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Hello once again fellow developers and staff. I have a question. What do you all think of innovating something over simply putting on a fresh coat of paint? As we all know, there is a huge difference between a remake and a re-imagining. One of the best examples I can think of is Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals. This was a complete re-imagining compared to the original.Most content like story and music is the same, but all else is overhauled.

Lately, I have been working out a story design document for my project, and since it blends several time periods and worlds across the franchises' history along with brand new ones, I have been thinking about giving some key areas that already exist a complete re-imagining over just repainting them.

The problem is, the Monster World chronology was never really dug into nor is it explained in detail, meaning I have to develop the gaps of the chronology myself through clues found throughout the games.

In Wonder Boy in Monster Land(SMS and Arcade), there were towns and cities that were good at the time, but would otherwise seem bland by today's standards. I was thinking about giving a complete overhaul to older areas so that it feels like something totally new.However, the struggle between staying true to the original designs or making them better hit me.

For example, a town in Wonder Boy in Monster Land looked like this...

But, it could look something like this, of course with new layouts, people, and a story to them. One area is a floating city called Tonnovia, but I want to change that story completely into a floating continent in order to further develop the story as needed.

Is it truly okay to completely derail the old, underdeveloped concepts and develop new ones to make it fresh and interesting?
Why would you copy whole town designs in the first place?

I'm all for copying concepts that work and even agree that sometimes changing even just a little thing can ruin it (like Sprinites in I Am Setsuna), however, things like town and maps in general are always better when they are new.

I think for example of Phantasy Star 1+2+4. All those games play on the same planets and the towns even have the same names, but generally the world looks completely different in each of them. I think this is a good thing because exploring the exactly same areas in each game would be boring (like for example exploration in Xillia 2 is boring because it's the same regions as in Xillia 1).
Well, the example you gave is very specific.
If it is the same place and you are able to build on existing lore and characters and weave them into stories evolving around the town - I am all for keeping them and expanding them.
I remember returning to the areas Gothic I took place in in Gothic II and it was just .. amazing, and the most wonderful nostalgic but at the same time exciting discovery (because about everything changed drastically, but you could still make out the ruins and layouts. know "this is where I was recruited .. here used to be THAT faction ..")

That includes innovating and adding new concepts to expand. (like having a floating layer on top if you can jump that was added later)

I feel if you can expand on it, it will feel especially satisfying if you know the old and can recognize it. Would players recognize the town? I never saw that screen, and it doesn't seem like it would stand out much to begin with, so I feel there is less material here. But perhaps it did have a purpose and meaning that eludes me as I never played it!
If there is not much to build on to begin with, it can be a mental note for yourself mainly/only and you can go all out designing it anew.

Both approaches are valid and good, question is what do you have to work with, what is your goal?
I feel in the example you gave it's not really a question of innovation vs recreation. Recreation can go hand in hand with innovation (at least in the sense you gave here, adding new elements and story parts and life things)
Why would you copy whole town designs in the first place?

I'm all for copying concepts that work and even agree that sometimes changing even just a little thing can ruin it (like Sprinites in I Am Setsuna), however, things like town and maps in general are always better when they are new.

I think for example of Phantasy Star 1+2+4. All those games play on the same planets and the towns even have the same names, but generally the world looks completely different in each of them. I think this is a good thing because exploring the exactly same areas in each game would be boring (like for example exploration in Xillia 2 is boring because it's the same regions as in Xillia 1).

I am really glad you mentioned the Xillia games. As much as I loved the world, I really didn't like unlocking them twice. There are a ton of new missions, areas, and other things, but overall, it serves as an extension more than a brand new game. Good point with Phantasy Star as well.

As far as the example for my project goes, I plan on only replicating Monster World 3 and 4's areas because they are so solid and will deliver a nostaglic factor to those who have played them. But, expanding on them to a certain degree. Basically, its a MW3-2 and MW4-2 with an assortment of fresh areas.

Strong points. I should have better written the thread before going into detail about my problem. And yes, expanding upon the lore is exactly what I want to do. The thing is, there are such large gaps in between the timeline, I'm not sure how to bring it all together sometimes. Perhaps it would be best to just forget about that and simply focus on the ones that are important.

Its something that you say "ruins". Why didn't I simply think of this before? The areas don't exactly have to be "gone", there could be remains of them over the huge century gaps in the timeline. Some of the lore is based on the library books found in Monster World 4. A lot of them speak of the past and what happened, but its very vague.

I agree with designing it anew simply because those areas were simply there for you to buy equipment and sometimes get key items to make the game easier. However, I want to scrap that as that is more of an "arcade" feel(well,it was an arcade game).

My goal? Hmmmm...well, I would say to completely re-imagine and recreate areas that are lost and lack in concept. To deliver a fresh new spin on the world and expand upon it in as many ways as possible.

I wasn't exactly sure how to phrase the thread. What I meant to put out there was a remake versus a re-imagining. But once, again those go hand in hand a little bit XD
I edited the title and original question a little bit.
All good. : ) It is still a very valid question to talk about, just not quite what I expected with the title.
And I see! It does sound fun.

How 100% accurate you need to be with details is a matter of taste, I'd say.
Personally, if the important things are carried over and minor details left in the dust, that's perfectly okay (as in about any other area of gam mak <3 cutting out maps or what)

And yes, ruins are very important to consider.
I live in a town with a wide spread of architectural age haha, (lots of old roman stuff), and most ancient buildings were simply used as a simple source for bricks.
The ones that did keep standing are buildings that people could find a new use for, or keep, or some other lucky coincidence (like an audience hall, or a church, or a more personal story of someone living there for some reason).
That also includes rebuilding or adding segments to existing buildings. Repainting some stuff, leaving others.
Expanding the city beyond the core. Cities and towns are both vary variable things.

