Bandai Namco Trademark Suggests Klonoa Could Return
By Zackari Greif
After a trademark filing for "Klonoa Encore" bears no fruit, a new trademark appears suggesting that there may still be a chance for a return.
Bandai Namco has been creating memorable games for years, even before the two companies merged in 2005. On the Namco side of things, one IP that's been somewhat neglected in recent times is the Klonoa series, which hasn't seen a title in 13 years. A recent trademark filing by the series' owner seems to suggest the little lop-eared critter might be coming back to new audiences soon in a potential remaster or two.
Klonoa started out on the PlayStation in Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, and had a few sequels to follow as time passed. The first title was remastered for the Nintendo Wii, but beyond a webcomic on defunct website ShiftyLook, not much has been seen for the 2.5D platformer since. In 2019, a "Klonoa Encore" trademark was registered in Japan, but nothing came out of it.
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Now, interestingly in the same month as the "Klonoa Encore" trademark registration two years ago, Bandai Namco has filed for a trademark for something called "Wahoo Encore." It may not seem attached to Klonoa at first, but dedicated fans of the series know that "Wahoo" is the catchphrase of Klonoa himself, being seen and heard on all of the title screens of his outings.
To add to the speculation, "Encore" is the title that Bandai Namco gives its remasters in Japan. Katamari Damacy Reroll, for instance, was known as "Katamari Damacy Encore" to Japan's audience. Alongside the "Wahoo Encore" trademark was another filing for something along the lines of "1&2 Encore," which has some fans even more assured that something with Klonoa is in the works due to the fact that the series has two main flagship titles, with Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.
It's a curious situation that fans might want to keep an eye on for sure, as despite how little evidence there is, Bandai Namco has tried to bring back Klonoa a fair few times in the past. A trademark under "Wahoo Encore" doesn't leave for much hope that the little black-and-white critter will return to current consoles, but anything about whatever this project is needs to be taken with a grain of salt until information surfaces from the company itself.
Klonoa might have a rather well-timed return if he does get another shot at a title, as numerous different platforming mascots from the '90s have had remasters as of late; such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. At the end of the day, it's all up to how Bandai Namco keeps Klonoa relevant, even if a remaster is to be announced, before fans can even dream of an entirely new title.
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Read NextAbout The Author
Zackari has loved video games since he first played Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Genesis as a toddler. He enjoys writing about the games he's loved his entire life, and when he isn't writing for Game Rant, he's found either playing those same games or dabbling in more creative endeavors.
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Video game series
This article is about the character and the series. For the first game in the series, see Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. For the 2008 Wii remake, see Klonoa (2008 video game).
Video game series
Klonoa (クロノア, Kuronoa) is a video game series created by Namco and Klonoa Works, as well as the name of the titular character of the series. The character and series were launched with the release of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for the PlayStation in 1997.
The character Klonoa has features of a dog, cat, and rabbit but is not explicitly any particular animal. He is described within the games and manga as a "Dream Traveler", who is fated to travel to various places where the state of dreams is in danger, but he himself is not aware of that. His traditional voice actor is Kumiko Watanabe, he is voiced by Eric Stitt in the English version of the remake of the first game. He has Namco's mascot Pac-Man on the side of his blue hat. Wanting to be a hero, he is young and good-hearted and is willing to go against all odds to make sure justice is served. He is easily able to befriend characters along the way who support his cause. His attitude is innocent and even a bit naive, as shown in Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.
Klonoa was designed by Yoshihiko Arai. Arai's first design, "Shady", had a shadow-like appearance. However, he felt that the lack of color did not seem tasteful, and dropped the design. His next design was created with characteristically animal eyes and long ears, as Arai felt that a person's eyes and silhouette are the features noticed when they are first met. He added a large hat with a Pac-Man emblem on it and collar to give the character a childlike and energetic quality. The design was kept and used for Klonoa.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was released in late 1997 in Japan and in 1998 in North America and Europe, it was critically well received by numerous gaming publications and magazines. It was one of the first PlayStation platform games to feature two-dimensional character artwork on a rendered, three-dimensional backdrop. It was described as 2.5D to distinguish it between other games that relied on one or the other.
