Q&ERA: Lizardcube and DotEMU discuss Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap!

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This Q&ERA was organized by Emily.


Q&ERA
offers an opportunity for our community to learn more about the gaming industry from those that are part of it. This involves batches of questions, submitted by users and then selected by staff, which will then be given to industry members to answer. Our intent is to bridge the divide between the gaming community and the gaming industry. We want to encourage engagement between those who talk about games and those who make them. (Note: Questions will be curated as interviewees won't have time to answer every single one. Also, there may be certain topics that interviewees are not able or allowed to comment on.)

Introducing our first guests: LizardCube & DotEmu, the makers of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap!

Company Info:



Ben Fiquet
(Co-founder) - Animation, Art
Omar Cornut (Co-Founder) - Coding, Direction
Sebastien Ronsse - Coding
Michael Geyre - Music
Romain Gauthier - Sound Design

Lizardcube was founded in late 2015 by Omar Cornut (Coding, Creative Director) and Ben Fiquet (Art Direction, Animation). They previously worked together on underdog hit DS title "Soul Bubbles", a physic based game about blowing bubbles and transporting spirits. Other team members involved with the development of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap include Michael Geyre (music), Romain Gauthier (sound design) and Sebastien Ronsse (development).

Omar worked in Kyoto with Q-Games on the "Pixeljunk Shooter" series. At Media Molecule in England, he laid his papery fingers on the original "Tearaway" (PS Vita) and early iterations of "Dreams". He freelanced with Wild Sheep Studios (new team led by Michel Ancel) in Montpellier on "WiLD". His passion for retro Sega games led him to create the emulator "MEKA" and the "SMS Power!" research and preservation community which is still active.

Ben graduated from Gobelins School in Paris 2006, co-directing Pyrats short. Since then, he has been working in videogames (“Soul Bubbles”), writing his own comics (“Powa”, “Les Chevaliers de la Chouette”) and freelanced in animation between London, Paris and LA (Dreamworks, Zodiac Kids and many more).




Cyrille Imbert (CEO of DotEmu)
Arnaud De Sousa (Communication)
Christian Cortez (Production)

DotEmu is a french video game company specializing in modern releases of beloved retro games. Founded in 2007, DotEmu leverages its considerable technological know-how to maintain the original spirit of classic games while giving them a second life as rediscovered gems for a new generation of gamers. Over the years, DotEmu has worked with many large companies, including Square Enix (Final Fantasy series), SNK (Metal Slug and Fatal Fury Series) and Ubisoft (Heroes of Might and Magic III HD).



Game Info:


Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
is a platformer/adventure game developed by Lizardcube and published by DotEMU. It was released earlier this year on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It's a remake of the 1989 game Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, which was originally developed by Westone Bit Entertainment and published by Sega.

The game features the following:
  • Hand-drawn animated graphics.
  • Switch from modern graphics and sound to 8-bit graphics/audio at any time - even during gameplay.
  • A large interconnected world.
  • 6 playable forms with different abilities.
  • A soundtrack, based on Shinichi Sakamoto's originals, re-imagined and recorded with classical instruments.
  • Play as the game’s classic character, Hu-Man, or as his brand-new, long-awaited co-star Hu-Girl.


Screenshots




 
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Question 1 – Member: Ron Paul

“There were numerous Wonder Boy games made back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. What made you choose the 1989 classic Wonder Boy III as the one to remake? Any chance we’ll see other Wonder Boy remakes in the future? My personal favorite was Wonder Boy V: Monster World III.”


Omar (Lizardcube): This project started from me reverse engineering the original game ROM as a hobby. So at the time I didn’t really plan ahead to make a remake, it just somehow evolved into that. But generally everyone has a personal favorite and Wonder Boy III The Dragon’s Trap was the one for us. I think Monster Land is also an amazing game, especially the arcade version, but its gameplay structure (short, very hard game, no save) would have made it a very difficult adaptation. As for Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, it’s also great game but it probably had a lesser impact on players at the time? For being a sequel, and also for being released at a time when games were already a little more elaborate (it essentially got released face to face with A Link To The Past!). And I mean, personally, I am a big fan of the Master System so I didn’t think twice.

Seb (Lizardcube): I arrived in the team a bit late in the game and the decision was already made. Luckily, The Dragon's Trap was always my favorite! While there is no plan at this point to remaster another Wonder Boy, I would still be proud to be part of that adventure again.

