HAL Laboratory, Inc. (株式会社ハル研究所, Kabushikigaisha Haru Kenkyūjo) is a Japanese video game company that was founded on February 21, 1980. The company is best known for creating the Kirby series and the Super Smash Bros. series, and is a second-party developer for Nintendo.
HAL Laboratory was originally founded on February 21, 1980 as a group of friends who shared a desire to create video games, and started off making games for the MSX system and the Commodore 64. When Nintendo released the Famicom in 1983, HAL shifted focus and started making more games for Nintendo. Their working relationship was cemented with the release of Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy. Both HAL and Nintendo own equal share in the joint venture Warpstar, Inc., which was made to autonomously handle the Kirby franchise license, similar to The Pokémon Company.
In many of its games during the early to mid-'90s, it used the name HALKEN (derived from their literal Japanese name "HAL KENkyūjo"), as well as HAL Laboratory. Some of its early titles were also released as HAL America, a North American subsidiary of the company.
Iwata was president of HAL Laboratory before he become president of Nintendo. His presidency was spurred on by Nintendo offering to save the company from bankruptcy after the financial failure of Metal Slader Glory on the condition that he would step up. Masahiro Sakurai, who created the character Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series, also worked at HAL, and now leads his own company, Sora Ltd.
HAL Laboratory developed the original Super Smash Bros. and Melee as well as properties represented in Smash. These include the Kirby and EarthBound series, as well as the Nintendo-console SimCity games. HAL also developed several Pokémon spinoffs, such as the Pokémon Stadium games, which are referenced in Smash.