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Filed under: Guest Article, Industry People, Masahiro Sakurai, Super Bros. Smash For 3DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Series

Representation of Kirby Games with Stages in Smash [Part 2]

Notable Absences

As a series that fluctuates on the amount of stages it gets in each Super Smash Bros. and has never had more than two in a single game, it’s inevitable that there will be plenty of Kirby games that will miss out on getting a stage. However, with both stages in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U being from games that have already had stages, it’s clear that some Kirby games have missed out simply due to mixed priorities. Here I will talk about some of the most notably unrepresented Kirby games that are yet to have a stage in Smash.

Nothing says “Air Ride” like hovering four inches off the ground.

Kirby Air Ride was the final Kirby game Sakurai directed and is the sole Kirby game of the Nintendo GameCube. Not only is it a fan-favourite of the series, but it’s influence on the Smash series continues to this day. The design of Brawl‘s menu, the entire idea of Challenges and the 3DS version’s Smash Run mode are all a part of Air Ride‘s continued legacy. The game also has a presence in the series through several songs and the Dragoon item. But despite all this Air Ride itself has never been the focus of a stage. There may have not been enough time for one in Brawl, but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U would have been a great opportunity to include it. Its exclusion is especially strange given that a different Kirby game Sakurai directed was given a stage in each previous instalment. Given Sakurai’s clear fondness for it, there’s certainly a chance this title could eventually appear as a stage one day.

The Dark Matter Trilogy is what fans collectively refer to the three Kirby games directed by Shinichi Shimomura, Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Kirby’s Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, which all feature the villainous Dark Matter and its master Zero as the antagonists. As one of the few Kirby games with a recurring arc villain and being direct sequels to the original Kirby’s Dream Land, these games as a whole are extremely notable to Kirby‘s pre-Smash history and are popular with the fans, particularly Crystal Shards. While Sakurai did not work on these games, he did acknowledge them in Melee with trophies of Gooey and Rick, and even voiced King Dedede in Kirby 64, but never have any of them appeared as stages, only getting a couple of nods through some visual elements and music. As an important chapter in Kirby‘s history, the rather minimal presence of the Dark Matter games is quite unfortunate.

It seems like the plans for this stage were ultimately unravelled.

Post-Sakurai Kirby games make up a larger portion of the Kirby franchise than the games Sakurai worked on do, with plenty of beloved and experimental games released long after Kirby Air Ride. From Kirby & The Amazing Mirror‘s non-linear interconnected levels to Canvas Curse‘s touchscreen-based gameplay, there’s plenty of unique and interesting Kirby games from its later years. But after Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U‘s choice of new Kirby stages, an uncomfortable trend had become apparent; that Sakurai seems to be only interested in adding stages from Kirby games he directed. This wasn’t really a problem in earlier games since previously unrepresented games were receiving stages each time, but around the time of the latest instalment there was several new Kirby games like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land and Kirby: Triple Deluxe that were all ripe for the picking, yet all three of them were skipped over for games that had already had stages in past games. An Epic Yarn stage was allegedly planned for Smash Wii U, but this did not end up panning out. Hopefully this trend of ignoring newer Kirby games will end in the next Smash Bros. game.

Predicting the Future

Now that we’ve talked about statistics and missing games, as with previous analysis I will proceed to make my predictions for what Kirby stages we could see in the next Super Smash Bros. game. Unlike pretty much every other series in Smash, Kirby does not go for having a stage from its most recent games each time, instead having all of its stages come from games Sakurai has directed. It also doesn’t always go for early levels/worlds, with Fountain of Dreams being from the last world in Kirby’s Adventure and both Super Star stages being from sub-games that have to be unlocked first. Also add in the factor of Kirby frequently having stages from games that have already had them before and you get a somewhat uneven idea of what games to expect to see new stages from, either being a new unrepresented game or one that has had stages before, but either way a game directed by Sakurai.

– A Kirby Air Ride stage

Sakurai’s last Kirby game and a cult classic of the GameCube, Kirby Air Ride continues to live on in future Kirby games and in the Super Smash Bros. series, through items, songs and even influencing some of the later games’ menu designs and some of the modes. Sakurai clearly still thinks about Air Ride, so it seems like with all these continued references to it that a stage based on it is only a matter of time. There is two possible ways an Air Ride stage could be done; either a stage taking place on one of the tracks in a similar vein to the F-Zero and Mario Kart stages in the series, or alternatively a stage based on the popular City Trial mode, which Smash Run is inspired by.

