2020 was a year many of us will want to forget. With the arrival of 2021, what better way to launch headfirst into a new year than with the arrival of Balan Wonderworld, an exciting, brand new IP from Square Enix. Balan Wonderworld is an all action, all adventure 3D platformer where you can explore 12 amazing worlds, discover over 80 different costumes each with their own unique abilities and play alongside that special person in your life with 2 player co-op.
But Balan Wonderworld has one other totally unique ingredient that makes it so special – it tackles head on all those real-world niggling worries and anxieties that we all have. From fear and loneliness to weakness or just feeling different, Balan Wonderworld incorporates these emotions into its gameplay and it’s up to you to step into the mysterious Balan Theatre and help its inhabitants balance their emotions.
To celebrate the release of the Balan Wonderworld demo today on the Xbox Store, we caught up with Noriyoshi Fujimoto from Square Enix, the producer for this game for a Q & A about what makes the game so special.
Hello, I’m Noriyoshi Fujimoto from Square Enix, and I’m the producer for this game. Thank you for playing the demo of Balan Wonderworld. This demo is just one bit of the game, but in it you can experience one of the main distinctive features of the game – switching between different costumes as you explore stages where all kind of mechanics await you. Balan Wonderworld is easy to play, regardless of whether or not you are good at action games, and you can also play cooperatively with two players. I hope that playing this game makes you feel happy!
Rob Lightbody: Where did the idea of using ‘balancing emotions’ come from as one of the games unique USPs?
Noriyoshi Fujimoto: Since the early stages of working on the game’s concept, “balance” has been a major keyword in the development of Balan Wonderworld.
This idea led to the concepts of incorporating changes in the balance between positivity and negativity into the game’s world; creating mechanics in the stages that rely on balance; and for each action from a costume to have a corresponding and opposite action. The names of two characters in the game, Balan and Lance, also come from the word balance.
When it comes to the idea of “balancing emotions”, I think we all face little worries and problems in our daily lives. Anyone can feel negative at times. As we worked on the development of Balan Wonderworld, our hope was that playing the game and sharing the negative worries of the cast members in each chapter, and then sharing in how these problems are resolved and changed into something positive, would help players to feel positive themselves.
Rob Lightbody: How did you decide on which emotions to pair with which characters. Do you have a favourite?
Noriyoshi Fujimoto: We included a variety of themes that different people from all around the would be able to relate to and feel close to.
My personal favourite is Chapter 10 with the story of “The Artist with Painter’s block.” It is a story about an artist who, as she become more famous, gradually draws less and less of what she really wants to draw and draws more of what would please the people around her. Then, she gradually starts to think about why she draws, and whether she’s drawing the art that she truly wants to draw. This is a familiar story to creators, who tend to have this worry, and so it made me think about this situation again. At the same time, I also felt like it gave me a solution and a way to feel positive about it.
If this has you excited, then download the Balan Wonderworld demo now on the Xbox Store. And to add to the excitement, if you play the demo now you also obtain the bonus ‘X Launcher’ costume in the full game on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S if you have play data from the demo. We hope you enjoy playing the demo until the full game releases on March 26 for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S!
BALAN WONDERWORLD Demo
SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
This game supports Smart Delivery, and can be played on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
■Welcome to a wondrous all-action show, the likes of which has never been seen before!
BALAN WONDERWORLD is a wondrous action platformer game themed around the Balan Theatre. Led by the enigmatic maestro named Balan, the stars of the show Emma and Leo will use special abilities from a multitude of characterful costumes as they adventure in the bizarre and imaginary land of Wonderworld. Here memories and vistas from the real world mix with the things that people hold dear.
Twelve different tales await our stars in the Wonderworld, each with their own unique quirks. They will explore all corners of these labyrinthine stages, filled with a myriad of tricks and traps, to get to the heart of each story.
■Wonderworld exists in people’s hearts and imagination
The setting for this tale is the fantastic, bizarre land of Wonderworld; a place where people’s happy and positive memories mix with their restless worries and negativity. Leo and Emma are led into Wonderworld by the mysterious clown Balan and set off on a journey to find what is important to them.
Before they can return to the real world, they must first restore the lost balance in their hearts…
■Over 80 different costumes open up all the action you could want!
The stars of the show can use powers from the inhabitants of Wonderworld by wearing their colourful costumes, with over 80 different ones to try on! Bash your enemies, walk in the air, freeze time or manipulate all kinds of objects… the possibilities are endless when you pick up a new costume.
■Two Legendary Creators Reunite!
Come one, come all and enjoy the pinnacle of Square Enix storytelling in an all-action world of wonder created by the legendary Naka Yuji. For the first time in 20 years Naka Yuji and Oshima Naoto join forces forming the BALAN COMPANY team; founded around, bringing together action game development, video and music production professionals from both inside and outside of the company.