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Monster Boy game design philosophy

Dear friends, fans and followers

today we'd like to give you some insight on the game design philosophy of Monster Boy.. how we defined difficulty, exploration and looting.

An epic adventure is about to begin..

Platforming:
First of all let me tell you that Monster Boy isn't a game about insta-deaths. Many recent platformers emphasize on precision that penalize wrong moves with a loss of life + reload at last save-point event. This may work for level based games but we feel it shouldn't be part of an exploration based game. If you fall into oblivion, your sprite will reappear and just lose a bit of HP. In many cases you may even discover a new room instead. We hope you'll fearlessly explore the depths of Monster World and that you'll take your time to enjoy the beautifully crafted environment and its magical atmosphere.

Grinding and Loot
Completionists, don't worry about missing out on loot! The game is balanced in a way that you can reach 100% in your first run. If you don't rush things and take your time to explore the environment properly, you'll find the necessary amount of coins and crafting gems to complete the game at 100%. If you miss anything, you'll be able to backtrack anytime. We also added some features that will help you to find the remaining loot by using a special item and looking at the worry-free auto map.

Backtracking
Monster Boy has a huge interconnected world that expands into all directions. This means that some missed treasure chests could be very far away from your current position. Well - we got your back! There are many ways to take shortcuts and not run around aimlessly. Our philosophy is that you have fun while backtracking the environment, enjoying newly unlocked forms or taking advantage of special gear. When we designed the world of Monster Boy, we spent a lot of time planning the game experience carefully so you're not bothered with unnecessary walking lengths.

Difficulty
If you encounter a difficult passage then we invite you to think about your strategy. We crafted the game to be playable by a wide audience of players and sometimes it may require you to think outside the box. Think about the possibilities of combining transformation forms and gear, maybe even think about taking advantage of specific elemental attacks and weapons. Please trick the game as much as possible! Monster Boy is a game that wants you to complete it and accomplish 100%. Your time is of high value to us so we support smart play as much as we support skill play. What type of player are you?

Please look forward to the games launch on December 4 and prepare to be sincerely welcomed in the new Monster World. <3

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Monster Boy Release Date delayed to December 4

Dear Friends, Fans and Followers,

this is a difficult one..
Unfortunately the production of the physical card/disc package ran into unforeseen difficulties. This forces us to reschedule the release once again, we're very sorry about that. It turned out that the physical goods manufacturing takes longer than initially planned and we could only choose between rushing out in time or complete the Day-1 edition properly with keeping our promises of its content.

There was no question: we're now reaching a 5 year production cycle of Monster Boy and it didn't make sense to us to have an incomplete physical release so we decided to give the manufacturing process more time so the physical release can shine as the game itself. So much polishing, so much work - we don't want to see a half-baked physical release.

You'll still receive all the goods in the physical package

We learned about the production difficulties yesterday so you can imagine that we had a very hectic 24 hours window to look for a new release date. The next possible and also reasonable date was December 4 so we reserved that one right away. Please understand that digital and physical release are tightly linked to each other so this means the game release will take place on December 4 for both digital and physical release. Again, we're very sorry for the short notice and we can understand that this is gut punching news for some of you but there was no other way. We also wanted to let you know as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
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Monster Boy finally arrives on November 6th, 2018

Dear lovely fans and friends,

we finally have a date! Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom will arrive on November 6th, 2018 and we're so looking forward to this day. Sorry for missing the Summer release but we didn't make it in time. After all, preparing two physical editions and working on 3 platforms at the same time took its toll on our team and we just didn't manage to get all of that done in the required amount of time. We really gave our best. Also, the game has so many features that the code optimization and bug fixing was a huge task. Nevertheless we're incredibly proud of the game and we feel confident to present to you a great version of the game on Day-1 that you can truly enjoy right from the cartridge or disc, even if you don't have an internet connection.



To celebrate the release date, we put up a new trailer that was also picked up by Nintendo for the Indie Highlights Showcase video from yesterday. We're so happy that the Nintendo staff enjoys our game and we can't wait to hear back from you when you got your hands on the game, too. Much love to everyone and thanks for being part of this community for over 4 years !! <3
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Monster Boy E3 Trailer Premiere

Dear Monster Boy fans, friends and followers,

today is a very special day for the whole team! We can finally reveal a brand new trailer and it includes material of the final game! No work in progress, no placeholders - this is how the game will look like when you get your hands on it later this summer! Please enjoy:



It's been a long journey. We devoted 4 years of our lives to create a truly enjoyable love letter to classic gaming, never shy of implementing new ideas and fun mechanics in order to deliver a product that we can all be proud of. As a passionate player, you deserve nothing less.

