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Hand-drawn animation coming to Monster Boy

Dear lovely Monster Boy fans, friends and followers

we'd like to share some news with you today. Are you in a comfortable position and ready to digest another graphics overhaul posting? We sure hope so! :p While we continue to work on our major graphics update for all the levels and areas in the game, we also decided to rework the characters and their animations in the game. Since the early days of the project, the character sprite animation was a big subject in all the internet discussions about the visuals of Monster Boy. We greatly value all your feedback that reaches us via emails, blog, internet message boards, reddit and of course NeoGAF. It's been tremendously helpful to understand where we are and what we need to improve to create not only a fun game but also a game that's gorgeous to look at. Worry not, though. It's not just the graphics we work on. We also use the time to keep improving levels, especially towards the end of the game and several story bits. All the polishing on graphics and gameplay will offer a level of variety that's rare to be seen in a single game. It's like playing 6 games in one!

Now that you're up-to-date, please check out this first preview image of new Jin:
This new version of Jin will tremendously benefit from fully hand-drawn animation.

We'll reveal the other characters in future blog updates. It's really important to understand that with the new approach we're able to animate everything and create a very dynamic character that has unique movements. It's a pure joy to see the results in motion. We can also let him interact with the environment in a more realistic way.
In comparison with the old Jin sprite you'll also notice a brighter coloring which is the result of the new animation technology. Some may think that the new traditional animation has drawbacks regarding the visible changes of cloth, armor, weapon, shield and boots but worry not. We have implemented a technology that allows us to still show different weapons and equipment right on the character sprite. Please look forward to see our new tech in action. Until then we hope you have a wonderful time with many cool game releases this Fall and Winter. We'll be hard at work to finish Monster Boy in the meantime. See ya!

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Let's play the new Monster Boy (2017) demo!

Dear Monster Boy fans and friends,

what an exciting time! We're currently at Gamescom in Cologne, showing our latest demo of Monster Boy on the Nintendo Switch! If you're in Germany and read this post until August 26, please visit us at the Nintendo booth in hall 9.1. We're truly humbled and overwhelmed by the awesome feedback from gamers who played the demo so far. Thank you so much to everyone!

It's a relief to hear you're all enjoying this game which is in production for almost 4 years now. We'll keep pouring all our love into this official sequel to the Wonder Boy in Monster World series as we want to make the best game possible for all of you.

If you can't attend Gamescom or read this post a little late, we've got a treat for you. Our friend BanjoGuyOllie who's also a big fan of the series, got his hands on the demo and recorded his session on video. Please check it out here:

In the video you'll get to see the full length beach section, a short piece of sewers, the village, a whole frog character based section in a segment we call Aztec World AND BanjoGuyOllie as an NPC in the game who even has a quest for players: Find his music sheets!

Some of you may wonder how he got into the game - this goes back to the very first announcement of the game in 2015! He played a wonderful banjo tune based on the Wonder Boy series and got the excitement for Monster Boy started. We didn't have any proper ingame material to show at this time so he was of great help to send out a warm message to the fans. We couldn't think of a better way to announce a new game based on this epic game series. Thank you Ollie, thank you fans and friends! <3

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Big Game, Big Map!

Dear Monster Boy friends,

today we'd like to share some details about the auto-map feature in Monster Boy! The game is really big so we're implementing a convenient map that gives you a perfect overview at all the time. Since we don't want to spoil you, we can only show a little preview of the fully unlocked map. Check it out
This is the starting area (beach) up until the light-house where Jin faces the first boss
As you can see the map not only shows the pathway, but many more details. Here's a quick overview of some map features:

While you explore the various areas in the game, the map will constantly draw details into the map. These can include treasure chests, walls, doors, shops, water and more. You'll easily spot unvisited areas if you carefully look at the walls or unfinished room sketches of the map.

Each area and pathway will help you to complete a beautiful colored drawing of the Monster World. Just another reward to finish the game and explore the world at 100%.

