Star Fox Zero was first shown off in prototype form at E3 2014 behind closed doors to select press and was not shown at Nintendo's Digital Event. It was properly unveiled at E3 2015 in playable form with a final title. It was then also announced that PlatinumGames was co-developing the game. Originally set for a Holiday 2015 release, Shigeru Miyamoto announced a delay to Q1 2016 in September 2015, explaining that they could ship the game on time but feel they need to add more polish and make the appeal of the two-screen design clearer for players.
The game uses both the gamepad screen and the TV screen to present different viewpoints to the player, allowing them to fly and shoot independently in different directions. The Arwing can now transform into a walking mech that resembles a chicken. The Landmaster tank from Star Fox 64 returns and can transform into a shuttle for a brief period of time. A new vehicle, the gyrocopter which can dispatch a remote controlled robot to hack panels and reach narrow passages, makes its debut in the game.
Star Fox Zero is being pitched as a retelling of the original Star Fox 64 story, a reimagining with a new take on the gameplay.
A co-op mode which has one player controlling the Arwing and another player takes on the ship's weapons is also planned.
Both the Fox McCloud and Falco Lombardi amiibo figures from the Super Smash Bros. Collection are supported in Star Fox Zero.
The Fox amiibo enables a retro mode that turns the Arwing into the original polygonal model from the Star Fox on the SNES and also replaces all the sound effects and music with the counterparts from the original.
The Falco amiibo unlocks the Black Arwing which can lock onto two targets at once, has a faster charge rate but also takes three times the amount of damage so it is perfect for players seeking an extra challenge.