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Balan Wonderworld revealed by Square Enix & former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka

Square Enix and former Phantasy Star and Sonic the Hedgehog lead Yuji Naka are coming together to launch a new theatrical-inspired RPG, Balan Wonderworld.


Former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka knows his way around a good story. During his time with Sega, Naka played a key role in legendary franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, and Nights Into Dreams. Even though Naka would eventually move on from his role at Sega, he’s coming back to pour his decades of talent into a new adventure alongside Square Enix. We’re going to be putting on costumes and taking up the abilities they have for us in the upcoming action-platformer, Balan Wonderworld.

Yuji Naka and Square Enix revealed Balan Wonderworld during the pre-show leading up to the Xbox Series X Games Showcase on July 23, 2020. Coming in Spring 2021 to Xbox One and Xbox Series X, Balan Wonderworld is a theatrical-styled game featuring 80 different costumes that offer various abilities to traverse its labyrinthine levels and their tricks and traps. For instance, one of the beast-themed costumes allows you to spin like a tornado. Meanwhile, a sparkling star costume lets you run fast and plow through enemies like a freight train. You can check it out in the reveal trailer below.

Yuji Naka is a bit of a living legend in the games industry. His work as a programmer, producer, and director took him from the very first Phantasy Star and Sonic the Hedgehog all the way through Sonic Riders and Phantasy Star Universe when he left to form his own indie game company at Prope in 2006. Even so, Naka was also instrumental in Nights into Dreams and just one look at Balan Wonderworld shows quite a bit of influence in its design. Wonderworld certainly seems like a vast realm of imagination and magic.

With its theatrical focus on both action, music, and abilities through the costumes, we’ll look forward to seeing what else Balan Wonderworld has to share. Be sure to check out our full recap of games revealed during the Xbox Series X Game Showcase presentation.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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