Ted from How I Met Your Mother is who I'm referring to.

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Nothing personal, this forum has a bunch of people who just drop in to do nothing other than get YT views and never participate in the discussion that results from their video. I liked the Sega videos you've done in the past, I assume that's you or you're the other dude in that video. The guy who looks like Ted from How I Met Your Mother is who I'm referring to.

 

 

Haha yes I get that a lot. Thanks for watching. Been at it with our channel for three years now. It's a lot of work but I do love doing it and it gives me an excuse to sit down and play the games we discuss (to capture the footage of course). Next one we're doing is SEGA themed and covers Vic Tokai's games Kid Kool, Psycho Fox, and Decap Attack which all belong to the same family of side-scrolling inertia based platformers.

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