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Prerelease:Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

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This page details one or more prerelease versions of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
To do:
Various stuff
  • Add more Rainbow Resort pictures
  • Upload the storyboard for Desert Desserts
  • The end credits uses early designs for some characters, most notably Adeleine and Zero Two.

Early Development

Development on Kirby 64 spanned over three years, beginning in September 1997 and ending in early 2000. It was originally developed for the Nintendo 64DD, but due to the add-on's poor sales, the game was moved to the N64.

(Source: "N64DD Titles Become Cartridges")

A prototype of the game, which was worked on until mid-1999, had a different control scheme; the joystick moved Kirby instead of the D-pad. To make the game's controls easier for younger children, developers at HAL changed it so that the control pad was used to move Kirby. The Z button, which does nothing in the final game, was used often in this prototype.

(Source: Nintendo Online Magazine No.19)

The Animal Friends from Kirby's Dream Land 3 would have returned in this game, but the idea was scrapped before the game was finished. They do make cameos in the Animal Statue copy ability, however, and one of their music tracks is accessible by the Sound Test.

Early Storyboard

A storyboard for the opening sequence of Kirby 64 was also released on HAL Laboratory's website after the game was released in Japan with several differences to the final version.

This storyboard (read left-down to right-down, excepting the fifth panel) features a completely different design for both Ripple Star and the Fairy Queen. Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and King Dedede are present and watching the crystal shards fall, reminiscent of how characters in the intro of Kirby's Dream Land 3 watched Dark Matter as it took over Pop Star. Kirby is also seen as he is about to eat an apple when Ribbon crash lands nearby; in the final game, Kirby was stargazing when Ribbon directly flies into him. The text present on the storyboards is mostly developers' notes, but there is also dialogue present. Whether this dialogue was just to explain the story or if it would actually be implemented is unknown.

(Source: HAL Laboratory's Website (photos are missing), Kirby's Rainbow Resort)

Dengeki Nintendo 64

Kirby64 Early icon.jpg

A photo of Kirby 64 in the September 1999 issue of Dengeki Nintendo 64, a Japanese gaming magazine, has a early version of the HUD, which shows portraits for the scrapped playable characters! There are some odd meters on the portraits, as well as one on the right side of the photos. A set of portraits similar to the ones used in this HUD are still in the final game, although unused.

(Source: Nintendo64EVER) Pictures

June 1999

Kirby64 prerelease adeleine.jpg

On June 1, 1999, nine teaser photos of Kirby 64 were released on Nintendo's website, some of which show that there were more aquatic levels planned for the final game. However, seven of these photos reveal that King Dedede, Waddle Dee, and Adeleine were supposed to be playable characters at one point. Dedede is the only character other than Kirby to be playable in the final game.

January 2000

Kirby64 prerelease ripplestar.jpg

Several prerelease photos were released on January 27, 2000. One of them shows the beginning of the opening cutscene, which has a skybox with more realistic clouds in the horizon. The final version of this scene changes these clouds to be in the shape of rings and hearts.

Ow, my neck hurts

Another photo shows Kirby near Dedede's castle about to fight some Bumbers, which have a red coloration instead of violet. What's more interesting is that the life meter is flipped by 90 degrees for some reason, and isn't in Japanese numerals.

February 2000

Kirby: Combat Evolved

A massive amount of photos of Kirby 64 were released a month later on February 26, 2000 as a teaser. One of them show a different form of Swiss Army Kirby. The grey tuning fork on the right of Kirby was replaced with a potted cactus in the final game.

(Source: Kirby 64 Page)
Kirby64 prerelease checker.jpg

Another shows an early version of the player select screen for Checker Board Chase, with a different font for its hiragana.

In addition, the minigames page mentions a boulder in 100-Yard Hop that could slow the player's progress, which doesn't exist in the final game.

