There are some Nintendo properties that remain in the company's homeland of Japan. International audiences know and love Mario, Link, Kirby, and Fox McCloud, but you'll face a challenge trying to find a North American gamer that knows the ins and outs of Starfy, an easy-going starfish who makes his home in Pufftop Palace (and before you cringe at the setting, remember that we happily accepted exotic locales such as the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, Dream Land, and Corneria years ago). Starfy is quite the hero in Japan with four 2D side-scrolling platformer games under his belt, but the series has never made it to North America (although the character has made the occasional cameo — watch for him briefly in games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Princess Peach). Now, after years of insisting that Starfy was "too Japanese", Nintendo of America is about to introduce him in his latest adventure for the Nintendo DS, The Legendary Starfy. IGN has a few quotes from Starfy's creative masters regarding the character's international debut.
When asked why it took so long for Starfy to come to the US, Producer Hitoshi Yamagami responded quite simply.
"He was swimming all the way from Japan!" joked Yamagami. He went on to explain that the Starfy series was always developed for a Japanese audience. According to the developers, they always wanted to bring Starfy to the US, but Nintendo of America deemed the game "too Japanese" for American audiences.
But with the fifth installment of Starfy, Tose wanted to make a game that new players could get into.
"It's a game that's really the result of all the great ideas we had in 1-4. This is a really accessible game and a great starting point to bring it to the US," said Yurie Hattori, assistant director for the Starfy games on the DS.
If Starfy's new game performs well in North America, there's a possibility that his previous adventures for the Game Boy Advance may find a home here as well (probably in a DS or — dare I say — downloadable format). I've never played a Starfy game before, but if he can stand next to the likes of Nintendo's other 2D platformer heroes, then I hope he has a bright future here. Personally, I'd like to play the segment of Starfy's third adventure for the Game Boy Advance where he crosses paths with Wario, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.