It's become a common trend that when the pink puffball known as Kirby hits the shelves of North America, that his attitude takes a turn for the worst. In an interview with GameSpot, Kirby: Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki explained why.
"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."
In Japan the regular old cute Kirby does more than enough to appeal to fans. But once things move out west, the design choice takes a big turn.
"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 US."
There's a lot up for conversation with this topic. Gamers in North America seem to lean more towards the war games like Call of Duty rather than the kiddy looking Kirby game. But is putting angry eyes on Kirby really enough to sway somebody into buying the game?
The whole concept seems pretty silly. No matter how enraged you make Kirby look, it's still a tiny pink ball. The art is colorful and fun and the gameplay is what really makes Kirby shine. Once you start playing you wont be looking at the box the game came in, and at that point it doesn't really matter.
Maybe it is just a cultural difference. The genre of games played in Japan are different from that of the USA, you can find that just by looking at a sales chart. But that's not to say gamers in the west don't still enjoy Kirby, the lovable version or the battle tested one.
With that being said, there are cases where the art is the same in both the east and west. The Japanese art for Triple Deluxe also features the agitated version of the circular mascot.
When it comes down to it, the box-art wont have any effect on somebody buying the game who is already a Kirby fan. It's possible though that a younger kid would find that angry Kirby to be "cooler," and as a result they are more likely to buy the game.