Truly Kirby is the titular Nightmare in Dream Land

– A Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land stage

A remake of Kirby’s Adventure for the Game Boy Advance, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land was the second-last Kirby game Sakurai directed. With each Smash Bros. game adding new stages from Sakurai’s Kirby games in the order they were made, if Sakurai wanted to continue that trend then Nightmare in Dream Land would be next in line. While it is a remake rather than a fully-original game, it is built from the ground-up rather than a being a simple remaster, so it is fair to consider it an unrepresented Kirby game. It’s also worth noting that Kirby’s Adventure is the only Kirby game represented in Smash to have never had a second stage, so if Sakurai ever wanted to revisit the game for a new stage idea, he might choose to have it resemble the remake instead. For possible locations, both Ice Cream Island and Butter Building have received multiple remixes in Smash, so one of those areas might be chosen.

– Another Kirby Super Star stage

Kirby Super Star is pretty unusual in that is one of the few games to have multiple stages post-Melee. The last original main-line Kirby game Sakurai directed, part of why it may have gotten a new stage again in Smash Wii U after already getting one in Brawl could be due to how it is a compilation of many sub-games that featured different rules and mechanics, so having just one stage wouldn’t be able to do the game full justice. With so many sub-games left untouched, Sakurai may want to include another one as a stage in the next game.

– A stage from a Kirby game Sakurai didn’t direct

The lack of any new Kirby game stages in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U led to some criticism of Sakurai’s choices involving favouritism for games he made. While Sakurai has addressed these allegations in his Famitsu column, explaining that a Kirby’s Epic Yarn stage was originally planned, some are still rather unhappy about how things turned out. As Sakurai is clearly aware of this criticism, maybe he will decide to placate fans’ complaints and add a stage from a Kirby game that was made after he left HAL Laboratories. He could choose to do what he does for most other series and give Kirby a stage from a recent title, which at the moment would be Kirby: Planet Robobot. Alternatively, he could choose a stage from an older Kirby game like Crystal Shards or The Amazing Mirror, or even carry out his original plan of adding an Epic Yarn stage. There’s plenty of games to choose from, and any of them would surely please the fanbase if they received some acknowledgement.

Conclusion

And on the last note we conclude my analysis of Kirby stages in the Super Smash Bros. series. Kirby doesn’t have as many stages as some of the other larger series in Smash, but the ones that it does have are interesting and full of details. For a series with such a rich history though, it is a little lacking in the amount of games represented, especially with half the stages in the series being from already-represented games, but maybe the next Super Smash Bros. game will remedy that. This will be my final stage analysis for now, and I hope you all enjoyed reading this one and the others I have done. All there is left to do now is wait for the next game to be announced and see what new stages are revealed. Farewell!

 

Be sure to check out MagcargoMan on his Twitter page!

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5 comments
  1. The “Continue on Page 2” hyperlink goes to a Fire Emblem Heroes article instead of the second page of this article

    Ned Zeppelin on June 27 |
    • Thank you, it’s been fixed!

      PushDustIn on June 28 |
  2. With the rare (and honestly surprising) exception of Kirby’s new Final Smash, Sakurai is actually more Kirby-BLIND than anything.

    But that alone should be a start in having a Return to Dream Land-based stage, Lor Starcutter in particular.

    BooDestroyer on July 3 |
  3. While nobody complained a lot about the Kirby games back in Brawl, I do agree many were complaining a lot when 3DS/Wii U came out. Not just only stages, but characters as well. Many believed that (Bandanna) Waddle Dee would join in since he had a lot of spotlight as being one of the major Kirby character since Kirby Wii, but didn’t make it in the roster as he wasn’t even presented in the showcase trophy. Others from Assist and Showcase Trophies, even the enemies from Smash Run was mostly made by Sakurai, while non-Sakurai characters never appeared in any form. Due to this, many believed there was such thing as “Sakurai Bias”, which Sakurai doesn’t bring any Kirby characters that he never made. But I don’t think there is such thing as “Sakurai Bias”. Sakurai have changed Kirby’s Final Smash to the Ultra Sword, which is the move that wasn’t originated by Sakurai. He even added Magolor and his ship’s showcase trophy, even that wasn’t originated by Sakurai either. If there was such thing as “Sakurai Bias”, then he wouldn’t be putting these things from the first place. Maybe he couldn’t add in more non-Sakurai Kirby games, because probably HAL was being too strict with their product.

