For those Nintendo fans that have never seen or read an entry of Iwata Asks, a special interview column featuring Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s President, and game developers, I insist that you do your best to check it out at least once. Every release centers around a specific, relevant topic and often reveals new and unique facts or ideas that most gamers have never heard of.
This week, Nintendo released Kirby’s Return to Dream Land for the Wii. This adventure features both cooperative and single player gameplay and stands as a return to form for Kirby after his stringy stint with Epic Yarn.
To serve as a way of celebrating that release, Nintendo posted an Iwata Asks that featured a round-table discussion between Iwata and four developers/producers that each spent time with HAL Laboratory (the studio behind Kirby); Shigefumi Kawase, Shinya Kumazaki, Hiroaki Nakano and Tadashi Kamitake. In the interview, Iwata mentioned that it’s been 11 years since the world has seen a brand new Kirby game; the last of which being Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Iwata asked what happened at HAL Laboratory during that 11 year stint.
It turns out the team worked on and cancelled three completely unique Kirby titles. Here’s Kawase and Iwata’s exchange:
Kawase: …there are three lost Kirby games. The first one is the one that pictures were shown of at E3. It was a Kirby game based on the concept of four-person simultaneous gameplay. That was when I learned how difficult it is to make a game that is both multi-player and single-player.
Iwata: If it had come out, it would have been soon after Kirby Air Ride.
Kawase: That’s right. The second one was an experiment with extremely challenging gameplay that placed Kirby in 3D space and allowed players to freely move around. But unfortunately, we weren’t able to achieve the quality we hoped for and it never reached completion. The third one involved an animated Kirby sort of like a pop-up book. We renewed the Copy Abilities, and tried to power it up. We spent 11 years… making and abandoning these three games.
It seems a lot of work was heaped up and scrapped during HAL Laboratory’s chase for a great Kirby title. Return to Dream Land has been receiving largely positive scores since its release, and it currently stands at an 81 average on Metacritic.