Developer HAL Laboratories has finally explained why Kirby looks angry on Western box art while he maintains his happy appearance in Japan.
Speaking to Gamespot, Kirby: Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki said it's the result of both markets looking for two different things from the franchise.
"For the Japanese versions we are, at [Kirby series developer] HAL, involved in everything throughout development, including the package design. The most powerful image of Kirby is that cute image, we think that's the one that appeals to the widest audience," explained Kumazaki. This cute Kirby "brings in the most people to play" throughout Japan.
"While it does start cute," Kumazaki continues, "we know there is a serious side to Kirby as well, and throughout the gameplay we see more and more of that, and the games themselves have quite a bit of depth. That being said, we recognise that Kirby's cuteness is his biggest draw in [the Japanese] market."
Throughout North America, however, Nintendo of America holds more control and provides HAL with "feedback and insight" into the market.
"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 U.S.," he said.