We're very excited to hear back your opinions after you watched the trailer and hope that you like what you see. Will you join Jin on his quest to save Monster World Kingdom when the game releases on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ?
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Monster Boy Cinematics Update

Dear Monster Boy fans, friends and followers

after yesterdays April Fool's update, our sanity officially returned. :-D You certainly discovered that a change to 16-Bit sprites and graphics just couldn't be true. After all the time that we spent polishing the game to look amazing in HD, we would not want to go back to the pixel drawing board now. We're happy to report that the new hand-drawn animation and transformation updates work incredibly well and we can't wait to show you how the game is looking in motion now. Please look forward to it!

With the new in-game character design we also had to update the cinematics and we're happy to report that the job is almost done. You'll see the end results in the final game. However, you deserve at least a little glimpse of it - especially after our fake news post from yesterday, so here we go:

Screenshot of the lovely new anime style opening of Monster Boy.
To get the best possible results we assigned Japanese animation company Nomad to this job. We'd like to thank Ryuichi Nishizawa again for connecting us with Nomad. It's been a really creative process starting with the exchange of scribbles, rough animation and ideas; resulting in an amazing new opening cinematic. A fantastic team effort!



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Returning to 16-Bit graphics

Happy Easter Everyone!

Just when we thought we finally made a decision on the art style of Monster Boy, we changed our mind one last time. We return to 16-Bit graphics, because oldschool is still the best school! We didn't take this decision lightly, considering we want to release This Summer, but we felt it's necessary. We want to pay real tribute to Retro Gaming and we can only achieve it with Pixel graphics:

Jin is looking great in 16-Bit form. We should've thought of this earlier!
But here's the best news! We did some optimization on the code of our engine and achieved what seemed impossible first. Monster Boy will run on original Mega Drive hardware! We will post pre-order links for the Mega Drive cartridge soon. Here's a preview image:

Monster Boy will run on original Mega Drive hardware & SEGA agreed to put it on cartridge!
This is all so exciting and it's our dreams coming true. We release a new Mega Drive game! Worry not, the game will still come This Summer because pixel graphics are easy and super quick to do!

Thanks for your continued support and we love y'all!



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Pre-Order Monster Boy Today!

Dear Monster Boy friends and fans,

this is a big moment for us. It's now possible to pre-order Monster Boy physical copies in various online shops!
Pre-Ordering is a great way to secure your physical copy.
It feels so awesome and a bit surreal.. Who of you thought this would never happen? :-) The game will release later This Summer, an exact date is to be announced at a later time. Please note that release dates in online-shops are just placeholders until we officially announced the definite date. Please note that the physical release is USA/Canada only but the game is code-free and we've seen various import shops offering the game for local purchase. Please ask your import dealer to secure a copy for you.

GAME PACKAGE INCLUDES

- Switch Cartridge or PS4 Blu-Ray disc
- Printed Manual (full color)
- Stickers

We expect that retail shops will order conservative amounts of packages, so Monster Boy might sell out rather quickly. The only way to receive a physical copy guaranteed, is to pre-order it. The minimum amount of orders from retail will be based on the pre-orders from players.

PRE-ORDER LINKS

GameStop:
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

Amazon:
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

EB Games:
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch and PS4)

Videogamesplus (VGP):
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

Best Buy:
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

WALMART:
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Switch)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

We expect to post some new game clips next month.
Thank you everyone for your awesome support! <3
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Four years of development change everything

Dear Friends, Fans and Followers, Happy New Year 2018!

What a journey..when Monster Boy development started over 4 years ago, we had no idea that we would end up with a project spanning over 4 years, stretching into 2018! It started as a small idea. We wanted to bring back the excitement of colorful side scrolling action adventures and ended working on our biggest project ever. When Wonder Boy creator Ryuichi Nishizawa came on board, it was clear that we have a very special and rare opportunity. It would allow us to continue one of the best game series ever created. While we designed Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, we had more and more ideas which ultimately formed an incredible overall experience which we can't wait to share with you. We're lucky that we could do it as the long development is very expensive and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this project. It was only possible because the whole team at Game Atelier and FDG Entertainment is fully dedicated to this project with a big heart for the beautiful, straightforward fun of 16-Bit classic games. With the years, our skills improved and our expectations matured so we kept updating the graphics, too.
Ultimately we ended up with a style that we believe is timeless just as the classic games. For now, please enjoy 6 of our Gamescom 2017 screenshots, updated with the new graphics. Our latest change was a big one: All of Monster Boys transformations are getting hand-drawn animations and it adds a lot of detail and character to the game. A very unique look for all generations of players:

Jin just got his fire magic and he's about to burn away some plants that block his way.

Jin has transformed into a frog. He can use the tongue to snatch away bombs and throw them back!

Sniff sniff - there's something in the air. Sewers are a stinky place, but Pig-Jin thinks it smells really good!

EEK! Go away monster tentacle! This is not how Jin imagined his day.

