Don’t forget Kirby; pink puff probable at E3?

Infendo

kirbygcn.jpgThe E3 media blitz is just over the horizon, and the Infendo offices are littered with scribbled rumors and speculative e-mails concerning all sorts of high-profile Wii games.

From Kid Icarus to Animal Crossing, and from Mega Man to Donkey Kong, we have been covering the rumors and checking our sources for the latest on each of these possible E3 revelations. But in my search for new tips this afternoon, I stumbled across some old information I had almost forgotten about.

It is exciting to theorize over games we’re not entirely sure exist. Perhaps more important, though, are the games we can be certain of. Specifically, don’t forget about Kirby; the little pink puff might be one of Nintendo’s best-kept Wii surprises heading into E3.

Of course, Kirby Wii wouldn’t technically be a surprise. Nintendo first revealed the amorphous game in Nov. 2004 as a promising 3D platformer for the GameCube. Though the project was eventually cancelled, prominent sources have maintained the game remains in development at HAL Laboratory for Wii. “Kirby Wii” has occasionally popped up on Nintendo release lists over the last several months, most recently sighted this January in Nintendo financial documents that revealed an unspecified 2008 Japanese release date.

kirbydoc.jpg

From a business perspective, it would be sensible for Nintendo to move the project to Wii. Kirby remains one of the company’s most lucrative characters, and Kirby Wii might be a safer bet for Wii sales than new IP or idle franchises like Kid Icarus would be. The 2006 DS hit Kirby Squeak Squad has sold almost 2 million copies worldwide, and given NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime’s comments earlier this year about maximizing key franchises, an updated Kirby Wii might be a logical reveal for E3 that would make a splash in the market, too.

In regard to the project’s gameplay, though, little is certain. Details have always been sparse, and virtually no media outlets have had hands-on time with the elusive title. But an impressive trailer shown at E3 2005 (posted below) indicated the game would utilize 3D graphics on a side-scrolling 2D plane, creating an experience similar to HAL’s own side-scrolling missions in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, though with much tighter and more adequate control likely.

And the game has always looked deliciously old-school.

Mulder and Scully taught me that secrets are sometimes hidden in the open, in front of our faces. Might Kirby, a game we’ve known about for years, be one of Nintendo’s E3 surprises? Or is it destined to follow games like Duke Nukem Forever into vaporware infamy?

The truth is out there. And it might be hungry, round and…pink.