It “might’ve been something that’s maybe slightly too steep”
Did you play through Kirby and the Forgotten Land yet? What did you think of the final boss? Well, director Shinya Kumazaki thinks that maybe things were a little too intense at the end there. IGN spoke to Kumazaki at GDC, and he had some really interesting things to say about the difficulty curve as a whole.
On the concept of difficulty, he notes:
“When you’re thinking about maybe your childhood experience playing video games, there might have been games where you just feel like it’s impossible to beat because it’s so difficult. And I think the idea is that to be able to provide something that you can enter easily and is approachable, but also provide that sense of achievement in that you might have an experience where you’re playing a game as a younger self, or even now. There comes a moment when you achieve something or you did something and you’re like, ‘Okay, I can get it now. I did it.’ And that sense of achievement is as a result of the person playing the game – their skill level is going up, and also becoming used to how to play that game.”
All of this leads to the point in the curve where it reaches its apex: which is arguably the final boss in Forgotten Land. On the efficacy of that realization of said apex, he notes:
“For the first time in the Kirby series, we provided two different difficulty levels to really try to also provide an option for the experienced gamer audience to get a more fulfilling gameplay experience. And I think we were able to do that. But perhaps the steep uphill curve towards the end of the game, especially the final boss, might’ve been something that’s maybe slightly too steep, and perhaps we can look into maybe balancing it out a little bit. That’s something that I want to continue to explore”
I get it. Given how accessible Forgotten Land is at its core, I can see how the boss design (not just the final boss) could scare away some folks.
What a finale!
Without spoiling anything, the final boss (really, the final area as a whole) of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is wild. Once everything started going down I laughed at the absurdity of it all, and had an amazing time navigating it. It was one of the highlights of my Kirby-game-playing career, dating all the way back to the original on Game Boy during road trips as a kid.
I’d love to see the series experiment more with this (or even a spinoff somehow with a different character), but given how streamlined Kirby games are supposed to be by design: I get the need to pause to reflect on what tact the franchise should take going forward.