A portion of a Switch-Actu interview with Ubisoft's Laurent Malville (Google translated)...
NA: How did all this begin?
Laurent Malville: It all started at E3 2017. It was a really exciting time for us, we were so happy to introduce Starlink to the players. We organized a private demo behind the scenes, and some Nintendo representatives stopped by . We did everything to present them in detail the game, and they seemed to enjoy. Subsequently Nintendo returned, with a group different from the first time, to play the demo again. One of them asked me, "Can we come back with our superiors?", And I said "yes, of course!" So, they came back a third, and a fourth time to play the demo, until Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, arrived . I will remember forever when he took the controller and told us "It's a nice concept you have here". We felt that something was happening, but impossible to put your finger on it.
Later, we were invited to visit Nintendo HQ in Japan to present the game to Shigeru Miyamoto and the entire Star Fox First Team. It was an incredible moment. Not only did we introduce the game, but we also showed them what we would do if Star Fox were added to Star Link. They were told that Fox could be fully integrated into the game and have his own special abilities as well as his own skill tree , like all other drivers. We also showed them a scalable version of the Arwing, as well as all the other ships in the game. We had previously made a 3D impression of the Arwing model that we gave to Mr. Miyamoto, who immediately started play with removing one of the wings and attaching a new one from another ship. It was something that had never been done before with such an iconic ship, so we were a little nervous about her reaction. But he told us it was something great . After our presentation, we returned to Toronto to await Nintendo's decision on the partnership. Obviously, they thought Star Fox would fit in Starlink , and we immediately started working on it.
NA: Did Nintendo give you any advice or comment on Starlink's gameplay?
LM: The most memorable thing they insisted on was really treating Fox as a guest within the Starlink universe . They gave us a lot of latitude on the movements of the ship and its capabilities. There was no big restriction, it was a fabulous partnership. We communicate with them regularly, and they always give us feedback. For example, we sent them the first concept of the Arwing and their artists have made some small alterations to stick a little more to the original. It was an ideal collaboration .