Omar (Lizardcube): Seb contacted us after he saw the announcement trailer. At the time we received many emails from people offering to help us, but the nature of the project (low-level hacking, hand drawn animations) made it difficult to get people on board. However in his intro email Seb described how a few years earlier he himself hacked into the original game and started creating a level editor for it on his spare time... That’s when I knew we hit the jackpot, and Seb became our 5th team member.

 
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Question 2 – Member: StrawberryJam

“How critical did you have to be of the original game when remaking it?”


Omar (Lizardcube): We are obviously super biased because this is a game we cherished. To keep a critical mind, we organized play tests regularly. During the second half of the game development, I tried to get someone to play the game in front of me every week. People who weren’t necessarily fans of the original. And when we showed the game at BitSummit, PSX 2016 or other events, we would also be watching players. Sometimes we wouldn’t tell them it was a remake of an old game, to see how their reaction would differ. And so you watch those players being confused or bored or cursing your game (and that happens for every game you make!), and it helps seeing the flaws and fixing them. It’s the normal process of making a game really. This being a remake we however had to balance our changes between what we felt was right, and not steering too far from the spirit of the original.
 
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Question 3 – Members: ShellshockPrime and J-Tier

“How did you get the approval from Sega or former WestOne staff to make this remake happen?” asks ShellshockPrime.

“How receptive was Sega to the idea during initial discussions?" asks J-Tier.


Omar (Lizardcube): The game was created by Westone Bit Entertainment, who still owned the IP at the time we started the project. A few months in our then-prototype, Mr Nishizawa decided to close Westone and sell his rights to another company LAT. It got us a little worried initially but LAT was run by someone Nishizawa knew and he was closely involved in the licensing deal. Anyway, we approached Mr Nishizawa early with a few videos of the prototype and stating our intent to remake this, and he gave us an informal go pretty fast. I recall we sent him our proposal - sort of coincidentally - on his 50th birthday.

Sega more or less own the trademark for “Wonder Boy” (the name) and initially it wasn’t in our plan to ask them for it. As some of know may know, Westone in the past dual licensed their games to different publishers under different names, and we thought we could do the same. It was two of us in our bedroom and we were like “there’s no way we can talk to Sega right now”. Eventually we signed the project with DotEmu, and they are specialized in retro game licences so it was much easier to come forward and aim for the “Wonder Boy” name with DotEmu on board. They know the ins-and-out of working with Japanese companies.

Arnaud (DotEmu): Our history with Japanese companies helped us a lot. We’ve been working for many years now with prestigious and historical studios (Square Enix, SNK,...) or developers (Yoshihisa Sakamoto) and we have a tremendous respect for their work, which is something that resonates a lot with japanese companies. That is also what Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is all about in my opinion: a labor of love and respect, and it shows. I think that such a project, combined with Lizardcube’s work quality, is a great homage to the Wonder Boy series and the people at SEGA saw it immediately. We reached out to them and they were indeed pretty happy with this project.
 
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Question 4 – Member: Ichtyander

“What was it like meeting Ryuichi Nishizawa (the creator of the Wonder Boy series)? Did you perhaps learn something from him that changed your view of the game development process or the Wonder Boy games in general? Do you have any interesting anecdotes in regards to that encounter?”


Ben (Lizardcube): It was amazing. Not only he is super kind, he praised us a lot about the remake we were cooking. That feeling of reinterpreting someone’s work and being blessed to do so is marvelous. I don’t think he could have imagined his work would have such an impact on two little boys on the other side of the world. One interesting thing while discussing the art is he told me that basically when they developed the games back in the days, they didn’t do much concept art, they would go straight to drawing pixel art.

Cyrille (DotEmu CEO): As I was showing the game in Kyoto during Bitsummit, I had the pleasure and honor to be invited to dinner by Nishizawa-san and his wife. I had a very good time. Nishizawa-san is still passionated by game design and gaming industry. he still works as a game designer. I don’t have any special anecdotes but there is really one thing that striked me: they are one of the most lovely couple I have ever met. There is a high level of complicit between them and they are super kind. So I am not sure if this is related with the game, but it kind of make sense for me. ;)
 
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Question 5 – Member: Kickmaster Kim

“Hey there devs, I was wondering how much does it cost to make a game like this? What was the budget?”

