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HAL Laboratory Director Explains Why Kirby Tends To Be A Ball Of Rage On Western Covers

Posted by Damien McFerran

"We know there is a serious side to Kirby as well"

If you're a keen import gamer, then you may have noticed a slight disconnect between Kirby's games in the east and in the west — the Japanese boxart usually has a happy, smiling Kirby, while the covers of his western releases showcase a more determined — even grumpy — expression.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki has been speaking to Gamespot about why this is the case, and it's the usual issue of differences in culture:

For the Japanese versions we are, at [Kirby developer] HAL, involved in everything throughout development, including the package design. The most powerful image of Kirby is that cute image, we think that's the one that appeals to the widest audience.

While it does start cute, we know there is a serious side to Kirby as well. What we have heard is that strong, tough Kirby that's really battling hard is a more appealing sign of Kirby [in North America], so that's what we feature in the US.

There are exceptions to this, of course — Kirby's Epic Yarn on the Wii featured a happy face on both the Japanese and western editions, while Kirby: Triple Deluxe takes the opposite route and make him angsty everywhere in the world.

Do you think this change is warranted? Do western players really associate more with a pink blob when he's angry? Let us know what you think by posting a comment below.

Images courtesy of Eurogamer.


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User Comments (31)




I like the kawaii ones better, but he still looks cool when mad. Think the angry version would probably do better in America than the cute ones anyway.



MadAdam81 said:

I think angry Kirby is more unique. So many things look a bit like Kirby and are cutesy.



The_Ninja said:

Angry Kirby looks better than Kawaii Kabii IMO.

If COD already has a bunch of 8 year olds online swearing,
I wonder how many there are gonna be on a Kirby FPS..



Jazzer94 said:

To be fair Kirby is a mass murder who shows no remorse for all the creatures he devours most of them being defenseless so I'm not surprised that there is a dark side to him.



PrincessEevee9 said:

American Kirby is best Kirby.

On a side note a surprise Map Kart Nintendo Direct just went up.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Just give us that amazing 3D Kirby RPG with more of a backstory on the pink one or at least the other star warriors and i'll forgive you



NintyMan said:

I really wouldn't call him angry but more serious.

Oh, well; he is cute, but he's also a destructive warrior of a pink ball creature who can inhale enemies with little trouble. Don't let his appearance fool you whether he appears happy or serious.



RainbowGazelle said:

This use of 'The West' is really beginning to annoy the hell out of me. America and Europe tend to be referred to as 'The West', but It's only the American covers that have angry Kirby, yet now that suddenly means all of the 'western' covers are angry Kirby. I'm not having a go at NintendoLife (every gaming site includes/secludes Europe willy nilly), but just gaming websites in general. Make up your minds; either Europe is included in 'The West' or it isn't.



ecco6t9 said:

Or is it more serial killer for Kirby to be happy that he cannibalizing the enemy's in the Japanese version?



unrandomsam said:

I like the Japanese ones. (Just because I think that is what the original artistic vision was. The NoA has ruined far too many Nintendo games in one way or another and things like that remind me of the fact. They stay ruined when they come to Europe as well).



1990irock said:

Why do you exclude europe as the west? The US is just one country with those covers..



Obito_Sigma said:

I love the American covers. The American covers add that extra detail to Kirby, giving him more personality. He's not just this pink ball that smiles all the time... (that got awkward...)

@RainbowGazelle Damo is British himself, so don't act like he would prioritize America. Maybe he just thought that Europe also had the covers and never noticed them from his selves, or he just used the "West" very vaguely.



larry_koopa said:

I've heard this story (or something very similar) before, but I've always found it interesting nonetheless. In fact in general I'm always interested to see how box art differs between the different territories.



meltendo said:

As long as they don't change the in-game Kirby at all, I'm fine with the box art. Imagine the horror if they redid all the cute elements in the game for the Western release...!



FabioSMASH said:

Speaking as a mouth-breathing, violence-loving American, the appeal is that it's adorable when cute things are angry.

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