Send In The Clowns

This was supposed to be a strip about Balan Wonderland.

That game reminds me a lot of Might Number 9... a game from a famous Japanese developer (Yuji Naka) who left a famous gaming company (SEGA) and now is launching his thing.

But it's not just the career trajectory that reminds me of No. 9. The most pressing thing for me is how both games look amateurish and unpolished.

Perhaps Yuji was used to work with seasoned veterans who could do the job with minimal input. You can kind of see the idea of a full game there but the ideas are mostly not properly developed. I can't stop but think Yuji is a diva with lots of ideas, but not interested on the boring part of execution.

Example: Sometimes you see those "people" dancing in the field and when you get close they just... fade out of existence. I guess the idea is the game is a big play, like a musical, and the ghost people were supposed to be your backup dancers to reinforce this idea. However, the idea was never properly implemented. I can totally see a message coming from higher up asking to "put people dancing in the map" and that's it. They never allocated resources to change the map so the dancers could have a mini-stage to dance or a unique model with some proper dance that doesn't look super floaty. They just re-cycled some models, put some stiff dance, and moved on. The reason they disappear is so people don't try to interact with them.

This for me is what makes both Balan and No.9 similar... the amateurish delivery. Though truth be told, Balan is more professionally made. No. 9 seemed to be made by total amateurs and Balan seems more like a direction issue.