When looked at from a series-wide perspective, there are definitely some patterns and “sets” of games in the Kirby series. The fan named Dark Matter Trilogy, for example, which shares several themes and aesthetics likely stemming from their director across Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Dream Land 3, and 64: The Crystal Shards.
In a similar way, the current state of the series is also overseen by recurring Director Shinya Kumazaki. Having that role (and later, General Director) of most titles since Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, it’s no stretch to say that he has steered Kirby and all his Dream Friends since the Wii. Now though, Kumazaki and the rest of HAL Laboratory are looking ahead to what comes next for Dream Land.
In the recently released Kirby Star Allies: The Original Art Book, a message from Kumazaki details both the difficulties in developing Star Allies’ Dream Friend updates and how the staff is ready to head into the “next phase” of Kirby series.
“We say this every game, but the team and I overcame many difficulties making Star Allies. Sometimes these projects don’t quite come together, but ‘Star Allies’ overcame the odds and became a game with a lot to offer. Some of the Dream Friends were a challenge to include, to the point where we weren’t sure if we could include some of them at all, but we wanted please the fans who have supported the series and included all the Dream Friends from across the Kirby franchise. There is always a sense of uncertainty at the beginning of a project, and it’s natural we were hesitant about including some of the Dream Friends, but we worked together to make it happen. When working on the three free updates for the game, we encouraged all team members, young and old, to give their input on what they thought fans wanted to see. It was very difficult to organize all the suggestions, but I think Star Allies is a compilation of Nintendo and the Kirby team’s efforts.
With its release, we’ve finally broken the 11-year drought of side-scrolling titles on consoles. We also added cooperative multiplayer that fans have waited for, another accomplishment that the staff feel great about. And now, finally, we can move on to the next phase! I still try new things at work every day, talking with my colleagues about where to take the series next. Together with them, even if only to please a single fan, we’re planning for the next stage of our future. The team is a culmination of the best aspects of the Kirby franchise, and we hope you’ll look forward to what we have coming next.
This may not herald a radical shift, such as what was seen when Kumazaki first became Director, but it is interesting that he notes the “11-year drought” of console games. This is in reference to the long gap between the release of Kirby 64 and Return to Dream Land, during which there were multiple attempts to produce a new Kirby title. Those ideas somewhat coalesced into what would become RtDL, but in marking that as the frame of reference it might mean we’re on the way to the series seeing another renovation.
That’s purely speculative, and until we see what HAL is working on there are still several Kirby games both old and modern to enjoy on the Switch.
The featured translation comes courtesy of Nintendo Everything.