Wonder Boy III Gets a Hand-Drawn and Hand-Animated Remake

Wonder Boy III Gets a Hand-Drawn and Hand-Animated Remake

The Dragon's Trap gets set up again for consoles and PC.

Publisher DotEmu and developer LizardCube have announced a full remake of the Sega published classic, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. Unlike the pixel art of the original, the remake features gorgeous hand-drawn and animated art for its main hero and the foes he must fight. The game is also getting a new, re-imagined soundtrack based on the original, recorded with classical instruments.

The team at LizardCube is working with some of the original Japanese team members behind the 1989 Master System title, including creator Ryuichi Nishizawa and CyberFront Corporation founder Shinji Fujiwara. LizardCube is a French studio founded by two developers who previously teamed-up on the Nintendo DS title Soul Bubbles: Omar Cornut, who previously worked on Pixeljunk Shooter and Tearaway, and Ben Fiquet, artist of independent comics Powa and Les Chevaliers de la Chouette.

If you're thinking of Wonder Boy as a Sega property, that's how the game was known by many in the United States, but the game's history is a bit more complex. The first Wonder Boy was developed by a studio called Escape (later Westone Bit Entertainment) and published by Sega on its arcade and home platforms.

As part of Westone's legal arrangement with Sega, it owned the game rights, but Sega retained the rights to any of the game's characters. That led Westone to work with Hudson Soft on an NES conversion of the first game with the serial numbers filed off, resulting in a game called Adventure Island. After the first sequel, the Wonder Boy series became action RPGs, while the Adventure Island games were more straight arcade platformers like the original Wonder Boy.

Westone developed Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for the European and North American launches of the Sega Master System and the title remained a Western exclusive on that platform. The Dragon's Trap isn't even the only Wonder Boy III: Westone also developed Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair a year earlier, the last of the series aimed at arcades specifically. The game was ported to the Japanese PC Engine by Hudson Soft under the title Adventure Island, because Hudson had one card and it was damned if it wasn't going to play it. (It released an actual Adventure Island game for PC Engine under the title 'New Adventure Island'.) The US release for the PC Engine/Turbografx-16 version was called Dragon's Curse.

Which brings us back to today. Westone went bankrupt in 2014 and it looks like LizardCube is licensing the Wonder Boy rights in order to make this new title. When is it coming out? The team doesn't even know yet. What platforms? Currently the presskit only lists PC and Consoles, so that's probably up in the air as well.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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