Kirby support studio & Dillon's Rolling Western series developer Vanpool closes

After many years working with Nintendo on Dillon games and supporting the development of Kirby games, Vanpool officially shut down at the end of May 2023.

Image via Nintendo

A regular contributor to Nintendo’s efforts has unfortunately closed this week. Vanpool had been a support studio for Nintendo for years, aiding the company in development of Kirby games while also working on its own series in the Dillon games. Unfortunately, even having helped on Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe wasn’t enough to keep the studio floating and it has officially closed its doors as of the end of May.

Vanpool posted of its closing on its studio website where the front page was changed to the notice of closure, as reported by VGC. Vanpool thanked those who played its games and supported over the years before announcing its official closing at the end of May 31, 2023.

Kirby and Bandana Waddle-Dee in Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Some of Vanpool's most recent projects included collaboration on the development of Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
Source: Nintendo

Vanpool was established in 1999 and, after a few projects on PS2, began working almost exclusively with Nintendo from the DS and Wii era onward, starting with helping develop mini-games for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga in 2003. The developer created the Dillon series, starting with the launch of Dillon’s Rolling Western in 2012. Their desperado armadillo mascot would go on to have two more games afterwards, but Vanpool also assisted HAL Laboratories in developing the Kirby games, all the way up and through the impeccable Kirby and the Forgotten Land and the pretty great Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

Unfortunately, while that much close work with Nintendo seemed to bode well, Vanpool seemingly couldn’t sustain itself. We’ll continue to watch this story for further updates as they become available.

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TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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