Omar (Lizardcube):
We can’t disclose the exact budget, but it’s a non-surprising budget among the “well polished indie game” range (under 500k USD). Budgets are rarely discussed or understood because depending on where you live, what’s your experience and how much risk you are taking by adjusting everyone's salary, they can vary a lot. There are also many costs that are not directly visible: hardware, events, rents, social charges and corporate taxes, etc.
 
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Question 6 – Member: jariw

“How did you reverse-engineer the mechanics of the original game? Did you have access to the original code?”


Omar (Lizardcube): Initially I used a Z80 disassembler and my emulator/debugger MEKA to study the game behavior and data formats. You start from a ROM image and start looking at the disassembled code, and give names to functions and memory addresses. You can use the emulator to poke into data and see how the engine reacts and behaves. I had a first version of the engine that could display all the game locations, objects placements, had basic physics in. etc. Eventually Mr Nishizawa found a copy of the original source code and handed it to me. It’s in Z80 assembly so it aligned directly to my disassembled version, except we had access to more labels and comments (in Japanese). It really helped to finish the game as we increasingly needed to get into more details when hi-jacking code from the old engine to add or replace stuff.

Seb (Lizardcube): I spent some time reversing the original game (using MEKA as well) a few years prior to joining the team, so I was familiar with it already. Some of the data structures for the various levels, entrances, enemy locations, etc. was fortunately still stuck in my head. When joining the team, we already had access to the original source but it still felt like reversing due to the fact that we were looking at Z80 assembly without many comments (I've never used Google Translate that much in my life for understanding some of the Japanese comments). Being familiar with the Master System was definitely a plus as both Omar and I worked on emulators for that console - this allowed us to understand what to look for (register accesses, sprite updates, palette changes, port reads/writes) in order to catch these events and understanding the purpose of certain functions within the original game.
 
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Question 7 – Member: Tain

When tearing through the inner workings of the original game, was there anything that stood out to you as being particularly clever implementation-wise? Also, if someone with no experience in emulator development wanted to get into reverse-engineering and modifying old games, what would be a good entry point?”

Omar (Lizardcube): I’m not really a “serious” Master System developer or Z80 expert myself so it’s hard for me to tell if the code was particularly clever or optimized. I think much like modern games, what matters is really only the end result and not how it was written. But it was generally fascinating to uncover all the scaffolding behind this game of our childhood. The CPU being really limited, the algorithms, and habits people had in the eighties are completely different from what people are being taught today.

If you want to reverse engineer and modify old games, I would say the first step would be to create a little demo or game on the platform you are targeting. Most popular platforms have a community of retro developers, tutorials and dedicated tools. That will get you into understanding the hardware and the CPU you are working with. If you want to do Sega 8-bit stuff, our forum on SmsPower will welcome you. :) It’s also probably different depending on the platform. The way the NES was designed, with a specific path for the PPU to access graphics characters in ROM, allows for graphics hacks to be made more easily than for other platforms.

Seb (Lizardcube): The architecture of the original was well thought through, keeping in mind the limitations of that time, meaning that quite a bit of data was compressed, screens were regularly reused, even often with some "real" impact. For instance, some players really want to break a block in the palace which can't be broken, simply due to the fact that it is a copy of another location due to screen reuse for space conservation reasons. Regarding reversing, I don't believe emulator development knowledge per se is required even though it can be useful. A nice debugger as well as good enough understanding of hardware registers and overall system design is sufficient. As well as a lot of patience!
 
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Question 8 – Member: EarthPainting

“Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap follows a very specific style of remaster, where the new is almost layered on top of the old, and you can switch between the two on the fly with the press of a button. It’s a fascinating way of doing things, which also help ensure faithfulness to the original, and makes it very easy to compare the old and new.

It did make me wonder though if at any point during the development, this feature felt like a limitation or a hindrance. Are there things you wanted to change/improve, but you were unable to due to being locked to the original template?”


Omar (Lizardcube): It was often a limitation, particularly as we are running a heavy modified version of the original engine in the background. So when we wanted to create the new levels, we were faced various restrictions on how many monsters could be used in a scene, how many color variations can be active simultaneously, how they have to be positioned, etc. Little by little we tried to push and lift some of those limitations. You can’t just make a fireball twice the speed in hard mode, because faster speeds are causing problems to the how collisions are processed. Or another example is that we modified the old engine to run widescreen, which involve redrawing the retro version using our knowledge of the game state, altering the visibility of monsters and objects. Which in turn created conflict issues because there weren’t enough “slot” to make more objects active at the same time, editing and moving level sections to accommodate for larger screens, etc. It was surprisingly hard.

