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HAL Laboratory explains King Dedede’s updated design in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe

Posted on July 30, 2023 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe King Dedede

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe updates many elements from the original Wii game, including the design for King Dedede. The developers behind the game touched on this in a recent interview with Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream.

Here’s our full translation:

The design of King Dedede isn’t the same as the Wii version, but is actually closer to his new look in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Can you talk to us about that?

Kumazaki: Just like the outline situation, we also were very conflicted on this. In truth the form of King Dedede has actually changed depending on the personality and what we wanted to bring out in the individual game. For example in Triple Deluxe, King Dedede is in a lot of scenes, and as well as being an enemy, he is also playable in battles, so we gave him a slightly ‘cooler’ face.

On the other hand, in Star Allies, he appears as one of the Dream Friends, and compared to some of the others he is somewhat comical, and has this feeling of being the ‘king of playing dumb’. For his design, we took the unique features that King Dedede has and upped the ‘comicalness’. In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, we made a new design to fit better with the ‘Beast Pack’ in that game. If we had kept his design from Kirby’s Return to Dream Land from the Wii version when making the Switch game, it would have felt like a big step back. So we compared the versions side by side, his look from a year ago in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and from Star Allies from before that, and we really agonized thinking about which players would find easier to accept.

So which did you use?

Kumazaki: We felt that the design from Kirby and the Forgotten Land from a year before had been very well received, so built on that as a base, keeping it’s very modern feel, and aimed for a design that also incorporated the comical-nature of Star Allies.

We always think about how to make everything fit together in each game. This time we have the smaller Bandana Waddle Dee and the cool Meta Knight, and then we have the large, stout and powerful King Dedede, and we wanted each to be instantly recognizable based on their own characteristics. For King Dedede in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, we wanted to make good use of his bulky physique as part of the Beast Pack.

Even just talking about King Dedede, there’s some pretty deep discussions to be had (laughs).

Kumazaki: And then the King Dedede in Kirby Returns to Dream Land on the Wii has a big face, but his body is a little smaller.

Watanabe: That’s for the convenience of ‘collision detection’ in action games.

Tanifuji: As much as possible we wanted all players to have the same specifications, so we had to adjust the look of King Dedede, the balance now is just about perfect.

Kumazaki: A single player’s Kirby appears at a size of ‘1 Kirby’, but when controlling King Dedede, his size means his collision detection actually is close to ‘2 Kirbys’! For the Wii version collision detection was adjusted so it was calculated the same as Kirby. At first when King Dedede entered somewhere with a low ceiling his face would clip through, so we had to make the body smaller and smaller. In turn this made his face feel big and have a greater impact but conversely since his body was smaller we weren’t able to create the true ‘Large and powerful giant’ that we wanted to.

Now with the Switch the problem of collision detection has been solved, and it becomes easier to convey the true powerful hulk we want to, and the whole design feels larger. I’m sure players’ memories and perceptions of him have changed over the years too. So we came to a point where the development team and myself included were unable to decide which customers would welcome more; the new of the old King Dedede. Ultimately the development team created a design that strikes a good balance and makes use of the available technology.

Something else that the team discussed, which Kumazaki mentioned above, were the new graphical outlines in the game. We translated talk about that as well which you can find here.

Translation provided by Simon Griffin and SatsumaFS on behalf of Nintendo Everything.

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