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Balan Wonderworld (Yuji Naka + Square Enix)

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Just announced at the Xbox preshow. Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima team up to create a new type of action platformer. BALAN WONDERWORLD.

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What is Balan Wonderworld?

It’s a brand-new 3D action platformer coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It’s published by Square Enix and is the first game from Balan Company — a collection of talented videogame developers, visual artists, and composers who have come together to make a platformer game which offers the best stories and experiences.

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What is Balan Wonderworld about?

The two main characters who wander into Balan Wonderworld are Emma and Leo. A mysterious theatre leads the duo into a strange new world, full of bizarre sights and whimsical residents.

 

As you explore Wonderworld, you’ll discover new costumes for your characters. Not only do these change the heroes’ appearance, they also imbue them with a range of fantastical abilities.

There are more than 80 of these extraordinary costumes to collect in the game.  In other words, you will endeavour to solve the world’s mysteries by using more than 80 kinds of action abilities. The possibilities are endless as you bash your enemies, walk in the air, freeze time and manipulate all kinds of objects with the costumes you collect!

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When is Balan Wonderworld coming out?

The game will release for Xbox One and Xbox Series X in Spring 2021. We’ll have more information to share before then, so make sure you follow our social media team for updates. I am looking forward to meeting you in this mysterious world!

Coming spring 2021. More info to come

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Definitely got that NiGHTS flair to it, no doubt, but I admit the gameplay doesn't seem particularly inspiring, and while the visuals are creative and gorgeous overall, I hate how rigid all the animation looks.  The player characters in particular seem kind of devoid of charisma or charm.  I dunno, something about it is just giving me pre-emptive "yeah it was alright, nothing special" vibes that NiGHTS on the Wii or Billy Hatcher had.

 

Here's hoping I'm wrong though coz the good vibes they're GOING FOR are pretty infectious regardless.  It's borderline got that "makes me nostalgic for a time that didn't necessarily exist" charm.

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I'm so in love with the aesthetic that I'm down. Might not be the most polished game but neither was NiGHTS and I loved it anyway. 

I hope there's a more interesting hook to the mechanics but so far a  laid back platformer with good NiGHTS/Billy Hatcher vibes that I can just kick back with sounds like it'll hit the spot.

What I really want to know is who they got to do the OST. That'll make or break this. 

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Really enjoyed the first Nights and Billy Hatcher so I'm down for this. The Wii version of Rodea rekindled my faith in Naka (it's the best game on the system) and I'm glad to see him and Oshima working together on something major again.

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I was more intrigued by Balan Wonderland than most of the games at the xbox showcase, I'll diffidently keep an eye on this game.

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This is some character design! I'm in!

What a crazy week we're getting. We got Not-JSR, now we are getting Not-NiGHTS (even tho this one doesn't seem like it'll play much like it). Great times to be a Not-SEGA fan I guess.

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It blows my mind that not only did two original Sonic Team legends rejoin for a game but they've also somehow still maintained that aesthetic charm from the Saturn/Dreamcast era!

The colorful, noodly Y2K-ass character designs have me living.

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I LOVE THIS SO MUCH....

The spirit of NiGHTS and Billy Hatcher definitely lives on with the two. I'm so happy they got back together again after all these years since Sonic Adventure 1.

And i think the spirit of the original Sonic Team lives on as well. They even call themselves, as a team, the Balan Company, in a strikingly similar fashion to old Sonic Team with the "presents" and all:

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14 hours ago, PC the Hedgehog said:

Also the composer choice for this game seems to be pretty solid! I can't wait to hear more tracks! 😁

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Well, I can certainly say this is the first time Naka's games have caught my interest since he left Sonic Team. The aesthetics and sound really evoke the early 90's SEGA vibe- I hope the gameplay and level design manage to be interesting enough for this to become a popular enough game to actually become a franchise. We need more 3D platformers!

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I have very mixed feelings about this game...seeing Naka and Ohshima working together again is wonderful, but Arzest (Artoon's successor) is a pretty forgettable developer IMO. I've played 5 of their games and the only one that wasn't totally mediocre was co-developed with another company (The Last Story).

I will wait for gameplay videos and impressions before jumping on the hype train. The game has a very cool style reminiscent of Nights and Billy Hatcher, but I have no reason to trust anything that Arzest touches.

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18 hours ago, Cayenne said:

I have very mixed feelings about this game...seeing Naka and Ohshima working together again is wonderful, but Arzest (Artoon's successor) is a pretty forgettable developer IMO. I've played 5 of their games and the only one that wasn't totally mediocre was co-developed with another company (The Last Story).

I will wait for gameplay videos and impressions before jumping on the hype train. The game has a very cool style reminiscent of Nights and Billy Hatcher, but I have no reason to trust anything that Arzest touches.

To be fair, I think Oshima is only doing character designs. I don't believe he or anyone from Arzest are involved in other aspects of the game's production.

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51 minutes ago, PC the Hedgehog said:

To be fair, I think Oshima is only doing character designs. I don't believe he or anyone from Arzest are involved in other aspects of the game's production.

According to Yuji Naka, Arzest developed the game. Square-Enix is just the publisher:

I hope S-E keeps a close eye on what Arzest is doing because this game has a huge potential. These designs are too good to be wasted on another mediocre release.

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Seems to be a co-development between Naka's SE subsidiary Balan Company and Oshima's Arzest, from what I can ascertain. Possibly a similar arrangement to Comcept or Mistwalker where one studio creates the idea for the game while a 2nd company does the legwork. (Not the first time Oshima has been in that situation, considering Artoon, his previous studio, developed Blue Dragon.)

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So apparantly it's getting something that very closely resembles a Chao Garden?

https://balanwonderworld.square-enix-games.com/en-us/system/2/

Man, between that dynamite game that looked like JSR, this looking like NiGHTS and them basically taking back one of the most popular features of the Sonic Adventure series, it's like everyone is dancing on Sega's corpse. Except the corpse is a stubborn body laying on the floor, trying to "get back to its roots".

Soon, Sega will just be Atlus, Yakuza, and Green Hill Zone.

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On 9/22/2020 at 11:39 PM, BadBehavior said:

So apparantly it's getting something that very closely resembles a Chao Garden?

https://balanwonderworld.square-enix-games.com/en-us/system/2/

Man, between that dynamite game that looked like JSR, this looking like NiGHTS and them basically taking back one of the most popular features of the Sonic Adventure series, it's like everyone is dancing on Sega's corpse. Except the corpse is a stubborn body laying on the floor, trying to "get back to its roots".

Soon, Sega will just be Atlus, Yakuza, and Green Hill Zone.

lC6VfoT.png

I think Balan looks alright and all (though the recent Switch footage was... iffy), but I think it's hilarious to suggest it's 'dancing on SEGA's corpse'. Put down the Dreamcast-era kool-aid for a minute and consider that SEGA's realistically doing fine. Modern SEGA sure ain't perfect (porting Banana Blitz was weird, though on the upside rumour has it a new 'retro' Monkey Ball announcement is imminent), but a) they definitely weren't back then either and b) having to point out SEGA's actually fairly strong current back catalogue every time someone makes this ill-informed take is getting tiring. 

I'm not saying folks have to like SEGA's modern games, but this isn't even acknowledging them. 

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