Maybe there was a tower used to defend the town n keep watch but with continued peace it crumbled and nobody cared enough to rebuild it.

Stuff like that : )
It's why I usually really like it when it is done, because it takes a whole different and more natural perspective on what those towns you pass through are.
(granted, in the case of Gothic I mentioned, the whole closedness is one of the biggest focus and selling points, and they nailed it. Uh just .. uh III and beyond uh .. you know. Dev change.)

You said the time gap is really large.
How large are we talking about?
What changed? What priorities did people have (peace, war, food aplenty or not, technological milestones)?
What culture changes came about as a result or just for the fun of it? If at all.
What's the general vibe the town has? Is it laid-back, busy, one where merchants pass through or not? And so, if it expanded or shrinked, has that changed?

And yes, because change is so natural, if you completely abandon old areas or ideas, that is completely okay to do even if you kept the world. n stuff
(like for example exploration in Xillia 2 is boring because it's the same regions as in Xillia 1).

I think some developers go for the "familiar territory" thing but end up going too far as it starts to become an excuse to get more mileage out of old assets. I remember FF4: The After Years and Xillia 2 being among the worst offenders. And taking it a step further, almost every Neptunia game uses the same dozen or so dungeons, re-arranges the enemy placement, and renames them all something different.

But then some games reuse a handful of locations, or perhaps even one or two, and it ends up being brilliant. Suikoden 2 reuses the first area of Suikoden 1 near the very end of the game, where you meet old characters and explore all of the old places you went through at the beginning of the first game. If you played the games in order, it gives a great sense of "bookending". In general, there should be some "wow" factor to re-using an idea or a location in a sequel or continuation.

I like how you described what kind of area you live in:) It gives me an image of what could possibly be done in the ruins. This could possibly maximize the potential for new exploration.

And yes, the time gap is large. I'll go into detail. I've actually always wanted to explore this more. I'm trying to figure out where to put my chronology. The candidates are as follows

  • Years after Monster World 4:A world where technological advancements are being developed.
  • After Monster World 3:Right After Shion defeated the Final Boss
  • A brand new world that connects with Monster World

Anyway, as far as the chronology goes it goes a bit like this.

  • (Monster World 1) The hero defeats the Monsters and their leader; the Mecha Dragon and restores peace...
  • (Monster World 2) Immediately after its defeat, the hero gets cursed and is forced to journey through the land to break his curse.
  • (Monster World 3) A century or so passes, and Shion is a "descendant" of the hero ages in the past.He defeats Bio Mecha and peace is restored.
  • (Monster World 4) An unknown amount of time has passed and Asha travels Monster World when she hears mysterious cries for help. She defeats the Incarnation of Fear and restores peace to Monster World for the last time.

However, that final limitation is what makes it so hard to develop this chronology. Surely time passes on and something happens years down the road. I was leaning more towards placing the time period way past Monster World IV(to sort of make a Monster World V). That is something that has been bothering me. Going past something that is claimed to be "The End". Another idea is to place it directly after Shion's victory and a new evil rises sometime in between MW3 and MW4.

Also, in Monster World 4, there is a library in the castle that has several books you can read based on how far you are in the game. However, I'm not sure if this is canon due to there being a fan translation and an official translation, but one of the books says that Shion died due to a "mysterious hole" appearing and he vanished. The original MWL story was going to be based on this lore.

But, I recently purchased Sega Vintage Collection:Monster World on PS3 and am playing the official translation of MW4 to see if this lore is canon or not. Or, if it was a misunderstanding of some sort. I heard that the Shion's death part isn't even in the final translation, but I'm playing now to find out for myself.

Lately, I have been gathering lots of games that have to deal with dimensions or time periods that are linked in order to learn from them. Sonic CD, Crono Cross, Crono Trigger, Zelda OOT, MM, and LTTP, Sonic Generations, Tales of Xillia 2, Final Fantasy 13-2, and some other titles. One thing I have learned from them all is, time and world travel is only as complex as you want it to be. I don't want to over-complicate this story, but with so many periods of time and worlds, its hard NOT to.
Updating, changing, retconning everything is ok 100% of the time when it's not a crossover. It's what sequels are supposed to do. That's not to say it's suddenly not ok just because it's a crossover but it does require more thought as to what's being changed because it's too late to drop certain things on the audience. (And it sort of defeats the point of having a crossover. A crossover is saying X is fine the way it is, Y is fine the way it is, so now let's have X and Y meet. It's too late to say "and by the way, everyone in X is actually a robot")

Again I must emphasize I'm not saying you shouldn't, just that it depends on what's being updated. (And even then it might be ok) Cosmetic updates to locations are probably always fine. Anyway, just my two cents, and maybe something to think about.

Nintendo dropped on us an updated Pit in Super Smash Bros Brawl, even before Kid Icarus Uprising came out. So there's that, but it was kind of not what they do with Smash Bros, as normally they try to be faithful to the original games. But on the other hand every now and then I might wish some of the other characters/locations were more updated. (Note: I don't actually play Smash Bros games, just bringing it up because it's a crossover)
You know what, you got a good point. The updated Pit was a shocker indeed. I was just thinking about the zones in Sonic Generations and how they are complete re-imaginings of the zones with tons of new details and level layouts.

The only stage out of both versions that was replicated was Green Hill Zone Act 1 for 3DS. I guess in a way, the areas are very outdated and have not been mentioned for quite some time, it would be great to give them a complete remake.

The idea was to stay true to the original, but with the amount of detail that is possible with the engine, it would be best to use my imagination on what I think the town would look like in today's terms. As the others mentioned earlier, making new maps would be the best way to handle this instead of copying and pasting. However, the only one's I will copy and past are the ones I believe are solid in order to maintain consistency and nostalgia.
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