(Source: Kirby 64 Minigames Page)

E3 1999

Kirby 64's first public appearance was at E3 1999, albeit a minor one; five seconds of footage from the game were shown between clips of Super Smash Bros. A press kit by Nintendo confirmed that the footage was from a new Kirby game for the Nintendo 64, which would replace the previous title, Kirby's Air Ride. This footage shows off an early version of Rock Star - Stage 3.

Parts of this E3 1999 showfloor recording can be seen on this French Promotional Tape called Catalogue Officiel '99. Kirby 64 is at 19:16.

Kirby64 Waddledee grab.jpg

The press kit included a picture of the game, showing Waddle Dee carrying a Bronto Burt in an early version of Pop Star. Waddle Dee carrying an enemy can be seen in concept art.

(Source: "Kirby's Surprise N64 Appearance")

Spaceworld 1999 Trailer

More video footage of Kirby 64 appeared as a trailer that was revealed at Spaceworld 1999. At this point, the game was 50% complete, and had three playable levels. This footage shows the prototype of the game that uses the Nintendo 64's joystick, and has a lot of differences from the final.


Three abilities have different transformations in this trailer.

  • Ice + Bomb: Originally, Kirby covered himself with a large chunk of ice which explodes after a short while. The final has him transform into a snowman similar to Chilly, with Kirby as the body and a bomb as the head.
  • Stone: Kirby does transform into a slow-moving golem in the trailer, but he has a brown coloration (the final turns him gray), and he has the ability to jump.
  • Stone + Spark: Originally, this ability would have turned Kirby into a computer chip when activated, where the final has him levitate a rock with electricity.

In addition, this trailer shows an version of the Stone icon that's closer to the one from Kirby's Dream Land 3, as well as a Bomb icon with a lit fuse. Also, Needle's icon uses Cutter's colors (and vice versa).


The Spaceworld trailer uses a HUD that is notably different from the final!

  • Instead of counting stars by a meter, the Spaceworld HUD uses six star-shaped symbols, which completely fill up every time Kirby collects five of them. This element was originally used in Kirby's Dream Land 3.
  • Kirby's health is represented by half-circles on the top edge on the Spaceworld HUD, while the final has the health bar in the middle of it. There is a second meter that has an unknown purpose on the bottom edge, though it might have served as a boss's health bar when fighting one.
  • The three leftmost boxes in the HUD indicate the Crystal Shards that Kirby has acquired in the level.
  • Aesthetically, this HUD doesn't have a wood grain texture, and the sides have an curved end.


An early version of the "Desert Desserts" cutscene is shown in this trailer.

  • The aspect ratio of the cutscene is different. While the trailer displays it in 4:3, the final displays it in 16:9.
  • The background is different; the sky is a lighter hue and is more cloudy, and there are no dunes on the horizon.
  • The shot after Kirby faints is shorter, and is positioned higher than the final. The party's reactions are also different; Adeleine seems more worried, Ribbon only tilts her head to the right, and King Dedede and Waddle Dee look at each other until the shot fades to white.


  • Zoos can be seen in Pop Star's third level, which are not present in this level in the final game.
  • Kirby 64's logo is shown, and it has a plainer appearance.
Prerelease Final
K64 early jp logo.png K64 final jp logo.png
(Source: 64DD, Kirby's Dreamland 64 Preview)

Spaceworld Pictures

Several pictures from the Spaceworld build of Kirby 64 that were not shown in the trailer were released to the Internet.

Kirby64 early gobblin.jpg

Kirby is stuck between some Gobblin on Rock Star, which are bigger and placed in the foreground.

(Source: IGN)
Kirby64 pyramid.jpg

A very early version of Rock Star's fourth level was shown in one picture.

