Nintendo originally thought Kirby was too round for his first 3D platform game, Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
In a new developer blog, director Tatsuya Kamiyama spoke on the challenges of creating Kirby And The Forgotten Land, saying that the team considered the iconic pink character to be too round for his first 3D platform game (via Eurogamer).
“Of course. The first challenge – and we knew this from the start – was that Kirby’s character design was not a perfect fit for full 3D gameplay,” Kamiyama said.
“Kirby’s silhouette is perfectly round. When you’re controlling him from behind, it can be hard to tell which direction he’s facing at a glance.”
In Kirby And The Forgotten Land, the pink protagonist can use an ability called Mouthful Mode, allowing him to become like anything he swallows. Level designer, Yuki Endo, explained that the Mouthful Mode idea was an “intuitive visual appeal for our players.”
Associate producer Kei Ninomiya shared his thoughts, saying, “It was also appealing to us in terms of visual design. Because it would be in 3D, we imagined seeing Kirby in these bizarre shapes from all kinds of angles.”
In terms of game development, Kamiyama said that the team’s standard approach had to be reconsidered from the ground up since Kirby And The Forgotten Land features 3D play environments, and the shadows and lighting had to be enhanced.
“To help our team make the best use of their time, we developed a system that could give certain areas an automatic “terrain-modelling” pass,” he explained. “That boosted our efficiency and saved us time. Since the stages were modelled quickly, it allowed us more time to think of ways to play in that stage, and therefore we were able to experiment more quickly and more smoothly with gameplay on maps.”
In other news, Amazon Games has said it would “consider” a Lost Ark console version.