|Star Fox character|
Wolf O'Donnell, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
|First appearance||Star Fox 64 (1997)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
Wolf O'Donnell (Japanese: ウルフ・オドネル Hepburn: Urufu Odoneru) is a fictional character in Nintendo's Star Fox video game series. In the series, Wolf O'Donnell is an anthropomorphic wolf who is both the leader of the Star Wolf mercenary team and rival to Fox McCloud. Star Wolf is initially hired by Andross to take down the Star Fox team; although unsuccessful in doing so, the dogfights between the two teams results in Wolf developing both a grudging respect for Fox and a desire to defeat him in a rematch.
Star Fox 2
Wolf was supposed to debut in Star Fox 2 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In Star Fox 2, Star Wolf is introduced as a mercenary group consisting of its leader Wolf and his wingmates Leon Powalski, Pigma Dengar and Algy. Due to the team's tenacious and unscrupulous methods, they have become feared throughout the Lylat System, with Wolf in particular being noted as someone who is willing to betray anyone for the right price. In order to ensure that his second attempt at conquering the Lylat System succeeds, Andross hires Star Wolf to intercept and kill Star Fox.
Although Star Fox 2 was completely finished, it was canceled because of the Nintendo 64's impending launch and said system being more cost effective in regard to developing polygonal games. Despite this, some of Star Fox 2's features were carried over to Star Fox 64 (and Star Fox Zero by extension), including Star Wolf, while Star Fox 2 itself would later be included as part of the Super NES Classic Edition in 2017.
Star Fox 64
Wolf made his first canonical appearance in Star Fox 64. Like in Star Fox 2, he is the leader of Star Wolf, and his team is hired by Andross to kill Star Fox. Unlike in Star Fox 2, Wolf sports an eyepatch on his left eye instead of a large scar on his right eye, while Algy is replaced by Andrew Oikonny, Andross' nephew. Throughout the game, the player can battle Star Wolf up to two times, though there are three different battles with them overall, depending on which routes are taken on the map. In this game Wolf and company will taunt the Star Fox team, with Fox being pursued by Wolf specifically. If the player encounters Star Wolf by going through Venom's second route his team have more difficult ships, Wolf appearing with only an additional facial bandage as opposed to the rest of his teams' cybernetic implants.
Star Fox: Assault
Shortly after Andross' defeat on Venom, Star Wolf abandoned the Venomian Army and resumed being mercenaries willing to take on any mission regardless of legality. However, at some point, Andrew and Pigma left the team: the former sought to succeed Andross as Venom's ruler, while the latter was kicked out because of his insatiable greed.
Nine years after the events of Star Fox 64, Wolf reappeared in Star Fox: Assault. During these intervening years, Wolf assumed control over the Sargasso Space Zone, an illegal hub for criminals and former members of the Venomian Army, and recruited Panther Caroso to replace Andrew and Pigma. When Star Fox went looking for Pigma (who stole a Core Memory earlier in the game), Star Wolf proceeded to face Star Fox in a dogfight over what Wolf presumed to be an invasion of his territory.
Upon being defeated, Wolf called off their dogfight, but would later arrive on Corneria alongside Leon and Panther in order to save Fox McCloud from the rising threat of the Aparoids. Although Wolf said the only reason for doing this was so he could defeat Fox himself, Wolf's advice and grudging respect toward Fox nevertheless signaled his transition into an honorable, albeit still unlawful, anti-hero.
After that event, Star Wolf provided backup to Star Fox at the Beltino Orbital Gate and the Aparoid Homeworld. After Star Fox successfully destroyed Aparoid Queen and the Homeworld, Star Wolf was nowhere to be found. During Krystal's acknowledgement of their sacrifice as being among the many lives lost during the conflict, Fox speculated that Wolf, Leon and Panther were still alive.
In Assault's multiplayer mode, Wolf can be unlocked if the player finishes every mission without a wingmate being forced to retreat. In addition to having maximum speed and health, he is the only character capable of effectively piloting the unlockable Wolfen. However, Wolf has poor statistics in the other categories, including Arwing piloting.
Star Fox Command
In Star Fox Command, Fox's assumption of Star Wolf's survival was proven correct. Following the destruction of the Aparoids, Star Wolf resumed their status as illicit mercenaries. As a result, the Cornerian Military placed a bounty for each member, with Wolf having the highest bounty set at $30,000. To avoid attention, Star Wolf set up a base on Fichina before seeking to simultaneously remove their bounties and improve their reputations. Soon after, Wolf recruited Krystal into Star Wolf following her expulsion from Star Fox over Fox's fear of her dying while on the team like his father James McCloud.
