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Sakurai Discusses Kirby Development At Series Concert

Also, looking for more details about the concert itself? Look no further!

Sakurai

The Kirby 25th Anniversary Orchestra Concert was held in Japan the other day; naturally, series creator Masahiro Sakurai attended the event, and shared some behind-the-scenes info for the original Kirby’s Dream Land! For reference, this information was translated by the folks over at Source Gaming from this article.

As it turns out, Sakurai and his former team at HAL Laboratory developed Kirby’s Dream Land, which released for the Game Boy back in 1992, on Japan’s Twin Famicom. This hardware, which combined the Famicom (otherwise known as the Japanese NES) and the Famicom Disk System, was used by the team to develop games via a trackball controller and reading, writing and uploading data to floppy disks. In other words, they were using a Famicom to make a Famicom game; Sakurai described the process as being akin to “making a lunch with your lunchbox.”

sakurai
Kirby’s Dream Land was restricted to 512kb of data, which is equivalent to a single dot on the screen for Smash Bros., so many data-saving techniques were used. For example, Waddle Dee and Waddle Doos are different enemies but share the same torso, which allowed the team to craft two enemies with “1.5 bodies” of space. Meanwhile, the invincible spiky Gordo was created by “flipping” the upper left quarter of its body to the other quarters. And as King Dedede was the only enemy character present in his respective boss fight, they naturally used as much data as they could for his model.

One discarded idea for the original Dream Land was how Kirby would blast off the screen if he lost a life. If this sounds familiar, that’s because that mechanic was eventually resurrected for Smash! According to Sakurai, this wasn’t intentional; in fact, by the time Super Smash Bros. rolled around, he’d completely forgotten about his original idea! Moving on to Kirby Super Star, he revealed the game’s prototype was originally developed on the Famicom (as opposed to the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom), and that much of the ideas behind the final product were finalized in this one demo; for example, the Cutter and Yo-Yo abilities were almost identical animation-wise to the final version. Due to the relatively completed nature of this prototype, development went quite smoothly from there.

Other subjects such as the origin of the Kirby victory dance theme and even the differences in direction under Sakurai and Shinya Kumazaki (the current director of Kirby) were discussed, but they remain untranslated. However, it’s been confirmed Megumi Ohara, who joined the HAL Sound Team as of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, is 25 just like Kirby!

So who else attended the show? Kirby fans should definitely recognize some familiar faces in the above group photo, including series composers Shogo Sakai (who was responsible for the show’s arrangements), Jun Ishikawa, Hirokazu Ando, Megumi Ohara and Tadashi Ikegami, as well as Kirby’s VA Makiko Ohmoto and show conductor Taizo Takemoto (Smashing…Live!). Fellow game composers Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts), Go Ichinose (Pokémon) and Shota Kageyama (Pokémon Black and White) also attended the concert.

And as for the songs they played? Well, above is a pamphlet with the show’s setlist, which lists the following suites:

Part 1:
Kirby Grand Opening
Kirby’s Adventure Medley
King Dedede and Meta Knight “Tag Medley”
Kirby’s Dream Land 2 Friend Medley
Kirby’s Dream Land 3 and 64 Medley
Kirby Super Star Medley

Part 2:
Kirby Air Ride Medley
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror & Squeak Squad Medley
Kirby Became a Ball Medley (from what I can gather, this included games such as Dream Course, Kirby Canvas Curse and Pinball Land. The name comes from how he’s literally a ball in those titles)
Kirby Triple Deluxe Medley
Kirby Planet Robobot Medley
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Medley

Naturally, these all covered a wide variety of famous Kirby songs, including Green Greens, King Dedede’s Theme, Revenge of Meta Knight, 02’s Theme, The Great Cave Offensive, Coo’s Theme and the Haltmann Company Theme. Question is, will Kirby fans around the world ever get to hear them? While a soundtrack CD has yet to be announced, the good news is the two recent Nintendo anniversary concerts in Japan (Fire Emblem and Zelda) both received soundtracks, with the former even receiving a DVD of the show! With how Kirby games regularly receive soundtracks even as of last year’s Planet Robobot, we’d like to think chances are high this selection will be see a release. Let’s cross our fingers!

What do you think of Sakurai’s comments and what we know about the concert? Let us know in the comments below!

Anthony Pelone
Eating, breathing and living video games on a daily basis, Anthony is particularly fond of the Nintendo variety, but is by no means a console warrior. Somewhere in the midst of his obsession with cat pictures, he finds the time to pen about his favorite hobby. Having previously written for over three sites, Anthony remains dedicated to spreading the gospel of EarthBound.

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