James McCloud is a fictional character from the Star Fox series. He is the father of Fox McCloud and the founder of Star Fox. He was betrayed by Pigma Dengar and captured and thought to be killed by the evil Andross. Peppy Hare informed James's son about his fate; however, it is debatable whether or not James is truly dead.
He was mentioned twice in the original Star Fox, although not by name. In the briefing before going into the Black Hole, General Pepper mentions that the Black Hole was where Fox's father disappeared. Andross says that Fox's father was a reckless fighter, but this dialogue appears only on the highest difficulty level. In the original SNES game, James McCloud, was sent into the blackhole after an experimental bomb testing "went wrong". The bomb was designed by Andross, then a scientist of the planet Corneria, and it was secretly supposed to detonate when James reached critical velocity.
Until Star Fox 64, Fox McCloud's father was not called "James." Some references, such as the comic adaptation published in Nintendo Power, called him "Fox McCloud, Sr."
James makes minor appearances in subsequent games. In Star Fox Adventures, four of the Cheat Tokens present messages to Fox, and at least one of them are words of encouragement directly from James himself. Whether or not he wrote the other messages is unknown, but they relate to subjects Fox is familiar with, like Andross and saying goodbye to close friends. James also "appears" in Star Fox: Assault. Towards the end, he and some other characters are heard talking, their faces identified in the Comm, thought to be assimilated by the Aparoids. In reality, it's just the Aparoid Queen using the voices to trick Fox. Although they were not fooled, this badly strickens the Star Fox team, wondering why the Queen would do something so nightmarish to them. They suddenly hear Wolf's advice that was given to Fox back in Corneria, giving them the strength to resist the impersonations and to defeat the Queen.
The unreleased Star Fox 2 is the only Star Fox game not to ever mention James at all.
At the end of Star Fox 64 (depending on if the player fought at Area 6 or Bolse) James helps Fox escape the planet Venom, but then disappears soon afterwards when Fox returns to the Great Fox after the battle with Andross. James is presumed dead, and no one, not even Fox, is quite sure how he guided his son out. Some people think that Fox had some sort of vision of James' "ghost" while others may believe that James might have been able to actually escape Andross. The exact nature of James' fate is left a complete mystery, but if one watches the closing cutscene closely, a point of light can be seen moving very much against the other background stars, leaving the player to wonder if that was James' Arwing flying off somewhere.
James is similar in appearance to Fox, but wears sunglasses, and has slightly darker fur. The two also appear to be wearing the same clothes in this game. In Japanese, he is voiced by Tomohisa Aso, who also voices Peppy Hare.
James' latest appearance was in Star Fox: Command where under certain circumstances James will appear as a playable character on the final level in Venom's ocean. James flies an Arwing mark 1 like Peppy Hare in this level and the rest of the team acknowledge his presence but are not shocked.