Quest Target
The current main quest location will be shown as a green target icon, can you spot it in the map ?

Jin just reached the first main quest target. It's marked with a green icon on the auto-map
It's huuge!
The sample map piece is just a tiny piece of the fully unlocked worldmap. Be sure to watch the new beach area footage during Gamescom to understand the size of the game. The beach part is less than 5% of the worldmap to explore!

No Missables
Focus on your exploration and happily experiment with your characters. The game has no missable item - you'll always be able to explore the world and return to any place later.
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Preparing for Gamescom: Switch Screenshot Galore!

Dear Monster Boy friends,

how was your week so far ? We're in the middle of preparing all the things that we need for Gamescom in August. Let's see... We're going to have a demo which will run on Nintendo Switch ..aand we're going to need updated screenshots for press members. We already picked 13 screens and have a hard time picking the 5 best. Want to take a look ? We'll upload all Monster Boy Demo screens on our Facebook page shorty. Make sure to check out Facebook/MonsterBoyGame !

Hurtling around like in a washing machine: Preparing stuff for Gamescom
While we captured the new press screenshots, we had some time to think about just how far we came since we started the project. We're so happy with what we achieved and it's insane to think that it's already hard to pick 5 screens from a very short demo. What will we do when we have to prepare the digital storefronts for the full game? How could we ever pick the best screenshots? Monster Boy is a truly epic project and we hope you're still eager to get your hands on the game. We're looking forward to the day when it's finally finished and out in the wild. Please stay tuned and check our blog regularly! :-)

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New Monster Boy Demo

Fellow Monster Boy friends,

next month we're looking forward to some great game expos taking place in Germany and Hong Kong. We'll have a new playable demo ready for both events! It's Gamescom and Retro.HK. While we mainly prepared the demo for press members, visitors of Retro.HK will get their chance to play it too. This is the first time to have the game playable in China and we can't wait to hear back from the audience there.

For the first time we're showing the beach starting section as a whole, uncut and with updated graphics details.
Showing a demo always gives us mixed feelings. On one hand we're super excited to see people playing our game, on the other hand we always know it's just a glimpse of the full experience and the game is so much more. The main problem with game expos is that press and players don't have the time to dig into all aspects of a game and need to get a quick impression so they can move on to the next game and publisher quickly. This time we made a slight change by keeping the beach section of the demo at full length just like you'll experience it in the final game. Another change is that we show a different section of the sewers that leads to the village. You'll see Monster Village for the first time properly and with the new graphics. We did cut out the Snake segment as it's still in progress of graphical updates but we kept the frog segment in the demo with new graphics, too. It's still a very short demo made specifically for the showfloor but a step forward to get a glimpse of the final game. We'll make sure to have a video of the demo up on YouTube so everyone can check it out.
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Welcome to the new Monster World Village

Dear lovely Monster Boy family members,

just as promised we're increasing the blog post frequency and today we prove it! :-) Last time we gave insight to a completely remade Volcano area, this time we get to a more cozy place: Monster World Village. We completely reworked the graphics, please check out this before/after comparison screen:

The Inn is a truly cozy place - the first place to visit after a tough time in dangerous places.

On the left is the old Inn, which looks nice but not refined enough to meet todays standards. The right side shows the new quality level which we aim to reach in all areas of the game. With 4 years in production, we don't want to have any drawbacks and finish the game properly so it can shine and impress.

Here's the old village screenshot in full size:
The amount of details isn't up to our new standards

This is the new village screenshot in full size:
So beautiful, we just want to stand here and enjoy the atmosphere. So much depth and many details!

