One of the many interesting aspects of the Kirby series over the years has been the cover art, which seemed to differ between Japan and the US with one key change. We’ve always speculated over the years, but we finally have an answer now from HAL, the developer of the Kirby series.
For more releases that I can name, Kirby has has a joyful look on the Japanese cover of his games, but is changed to give the character a more serious face in the US releases. There are outliers like Super Star, where he had a serious face in both, but it’s been a pretty common occurrence with the series. In an interview with GameSpot, Kirby: Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki spoke about the reason for this change.
What we have heard is that strong, tough Kirby that’s really battling hard is a more appealing sign of Kirby, so that’s what we feature in the US.
He said that Nintendo of America calls the shots when it comes to the US box art, and that is what they believe serious version is the best way to market the character, unlike the the “cute” version in Japan.