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The Truth About The Worst-Selling Kirby Game Of All Time

Kirby is perhaps one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, with the little guy even earning a Grammy. It's hard to believe that Kirby almost didn't become video game character, especially given how beloved he is among fans. That doesn't mean every single Kirby game has been a hit, however. One Kirby game in particular, "Kirby Mass Attack," didn't quite meet expectations, selling a mere 1.06 million copies, according to an official Nintendo financial briefing. This is a far cry from the highest-selling Kirby title, "Kirby's Dream Land," which sold a whopping 5.13 million copies (per Nintendo Wire).

So what exactly is the big secret here? How did "Kirby Mass Attack" end up being the worst-selling Kirby game of all time? Well, in a 2011 interview with IGN, the game's director, Mari Shirakawa, and one of its producers, Masanobu Yamamoto, revealed the details behind the making of the game. It was during this interview that they let loose the truth about why they think "Kirby Mass Attack" underperformed.

The truth about Kirby: Mass Attack

After a long discussion with Nintendo, the game's creators chose not to implement Kirby's signature copy ability into "Kirby Mass Attack." Rather than focus on Kirby's habit of eating his enemies and taking their powers, the developers hoped to focus on the brand new group management mechanic. In "Kirby Mass Attack," players are tasked with guiding a group of Kirbys across the map with a few simple touches on the screen. Apparently, this was the new direction Nintendo wanted to go in. 

"The purpose of this game is to allow players to fully enjoy the new group action gameplay. So upon consultation with our producer, Kensuke Tanabe, we decided to choose the concept of mutual cooperation over copy abilities," Yamamoto told IGN. Shirikawa added, "Nintendo had decided not to integrate copy abilities from the early stages of development, because we didn't think it was a good match for the concept of controlling multiple Kirbys—we thought that integrating the copy ability would make gameplay overly complicated."

According to reviewers, the result of this decision was tedious gameplay. According to Jesse Lennox of Digital Trends, the group management mechanic can become a chore. If the player loses track of any of the Kirby's throughout a level of "Mass Attack," that player is often forced to backtrack in order to find him. By leaving behind what players liked about Kirby, Nintendo ended up with a game that just didn't appeal to the series' fanbase.