Will you take the time to stroll through the whole village when you visit it the first time? Please do so and enjoy every inch of the artwork we make for you, dearest friends! Please stay tuned for more news in the future :-)
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Quality First: Remaking a whole area from scratch

Dear lovely Monster Boy fans friends and followers,

sometimes the development process can be cruel. It can take months of work before you realize that certain things are not clicking - not working as planned. Just like a volcanic eruption, the catastrophe unfolds and for a quality oriented development team this could mean to throw away a majority of work and start from scratch.

Lion-Man is bored from all the wait so he went treasure hunting - with style!

We are tirelessly challenging ourselves during the development of Monster Boy as our mission is to deliver an absolute Must-Have Action Adventure that shines in every aspect possible.

This is the story of the Volcano area of Monster Boy..
We've spent the last 3 months rebuilding the entire area (2 hours of playtime) as we felt it wasn't good enough and our fans deserve only the best. Today I can tell you that we tremendously succeeded and this area is now rising from its ashes to become a new highlight in the game. Everything was redone. New gameplay elements have been implemented, new enemies have been created. It's so much fun now!

The fire-walker is a new enemy who can jump out of lava and surprise us!

We're going to post more regular updates in the future so you don't have to wait months again.
Sorry again for the continued delays but we're sure you agree with us that quality is so important. Shigeru Miyamoto once said: A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad and he's so damn right!

Please stay tuned!

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Eye Candy! Cranking up the graphics

Dear fellow Monster Boy friends,

it's time for a new update! :-)
We're very sorry about the 2 months of radio silence but it was just because the whole team is working hard on finishing the game. While we're still tuning levels we also put the finishing touches on the graphics. Oh boy - the game is going to look so nice!

Below you'll find two images, old and new.
Monster Boy gets all the treatment of light work and detail now in the final stage of development.

The first version of graphics used during development
The final look of the game with added lighting and detail
As you can see all the pieces fall into place now. Please know that any delay in the past had the sole purpose of improving the game. Thanks for staying around and supporting us !
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Monster Boy Q&A - What is Monster Boy?

Dear fellow Monster Boy friends,

it's time for another blog update! Today we'd like to take the time to answer some questions we've received in the past. We also would like to clarify what exactly is Monster Boy in the context of the original Wonder Boy in Monster World series. But before we provide answers, have a look at a recent screenshot!

Misty Woods:
We explore the forest area with Lion-Man. Beware of the poisoned water!

Is Monster Boy a remake or an all new game ?
Monster Boy is an all new game based on the Wonder Boy in Monster World series. You'll explore 'Monster World Kingdom' that contains various references to Monster World II-IV but in its core offers a completely fresh experience.

Does it play like the old games?
We updated the core mechanics to offer a more dynamic and modern experience but this doesn't mean we made it more complicated to play. Fans of the classic series will feel at home but enjoy increased pacing and a wider range of combat moves, level and puzzle designs. You'll even be able to turn whole rooms upside down and shake them up for some puzzle solving.

What can you tell us about the animal transformations ?
There's Human, Pig, Snake, Frog, Lion and Dragon form. Monster Boy allows to instantly switch to any form once you unlocked it. Each form has advantages but also comes with drawbacks. The level design invites you to switch your form often and find the best strategies. You can even switch your form while jumping to reach certain places and secrets. This makes for some very dynamic gameplay.

Is the game level based ?
You'll explore a completely interconnected open world that allows you to go everywhere based on your abilities. You may find a path locked for a while but it opens up once you found new equipment or a new animal form. Make sure to remember previously closed pathways so you can return later and explore every corner in the game.

Is this an official successor ?
Yes, Monster Boy is an official successor in the series. We cooperate with the original series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa (former WESTONE) and licensed all assets from LAT corporation. Monster Boy continues the tradition of the last two Genesis games which offered a wide range of locations, many NPCs to help and various puzzles to solve. You'll even meet Pepelogoo!

