Kirby director reveals why he “stuffs his cheeks” in mouthful mode

Kirby, a pink ball, stretched over the roof and bonnet of a hatchback, a blue car.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land was a bit of a hit for the series, with the internet revelling in the pink puffball’s love of all things edible and his many wild and wacky transformations. This involved Kirby half-swallowing all manner of things to take them over, almost like Cappy in Mario Odyssey.

Thanks to a recent interview with the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, as translated by NintendoEverything (via Nintendo Life), we have more details on Kirby’s mouthful mode origins from the director of the game, Shinya Kumazaki. The main takeaway is that the idea has been around for quite some time within the team, and it finally came to fruition in the latest iteration.

Kumazaki said, “once we knew this game would be something new in the series, we started with the conversation ‘what is Kirby?’” It’s a big question, and it led to thoughts about how Kirby is different from other characters and how their abilities differ, leading to conversations about the many things Kirby could inhale.

You can see the full quote below.

“When making the game, we reconsidered the mystery and shape-shifting nature of Kirby. The idea of mouthful mode has been about for a while. Once we knew this game would be something new in the series, we started with the conversation ‘what is Kirby?’ We wanted to allow Kirby to do things that existing human characters couldn’t. That idea combined with the challenge of making something new became the concept of mouthful mode.

“We aimed to make it so Kirby could so calmly and easily stretch his body that people would wonder what on earth his body was, and this was how the new game established itself. In my first rough sketch. I thought about having Kirby inhale mysterious triangles and squares and then transform, but then considered, ‘why doesn’t he swallow?” and ‘what are the shapes of these objects?’

Sketches of Kirby exploring various different types of mouthful mode. They show Kirby's pink exterior fitting different shapes, like cylinders, triangles, and rectangles.

“When I thought about those ideas together, I started considering objects close to me like cars, park decorations and pipes, and how he wouldn’t swallow them but instead stuffs his cheeks full and then takes on that shape. The sight of it is quite striking, but whatever shape he takes he’s still very cute.

“As you see in the final result, there’s a certain charm to seeing Kirby’s simple shape walking as a circle or a triangle or a square, and the actions he can perform are all different too. This is a whole new world with real-world items, but Kirby doesn’t care in the slightest, he’s as chill as ever!”

Well, now we finally know Kirby’s mouthful mode origins, and we can all sleep a little easier. Check out our Kirby and the Forgotten Land review to see how good that mouthful mode actually is in-game.