Wonder Boy studio Westone is sadly no more, but that doesn't mean that the company's legacy is doomed to be forgotten. In a recent interview with video game journalist John Szczepaniak for his book The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2, Westone founder Ryuichi Nishizawa revealed that the source code for the company's lost arcade game Aquario of the Clockwork has been found and passed onto emulation experts M2 - the guys responsible for Sega's recent 3D Classics on 3DS.
Originally developed around 1992 and intended to be Westone's final arcade release, Aquario was stylistically similar to the Monster World subset of Wonder Boy releases, and would have featured simultaneous three-player action. Location tests were apparently held in Ueno and Shinjuku, but the fact that the game wasn't a one-on-one fighter - the genre of choice at the time - meant that it was poorly received and ultimately cancelled.
Nishizawa says that recent interest in the game made him dig out the original files:
I looked into past resources, to see if it's recoverable, or reproducible, and we discovered that only the sound data is missing. So right now we have enough resources to reconstruct it, without sound, and I have provided all the details to M2 - the president is Horii-san [Naoki Horii] - to see if they can try to recover or reproduce it in their spare time. But he is a very busy person, and M2 is a very busy company. <laughs> So I think he probably does not have enough time. I don't want Horii-san to sound bad. It puts Horii-san in an awkward position.
Westone has disbanded since the interview took place back in 2013, which could cast some doubt on the viability of such a project. However, if enough support is forthcoming, who knows? Wonder Boy spiritual successor Monster Boy is currently in development, with input from Ryuichi Nishizawa himself, and that could provide the ideal springboard for Aquario's resurrection.
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