Then why don't you name it Wonder Boy in Monster World V?
The Wonder Boy series has an extreme title fragmentation depending on which country it was released. In Japan it was called Monster World, in Brazil they named it Turma da Mônica em o Resgate, based on a comic book series character. The IP for the title Monster World isn't owned by SEGA anymore and that made it difficult to bring all together again. Monster Boy is mostly based on the Sega Genesis series which means it's closest to the original and wide spread Monster World naming of the series. In the end, Monster Boy was the most elegant solution for us. We could secure this IP for worldwide use now and it's the next best thing to the original name.

On which platforms do you release Monster Boy?
The game will release on Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. We plan to support more platforms later but that depends on the sales of the game and players feedback.

How long is the game?
It will take around 10 hours to finish the game.

Physical Copy??
We are currently looking into several options. Please stay tuned for an announcement at a later time.

I've seen reviews of the game. Can you send me a review copy?
At this point, there is no way any press member could've made a review of Monster Boy. All we showed so far is a relatively short demo that was made for 10 minute sessions on show floors like PAX.

WHEN ???
We can't believe that we already spent 3 years on making the game. Time goes by so fast! When we started the project, we imagined a very small action adventure to enjoy in between other games. Now it became a huge game with a high variety of gameplay, locations and features. We will announce the release date at a later point. Please know that every delay means you get a better game, because we tirelessly work on improving it.

Why don't you release the demo ?
We don't want to spoil your experience with a demo that we made specifically for the show floor. The demo is made for very short plays and to show off the idea behind the game. It doesn't depict the final experience.

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Jin gets a new face!

Dear followers, fans and friends - welcome to 2017!

This is the year in which we finally finish the production of Monster Boy and release the game. So much has been going on in a development cycle that clocks in ~3 years ! The game isn't gold yet but we're progressing nicely with polishing and fine details.

Before we continue - look at this beauty running on 21:9 Monitor!
So much is going on in this screen. The piranha jumping out of the water, fire flower attacking, shimmering sea...but what's this?!
Jin has a new face! :o
After receiving several feedback about the look of our main character, we tuned it a little more.

We really like the final look of Jin. He's more determined, curious and we can play nicely with his hair while he jumps, attacks and moves in this roller coaster of a game!

Monster Boy will sim-ship on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
While we don't have a launch date yet, we are happy to announce that we ship the game to three platforms on Day1 which includes Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. We love to play Monster Boy everywhere so a Switch version was a must for us. Will you join us on Day 1 ?

Meet us on PAX South!
We're attending PAX South from Jan. 27, 2017 to Jan. 29, 2017 and if you get the chance please visit us and try our games on various machines! We're looking forward to meet you.

As always please feel free to drop us a message or questions.

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A spooky place..

Dear followers, fans and friends,
we've got a new update today! Just in time for Halloween we'd like to share a new screenshot from a really spooky place in the game. Before we enter this ghostly mansion here, we switched to the pig to search the area for secrets.

Woah - entering a ghostly mansion at full moon - right next to the graveyard. What a spooky adventure!
With this image we want to show you how far we've come since the beginning of the project. The graphics are reaching a point where we're really happy with the style, level of detail and depth of the image. We believe - after all the work we put into this, we're getting there! Do you agree?

While the graphics are polished further, we're still working on levels, bosses and animation quality. The extended development time until 2017 allowed us to create what we always intended. The finished game will be a work of art.

And that's not all - the music production is reaching the final stage as well!
Toshiyuki Tanahashi is the man on the bass - just one of many real instruments that have been recorded.
The recording sessions are finished and the music in the game will reach the final quality soon. It sounds so much better to have real instruments playing in background.

Last but not least we'd like to mention Paris Games Week which starts this week! If you get the chance please visit our 'Monster Boy' demo station at the Games Made In France booth. Check Hall 2.2, Booth D020. We're looking forward to see you there!
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Final pass for background graphics

Dear followers and fans,

today I want to give you some more insight on our final pass of background graphics work. See - you're never finished when working on a game. We learn and keep pushing ourselves to get the best possible experience. Sure, the most important job is to get the gameplay and levels right, but we also want to have a nice visual experience.