If we didn’t have so many limitations with the retro engine, we would probably have added more extra levels and tweaked monsters further. I think that would be the main difference.

Seb (Lizardcube): From my side of things, it definitely felt like a limitation, but at the same time a fun challenge I was happy to face. One of the more frustrating parts which Omar and I went through was probably the door mechanics. As it turns out, when opening a door, the original game “changes” the hero sprite into an animated door, so associating retro animations with new ones quickly became a nightmare as we wanted to show the hero walking towards the door while opening it, meaning both were displayed simultaneously. The change to 60Hz (the original ran at 30Hz) also impacted timings throughout the game. A few weeks before release, the intro, opening sequence, and outro were still displayed at the wrong speed, and changing a timing somewhere meant that it could break other spots in the game, so we had to carefully evaluate each possible change to make sure there was no other impact anywhere else. We almost agreed not to include retro versions for some of these due to time constraints. Decisions such as keeping the village house door visible in the outro without making it disappear (to suggest a hidden location) also meant fixing/updating the retro version palette cycling as the shining stars in the night sky shared colors with the door sprite. These are just examples of pain points we endured during development!



 
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Question 9 – Member: FairyEmpire

“Have you ever been tempted to make the game more modern in level design or game mechanics given its fairly confusing nature compared to today’s standards – or was a 1:1 remake the objective from day 1?”


Omar (Lizardcube): In my head this project was always 1:1 remake from day one. Or let’s say a 1:1.2 remake as we wanted to tweak and improve a few things.

Seb (Lizardcube): I’d say a 1:1 remake was exactly what I was hoping for. During development, there were a few times when the rest of the team decided to change some level design elements, and I struggled internally with some of these decisions! As it turns out, there was (almost) always a good reason for them. More noticeably, the upgraded mouse physics when clinging onto walls (without losing velocity) makes this hero form more fun to play in my opinion.

Arnaud (DotEmu): As retrogaming fans, we were really excited by the project and its 1:1 ambition. Even though the game is almost 30 years old now, it was truly ahead of its time, and that is why, I think, it touched a generation of players. The idea to keep the original game alive while giving it new, more approachable visuals, is a great way to bring such a classic to a new audience and let those new players discover a hidden gem of the past.
 
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Question 10 – Member: issa

“Have you considered an option allowing for a more generous checkpoints system to make the game more accessible to a modern audience? Or was changing the game mechanically like that out of the question from the start?”


Omar (Lizardcube): Changing game mechanics wasn’t out of question. But the checkpoints, specifically, I think they would have broken the game. It’s not a really long game and it relies on skills + buying better equipment. It really wasn’t designed for checkpoints. But we tweaked how the potions worked to make it easier on the newcomer.
 
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Question 11 – Member: gaogaogao

“There are times in the second half of the game where the solution is a little obtuse, and you may not have realized what to do or where to go. Did you ever consider a mode that directs the player a little more carefully? A hint shop or something like that would have been useful to me.”


Seb (Lizardcube): The original game is all about exploration and struggling to understand where to go is part of its charm! We still decided to include a tiny hint system (some banners at the bottom of the screen or at the game over screen) as well as clues from the shopkeeper accessible from the village church. That said, these were pretty limited, as we felt it might spoil too much. In hindsight, there are a couple of mistakes that newcomers run into which we could have detected, informing the player as needed.

Omar (Lizardcube): It’s hard to balance, because the fun in those games comes from the exploration. We concentrated our efforts on the first section. When you first arrive in the village, it can be overwhelming for some players. So the game tries to detect some cases like “you didn’t buy any equipment” or “you’ve never been to that place” and distill them in the form of messages. You are right that we didn’t add enough in the second part of the game. Some players take a long time to find the Magical Saber or to use it. But the biggest confusion is when player accidentally return from the canyon as Mouse-Man, unaware that there is a transform room in the village, and attempt to do the Underground section with Mouse-Man… It’s super hard and tedious. We could have addressed this better but I’m not sure how… I think it would have been a little damaging to the exploration to prevent Mouse-Man from entering that location. And we used it to hide a secret room as well.
 
