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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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Giorgio Tiretti on :

Hi Guys,

I'm writing from Italy for a little italian videogame blog and I have a question for you. Do you have information about the release month of the game?


FDG,Thomas on :

Hi Giorgio, thank you for your interest! Unfortunately we don't have a release month to announce yet. Please stay tuned.

Jon on :

Much prefer the redesign of the Main character. A little bit dubious about playing the lion/ dragon as they look massive.

Being able to see the change in equipment is a big deal for me. I found it really disappointing in MW4 not being able to see any progression with your character.

I'm surprised(and pleased) that you have the time and resources to polish the game to perfection. Really looking forward to the finished product

FDG,Thomas on :

Hi Jon, thanks a lot! I'm glad you like the re-design. The characters will be just slightly taller compared to the old sprites. We made them bigger for this spotlight comparison artwork so it's easier to see the new details.

David on :

Awesome! I was introduced to the series via monster world 4 (the one with the green haired girl) and recently finished lizard Cube's remake of wonder boy 3:dragon's trap. It's awesome to see you guys re-doing the animations in that same style of hand drawn/more stylized animation.
With the older models, the game seemed (at least to me) more like a phone game. I'm sure the game will be worth not only the wait for us as players, but also the hard work for you guys as developers. Keep up the good work! Don't be discouraged!

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks a lot, David. Yes, the new hand-drawn animation will allow us to get much closer to a game that pays tribute to the original artwork of Monster World. With the new Jin, he has a more Japanese look and the additional animation will make him very lively. We decided to put this extra work into the game because many disliked the simplified animation system of the old sprite. Now it's getting a modern, lively look that's very important for games releasing in this console generation.

Junior lima on :

Yo! Great to see some news!
By what I` ve understood, the character sprite will change
according to the equipment we are wearing? If thats so, that
looks really interesting!!!
I just think Jins face has become a bit too `kind`, if you know what I mean...
Keep it up guys! great work!

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks a lot, Junior Lima! Yes, we managed to combine hand-drawn animation with visible equipment change like armor, shield and weapon. The result is very unique and modern.

Isaac V on :

That's dope.

Miguel on :

Looking good! This will make the difference between a regular game and a masterpiece, Cuphead had delays too, but it was worthy!

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks Miguel. Yes we totally agree! We've spent so much time creating this game already - it would be criminal to pass the opportunity to increase animation quality and character details.

Paul on :

At this point you guys are just wasting time redoing the game over and over again. Each day you delay is a day of lost sales.

FDG,Thomas on :

Hi Paul, we believe in quality so we put all our passion and love into our projects. We may output less games but we can be proud of each of them. Monster Boy an incredibly passionate project based on one of our favorite game series - well worth the effort. Please look forward to it despite having to wait until next year.

Steven on :

Waaaayyyy better. My only concern was that the characters didn't keep the look of their japanese art style. The redesign looks excellent.

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks a lot Steven, we agree! :-)

deefy on :

Hi !!!
I'm just a gamer, but very passionate.
I love the new type of animation, a lot, really,
but to make your game even more exciting and great,
I would suggest softly to include a mode with the original animations, so as to have a product with bonuses and at the same time being able to use the work already produced so far.
Of course, time and resources permitting.

Thanks for the dedicated time ... and good luck!!!

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks for your suggestion, deefy! We don't expect to use any of the old assets in the final release as we need to be focused on the essentials of the game. However, we consider it for a later update!

Alfredo Rodriguez on :

Love the new Jin character he looks great I just preorder the Nintendo switch neon edition and supermario odys and about 5 ps4 games to keep me busy Till the end of the year Take all the time you need making this game.

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks Alfredo. Great choice - congratulations on your Nintendo Switch console! I also own the neon one, it's such a fantastic piece of hardware. Many great games for it, too. We recommend you getting Monster Boy on the Nintendo Switch then :-)

Mike on :

Any word on the release date?

Also the looks of the game are not everything. If you spending that long on developing a game I hope you are putting some extras in it that add replay value after the game is finished. Like a challenge mode, or nightmare mode.

I just think if this is going to be your standard wonderboy game that can be finished in 5 to 10 hours max with beautiful grafics it simply wont be enough in 2018. You will have spent an extra 2 years + developing something that wont make any headlines on games sites.

I believe you certainly need to add a new twist to the whole game that goes beyond what we have seen in previous wonderboy games. And I havent read anything along those lines here yet - only screenshots of grafic redos.

