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.

Categories: Consoles, Portables
Tags: 3ds, eshop, switch


I do feel Box Boy's look is too simplistic. I know I'm being shallow but I care about things looking nice. Maybe I'd like the gameplay but I'd rather play another games that gameplay AND looks. At least others are enjoying the game... it's just not for me, right?

That's a perfectly valid opinion. I like the style because it suits the geometric, mathematical feel of the game, as well as the puzzle genre. It allows you to relax and focus entirely on the actual puzzle at hand. It would be cool to have other styles as unlocks, though.

Mon Apr 29 19 04:41am
Rating: 1

Distractions certainly can change the flow of a puzzle game so I understand how you feel. Good point.

That 3D style would be cool for an option to unlock.

Mon Apr 29 19 10:45pm
Rating: 1

It's so cool that after the higher-ups told the team to do something, when the team came back and said "actually we would like to not do that" the higher-ups let the team do what they felt was best.


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