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‘What happens if Kirby swallows a hot man?’ His directors give answers


Kirby holds so many mysteries in that cute pink belly. What happens to the creatures it eats? Does he have a skeleton? Could Kirby fall in love?

Dear reader, these are the questions I hear from you so often in our comments and on social media. Undeterred by the risk of humiliation, I took it upon myself to get some answers when I had the rare opportunity to talk to the people who know Kirby best: the directors of his games.

HAL Laboratory Executive Director Shinya Kumazaki and Expert Director Tatsuya Kamiyama were in San Francisco to celebrate (a year late) the 30th anniversary of the iconic anthropomorphic sphere. After giving a presentation to a huge, packed room at the Game Developers Conference, Kuamazaki and Kamiyama sat down with me to talk about Kirby.

We’ve talked at length about the creative process behind Kirby games, and I’ll be sharing more of that conversation soon. But since you’ve waited decades to know what happens when a Kirby swallows another Kirby, I didn’t want you to wait another day for an answer.

Image: Nintendo

Polygon: Will or could Kirby ever fall in love?

Shinya Kumazaki: I feel like Kirby is a neutral character. It is really the player’s emotion that is displayed and realized on the other side of the screen. I think that’s what makes Kirby so unique. That’s why we try not to let Kirby express any emotions that the player might not be feeling. Extreme emotions, such as anger or crying.

With that said, if there’s a sequence in the story where the player could feel like they’re falling in love with someone – if that’s the experience we’re designing – then I don’t think it’s impossible to put Kirby’s eyes into hearts. let change. Or maybe Kirby blushes. I don’t think that’s out of the question.

That said, we haven’t had a title in the series that focused on falling in love. For me personally, I hope Kirby continues to be the kind of character who takes things as they come.

Tatsuya Kamiyama: But what I can say is what Kirby loves, great food!

If you cut open Kirby, what does the inside look like?

Kumazaki: To dream. Filled with dreams. Of course we want to give Kirby a mysterious side. So I’ll say we’ll keep it a mystery.

Kirby's Adventure box art

Image: HAL Lab/Nintendo

What happens if a Kirby swallows another Kirby?

Kumazaki: Kirby’s ability is to swallow and copy an object’s ability. In previous games, a yellow Kirby was swallowed by a pink Kirby. Pink Kirby would spit it out. So nothing really would happen. In terms of game design, we didn’t create a special response to that.

But since Kirby’s ability is to copy, and it swallows a Kirby with the same ability, nothing would change. Although I think it would be funny if it made two Kirbys.

What happens to the creatures Kirby swallows and where do they go?

Kumazaki: Since the base world is a fantasy world, it’s not like they’re gobbled up and consumed in Kirby. Because that can be shocking, and because we’ve made the game accessible, having such an extreme or violent expression can’t make the game as accessible.

Instead, we have this comedic, funny image where the enemies shit. When an enemy or creature is swallowed by Kirby, they may disappear, but they resurface elsewhere in the world.

Kirby envisions a superhero who would inspire him in his adventures.  The image is from a panel at GDC 2023.

Image: HAL Laboratories

At GDC you showed superheroes with Kirby. Are those personified versions of Kirby? Or are they superheroes inspired by Kirby?

Kumazaki: That was for the audience to understand what kind of hero Kirby thinks of when he thinks of a hero. So it is not personified.

A former colleague (Wired’s Megan Farokhmanesh) attended the GDC panel with me and was struck by the superhero Kirby. She asked an important question: If Kirby swallowed a hot man, would he turn into a hot man?

Kumazaki: I think your friend may have noticed the muscle and strength of the images shown. I think Kirby’s net worth would be in line with that. And he would probably have a hat with it. But his face wouldn’t turn into hot Kirby.

No sharp corners.

Kumazaki: Still around.

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