  • The bridge is made of wood instead of metal, has posts attached to it, and isn't broken. In addition, there are Spark-is and a N-Z on it.
  • The entire layout has more grass to it.
  • The pillars in the background aren't toppled over, and pink triangles are hovering above them.
  • The pyramid itself is bright blue instead of black.
(Source: IGN)

American Promo

An American promotional video for Kirby 64 shows that the Needle/Cutter color switch stayed until the game's development was nearly over. What's more interesting, however, is that the normal life meter shows Japanese numerals! The only HUD to have them is the fourth one in the Japanese version.

(Source: 64DD)

IGN Pictures

September 1999

Prerelease k64 sept-7-1999.jpg

An early version of the inside of Dedede's castle. The hallway in the background has a straight railing, and an enemy Zoos is present; in the final game, there are sets of stairs in the background instead, and Sir Kibble appears in that room instead.

Prerelease k64 sept-7-1999 2.jpg

Another room in Dedede's castle, where the spiraling staircase is taller than in the final game. Both the icons for the Bomb and Spark abilities share half of a single box, as opposed to each ability having separate boxes in the final game.

November 1999

Prerelease k64 nov-15-1999.jpg

An early version of the third stage in Aqua Star. The level layout is different, there are stars in the sky, and the cannons are situated much further away than there are in the final game.

January 2000

Prerelease k64 jan-24-2000.jpg

This picture is of an earlier version of the ending to the opening cutscene. There are yellow flowers to the left, and there's an extra path to the right.

(Source: IGN)

Kirby's Dream Collection Concept Art

A collectible booklet was packaged with the game Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, which included some concept art for Kirby 64.

Fairy Queen

Kirby64 Prerelease Fairy Queen Concept Art.png

An early sketch of the Fairy Queen shows a different crown design near the upper left and a slightly different design for her skirt.

Waddle Dee

Kirby64 Prerelease Waddle Dee Concept Art.png
Kirby64 Prerelease Waddle Dee Concept Art2.png

In one piece of concept art, the Waddle Dee is seen picking up an enemy; the other has him hiding in a house. Presumably, Waddle Dee was intended to attack enemies by picking them up and throwing them at other nearby enemies, something Kirby can do in the final game.

Scrapped Minigame

Kirby64 Prerelease Minigame.png

There was originally going to be a music-based minigame where players would press the buttons as they appeared on screen, with Kirby, Adeleine, King Dedede, and Waddle Dee appearing in a band.

Hoshi no Kābii Pupupu Taizen Concept Art

An art book was released exclusively in Japan, containing various pieces of concept art.


K64 ribbon concept art.jpg

Ribbon's overall appearance stayed the same in her concept art, although her hair and ribbon went through a few design changes.

Stage Select and Character Select

Prerelease k64 play.png

This piece of concept art depicts several unimplemented features. It starts with selecting a planet (which made it into the final game), then goes to a world map with selectable stages. Once a stage was picked, players would pick a character to play as, using Adeleine as an example. At the start of a stage, Ribbon would fly ahead of the character and offscreen. In the final game, a sketchpad with drawings of each stage functions as a stage select screen, Kirby is the only playable character, and Ribbon only appears in a stage after collecting a crystal shard.

Cutscene Storyboard

What's with the creepy Kirby in the corner?

This storyboard (which reads top-down, left-right) for Desert Desserts is extremely different from the final version and even the Spaceworld trailer. In this early version, Ribbon combines crystal shards with the main crystal, and when the group takes a break to eat, Kirby is eating different food. Ribbon is also shown to be eating something, while in the final game she merely watched everyone else. Furthermore, in the final game, when the portal to Aqua Star opens, Kirby has to be pulled into the portal by King Dedede; that scene is absent in the early storyboard.


Prerelease k64 coo.png

Coo was an Animal Friend appearing in both Kirby's Dream Land 2 and Kirby's Dream Land 3. Coo, and likely the other Animal Friends, would've appeared in this game, too, thanks to Adeleine painting them into existence. While this idea never made it to the final game, it somewhat resurfaced in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, where Elline would transfer paintings onto Kirby and briefly transform him into an Animal Friend.