With the advent of the Anglar army, Star Wolf sought to remove their bounties by plotting a way to defeat them and their emperor. Although Command features multiple branching storylines that see Star Wolf having varying degrees of success in their bid to stop the Anglar Empire, Command's director Dylan Cuthbert stated that the game is non-canon because of said storylines rendering it as an alternate timeline-style game.
Star Fox Zero
After initially being teased to appear in Star Fox Zero during its reveal at Nintendo's E3 2015 digital event, Star Wolf was later confirmed by Zero's director, Yusuke Hashimoto, to appear in the game. Due to Zero being a re-imagining of Star Fox 64, Wolf and his team reprise their roles as illicit mercenaries hired by Andross to stop Star Fox by any means necessary. Like Star Fox's Arwing, Star Wolf's Wolfen is now capable of transforming into an all-terrain configuration.
Super Smash Bros. series
Wolf appears as a secret playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. According to Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai, Wolf's inclusion was highly requested by fans because of his popularity. Although Krystal, another highly requested Star Fox character, was considered as a candidate by Sakurai, the combination of time constraints and using Fox and Falco as source materials resulted in Wolf having much better potential to be a fully realized fighter.
Compared to his fellow Star Fox representatives Fox and Falco, Wolf is taller, heavier, and overall stronger. Although he is also much faster in the air, he is much slower on the ground. Unlike Fox and Falco, Wolf has a feral fighting style that keeps his basic stance low to the ground in spite of his height, and results in his normal moves appearing much different compared to Fox and Falco's.
Despite having special moves similar to Fox and Falco's both in name and mechanics, Wolf's respective versions nevertheless deviate in very noticeable ways. His Blaster fires shots one at a time like Falco's, yet features a bayonet that damages opponents if they are close enough. Fire Wolf hits multiple times like Fire Fox and Fire Bird, yet lacks a flame effect and consists of a flying kick instead of a dashing, head-first tackle.
Wolf Flash quickly propels Wolf similarly to Fox Illusion and Falco Phantasm, albeit diagonally instead of horizontally. Like Falco Phantasm, it is also capable of "meteor smashing" (forcefully launching an opponent downward). Compared to Fox and Falco's Reflectors, Wolf's has a lower damage multiplier and higher travel speed multiplier when used against projectiles. Unlike theirs, Wolf's is a magenta-colored ovoid, instead of a sky blue-colored hexagon. Finally, Wolf's Landmaster has greater firepower and mobility compared to Fox and Falco's, but at the cost of a shorter duration. It also features a red and gray color scheme akin to the Wolfen, Star Wolf's signature fighter aircraft, instead of the blue and white color scheme that is shared with the Arwing.
Although Wolf did not return in a playable capacity in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, he does so in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unlike in Brawl, Wolf no longer has a slightly modified version of his design from Star Fox: Assault and Star Fox Command. Instead, it is now a combination of his head bust from Star Fox Zero and attire unique to Ultimate. In addition, several of Wolf's moves have been updated in regard to both aesthetics and mechanics; most notably, his Final Smash now consists of piloting his Wolfen alongside the rest of Star Wolf before proceeding to bombard the opponent with laser fire. Like in Brawl, Wolf has enjoyed both popularity and tournament success since returning to the series as a part of Ultimate's roster.
In the Nintendo Switch version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Wolf decides to fly solo in search of additional firepower to use for himself in the power vacuum caused by Andross' defeat. He fled to the Atlas star system to acquire a Spin Drive for his conquest of the Lylat System, and even made some allies in Atlas, such as Cash Guavo. Wolf's hideout would eventually be discovered by Star Fox and their allies from the Starlink Initiative.
After Wolf's initial plans are foiled, he later returns alongside Leon, Pigma and Andrew. However, Star Wolf are ultimately defeated and sent plummeting into a vortex through space, which sends them back to the Lylat System.
Wolf featured in GamesRadar's "The Top 7... Bestest Frenemies" list at seventh place, with the staff saying he "was notable mainly for looking and acting like Fox McCloud would if he were gray and also a bastard." WhatCulture! said Wolf's obsession to destroy Fox "leads to some of gaming's most exhilarating and challenging dogfights", and ranked him fifty-first on its "100 Greatest Video Game Villains Of All Time" list. Patrick Lindsey of Paste ranked Wolf O'Donnell as the third best video game wolf in 2014, calling him "ever the Boba Fett to Fox's Han Solo".
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- "I'm Dylan Cuthbert and I worked on four versions of Star Fox and our new game PixelJunk Monsters 2 is out NOW! I'm old and wise :) AMA".
Canon is something the fans like to try to follow but Command was meant to be an alternate timeline kind of game, hence the choices you make. It let us have a lot more fun with the characters.- Dylan Cuthbert's Reddit username is dckyoto
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