Along with the imaginative and fun designs (as well as just the inclusion of the 64 gang sans Peppy), I've gotta say that the background you added sends the quality of this way over the top. Nice one. Really.
I think they HAVE been ... but it doesn't always pay off. They have handing off some of their biggest franchises to outside developers to let them handle their own take on them (a VERY "risky" move if you ask me), and sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.
The Two Zelda games made by Capcom (Oracle of Seasons/Ages) turned out pretty decent. However, while the Music and Graphics were top-notch, the StarFox game made by Namco (Assault) I felt was a huge let-down in the gameplay department. ... and don't get me started on what Q-games did to "Command". Nintendo has even let SEGA (their former rivals) play with their 'Lead Mascot' Mario in the "Mario & Sonic : Olimpic Games" series. ... and of course, speaking of Metroid, a Metroid Pre-Quil/Mid-Quil by 'Team Ninja'?! Heck YEAH!!!
They are making touch screen only Zelda games on the DS in TOONY style, in spite of fan preference to other styles ... they are making Multiplayer Mario games on their primary console (Wii) ... and I hear there is a New game coming out in Japan based solely around the Zelda character TINGLE (part of a series that mostly has not left Japan).
Nintendo 'IS' taking Risks ... they just may not always be the ones we WANT them to take.
... that said, I really like what you did with this image, not only visually, but conceptually. It actually reminds me of a side project I am working on myself.
Because the Benimaru Itoh StarFox comic [link] was pretty much what inspired me to take on Cartooning as a hobby in the first place, I have been planning for years to make my own StarFox Tribute fan-comic based on official Canon, as an unofficial Sequel to Itohs work ... but as I hammered out the story, researching all of the games extensively, I confirmed to myself that Nintendo has royally F***ed up their StarFox franchise. Command really feels like a nail in that universes coffin as it not only made half the characters really suck, but actually told multiple versions of the END of the StarFox team (as led by Fox McCloud).
So, I have been re-imagining the whole series in a different time period within the Lylat system in a total re-start of the franchise (the way "I" would like to see it).
Though I have not hit the rewind button quite as far as you have, my own take on things places the characters in the dawn of the Cornerian Space Age, With Fox's Father James having worked along side the "Neil Armstrong"s and "Buzz Aldrin"s of the planet as not only the BEST StarFighter in history, but the FIRST ... EVER.
(Sorry for the LONG-Winded response).
I hope I can find the motivation to start drawing out my Fan Tribute Comic soon so I can show you MY OWN take on the franchise (with a "Saturn V" style Great Fox, Retro-Styled 'ROB XVII', 1950's - 70's (equivilant) James Mcloud in the Cornerian Navy, and 80's Punk Falco, among other things.
Anyway ... keep up the GREAT artwork ... and let's both cross our fingers that Nintendo makes the next StarFox game a heck of a lot better than the last one.