Following an announcement from the developers, one dedicated fan has decoded the secret language featured in Kirby & The Forgotten Land.
One dedicated player has decoded the secret language featured in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. An interview with Kirby and the Forgotten Land‘s developers originally revealed that the language was decipherable ahead of the game’s release.
The fictional languages sometimes found in video games are a form of constructed language (conlang for short). In some ways, conlangs might be considered the ultimate worldbuilding tool. A spoken language, or even just an alphabet, can offer players a sense that the world they see has a deeper culture lying underneath the surface. Not only that, but the creation of a language also allows developers to hide small secret messages in their games for dedicated fans to decode. One of the more notable examples of a fictional language in gaming to date is the Dragon Language featured in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. As well as providing meaning to the game’s Thu’um shouts, an understanding of Dragon Language also allows players to gain a deeper insight into their meetings with the dragon Paarthurnax amongst other details of the game world.
With the promise of a language to break down and decipher, Kirby fans with a love of decryption and puzzles were keen to put their translation skills to work. Amongst them was Reddit user PromiseMeStars, who has now decoded various examples of the in-game language. Referring to the game’s opening cutscenes, PromiseMeStars explained to fellow Redditors that “the theme song gave us a translation into the fictional language right below the English subtitles.” By using this as a base, it was possible for fans to create a key for the language, and from there translate the various fragments of text found in the game. One-to-one translation to the English alphabet like this is a common feature for video game languages; a similar process was used to understand the various alphabets found in Breath of the Wild.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is almost overflowing with examples of text thanks to the detailed world design. Now, with the ability to translate the world’s text in hand, players can practically become archaeologists. While not particularly lore-heavy, the various uses of the language still fuel the player’s ability to theorize about what daily life must have been like for the former inhabitants. A battered poster announces a shopping sale, for example, whilst elsewhere lies the remnants of an illuminated hotel sign. This adds yet another dimension to the game; something more for players to consider whilst exploring the various worlds, fighting off enemies, and finding Kirby and the Forgotten Land‘s hidden Waddle Dees.
When it comes to worldbuilding, detail is everything. A setting filled with little details is a key factor in an immersive gaming experience, even if some of those elements seem inconsequential. By offering players plenty to examine and analyze, video games can greatly expand their impact on an audience. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has evidently taken that lesson to heart, with its signs and posters offering knowledgeable players a glimpse of what life used to be like in the titular world’s now-abandoned civilization. It is this level of care that makes so many believe that Kirby’s latest outing is his best yet.
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