Kirby’s “perfectly round” design didn’t sit well with 3D, according to the HAL Laboratory

Development of the 3D platform game Kirby and the Forgotten Land got off to a rocky start at HAL Laboratory because Kirby is just too damn round. As it turns out, moving the pink puffball from 2D to 3D was a real nuisance for the development team. Luckily, some clever tricks ensured that the game saw the light of day.

In an Ask the Developer interview, HAL Laboratory director Tatsuya Kamiyama explained that developing a 3D Kirby game is a challenge. Kamiyama claimed, “The first challenge…was that Kirby’s character design wasn’t perfectly suited for full 3D gameplay.” He adds that “Kirby’s silhouette is perfectly round…it can be difficult to tell at a glance which one direction he is facing.”

After some trial and error, the development team managed to convert Kirby into a 3D airplane thanks to some in-game tricks. Kamiyama explains, “When it looks like an attack ‘should’ hit the screen, it connects—even if it just misses.” Kirby has confirmed aim assist. The classic copy skills have also been redesigned from the ground up to make the transition to 3D feel more natural.

“Fuzzy Landing” is another development trick HAL used to make Kirby click in 3D. If you press the A Button to jump again upon landing, “the game will treat Kirby as if he had already landed when the A Button is pressed close to the ground.” This helped remove instances of Kirby flapping when you think he’s landed when you want to jump again.

A lot of thought went into making the first main Kirby game in 3D. The attention to detail paid off with the fun demo and has led the development team to want to try “lots of new things” in both 2D and 3D in future Kirby games. Kirby’s “perfectly round” design didn’t sit well with 3D, according to the HAL Laboratory

Curtis Crabtree

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