Publishers Strictly Limited Games and ININ Games will release cancelled Westone Bit Entertainment arcade game Clockwork Aquario for PlayStation 4 and Switch in 2020, the companies announced. Other platforms are to be determined. Clockwork Aquario will be available digitally, as well as in limited physical editions.
Development on Clockwork Aquario started in 1992 as the last arcade game ever developed by Westone Bit Entertainment. Its 2D graphics were created to “push the Sega System 18 arcade hardware to its limits,” but with 3D games taking over arcades at the time, Clockwork Aquario was cancelled. It was originally designed by Ryuichi Nishizawa, chief publisher and co-founder of Westone Bit Entertainment (and creator of Wonder Boy / Monster World).
Here is the story of how Strictly Limited Games unearthed Clockwork Aquario to revive and release the title:
As a company that is striving for the preservation of video games, it has also become a part of Strictly Limited Games’ mission to unearth unreleased games that are an essential part of the cultural video game heritage.
So, three years ago, Strictly Limited Games set out to find the whereabouts of Tokeijikake no Aquario, the Japanese title of Clockwork Aquario, and to bring the game back to life.
ININ Games then joined in the endeavors to convince Sega / LAT that Clockwork Aquario will finally see the light of day, by signing to create a digital release and making the game accessible to a wider audience.
Some parts (including sound, music, and several graphics) were not recoverable from the source code, so the particular emphasis is placed on involving as many members of the original Westone team as possible in the project to be true to the game—from the chief programmer, Takanori Kurihara, to the musical genius, Shinichi Sakamoto, to Mr. Wonder Boy himself, Ryuichi Nishizawa, who expressed his joy and excitement about seeing the title screen again after 27 years on Twitter.
“Clockwork Aquario is a great piece of 2D art, into which the pixel artists put their hearts and souls,” Ryuichi Nishizawa said. “I would like to express my heartfelt respect and gratitude to those who have worked so hard to restore it.”
Visit the teaser website here.