The inclusion of the previously never released Star Fox 2 came as quite a bit of surprise to most fans. In an interview with Famitsu and covered by Siliconera, Nintendo executives talked about the inclusion of the game in the SNES Classic.
The team was not sure if their SNES Classic was going to be able to emulate the Super-FX chip but knew that if it was possible, they would want it on the console. Also, they realised that they still had the source code for the game in both English and Japanese, which played a major part in the inclusion of the game.
Takao Shimizu: From the beginning when we were thinking what we would add to a hypothetical SNES Classic, one of the issues were the titles that utilized the Super-FX chip, such as Star Fox and Yoshi’s Island. Of course, we knew about Star Fox 2, and we were talking about adding those titles if we could emulate the Super-FX chip.
Kazuhiro Maruyama: At the time, we didn’t know if the emulator would work or not.
Shimizu: In the end, we wouldn’t know unless we let NERD (Nintendo European Research & Development) try their hand at it, so they tried to work it out on the side while developing the NES Classic. Something else that was crucial was that we found the completed data for Star Fox 2 that still existed, in both Japanese and English.
Nishi: That really was important.
Shimizu: The source code still existed as well, so we thought we could finally work on it properly. Producer Shimada and the director of Star Fox 2, Eguchi negotiated with Miyamoto, and handed the data to NERD. After that, Super-FX chip emulation started.
In the end, it was these two factors that ultimately allowed Star Fox 2 to be released, decades after its initial development.