2020 marks the 40th anniversary of HAL Laboratory, a studio that's still making excellent games today. HAL is best known for the Kirby series, but thanks to its close affiliation with Nintendo, it's assisted in the development of dozens of beloved games.
The latest issue of Famitsu celebrates HAL's big four-oh by talking to prominent developers about their history with the company—including the time they spent with its former President (and Nintendo's former President), the late Satoru Iwata. Game historian and localizer Robert Sephazon translated the interview on his Twitter account, and GoNintendo collected the interview in its entirety. Well-wishers include Pokemon Company President Tsunekazu Ishihara, Game Freak Director Junichi Masuda, legendary game developer Shigeru Miyamoto, and Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai, who also created the lovable, squishable Kirby.
Speaking of creatures that represent HAL, Shigesato Itoi, the creator of the Earthbound/Mother RPG series, has an interesting story about the company's mascot. "Inutamago," the dog incubating three eggs, was made by Itoi. Iwata asked Itoi for a HAL logo, and Itoi cooked up the kind of mascot you'd expect from a man whose games breed Crayola with Stephen King and Lovecraft.
"I approached a number of ideas from various angles, but considering the theme of 'an unexpected bond... one that brings about the birth of something new,' I proposed a picture in which a dog protects eggs and keeps them warm," Itoi says.
Itoi was sure he hit upon a great idea for a logo, but he says Iwata received it with a neutral "I see." Despite the lukewarm reception, the logo stuck, and Itoi believes it's a good representation of HAL's penchant for embracing unusual ideas. "I have always wanted HAL Labs to thoroughly represent this logo and concept," he says. "I hope the entire HAL team will continue to be a brand that warms even nicer eggs.''
Last year, HAL Labs gave us the cute and creative BoxBoy + BoxGirl for the Switch. It's an unusual platformer-puzzle game, so HAL is clearly warming those new eggs Itoi talks about—though in BoxBoy + BoxGirl's case, there's a bit more square than your typical eggs.