Kid Icarus Uprising is an action game developed by Project Sora and published by Nintendo on its 3DS system in 2012. It marked the first entry in the Kid Icarus series in over 20 years; with the last being Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters on the Game Boy.
In the great gulf of time between Uprising & its portable predecessor, the rumour mill was rife with talk of more possible installments. Take, for example, this scan from a 90’s video game magazine, which suggested an SNES game was in the works:
In 2008, Factor 5, Inc. developed a prototype for a new Wii Kid Icarus, as per Nintendo’s request. Ultimately, however, their dreams of developing a full title were shot down when the publisher chose not to proceed, before the studio later went out of business in December that year.
As Factor 5 fell, Kid Icarus: Uprising began to take shape at Nintendo’s Kyoto HQ in late 2008. An early prototype was devised by Masahiro Sakurai and a small team of handpicked for the task. Originally, Sakurai had set out to create a Star Fox game for Wii, but ran into issues with the limited manuverability of controlling vehicles, which was preventing him from moulding the experience he had envisioned. He was aspiring to develop a gameplay system in which the player could turn instantly on a dime to return fire, or dodge projectiles. By turning his creation into a Kid Icarus game, the director overcame these difficulties, as he explained to Official Nintendo Magazine in June 2010:
“…the problem with Starfox was that-and you’ll see this when you see the trailer for Kid Icarus – is that the game design incorporates a lot of different views. For example, flying and shooting sideways or turning around and shooting behind and I felt that there were some restrictions with Starfox in this regard. With Pit, there is a certain amount of flexibility that is allowed and makes a better fit for this gameplay.”
As Sakurai elaborated on in his Iwata Asks interview on the subject of Uprising, when development began, it was being prototyped and demoed on PC; as well as Wii at one stage:
Yes. Development did last a long time.
At first we didn’t have the Nintendo 3DS development kit, so we started making it on a PC. Oh, and for a while we were using a Wii to make it! (laughs)
The interview also disclosed two previously unseen prototypes from early in the game’s life cycle:
At E3 2010, Kid Icarus: Uprising had its premiere, debuting as the first ever Nintendo 3DS game to be shown to the world. Upon analysis, we can observe a number of differences between it and the final build:
The above video documents the title in an evidently early state with incomplete, lower quality graphics than the released game. At the time the trailer was created, Troy Lund was originally slated to portray the protagonist, Pit, in the English language dub. Eventually, he was replaced by Anthony Del Rio, who plays the character in the English voiceover of the final game. This trailer demonstrates Lund’s version of the character, prior to his recasting.
We can glean also that this build contained a different aiming reticule. Whereas the release build adopted a circular design, which changes based upon the power of your shot, the one seen here is more static and simplistic.