Kirby Triple Deluxe developer Hal Laboratories wants to see a fully-3D entry to the series, similar to Super Mario Galaxy. VG247’s Dave Cook spoke with the studio about Kirby’s initial creation, his long history of games and what could lie ahead in his future.
Nintendo published Kirby Triple Deluxe earlier this month, and as you can see from our review round-up, the platformer is actually really good. I’ve been a massive fan of the pink blob for years, as well as a crippled Kirby Pinball Land addict, but I’ve never had an opportunity to speak to the team behind his games in all my years as a games writer.
When I was offered a chance to ask Hal Laboratories some burning questions, I decided to shift focus away from the 3DS game, because let’s face it, you’ve probably read that same article a million times already this month. I wanted to ask some different questions about who Kirby is, where he came from and more.
Our time was limited, but I hope you Kirby fans out there get some fresh perspective from the answers below, as provided by Kirby Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki, managing director Yurie Hattori and the team’s public relations staff Satoshi Ishida.
On the urban myth that Kirby’s abilities were inspired by vacuum cleaners:
Ishida: “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the concept of Kirby didn’t come from vacuum cleaners. Kirby was designed around a simple circle, the kind of thing anyone can draw, so that he would appeal to a wide range of users.”
Hattori: “It’s true that Kirby sucks anything up just like a vacuum cleaner, but he wasn’t modelled on one. At first all he could do was inhale something and then spit it back out, but as the series has grown he’s changed a lot as we’ve added all kinds of abilities and even had him transform into a ball or yarn creation! I think the secret to Kirby’s reception lies in his simple, round and adorable pink design.”
On how the Japanese public responded to Kirby’s initial reveal in 1992
Ishida (Picture above): “When Kirby was first unveiled in Japan, the simple design and novel play style, where you suck something up and then spit it back out again, hadn’t been seen in any games before. In 2012 we marked the 20th anniversary of Kirby. During this time we’ve released over 20 titles, 100 cartoon episodes and gained the support of a large user base.”
Hattori: “One day shortly after the release of Kirby: Triple Deluxe in Japan, I happened to see a little child on the train hugging a Kirby plushy with a big grin on their face. I can still remember how happy they looked. Their mother looked to have been in her 30s, the same generation as me. It just struck me as very humbling that this lady might have played the very first Kirby game, and 20 years later is able to enjoy it again with her own child.”
On Kirby’s pink colour and how this might have changed gamers’ perception of him
Ishida: “We get the impression that Kirby’s pink colour and colourful world are accepted by a wide range of users from different age groups. Of course it really comes down to the combination of the visuals and the basic gameplay elements that we’ve honed to a really fine level; that’s why people really accept it and why, in our opinion, Kirby isn’t overlooked by the gaming community.”
Hattori: “Maybe there is a bias against the Kirby IP as a whole with people thinking they are games just for young children. Although we’ve made the games so that even a novice can play them, they aren’t just something that only novices can enjoy.
“We designed the games to have a high degree of freedom so that even core action game fans could play it again and again and still enjoy it. We’ve had core Kirby fans in Japan for a long while, and they have followed the various different play styles we adopted, but there are still going to be people selecting Kirby as their first action game.
“We take the utmost care in making the game so that we meet the needs of both of these groups of users. Because of this, I think if someone thinking it was simply a game aimed at children took a chance and tried it out, they would find it surprisingly deep.”