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.
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.