Kirby Star Allies director on the name, selecting new / returning Copy Abilities, Pon & Con’s return, more
In its latest issue, Nintendo Dream posted a Kirby Star Allies developer interview. Shinya Kumazaki, the game’s general director, had a lengthy chat with the Japanese magazine.
Kumazaki spoke about the game’s title, selecting new and returning Copy Abilities, and bringing back Pon & Con. You can find that and more in our translation below.
ND: Please tell us the theme or development concept of this game.
Kumazaki: We aimed for Kirby Star Allies to be a “compilation” title of the mainstream Kirby games in recent years. As developers, we unleashed all technology and experience we’ve gathered as we were developing this project. Not only the usual multiplayer, we of course also had join and leave features in which [players] can join in anytime, but you can also switch from over 20 helpers/friends, so it has a high degree of freedom.
You can also enjoy the game alone with AI friends, and the Friend Abilities, which are born from combining each of their traits, are actions with new discoveries which you can activate anytime, and they give excitement to the four-man journey.
While it is packed with an abundance of features, we also made it so that you can still feel Kirby’s theme of having a broad opening and a high degree of depth is still there.
ND: Please tell us the meaning hidden in the subtitle Star Allies.
Kumazaki: Star Allies can also mean Star Friends in Japanese. While we had also thought of mainstream titles that are easier to understand like Friends or Deluxe, we chose this because we’re putting emphasis on a title that can be understood well worldwide.
The word “Allies” is a bit unfamiliar in Japan, but it can be conveyed like a mainstream title overseas; in Japan itself it also sounds like a new word worthy of a new Kirby game, so we’ve decided that this title is fitting for this game that is released simultaneously worldwide.
ND: What’s the reason for making the game about adventuring together with helpers instead of a multiplayer title with four colored Kirbys?
Kumazaki: Actually… producing a multiplayer game with four colored Kirbys would definitely be easier. The multiplayer structure itself is hectic [to make], but there is indeed a huge difference between just making one common model and creating behavior for all Friends – including the gameplay in each level – and gathering them all together. This is also the HD era, so there’s huge hardship in creating models one by one.
Even so, we tried taking on the challenge since we have the desire to let people control as many characters – from the series which has grown over 25 years – as possible, recognize them to be stronger, and like them even more. Of course it was impossible to have every single character appear though… (sweats).
Also, game design-wise, the fun factor of tackling the heart and controlling various characters is an important point, and I think being able to go on adventures by switching between four favorite members is a fun factor available only in this game which employs this system.
ND: Do you join multiplayer by producing Friend Helpers first?
Kumazaki: If there are friends controlled by AI, those characters can be given to second and third players. Friends can also throw Friend Hearts just like Kirby, so you can switch to your favorite characters. Also, even when there are no friends, if Kirby has an ability, you can use a feature to steal Kirby’s ability and join as a Friend.
You’ll get to understand when you actually play it, but thanks to Friend Hearts, you can form your favorite four-man party and start playing much easier than you expect. The tempo of playing four-player is better than Kirby’s Return to Dream Land.
ND: Any points to see in particular on the Friend Ability which can be unleashed by four people?
Kumazaki: It’s the Friend Train indeed. When I thought it would be interesting if there’s something that enables you to go adventuring while playing together with four people, my head can’t stop thinking of the four-man group forming a train. Looking at the four of them fighting together seriously to accomplish something is also a cool thing, but I thought I also want a scene that’s more Kirby-like; more mysterious-yet-pleasant.
The Friend Train may look a bit preposterous, but I think it has become a Friend Ability that symbolizes the pleasant trip of Kirby and friends. Of course the exhilaration from running through is also outstanding!