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Question 12 – Member: Fawz

“What was the thought process behind having Hit Stun behave the way it does? Specifically by having the player still bounce off enemies during the hit stunt knockback animation which can result in the player being knocked back for an extensive amount of time if cornered during boss fights.”


Omar (Lizardcube): It’s actually in the original game, and even though you get knocked off you don’t lose any extra life. We realized post release that it annoyed quite a few people. I think the reasoning behind this was if you were to be invincible, and not knocked back, it would become easier to walk through monsters, and the original designers (Sega Master System version) wanted to avoid that.
 
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Question 13 – Member: Kyuuji

“The art style is such a wonderful part of the game. How did you settle on which art style to use and how much of a challenge was it to take the minimal environments in the original and translate them to the gorgeous fleshed out versions we see in the final product?”


Ben (Lizardcube): The art style is a product of things that I like to do or see. I come from a background of fine art and traditional animation and I’ve worked for many companies in video games, animation and did my own comics. I tried to put on screen what I saw as a kid on my TV. For the backgrounds, it was actually quite refreshing to start from a predefined canvas. The good thing is I knew what kind of environments I had to draw, but the minimal looks of the original game allowed me to fill it with creative bits of my own.

Omar (Lizardcube): If you look at the in-game gallery you can see some of the earlier researches that Ben made for them. It converged very early into the first picture with Lion-Man in the village which you can see in the gallery. I suppose that’s the artwork that set the direction from the game, and the final look is pretty close to that. Every location had different challenges. When the ground is flat or the background fills the entire level, it’s easier to setup elaborate parallax layers. When it is not, we had to find different tricks to break away from the flatness. For example, in the inside of the pyramid (before you reach the hall) you have those pyramid-shaped walls and the original background was grey and really boring. We managed to make the background scroll by using custom masks so the background only appeared in the “inside” area. If you look closely as to how it moves, it doesn’t really make physical sense. Another trick we used was to deform some of our far away sprites in a way that created a subtle perspective effect (you can see it in the statue outside when you run in the fields as Mouse-Man). That subtle deformation also helps break away from the flatness. And the simplest yet important trick was to always have characters and objects overlap into the ground graphics a little, maybe by a few pixels. It makes everything feel a lot more 2.5D.
 
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Question 14 – Member: Jrs3000

“Can you explain the process and tools (software) used to create hand drawn animation for the game?”


Ben (Lizardcube): It’s all Photoshop, there’s an animation timeline where you can animate frame by frame. Mind you, it’s not the easiest way for animating, it just happened I was more comfortable to work with it at the time.

Omar (Lizardcube): Ben published a few gifs of the rough animations, I love them!



 
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Question 15 – Member: SKULLOMANIA

“Obviously, it was great that you included the option to display the game in its original Master System 8-bit gfx. But I wonder, was there ever a plan at any time to also allow for the tileset of the PC-Engine version (Dragon’s Curse)?”


Omar (Lizardcube): We never seriously considered it for the reason that we didn’t want to add an extra license into the mix. Between LAT and Sega and DotEmu and Lizardcube, the licensing structure was already a quite complex. So I think Hudson Soft assets were acquired by Konami, and adding Konami into the mix probably would mean the game would be out in 2019.
 
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Question 16 – Member: rtv190

“How come you guys never did a physical Xbox One release?”


Omar (Lizardcube): It’s a question that often comes up. For one thing, Microsoft doesn’t allow small physical runs for the Xbox One. This is also the reason why Limited Run Games don’t have Xbox titles out. Also because our game didn’t do super well on the Xbox (it’s got the least amount of sales there) it seems like we don’t have enough of a demand on the platform to invest into a physical release.
 
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Question 17 – Member: Bishop89

“Why did you make the decision to not include a platinum trophy in this game? You must be aware that there are a lot of players (not me) who wouldn’t even consider buying a game unless there is a platinum, thus losing a sale.”


Omar (Lizardcube): It wasn’t really a decision, more like a mistake on our side. We were still convinced that Sony rules disallowed us from including a Platinum. In fact, the rules changed a few years ago but we didn’t know about it. By the time we realized it, it was too late. The game has a hidden “Extreme” mode (that you can access from the difficulty selection menu) which would qualify as a great platinum trophy, unfortunately we can’t add it after the facts.
 
