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HAL discusses the creation of BOYBOY! + BOXGIRL!, the series' future, and their CircleBoy April Fools' Day joke

HAL might not be done with the franchise just yet

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! is available on Switch right now, and Famitsu wanted to learn more about how the title came together. They sat down with HAL Producer Yasuhiro Mukae, art director Akiko Horiuchi, director Taku Koinuma, and level design director Yutaka Watanabe to talk about how BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! came to be, where the franchise will go next, and the April Fools' Day joke of Circleboy. Translations courtesy of NintendoEverything.

F: The third game completed the trilogy, so could you tell us why you decided to make this fourth game?

Koinuma: I think the release of the Switch was a big factor. The previous game offered a conclusion, but with the Switch we are able to bring the game to those who have not had a chance to play the series before and, when we then thought about the sort of things we could accomplish with the special features of the hardware, we decided to start development.

F: Can you give us a hint as to what is next for the series?

Mukae: At the moment things are just settling down after this current game and we are mainly concerned at the moment with releasing onto the Switch smoothly. After that the team will start discussing what we want to do next. Whether that’s another BoxBoy! or something different… that’s something we haven’t talked about in certain terms, but in order that BoxBoy! remains a series that can be appreciated for a long time I think I’d like it to continue, and I’m happy to be the one overseeing it.

F: For April Fools’ Day there were designs released for a CircleBoy and also a Square Kirby, but are there any plans to release anything officially?

Mukae: The response we got from many people after that was positive, which I was really pleased about. In terms of merchandise, I’m sorry to say that I haven’t heard anything… but if they were being sold I would definitely want to buy them! This is a bit of an aside, but I was thinking quite seriously about the basic layout of a CircleBoy game at the time of creating him. (laughs) At least all that work was worthwhile!

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! - Full Famitsu review details

What did the reviewers think?

We featured Famitsu's review score for BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! awhile back, but now we have full details on what each reviewer said. Check out the complete summary below.

1st reviewer: I’m surprised at so many ways to pull out puzzle solutions using boxes such as Throwing, Pulling, Jumping and more. Even the same stage has a wide variety of solving methods, and two-player co-op get hyped with playing while speaking with each other. The threshold is low if you just want to clear, but if you want to aim for minimum moves it becomes stoic. With 270 types of stages, a part where you play with rectangular boxes, Balloon Challenge and more, this has a full volume which is also good on the cost performance. 8

2nd reviewer: It’s fun as usual on discovering methods to solve puzzles and with the minimum moves. On top of the appearance of new Box Techniques, they’ve also prepared a mode where you can play co-op, thus adding new techniques that are possible by moving two characters, giving more depth into the puzzles. Other than being able to see hints at each places, you can also enhance movements and number of boxes that can be generated with aid items, so it has a proper follow-up. There is also a post-clear mode, so I’m glad with the volumey content. 8

3rd reviewer: It is economical to have this much volume with this price. Skills and gimmicks are added incrementally, inheriting the series’ strong points such as continuing to challenge without getting bored and multiple correct methods. The co-op mode can even be enjoyed alone; each of them can become replacement boxes, or both of them have to reach the goal; I was able to play the same stage with a fresh feeling. Items get added so it becomes harder to get stuck which makes me feel at ease. 8

4th reviewer: The fun of challenges in clearing stages with minimum steps by making use of fortuities such as slight mis-positionings while calculating thoroughly is still unchanged from past titles, and this is also filled with features for fans such as collection and storyline. It’s also a good thing that they’ve prepared aid items with cheat-like abilities for people who are poor with puzzles. The co-op mode does feel economical as it can be enjoyed by either having one person lead or two people consulting each other. 7

Famitsu print ad - BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!

Such a lovely game

Nintendo has coughed up some cash to get a BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! ad printed in the most recent issue of Famitsu. Hopefully it drums up some interest. It doesn't seem that the game is doing poorly, but it's meandering around the middle of the Switch eShop charts since launch. It really is a fantastic puzzler and a wonderful value. I hope more people give it a shot.

