After more than 20 years, we're getting another game in the side-scrolling Wonder Boy series — which later became Monster World — thanks to a spiritual sequel that started out as another game entirely, but now has involvement from original creator Ryuichi Nishizawa. The new game is called Monster Boy and The Wizard of Booze and, according to its creators, "can be considered as an official part of the [Wonder Boy/Monster World] series."
Monster Boy and The Wizard of Booze is the new name of Flying Hamster 2: Knight of the Golden Seed, a project from Atelier Games that sought funding through Kickstarter in 2014. Atelier canceled its fundraising efforts when Munich-based FDG Entertainment stepped in for a then-unspecified collaboration on Flying Hamster 2. Enter Monster Boy.
Atelier calls Monster Boy an all-new adventure developed closely with Nishizawa. The action-RPG platformer's former hamster hero has been replaced with "a new hero with a story matching with the Monster World universe," the developer says. Players will still be able to transform into other animals with special powers, like a frog who can snatch things with his tongue and a sneaky snake.
While the gameplay hasn't changed from Atelier's original Kickstarter pitch — the developer was clear about Flying Hamster 2's Monster World influence — the transition to Monster Boy has meant a few changes. The new game will feature new visuals, two new animal transformations and some environmental changes that are more fitting with the Monster World franchise.
"We're thrilled to announce that this beautiful project is no more just a Monster World clone but a real new official part of the series," Atelier's Fabien Demeulenaere wrote in an update on Kickstarter. "Once again thanks to both our publisher FDG Entertainment and Mr. Nishizawa who pushed this project in the most incredible good direction."
The first Wonder Boy was released by Sega in arcades in 1986. That game and its sequels also came to Sega's home consoles and portables, from the SG-1000 and Master System to the Sega Genesis and Game Gear. The most recent entry was 1994's Monster World 4, developed by Westone for the Mega Drive. Sega still holds the rights to the Monster World name; it released a complete Monster World collection in Japan under the Sega Ages 2500 label in 2007 and a Sega Vintage Collection version in 2012.