Just my 2 cents :-)

FDG,Thomas on :

Hi Mike, thank you for your feedback! I'm sorry that Monster Boy is still a big black box for all of you. We absolutely agree that great graphics alone don't make a great game. Trust us, we wouldn't put that much effort into the presentation if we wouldn't be convinced of the gameplay. The game has a lot of variety and new stuff in it that you'll most likely never see in a single game again. We just don't want to spoil anyone yet. We need some surprising things to announce closer to the release. BTW: It's more likely you need 15 hours to complete it than 5 hours. ;-)

Jonas Lönnqvist on :

New animations looks cool but as someone mention earlier please include an option to use orginal animations for those who prefer a more old school look.

Hallo on :

So...... Maybe this will release by 2020 now? Do you guys have other jobs? I don't understand how, financially, you can keep not releasing a game while rebuilding it over and over. Y'all must be independently wealthy. Will buy if this comes out before I die.

FDG,Thomas on :

Hello Hallo ;-) Luckily we are in the situation of having a successfully running business with our mobile and console games that are on the market. This makes us completely independent and we can proudly put quality before business. It's our utmost belief that quality will always be successful in the long run.

Ronny on :

Thats nice to hear. With all the Delays / Re-Designs I sometimes fear you would go bankrupt before the game ever sees the light.

Zell on :

Great Redesign. I prefer this much more than the old one.

FDG,Thomas on :

Thank you very much, Zell! Glad you like it :-)

Jason on :

* Got some money put aside for the 2020 PS5 release of this game. Got my fingers crossed that will become a VR game next year.

Goati_ on :

This is and has been the most anticipated game of my life, and I think it's cool that you guys rework stuff and are open about it.
I don't think it makes what came before (in the way of character sprites) a "waste" or whatever some comments here seem to suggest.
I also did not watch the recent full gameplay, cause I'm overly sensitive to spoilers.
Anyway, I am not sure how I feel about the new Jin, I prefer oldstyle-looking-pixel-visible sprites but I realize that was never the style here. He feels a bit too cartoonish maybe?..
I don't know, but I don't like that smile he has :-)
Either way I don't mind, it's just for the sake of feedback.
Game's gonna be awesome and I am glad you guys seem to be able to work on it as much as you want

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks for your feedback, Goati_ ! Well his facial expression is just a brief moment of a very lively presented character with various actions and expressions. You won't see him with a frozen smile all time ;-)

jj on :

Love the new character. News is very exciting.

FDG,Thomas on :

Thanks a lot, JJ!

Shion on :

I'm a great fan of Wonder Boy saga,but I have lost interest for your Monster Boy...because you 've forget PlayStation Vita! It's a shame! Bye bye!

Ken on :

dont let us too long wait for the Game.
We need the game soon...
after playing your game my next game will be Castlevania.
Bring out ... Its a good time for Christmas :-)

Lets go, :-)

Regards from Germany

FDG,Thomas on :

Hi Ken, sorry to keep you waiting!
Wir geben unser Bestes aber die Qualität ist uns extrem wichtig. Dieses Jahr wird es leider nicht mehr klappen..

supermdr on :

Ptdr 4 ans développement toujours rien, on commence à se lassé je pense faudra attendre encore 10 ans pour une vrai sortie c'est trop long........ je laisse tombé le suivi de ce jeu qui sortira problablement jamais....

patiently waiting on :

I liked the artwork before the hand drawn graphics. Please don't overthink this. That's how art gets ruined.

Jeff on :

Just make sure this extra time is used to find publishers for the ps4 and xbone physical releases so I can buy both. Just to clarify, will the animation in motion be on par with Aladdin on the megadrive? People seem to forget that hand drawn sprites have been around since 16 bit days and looks better than cardboard cut outs.

Tom on :

This is fantastic news!
As a designer, I've always felt the flash way of animating (moving/distorting flat assets with keyframes and paths) gives a very flat, puppeteer style look to characters. I know that drawing each frame is much more time consuming than it was when characters were 16x16/32x32 but the result is so much nicer.

I Just hope that you stick with the same art style as before, even though it's now becoming hand-drawn, because I really am not a fan of the WB3 remakes ADHD approach to art direction.

Hugh on :

I don't feel these new sprites are necessary. Quite happy with the old ones. They are nice though but I think they are just a reaction to lizard cubes game.

Nausicaae on :

Hi! I've just played MB on my Switch and I was completely blown away by the quality of the art and animation/motion graphics - simply stunning! Such a difference compared to the previous style as well. Since I dabble in the field, I really want to try my hand at it too! What animation technology did you use? Congrats to the team on making this shift, it was the right call! :-)

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