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! created using Unity

Bringing boxes together

Nintendo was very quick to promote Switch as a platform that supported Unity as a way to woo in numerous indie devs. Turns out Nintendo themselves are fan of the engine as well, as it was used to create BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!! Between this and Yoshi's Crafted World using Unreal Engine 4, it's been very interesting to see Nintendo's efforts with third party resources.

HAL shares the entire design process behind the original BOXBOY!

Prototypes, music tests, and more!

With BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! now available on Switch, developer HAL thought it was the perfect time to look back at how the series got started. The info below comes from a dev blog from HAL, which aims to chronicle the creation of the very first BOXBOY game.

- the game was the brainchild of Yasuhiro Mukae, a designer at HAL Labs who previously hadn’t been in charge of any game
- Mukae took advantage of HAL's decision to let anybody pitch ideas to share his BOXBOY idea
- Mukae wanted to do a puzzle game, and had experience creating fun games and studying other puzzle games
- the key feature would be the ability to create boxes
- characters and stages would be kept as simple-looking as possible
- a programmer was interested in the concept, and helped Mukae out with programming a one-stage prototype
- Mukae presented his game idea and its selling points to the higher-ups using this demo stage
- Mukae was asked “Why a puzzle game?”, “Why this sort of world?”, “How will you expand upon this idea?”, and more
- the prototype helped Mukae explain what would make BOXBOY fun
- Mukae was told to begin the game as an experimental project, and he was in charge
- Mukae put together a team of 8, including a project manager, designer, and programmer
- Mukae had intended Qbby’s design to originally be just a placeholder
- character designer Itou wanted to make use of the character’s simple looks, with some adjustments
- Itou put a lot off effort into Qbby’s legs to make its actions seem more comical
- after creating the basics, the team went back to the mid-project presentation, only to be met with lackluster reactions
- the team were told things were too simplistic, and perhaps they should experiment with color
- the team tried out numerous art-styles, but really felt the original approach made the most sense
- seeing their final decision, the higher-ups acknowledged their choice, and began to negotiate with Nintendo
- with Nintendo’s agreement, the project began to scale up and add more staff
- music in the beta version used live flutes, but Mukae felt it didn’t match the dot-by-dot and monochrome world,
- HAL Labs also worked on creating extra content, such as story, extra costumes, and even short four-panel comics
- once work was completed, HAL Labs immediately went into the making of the overseas version
- “Hakoboy” didn’t mean anything to English speakers, so they changed the name to BoxBoy!
- the team then decided upon a universal name for the main character, Qbby
- the team was nervous about how BOXBOY! would be received, as it was to be shown in a Nintendo Direct
- the team ended up breathing a sigh of relief when positive comments came in

Check out more concept art and music samples at the full blog.

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! wallpaper and calendar available via My Nintendo

New rewards available!

My Nintendo has added in some new content for BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! fans. You can grab a desktop/mobile wallpaper, as well as a desktop/mobile calendar, both of which are BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! themed. Each one will cost you 50 Platinum Points. Download them right here!

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! - more footage

Think outside the box to save a world in peril! As Qbby or Qucy, you’ll create boxes and use them to surmount more than 270 puzzling stages—the most in the series to date! The box planet is plagued with obstacles, so jump, climb, drift, ride, and warp your way past them in three modes, complete with their own stories, stages, challenges, and techniques. You can even team up for a 2-player adventure starring both star-crossed boxes!

Giant Bomb Quick Look - BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!

Think outside the box to save a world in peril! As Qbby or Qucy, you’ll create boxes and use them to surmount more than 270 puzzling stages—the most in the series to date! The box planet is plagued with obstacles, so jump, climb, drift, ride, and warp your way past them in three modes, complete with their own stories, stages, challenges, and techniques. You can even team up for a 2-player adventure starring both star-crossed boxes!

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! - "The story so far" trailer

All wrapped up in a neat little package

In the beginning, there was a box… Discover the story and characters of the BOXBOY! saga. The latest entry BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! is available now on Nintendo Switch!

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! – "Meet Qudy" trailer

It's not all about BOXBOY, you know

The fan-favourite 2D puzzle-platformer series comes to Nintendo Switch, in BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! Think outside the box – alone or with a friend in co-op – as you help Qbby and his pals solve tricky puzzles across 270 brainteasing stages!

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