    As Sakurai wanted to bring Epic Yarn as a stage, I do think there may be a chance to see a non-Sakurai Kirby stage for the first time in the future, if HAL is widely open for its permission though. As I don’t think there may be a chance to see Epic Yarn as a stage, if they’re planning to change Yoshi’s stage to something more different instead (maybe the Switch game of their’s?), may he’ll bring something else, and I do like to see Triple Deluxe having a stage for Smash. I do see that hand trap from the factory stage looked more unique, and using it as a gimmick should be interesting. Or a combination of Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot, using the factory reference to make things tricky, risky, but fun.

    If Sakurai’ll bring his own related game instead, then I think Kirby 64 should be the interesting choice. Many fans seemed to like its factory stage, and its music, because it was iconic and traumatic at the same time. I’ve forgot what it looked like since I’ve played it long time ago, but maybe bringing that stage for Smash should be interesting, having players experiencing risky and traumatic moments during battle. If he’d bring Air Ride instead, then I could agree we’d see City Trial instead. The only thing I could think of being another touring stage like Delfino Town and Skyloft, but I do wanna see having random events like they did in the actual game.

    If Sakurai would bring another stage from Super Star, then the only stage I could think of is the Milky Way Wishes. Since that game takes places through various planets, I think it’ll be interesting to warping through those stages with different gimmicks and obstacles.

    Well, these are the only stages I could think of so far. But even then, Kirby is meant to be Sakurai’s masterpiece. Even some doesn’t belong to him anymore, he should try focusing on bringing them to Smash. Furthermore, since this is the final article for this series, I’ll miss it so much since there’s more possibilities for Smash. Thanks for presenting such great article!

    zoniken on July 4 |
    • I’m gonna be completely honest here and say I disagree with the notion about there being no “Sakurai Bias” involving regarding Kirby game representation. There are a few trophies and nods to other games but ultimately the majority of Kirby stuff in Smash spans just the games Sakurai directed. The Ultra Sword Final Smash is an oddity, I’ll admit, but other than that it is overwhelmingly Sakurai-era Kirby based. All the playable characters, stages, items, assist trophies and Smash Run enemies are from his games. There are a couple of trophies from later games like you said, but remember a lot of trophies in Brawl and Smash 4 used imported models, so it’s not like it took much effort to include them. As for Bandanna Waddle Dee, I think people were banking on recency a bit too much, as after Return to Dream Land, his significance dropped sharply. Really I felt he was just the “Yellow/Blue Toad” equivalent in RTDL and not the fourth major Kirby character everybody was billing him to be. I mean the Kirby amiibo line uses a generic Waddle Dee over Bandanna Dee. Nothing personal to be people who wanted him of course, just saying that I don’t think he was as big as they thought he was.

      I don’t think HAL Laboratory would be strict with sharing Kirby stuff, especially with it’s original creator. Not only is there plenty of Kirby content in Smash but Kirby amiibo compatibility with other games like Mario Kart and Super Mario Maker wasn’t impeded in any way at all. They aren’t like The Pokemon Company or some third party who are very limiting on how their IPs can be used. As for a Triple Deluxe stage, while I’d love to see one and have many ideas for one, I think that ship has sailed now unfortunately.

      I do believe that if one of the Dark Matter games ever gets a stage it will be Kirby 64, and I definitely agree it would be the factory level as it’s very iconic and memorable (and HAL knows it; it was a stage in Kirby Fighters and got remixes in both Rainbow Curse and Planet Robobot) and I don’t think Sakurai would resort to using the first level like he does for other series because Pop Star doesn’t have much for interesting stage material. As for Air Ride, I think it would be on a specific track, probably Celestial Valley or Frozen Hillside (although I probably just think that because of the music being in Smash) just because that’s what Sakurai tends to do with stages set on race tracks, although I think City Trial is a likely alternative.

      As for another Super Star stage I agree that Milky Way Wishes would probably be the most likely, as a transforming stage that changes from planet to planet, or alternatively it takes place in space with all the planets in the background, and visits one planet before returning back to space for a while before going to the next. That said, the transforming style could easily work with the Spring Breeze and Dyna Blade modes too. But I think Milky Way Wishes is the next candidate.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. To be honest when I first planned this series I was originally going to do all original eight franchises (that have had stages since 64), but Donkey Kong was already done by someone else (and I think I would have had a huge debate with others about the Melee DK stages), and I don’t have much experience with Metroid and Star Fox at all (beyond Fed Force and Zero, lol), so it wouldn’t feel right for me to talk about them instead of a bigger fan. I may make a new one of these articles again some time in the future, maybe after the next Smash has came out. Thanks again for reading all these analysis articles of mine and you’re welcome!

      MagcargoMan on July 8 |