Nintendo subsidiary Hal Laboratory scrapped three different Kirby projects before finally getting it right with forthcoming Wii title Kirby's Adventure.
As revealed in a new Iwata Asks interview on the official Nintendo site, the three still-born projects were all planned GameCube titles.
The first, which was shown off briefly at E3 in 2005, bit the dust following problems getting a multiplayer mode up and running.
"It was a Kirby game based on the concept of four-person simultaneous gameplay," explained series producer Shigefumi Kawase.
"That was when I learned how difficult it is to make a game that is both multi-player and single-player."
The second unfinished title was "an experiment with extremely challenging gameplay that placed Kirby in 3D space and allowed players to freely move around," added Kawase.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to achieve the quality we hoped for and it never reached completion."
Finally, a more straightforward 2D platformer also failed to make it to completion.
"The third one involved an animated Kirby sort of like a pop-up book. We renewed the Copy Abilities, and tried to power it up. We spent 11 years… making and abandoning these three games."
Check out a screenshot from each in the gallery below.
Kirby's Adventure, due out on Wii on 25th November, is HAL's first home console Kirby game to make it onto shelves since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards in 2000.
"For 11 years, we wanted to deliver a Kirby game to the fans, and I'm terribly sorry that we couldn't," said Kawase.
"A lot of people at the company were frustrated as well, but this time we properly completed the game. HAL Laboratory will continue to challenge itself. I want to release many more Kirby games."