The many layers of BALAN WONDERWORLDNoriyoshi Fujimoto. the Producer of BALAN WONDERWORLD, explains the themes of the game, what each world represents, and what's coming in the Day One patch.
At long last, the release of BALAN WONDERWORLD is just around the corner.
Today, I’d like to talk about the theme of the game and what lies behind the tagline, "Every Moment is an Adventure" - the balance within one’s heart.
On the surface BALAN WONDERWORLD is a magical platformer set across 12 colourful worlds, born from different people’s hearts. In these worlds, players must make full use of over 80 different costumes and their diverse abilities to overcome obstacles, puzzles and enemies and ultimately restore happiness back to Wonderworld.
Dig a little deeper and you may be surprised to discover what’s shaping the worlds that you venture into, discovering what is truly important in life along the way.
The power of emotions plays a key part. The levels inside Wonderworld are greatly influenced by the balance within the heart of the 12 leading characters of each world, who each face their own unique personal obstacles of profound worries or sadness.
As you delve into Wonderworld, you’ll soon notice that the scales have been tipped and negative emotions are overshadowing the positive. Each world is taunted by the imbalance of emotions that are causing havoc in the once harmonious environments. The places that were once filled with joy and hope are now overrun with Negati, creatures born from negative emotions.
As Leo and Emma, players face the challenge of restoring balance back to Wonderworld.
Some of you may have realised that there are different themes behind the worries and sadness facing each of the 12 characters. Personally, I can't help but feel as though they're all relevant to my own personal experiences, or things that I may experience in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the themes and challenges you’ll come across!
In World One you’ll meet Jose Gallard, ‘The Man Who Rages Against the Storm’. This mysterious world is set on a beautiful farm, filled with rolling hills and Jose's pride and joy: his beautiful, leafy-green cornfields. The landscape to this world is woven from the Jose’s memories, a diligent farmer whose beautiful cornfield is struck by a storm.
The boss lurking in the depths of the world inside Jose’s heart is Barktholomew, a wolf howling in the midst of a raging storm and the embodiment of Jose’s despair after seeing his cornfield being destroyed. As we learn of Jose’s trials against the storm that swept away his life’s work, we explore the themes of coping with loss and despair.
World Two follows the tale of ‘The Dolphin and the Diver’.
This chapter takes place in a beautiful deep-sea world born from Fiona Demetria’s heart, where corals and seashells lie scattered inside ancient ruins. Fiona is a diver who loves dolphins - they can always be found playing in the ocean together, until one day a frightful accident occurs.
Anjellica is the boss that lurks in the depths of this world, embodying Fiona’s newfound fear of the sea and the dolphins that she once loved so much. As we learn more about Fiona’s aquatic accident, we face the themes of trauma and fear that have shaped the challenges within her world.
In World Three you’ll come across Yuri Brand, ‘The Girl Who’s Gaga for Bugs’.
Her classmates take advantage of her love for all things creepy crawly and push her into looking after the bugs from a school project all by herself, treating her like she’s an outsider. The pain of being made fun of for the things she loves causes Yuri to shut herself away in the world inside her heart - a forest crawling with all kinds of bugs.
The boss lurking in this world is Wormsworth, the embodiment of Yuri’s hurt emotions. Whilst we learn and empathise with Yuri’s unkind rejection, we reflect on themes of loneliness, friendship and feeling misunderstood.
I've introduced the themes of the first three chapters here, but I hope you will be able to understand and relate to the characters from the following chapters too.
As we identify the worries and problems that the 12 cast members face, we can recognise that these same emotions may also resonate in our own daily lives, from our own unique perspectives. There’s joy to be had in exploring the unique challenges of each world!
Along the way, players will cross paths with some mysterious creatures of all shapes and sizes. Negati are the physical embodiments of people’s negative emotions that have swarmed across Wonderworld. Tims, on the other hand, are physical embodiments of positivity. They are born from the happy memories and times that each world’s leading characters can remember, before the negative emotions tipped the balance.
On arrival at Wonderworld players can learn how to harvest the Tims positive strength when battling against the Negati, as well as using other elements of hope. to help restore balance to Wonderworld.
These other shreds of hope take the shape of powerful costumes, with over 80 costumes to explore within the 12 worlds.
For example, inside Jose's heart you'll find the Tornado Wolf, a costume with a unique power allowing you to turn back the storm. In Fiona's world, there's the Dynamic Dolphin that can swim freely through the sea, and in Yuri's world you'll encounter the Dusk Butterfly that flutters freely.
Even in the midst of strife and despair, memories of happier times give you the power to overcome the difficulties that remain in the hearts of each character, manifesting in the form of the costumes. With the power of the costumes behind you, you'll be able to face the Negati!
Just as there's not only one correct way to keep balance within your own heart as you confront difficult situations in everyday life, there's also not simply one correct way to clear each stage with a certain costume.
I'm sure there are as many different approaches to the game as there are players, so please try experimenting with lots of different costumes throughout your adventures.
(Of course, it's also important to rely on others at times! So when you're stuck, try playing co-op in our ‘Invite a Friend’ mode!)
I've spoken to you today about both the negative and the positive, as well as finding the balance in our hearts. Staying true to the nature of BALAN WONDERWORLD, I would like for us to follow in the footsteps of the enigmatic maestro, Balan, and find balance within our own heart. Especially when it comes to addressing feedback that we’ve received from our demo.
There’s been a wide range of opinions and responses to the demo, and unfortunately at the current stage of development, it simply isn't feasible to reflect every piece of feedback into the game. However, to offer you all a more balanced gameplay experience, we will be implementing a day one patch for the full game.
Specifically, this patch will adjust movement controls, camera movement, and rebalancing of the difficulty. There's just over a week left until launch now, so I hope you all enjoy the world of Wonderworld to your heart's content!
Noriyoshi Fujimoto, Producer