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Balan Wonderworld - What We Know So Far

Balan Wonderworld, the new game from directors Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, promises players a chaotic, colorful platformer from the minds of the team that created such classics as Nights into Dreams and Sonic Adventure. Balan Wonderworld is one of the most anticipated games of 2021, and fans don't have long to wait for it.


The game features an intriguing costume system, where the player character can change their clothes to gain new and exciting abilities. There are twelve worlds to explore in Balan Wonderworld, each focused on a specific character who needs help with an issue. Players will help these characters while navigating through "labyrinthine," bright landscapes.

Fans that have waited years for a Nights into Dreams remake might have found a game to scratch that itch in Balan Wonderworld. The art style seems incredibly similar, and the directors' influence can be seen in the game from top to bottom.

What is Balan Wonderworld's release date?

Balan Wonderworld will arrive on March 26, 2021 from Square Enix, and seems to be set to release with no delays. Though the game has been in development for a while, one of its creators only recently spoke out about its development. 


In an interview with IGN, Yuji Naka stated that his heart has always belonged to platformers. Even though Naka has made RPGs in the past, his true passion remains adventures like Balan Wonderworld, where players can navigate the world more freely.

However, fans might worry about Balan Wonderworld's script after Naka explained, "To be honest, I'm not really the type of developer who focuses on a game's script. I always emphasize how the game feels and the action, while the story may be a bit weak. I wasn't very good with stories." 

However, Naka reportedly read Joseph Campell's The Hero's Journey in preparation to work on Balan Wonderworld, determined to make the story a priority this time around. Fans will have to wait until March 26 for the full picture, but can begin testing out early parts of Balan Wonderworld via its free demo now.


Is there a trailer for Balan Wonderworld?

There are actually two trailers for Balan Wonderworld. In July 2020, Square Enix released an announcement trailer for the new game. The announcement trailer features two young individuals journeying to a strange world, led by a circular, hopping creature. The young characters then meet a fantastic person in a white top hat and suit who leads them aboard a flying train. The characters travel through several dynamic worlds, then the screen cuts to black as a new, darker character appears, touching unsuspecting victims with its tentacles. The announcement trailer hinted at the setting of the game and the main antagonist, and overall suggested an attitude of optimism and hope.


Square Enix also released a gameplay trailer in January 2021, which provided more details about Balan Wonderworld. While the trailer covered similar ground, it additionally indicated that players will be able to choose how they accomplish tasks in the game. Part of player choice is the variety of costumes available to characters, each with its own special abilities. The second trailer also showed off a bit more gameplay than the announcement, while both trailers demonstrated a good bit of Balan Wonderworld's platform style.

What's the story in Balan Wonderworld?

Co-director Naoto Oshima described Balan Wonderworld's story as a mission where protagonists journey through "worlds born from the hearts of people troubled by all kinds of worries. Inside these people's hearts, there are negative emotions (the Negati) and positive emotions (the cast)." Oshima also stated that "the idea was that by wearing the costumes of the cast – the manifestation of positive emotions – the player would gain positive powers, which would allow them to defeat negative emotions." 


In other words, in a Persona-esque way, it sounds like the player will journey into individual worlds in order to help people who suffer from some sort of problem.

Oshima explained that the development team first created the various characters that each world would center on, then populated those worlds with obstacles and cast members. Though the story hasn't been fully revealed, fans can find out more information in the Balan Wonderworld demo. Fans who want even more information about Balan Wonderworld can also look into the tie-in novel from Square Enix.

Where is the demo for Balan Wonderworld?

Balan Wonderworld offers a pretty extensive demo, all for the low price of free. The game's official website provides links for the many demo's many platforms. Fans that download the demo will get to play through a chapter of Balan Wonderworld, but they'll also gain free access to an exclusive costume. Considering that costumes play such a large part in the game, that's not anything to scoff at.


The demo takes players through three unique worlds, each with its own story to tell. Players are limited to how far they can progress through each world, with only Act 1 being available for two of the worlds, but that's enough to provide a taste of what the action packed gameplay is like.

Polygon called Balan Wonderworld's demo "bizarre" and compared it to the recent film adaptation of Cats. While the article didn't speak of the game negatively, it did highlight some of the games stranger features.

The Balan Wonderworld demo is available now for PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox X|S, Xbox One, and Steam.