Nintendo's Kirby has predominantly become a hero of the handheld realm over the past decade with most of his adventures premiering for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 3DS, but there were plans to bring the pink puffball back for more GameCube titles beyond just Kirby's Air Ride. As part of the Iwata Asks interview for the new Wii four-player platformer Kirby's Return To Dreamland, it's been revealed that Nintendo and HAL Laboratories collaborated on three — count 'em — three Kirby games over eleven years that were cancelled near the end of development. That's right; Nintendo has three lost Kirby titles in its legendary vault of dead projects. Here's some of the interview in which Dreamland producer Shigefumi Kawase explains what went wrong:
Actually, there are three lost Kirby games. The first one is the one that pictures were shown of at E3. It was a Kirby game based on the concept of four-person simultaneous gameplay. That was when I learned how difficult it is to make a game that is both multi-player and single-player. The second one was an experiment with extremely challenging gameplay that placed Kirby in 3D space and allowed players to freely move around. But unfortunately, we weren't able to achieve the quality we hoped for and it never reached completion. The third one involved an animated Kirby sort of like a pop-up book. We renewed the Copy Abilities, and tried to power it up. We spent 11 years… making and abandoning these three games.
All three of these games sound interesting, and the teasing screenshots show promise in their own way. I'd like to see the second cancelled title set in a true 3D environment revived in some form, as outside of Kirby 64, Kirby hasn't done much in 3D space (and even Kirby 64 was locked into a single perspective most of the time). As for the thrid canned title, its vivid colors bring to mind a similar animated style used for Wario Land: Shake It!!. Notably, aspects of all three of these dead projects made it into the new Dreamland, so it isn't like all of that unseen work went to waste (this shouldn't be a surprise; Nintendo has never been a company that lets an interesting idea truly get away from it). I always enjoy little peeks into the cancelled projects vault. Sometimes what we don't get to play is just as interesting as what we do.