Square Enix Brings Original Sonic Creators Back Together for New 3D Platformer Balan Wonderworld

We always hoped to see the day that original ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima would get back together on a brand new project… but we weren’t expecting to to happen at Square Enix! The Japanese RPG publisher has just announced a brand new 3D platformer called Balan Wonderworld, featuring colourful characters and whimsical gameplay that makes you feel like the original Sonic Team never left. 

Originally announced via Xbox’s channel, and later unveiled on PlayStation’s Blog, Yuji Naka describes Balan Wonderworld as “set in the mysterious world of people’s hearts,” the titular ‘Wonderworld’. “In everyone’s hearts, there’s a mixture of positive emotions – happiness and joy – and negative emotions – restless fears and worry. When the balance between positive and negative emotions is destroyed, the door to Wonderworld will open,” Naka explains.

You play as protagonists Leo and Emma, two kids with issues and anxieties preventing them from feeling truly at ease with themselves. After meeting the top hat-wearing figure called Balan, they are welcomed into the land of Wonderworld, tasked with rescuing its inhabitants by use of various outfits, costumes and disguises.

It all sounds a bit like classic Sonic Team’s SEGA Saturn masterpiece, NiGHTS into Dreams, where two children also overcome real-world issues by entering a dreamworld. Unlike NiGHTS though, Balan Wonderworld plays like a traditional 3D platformer, using various power-ups to traverse around the many courses in the game.

Balan Wonderworld is heading to Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Steam in Spring 2021, with free next-gen upgrades planned. It’s truly great to see Naka-san and Ohshima-san work together again.

If you remember the old days of TSS, we used to cover a lot of Naka-era Sonic Team games besides Sonic. So you may also see us covering this unique looking game too, even though it is being published by Square Enix. So stay tuned to TSS for more on Balan Wonderworld… and let’s take a moment to think about just how crazy a year 2020 has been so far.

Published by

Dreadknux

Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.

6 Comments

  1. This project has certainly piqued my interest! I wouldn’t mind seeing TSS continue coverage of it as more information rolls out. Might help fill in the gaps left by the Sonic news drought, right?

  2. This is some EXTREMELY NiGHTS looking stuff. From the plot, to the world design, to the sound effects, to the NiGHTS and Reala looking characters shown in the trailer, everything seems deliberately evocative of NiGHTS but in a collectathon platformer. Makes me wonder if they pitched it to Sega first for that purpose and got rejected.
    Looks good though

  3. Awesome, nice to see 3D platformers making more of a return these days. This game gives away major NiGHTS and Billy Hatcher vibes (in terms of aesthetics), and also seems like a good love letter to classic 3D platformers (in terms of gameplay). I honestly would have preferred if we could play as Balan instead of those generic kid protagonists though, but either way, looking forward to this and hoping gameplay is good.

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