|“||Never give up. Trust your instincts.||„|
|~ James McCloud|
James McCloud is the presumably late father of Fox McCloud in the Star Fox series. He made his debut appearance by name in Star Fox SNES, but almost every game barring Star Fox 2 and Adventures, with Star Fox 64 showing him in the flesh for the first time, featured the character.
He was voiced by Mike West and Jim Walker.
He is the former leader of Star Fox and Fox McCloud's father and Vixey Reinard's husband. He was a legendary and astonishing pilot who became the founder and leader of the legendary Star Fox Team, a mercenary-for-hire squadron in the Lylat System. James went missing when Pigma Dengar (A former Star Fox member) betrayed him and Peppy Hare into a deadly trap on Venom in which Andross likely killed James though this isn't confirmed. Peppy escapes in time to inform James's son, Fox of his tragic fate. In grief, Fox withdrew from the Academy which he was attending to avenge his father's thought to be death and made a new Star Fox team consisting of Peppy, Slippy Toad and Falco Lombardi.
James McCloud appeared in the intro with his teammates, Peppy and Pigma and was betrayed by the latter leading Fox to take his spot as Star Fox's Leader. He is brought up many times by Peppy, whether he is saved from pursuing enemy groups or praising him for his performance as a leader. He is also mentioned by Pigma, a member of Star Wolf, who only brings up his betrayal and presumed death to sadistically taunt Fox when they meet at either Bolse or Venom (if the Hard Route is taken). If Fox takes the Hard Route to Venom and defeats Andross resulting in a deadly explosion intended to take Fox's life, James himself appears in his son's dire situation, telling him not to ever give up and praises Fox at just how strong he had become since losing his life as James guides him out of the base safely and mysteriously disappears, leaving Fox to look around to see if he was alive, a ghost, or just his imagination. When asked by Peppy Hare what was wrong, Fox replies to him that nothing is wrong.
Plight of Sauria
While James doesn't appear during Fox's expedition of Sauria, his voice is only heard when Fox acquires Cheat Tokens, with the third one giving a message to Fox, "I can see you have matured into a strong leader. I am always there with you. Never give up... Trust your instincts... My son...", a strong indication that it came from James himself. While it's possible that the other tokens are messages from him, this one is the only obvious message.
James has only made an appearance in the form of imitations by the Aparoid Queen along with the other Aparoid victims, Peppy, Pigma, ROB 64, and Pepper, to corrupt the team to force them to surrender and join her.
Oddly enough, James was most likely the only one who did not have contact with any of the Aparoids at all and she may have accessed those memories of James due to their previous connection to him. The imitation of James likely gave away her illusions, as Fox knew his father well enough to know that he would never tell him to give up, though he and his team still struggled mentally and emotionally. That was until they recall Wolf's advice to not hesitate and just act that helped them resist the psychological torture and eventually defeat her.
At the end of the Fichina mission, Falco and Peppy converse about being attacked by allies and how those with weak wills (like the sentry bots at the Climate Control Center) can easily turned to side of evil. This is thought to have reminded Fox about the circumstances involving his father's presumed death and the events behind them, as he repeats "Those without strong wills... allies or enemies..." while lost in thought. Krystal then asks about it, which Fox replies that it sounded like someone he knew as he looked at the aurora in the sky.
James once again makes an appearance on the Venom Sea in the non-canon Dash Makes a Decision ending route where he is seen flying in his Arwing and helping out Fox, Falco, and Dash Bowman (only if certain conditions of two bases and no spare ships are met before reaching Venom). Neither Falco or Dash acknowledge him, which was when Fox is taken by surprise by Jame's presence, they asked whom he was talking to, which Fox quickly brushed them off. The Anglar army are possibly aware of him as well. After the battle, James vanishes after telling the team, "...Well done...".
Super Smash Bros.
James was mentioned in Super Smash Bros. Melee in the Peppy's trophy. In Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, James appeared as an collectionable trophy. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, James appears as an legendary-ranked primary shield-type spirit. His spirit battle is against Fox with increased move speed, defense and attack power on venom.
- James McCloud's first and only playable role to date is Star Fox: Command.