Here are 3 samples of new background graphics intentions fresh from the 'factory' :-)
Don't mind the sketchy UI elements or character placement. These are not screenshots from the game, but montages for concept approval.

The top image shows the old version, below is the new graphics intention for more depth and vibrance.

Sky Village:
Same order, top image is the old background. We believe the new version below adds more depth and magic.

West Fields:
Did you spot the difference here? :-)

We hope you agree that these changes add to the overall visual appeal and are worth the effort. We'll keep you posted with more development insight while we work towards finishing the game production. Thank you for your continued support and great feedback! The whole team really appreciates all the kind words and great comments here on the blog.

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Gamescom 2016 Trailer: The Power of Six!

Exciting times ahead! Gamescom 2016 starts this week and it's the first time to have a playable demo of Monster Boy on the showfloor. If you visit Gamescom this year, please check out the Xbox booth in Hall 8. We hope you enjoy the gameplay as much as we do while developing this game. For everyone else we released a new trailer today!

This new trailer contains quite some action, phew! How will you play the game when you can choose between up to 6 different characters with unique powers and you can hot-swap them anytime? It's magical and pure fun! We hope you like the new gameplay scenes and can't wait to share the game with you when it's finally ready to launch. Please stay tuned for more updates.
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Six perspectives to explore

Time for a new update on our development progress! Last time we showed you concept art from the caves, now we already have playtesters exploring it in the game.

Snake going vertical! What's up there?
It's thrilling to see people enjoying the various transformation forms. There's a lot of variety on how to play the game depending which character is active. It's like playing the game from six perspectives, with each form offering awesome possibilities. Plus imagine what happens when you switch them on the fly that's so many ways to beat the game and discover secrets!

Lion-Man is strong and fast - is he the right choice to pass the volcano ?
The Frog is one of our favorite characters as his tongue is magical! You'll be surprised what he can do with it! But for now we just need him for a lengthy and dangerous underwater section. No need for additional oxygen!

Frog-Man is a great swimmer, he can overcome lengthy underwater passages without oxygen.

We still have new ideas coming everyday and it seems we need 10 Monster Boy games to realize all that...
The sky is the limit! Dragon-Man is the last playable form. This image is from the intro.

Lastly we'd like to thank everybody who sent us encouraging feedback by email or in the blog! It's pushing us to keep working hard and we love you for that! Please stay tuned ^_^

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Creating Worlds

Dear lovely followers and friends,
wow - it was great to see so much support on our last post including the first entry in the official Sony blog.
That's it - we have the worlds best fans and community. Together we're strong! :-)

Today we'd like to give you a little update on our progress. Lots of level design was done and while the team is still working on the map, puzzles and enemies, the artists are also fine tuning the games artwork including new iterations of existing level graphics so we get a nice world that fits together properly. Many worlds are finished, but some are not - like our so called 'Maze Cave' level.

Straight from the level editor we're already having neat graphics for this area which will be explored with the Snake form.

The snake is exploring a dark area inside the cave, light source are just some small crystals

The atmosphere is great with limited light sources but the cave is big and we also have brighter areas that should support a magical and also colorful experience. The first thing to do is always to create a rough concept artwork of it which looks like this:

3rd iteration of an art concept for the brighter areas in the cave. We like this one!

You'll experience the final version of the cave in the game and we hope you'll like it! We put a lot of love into each area so you have a great time enjoying every aspect of it. Reworking and polishing existing designs is also a reason for the initial delay of the game.

Last but not least - here we have a sample for a final design of the 'West Fields' area of the game. We explore it with the Pig-Man and he just reached a dead-end. The water is poisoned!

Pig-Man reached a dead end here - he has to return later to cross the poisoned water.

We hope you like what you see! :-) Please stay tuned and recommend this blog to your friends. Thanks a lot!

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