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Question 18 – Member: nampad

“What are the chances of a Vita port?”


Omar (Lizardcube): We love our Vita, but the reality is that we really used all our resources and energy targeting 4 platforms and a million releases, and we are a little drained up at this point. It’s hard to see from the outside, but every platform, every region, every store requires work on the publisher and developer side and there’s a point when we need to make those hard choices.
 
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Question 19 – Member: Jibece

“I really liked your game, especially Hu-Girl and the “Wonder Girl” title you get when you choose her. How was the process to design and implement her? Do you plan to make a “Wonder Girl” back cover on the physical (and unlimited release)?


Ben (Lizardcube): When we started to develop, we weren’t sure we would have the rights to use the license. So I started designing characters that could be used instead of Wonder Boy (you can see the experiments in the gallery) and the idea of having a girl popped up. Later, when we knew there was no problem with the license, we thought it could be a nice touch to include a female character.

Omar (Lizardcube): The front cover on the Nicalis / Headup Games versions shows both Boy and Girl, but we’ll see what we can do about the logo.

 
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Question 20 – Member: efyu_lemonardo

“My question concerns the musical score and composition. I’d love to know more about the process that went behind reinterpreting the game’s music: specifically deciding which musical instruments to use and which musical genres to take.”


Michael (Lizardcube): First, I played the original music on the piano. I was watching mockups and considered what was happening in each part of the game. I was thinking about what kind of mood I wanted to put in the music. So it directed more or less the kind of music and the instruments. I was guided a lot by the rest of the team, but, since I did not always understand what they meant, sometimes I made many sketches before finding a convincing version. Some of them are listenable on Bandcamp, or LRG deluxe edition.

Romain (Lizardcube): If I may allow myself to claim a bit of credit for the direction some of the tracks went... At some point during development - I think it was when Michael was working on The Monster's Lair and was having a bit of difficulty coming up with something that the whole team loved - I sent the TV theme from the old Tintin animated series as a reference for the type of small ensemble orchestration that I thought the visuals called for. Michael thus wrote a version of The Monster's Lair with that kind of instrumentation and we were unanimously enthused, so more of the tracks followed in a similar spirit. At least that’s how I recall it, haha (correct me if I'm wrong, Michael!).

Omar (Lizardcube): The key starting point is that we wanted the game to use real classical instruments, which meant less electronics and synthesizers involved. For me it was analogous to what we did with the art, pushing for, hmm.. the sincerity of the old craft?

Seb (Lizardcube): I was always pretty critical of what the remastered version should sound like and Michael was always willing to rework some pieces for us, making small or bigger changes based on our feedback. This was probably the most entertaining part of the overall experience for me! I specifically remembered the adventure zone track (mouse-man and lion-man levels) to be “stressful” and while I adore the revamped version, I initially felt it sounded too nice. Michael later on shared a piano version for the hidden unknown levels which brought back this sense of rush and danger which I craved. The constant process of reaching for feedback within the team led to some very unique tracks, some of which even had voices that were cut off prior to release - I still cherish my stash of custom compositions that didn’t make it in the final version!
 
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Question 21 – Member: AgentOtaku

“Any chances of a vinyl release of the amazing OST?”


Omar (Lizardcube): We’re looking into different possibilities, but it’s so hard to quantify if there is a demand for those things, and find the right partners for it. Our OST on Bandcamp didn’t sell as much as we imagined it would, I don’t really know if people would be up for a vinyl.
 
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Nov 20, 2017
114
#23
Question 22 – Member: jariw

“The game was one of the early Switch indie games to release. How long of development time did you need for the Switch version, and did you get any specific assistance from Nintendo?”


Omar (Lizardcube): I don’t think we are allowed to get into pre-release timeframe, but it was fairly straightforward to port the game to Switch for us. We tried to make a port as soon as we got the devkit to show it to Nintendo, as a way to tell them “hey, our game is real!”. That certainly helped to get their attention.
 
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#24
Question 23 – Member: MogKnight

“With this remake in development – and knowing that Monster Boy was being developed and potentially having a 2017 release at the time – was there any fear among the development team that there would have been some “toe stepping” between your remake and Monster Boy?


