Interview with Ryuichi Nishizawa

The Retro Domination team were grateful to chat to Wonder boy creator and owner of Westone Bit Entertainment Ryuichi Nishizawa.

Retro Domination: What was your inspiration in creating such an iconic character?

Ryuichi Nishizawa: When we originally created the character, hardware specifications at the time were really low, so we were limited with the choices we could make when it game to the style of graphics we could use, so we went with a style that was easy to make.

Retro Domination: Why was the game style changed with Wonder Boy in Monster land?

Ryuichi Nishizawa: I didn’t intentionally change the game style between Monster Land and Monster World 2 and did in fact design the games to have very similar directions. I think they may appear to be different because Monster Land was designed as an arcade game and Monster World 2 was created specifically as a console game.

(Editors Note: The question was intended to be targeted towards the change in style between the original Wonder Boy arcade game & Wonder Boy in Monster Land, but may have been misinterpreted)


Retro Domination: Can you explain the reasoning behind the numbering system? Eg. You have WB3 Monster Lair and WB3 Dragons Trap and then Wonder Boy V: Monster World 3. It can be a bit confusing.

Ryuichi Nishizawa: There is some confusion, it’s true! Dragons Trap is Wonder Boy 4. However, Dragon’s Trap was released earlier in the west than Monster Lair and it was the cause of the confusion. How strange is that Wonder Boy 4 was released before Wonder Boy 3?

Retro Domination: Was there any particular reason for not releasing Wonder Boy in Monster World 4 on the Mega Drive outside of Japan?

Ryuichi Nishizawa: Due to the release of the Sega Saturn around the same time, I believe that Sega of America and Sega of Europe decided that the game would not sell as they began to shift their software focus from the Mega Drive to the new platform. It’s such a shame and a waste that the game wasn’t released at the time.

Retro Domination: What was your greatest source of inspiration when creating the Monster World games?

Ryuichi Nishizawa: 

I think a lot of my influences come from comics, cartoons, movies, television and science fiction novels that I absorbed in my childhood and helped shape me as I matured. I read “Shonen Jump”, “Shonen Magazine”, “Shonen Sunday” and “Shonen Champion” every week growing up and used most of my pocket money on these comics, so I think they were a big influence!

Another big influence was “Blue City” by Yukinobu Hoshino. I read this book and became a big fan of science fiction and it also sparked my interest in computers. I also believe that his work “2001 Nights” is a masterpiece and is a big inspiration in my game design. I would encourage everyone to read both of these works!

Retro Domination: Many people are very excited about Monster Boy and thought we would never see another Wonder boy game, so how did you get involved with the project?

Ryuichi Nishizawa:  I was initially contacted by Fabien from Game Atelier and he informed me that his team are big fans of Monster World 2 and they were intending to develop a game in the same vein of Monster World 2 titled ‘Flying Hamster 2’. I could tell that they were going to develop their game with a lot of passion and was impressed, so I decided to throw my support behind them. I suggested that it would be a great opportunity to use characters and music similar to Monster World 2 and gave them my full consent.

Retro Domination: Are you involved in any other projects that you would like to share with us?

Ryuichi Nishizawa: I am currently developing a new game for the Japanese PC gaming market that is an original game that I had planned, and this will keep me very busy until this coming summer. I will then be looking to release a smartphone version of this new game!


A big thank you to Ryuichi Nishizawa for taking the time to speak to us.