Kirby Star Allies was a much different game a year after it launched. Nintendo released a ton of new content for the game, ranging from new characters to new modes and more. In an interview with Kotaku, HAL's Shinya Kumazaki discussed the process of coming up with content, working to keep the game fresh, and the rules for who could be featured.
“Even though planning is very important when it comes to designing a game of this magnitude, we also value the ideas and discoveries that come up day-to-day, but don’t get a chance to emerge by simply following the plan. The last update added Heroes in Another Dimension, which is something that came from one of those ideas.
We originally considered adding a new planet to the second half of the Story Mode, but we figured players might enjoy having an additional game mode even more, and we could reveal more of the story that way.
There were more than a few times when we thought it would be difficult to include certain characters when taking the past stories into consideration, but we got past that kind of rigid thinking early on. Focusing on the story would immediately close the door to going on adventures with these characters.
There were other characters that we wanted to make special guest appearances, like Drawcia, Elline, Shadow Kirby, Galacta Knight, and so on. But we established a certain rule for our selection process. The rule was to select one character from each title in the main action games over the years, the so-called core Kirby games, the equivalent to numbered sequels.
(The goal) was more to balance the game so it moves ahead at a good pace, and progress comes more briskly than usual. I’m conscious about wanting to have more players get to see the ending when I’m creating a Kirby game.
“I’ve felt that each new Kirby game gets slightly more difficult and sprawling than the last. So from that perspective, we took another look at the origin point of the series, and set our sights on developing a game where even young children who have never played a game before would be able to stick with it and progress through the story, and would completely lose track of time while playing, just like we all did when we first met Kirby as kids in Kirby’s Dream Land.
Of course, it wasn’t easy realizing all these updates. But because of them we felt like we went through this game’s launch with fans four times, including the original release date, which is also a new sensation.”
Will this be the plan for Kirby games going forward? A base release, and then a year's worth of new content via DLC? Here's what Kumazaki had to say.
“There’s nothing I can say about that at the moment, but I think we’ve learned a lot from our experience in developing in HD, creating 4-person multiplayer and a lengthy development cycle as we updated the game. I’m confident they made the Kirby Team here at HAL Laboratory even stronger!”