Omar (Lizardcube): I think for the players it’s a wonderful thing! From a communication point of view, I admit initially was a little worried with the fact that people may get confused by the existence of both games, because they have similar titles, and it may alter how websites can cover the game. Especially as initially we thought Monster Boy would release around the same time as our game. Eventually Monster Boy got delayed, so I think we benefited from some of communication that Monster Boy did and they will benefit from the track record of Wonder Boy as well. So it’s good for everyone.

Arnaud (DotEmu): As Omar said, we first were a bit worried that players would not understand the difference between our two games, but in the end, I think it was beneficial for the both of us. The players were excited by the two games and completely understood the difference and complementarity of the two projects. In a purely PR point of view, it was pretty interesting, because when a website was talking about our game in an article, they were also talking about Monster Boy, and vice versa. I personally can’t wait to play the final game.
 
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#25
Question 24 – Member: choodi

“What chance is there of you guys making a Soul Bubbles remake or a spiritual successor?”

Omar (Lizardcube):
It’s a complicated story, because we first tried to get it ported to the iPad and ran into issues with the studio who did it, which contractually made it difficult for us to even do the port ourselves. As for a remake or successor, I’d say it is best left as a good memory :) But our own game-making sensibilities are feeding back into every game. For example, even though it is a bit of a stretch, I would say there is a little bit of Soul Bubbles in Pixeljunk Shooter, you know?

 
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#26
Question 25 – Member: Leo

“Hi Lizardcube! Are you aware that the original Wonderboy III got modded by Sega here in Brazil during the 90s and was released as “Turma da Monica: O Resgate”? It featured characters from Monica’s Gang the most popular Brazilian comic book ever, every kid here knows it, even today. Thus, most Brazilian gamers don’t recall playing Wonderboy III, but instead, Turma da Monica (Wonder Boy II was modded too in the same way, this was actually a sequel.) Now, your game has also been modded to be like a remake of Turma da Monica. A team of three people replaced the character models with models from Monica’s Gang, just like Sega did in the past. I think it looks pretty cool and it’s awesome that Brazilian fans have the option to play your game as they remember playing it when they were kids.

What do you think about this? Does the modding have your blessing?”


Omar (Lizardcube): We all love it! In fact we’ve been advising and helping Victor and his team to achieve this mod. I’m going to post a link here so that more people can see it. At the time during the development of that mod, we tried to contact Mauricio de Sousa Produções to see if we could make it official, but moving forward was a little complicated.

Arnaud (DotEmu): We were really impressed by the mod when Omar showed it to us, the work behind it is truly phenomenal!

 
Oct 24, 2017
867
#27
That concludes our first ever Q&ERA.

ResetEra would like to thank both Lizardcube and DotEmu for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our community's questions.

Our admin team would also like to thank everyone who submitted questions. If your questions weren't selected for whatever reason, there will be plenty more Q&A sessions in the near future.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,727
UK
#29
This is awesome, really grateful to have my question answered. Going to be great reading through the others. Brilliant concept and execution, thank you.
 
Oct 25, 2017
609
#33
I haven't read all the responses yet, but this is such an awesome thing that ResetEra is doing. It put a big smile on my face when I opened the thread and realized how much knowledge was being shared. Thank you to the admins and mods who organized this, and thank you to the game industry professionals for taking the time to answer our questions!
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,091
#34
That was really informative. Love the art style.

Were question submissions open to all members? I really would have liked to ask one but I never saw a notification that the Q&A had begun.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,097
#37
What a great interview, hope ResetEra keeps this up. Thanks to the moderation for organizing all this, I 'm sure it's a lot of work. You guys and gals rock.
 

SweetNicole

Community Manager
Administrator
Oct 24, 2017
3,995
#40
That was really informative. Love the art style.

Were question submissions open to all members? I really would have liked to ask one but I never saw a notification that the Q&A had begun.
Yes. Question submissions are open to any member, and they were/will be posted in a separate (typically stickied) thread in the Video Games section.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,777
#42
Great interview. I never realized just how much work had to go in to produce the seamless remaster/original transition, but they did a fantastic job with it. The game is so beautiful and definitely one of this year's hidden gems; I adored my time with it. Really happy with how this all shook out!
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,180
#45
class act by the creators for doing a Q&A with the community. Hopefully this is the first of many that we'll get to see this. ^_^
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,301
#47
Great idea to have Q&As like this on ERA, thank you to everyone involved! Super interesting and informative answers.