Huff Huff, this XXL body isn't easy to move but it's so much fun to stomp on enemies when there's a chance.

This is a magic chest and you need fire magic to open it. Lion form won't help here - LT/RT buttons come to good use now :-)

What's left now is a lot of 'crunching' towards a completed and bug free game - please hang on a little while longer until we can make the announcement you're all waiting for. Thank you for your patience and support during all the time. Much love to you from the whole team!
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Oops we did it again!

Dear Monster Boy fans and friends,

while working on the new animation, we had to adjust the frog and dragon design once more for best results. We already updated the character graphics on our homepage but didn't post the new look in our blog yet. Please check it out:

The frog and dragon proportions received an update and while at it, we gave the dragon cooler horns.
Please stay tuned for more info during this winter.
We're going to announce the 2018 release season of Monster Boy and some additional news.
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All new transformation designs revealed!

Dear Monster Boy friends, fans and followers,

the new hand-drawn character portrait is finally complete! With the addition of the one-eyed pig, Jin just got back all his transformation powers and the black silhouettes are history ;-) To give you a taste of how the character moves and behaves with the new hand-drawn style, we'd like to present you a little animated gif:

The one-eyed pig is Jins first transformation, feeling like a curse at first but you'll soon discover its qualities :-)
As you can see, even in the rough (draft) animation, there's a lot more detail so you can enjoy Jins monster-personalities even more than before with the old sprites. They'll be a joy to watch in action as we took care to give every transformation a unique set of motion. We're trying to support the impression that it's still the same person in a different shell but having a lot of fun to use the various abilities, transporting the feel of a character experiencing super powers for the first time and enjoying them a lot.

All reworked, hand-drawn Jin transformations. Did you notice that we added one more detail to the lion? :-)
We hope you're looking forward to the final game - for us it means back to work, no time to lose! :-)
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Revealing hand-drawn transformation #5: Dragon form

Dear Monster Boy friends,

we hope you had a great Halloween! With only two transformation reveals left it was a 50/50 chance to show the dragon today! We diced and here we go! :-) The dragon has some fantastic abilities like spitting fire and being able to fly. You'll discover whole new places once you unlocked this transformation.

Next week we'll reveal the new one-eyed pig transformation. Please look forward to it!


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Revealing hand-drawn transformation #4: Snake form

Dear Monster Boy fans and friends,

it's that day of the week again!
Each Friday we reveal a new transformation form of Monster Boy with the all-new hand-drawn look! This time, it's the snake and there's only the Pig and the Dragon form left! Once we revealed all forms, we're going to give you a sneak peek of the animation. It's a night and day difference to all the old footage of the game and we can't wait to share it with you!

The snake can swallow keys, spit poison and climb walls or move on ceilings. Super cool <3
As always, thank you so much for your feedback, interest and comments! Please look forward to the next reveal. Until then we warmly recommend to play Mario Odyssey which released today - in case you own a Switch! Wahoo!
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Revealing hand-drawn transformation #3: Lion form

Dear Monster Boy friends,

it's Friday again! Today we reveal the new hand-drawn design of the lion and he wears some cool ice equipment. This is the best equipment to have for the scorching hot volcano area and will help you to survive much longer. Deal more damage to fire-based enemies and take less damage from them - it's a perfect combination! The lion transformation makes Jin much stronger and he can dash super fast but never forget all the other transformations. Jin can switch his form anytime and you'll need to be smart to combine them in a most efficient way. Sometimes you need the power of a lion, sometimes the small size of a tiny snake to be successful. The further you go, the more transformations are needed to survive and everyone will know that the cursed kingdom can only be saved by Monster Boy.
Our new reveal shows you the hand-drawn lion form with cool ice equipment. Don't miss it!
This time we removed the old character sprites comparison because some got confused by the size difference in our presentation. Please note that the new hand-drawn transformations have a very similar screen-size in comparison to the old sprites. Last but not least: Thanks for keeping the communication going and we welcome all your comments, feedback and excitement about this project. Please look forward to the final game when it arrives in 2018 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One first.

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Revealing hand-drawn character #2: Frog

Dear Monster Boy fans and friends,

are you ready for the next character reveal? We've been wandering around the internet and collected votes. Some of you wanted to see the lion, others the frog. Today we show you the frog!
With the frog, two of the new hand-drawn characters are now revealed

As you can see, the proportions of the frog are now different. With the new freedom of entirely hand-drawn animation we are not dependent on an overarching skeleton/puppet system anymore which means we can let him do really cool stunts. Swinging rings and using the tongue will now look much more dynamic. He's also looking more like a frog than before which adds a lot to the visual variety while playing Monster Boy. We hope you like the new look!
Oh and big thanks for the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new hand-drawn look of Jin. We hope to be able to convince everyone, even those who doubt our decision, that it was the right move. Please look forward to the next character reveal, which will be the lion!
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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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