‘What happens if Kirby swallows a hot man?’ and other Kirby Qs answered
Kirby’s adorable pink stomach holds so many secrets. How does he treat the other creatures that he consumes? Is he able to skeletonize? Is Kirby possible to fall in love with him?
These are questions that I get from readers in comments or on social media. I was not afraid of being humiliated and took the opportunity to speak with Kirby’s game directors to find out the answers.
HAL Laboratory’s executive director Shinya Kumazaki and expert director Tatsuya Kamiyama were in San Francisco to celebrate (one year late) the 30th anniversary of the iconic anthropomorphic orb. Kuamazaki & Kamiyama gave a lecture to the packed Game Developers Conference hall. They then sat down and talked with me about Kirby history.
Our conversation was long and deep about Kirby’s creative process. I look forward to sharing more details of our discussion. But since you’ve waited decades to know what happens when a Kirby swallows another Kirby, I didn’t want you to wait another day for an answer.
Polygon: Will Kirby and his wife ever be in love?
Shinya Kumazaki:Kirby seems to me like a neutral character. It’s really the player’s emotion that gets displayed and realized on the other side of the screen. I think that’s what makes Kirby unique. That is why we don’t allow Kirby to express any emotions not felt by him. Excessive emotions such as anger and crying.
With that said, if within the story there’s a sequence where the player might feel like they’re falling in love with someone — if that’s the experience we design — then I don’t think it’s impossible to have Kirby’s eyes turn into hearts. Maybe Kirby blushes. I don’t think that’s outside the realm of possibility.
With that said, we haven’t had a title in the series that focused on falling in love. Personally, Kirby will always be a character that takes everything as it comes.
Tatsuya Kamiyama: What I can tell you is that Kirby loves delicious food.
What would Kirby’s inside look like if you removed the outer layer?
Kumazaki: Dreams. Dreams. It is important that Kirby remains mysterious. So I’ll say we will keep it a mystery.
What happens to a Kirby if it swallows another Kirby.
Kumazaki: Kirby’s ability is to swallow and copy an object’s ability. There were times in the past when a yellow Kirby was swallowed up by a pink Kirby. Pink Kirby would then spit it all out. It would be nothing. In terms of game design, we haven’t created anything special reaction associated with that.
But given Kirby’s ability is to copy, and it swallows a Kirby with the same ability, nothing would change. Although it might make two Kirby, I find it amusing.
How do Kirby’s creatures get to their destination?
Kumazaki: Because the base world is a fantasy world, it’s not like they get swallowed and digested inside of Kirby. This might seem jarring and, as we wanted the game to be accessible, it might make the game less approachable.
We have instead this funny and comical depiction of the enemy poofing. Kirby may swallow an enemy creature or other entity, but it does not mean they disappear. They will return to the same place.
GDC featured Kirby as a superhero. These are personified Kirbys? Is it possible that they are superheroes inspired Kirby?
Kumazaki: It was meant for Kirby to show the audience what kind of hero he thought of when he thought of a hero. So it’s not personified.
Former coworkerWired’s Megan FarokhmaneshI was accompanied by a friend to the GDC panel and were struck by Kirby, the super-hero. Kirby would become a hot-man if he ate a hot woman, she asked.
Kumazaki: Your friend may have seen the power and muscle that the pictures depict. I think Kirby’s ability would be in line with that. And he’d probably have a hat associated with it. His face wouldn’t turn into hot Kirby.
Not sharp angles.
Kumazaki: Still round.
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