Klonoa's second appearance, Klonoa: Moonlight Museum was released solely in Japan for the Japanese-only WonderSwan handheld system in 1999. It is Klonoa's first handheld appearance and his first fully two-dimensional one. Despite lacking the artful style of the first game, Moonlight Museum set the standard for the approaching Game Boy Advance titles like Klonoa: Empire of Dreams, which came out two years later. Though it was very similar in style and execution to the previous game, it was developed for the more sophisticated Game Boy Advance hardware and was also available in North America and Europe.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2001 with moderate success. Its different types of gameplay include a standard set of platformer levels in the "2.5D" style, hoverboarding down snowy mountains and water parks, time-attack challenges, puzzle-solving, and boss fights, it also introduced a "360 degrees" system.
A third handheld title, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament, was released for the Game Boy Advance in Japan in 2002 with a heavily belated release in North America three years later. Utilizing the same game engine as Empire of Dreams, Dream Champ Tournament was a similar gaming experience that benefited from more sophisticated puzzles and featured a newer cast of supporting characters.
A sports title, Klonoa Beach Volleyball, released for the PlayStation in Japan and later Europe, featured Klonoa and his friends in a unique version of volleyball. A North American version was not released.
Klonoa Heroes: Densetsu no Star Medal was a Japan-exclusive title released in late 2002. Taking a unique twist on the series, the game is an action role-playing game rather than a platformer and is played from a top-down perspective.
A remake of Door to Phantomile, simply titled Klonoa, was released on December 4, 2008, in Japan for the Wii console. It features revised graphics and voice acting, as well as many unlockable bonuses that were not in the original. These include new costumes, Mirrored Visions, and challenge areas. It was then released in North America on May 5 and in Europe on May 22, 2009. Despite receiving positive reviews, the game was a commercial failure and plans for a remake of Lunatea's Veil as well as a third main line installment were scrapped.
In September 2019, a trademark filing under the name Klonoa of the Wind Encore was discovered. Further trademark filings for Wahoo Encore and 1&2 Encore were discovered in September 2021.
The games are set in different worlds, though the primary and known ones are Phantomile and Lunatea. It revolves around Klonoa and how he, the Dream Traveler, must save whatever world he is in from peril. Along the way he makes new friends and enemies, some of them becoming recurring characters. The game is an early example of a side-scrolling 3D game. It is an adventure and puzzle type of game. The main gameplay feature involves using Klonoa's ring and "Wind Bullets" to inflate enemies, which can be thrown at other objects or at the ground, giving him a boost upwards allowing him to double jump.
Shippuu Tengoku Kaze no Klonoa is a two-volume long comedy/slapstick manga that, unlike the somewhat more serious tone from the video games, feature Klonoa as a good natured, clumsy and dim-witted kid obsessed with being a super hero. His attempts to make good deeds tend to fail or cause the opposite effect, due to his being overly enthusiastic, his habit of jumping to conclusions and, sometimes, just because of bad luck. The volumes were released in 2002 and 2003.
His patient sidekick is a Moo, who is the postman of Breezegale. Garlen is the main villain, trying to scam or catch Klonoa but failing every time, making a fool of himself in the process.
The manga borrows characters, villains and locations from most of Klonoa's games, such as Lolo who makes an appearance in almost every comic, but instead of following any canon personality or storyline, it simply puts Klonoa and Moo in many everyday situations that quickly snowball into huge confusions or spectacular (and painful) accidents.
The first volume mainly takes focus on Klonoa's actions and morals as a (stupid) hero, which often turns out to be turned upside down, and the Moo's responsibility as he has to stop Klonoa from doing something idiotic.
However, the second volume's story is mainly about Popka who is looking for the "Legendary Hero". Baguji told him that the hero could be recognized by a "Hot Spring" icon somewhere on his body. Only the Legendary Hero can stop a disaster that may blow up the world.
Klonoa: Dream Traveller of Noctis Sol was a webcomic series published by ShiftyLook, written by Jim Zub and drawn by Hitoshi Ariga. It began in September 2012 and lasted for two seasons with new pages being released every Wednesday, later Wednesdays and Fridays, before abruptly stopping in mid-late 2014 with the closing of ShiftyLook, resulting in the story to be unresolved.
Cancelled film adaptation
A Klonoa film adaptation was under pre-production at Henshin. Hideo Yoshizawa joined the project as executive producer. Ash Paulsen of GameXplain also joined in as an associate producer. After two years with no updates, writer Hitoshi Ariga confirmed the project was cancelled on January 4, 2019.
The Klonoa series has been mostly critically well received. It was praised for its gameplay, graphics and story. It also received several awards including Lunatea's Veil winning GameSpy's PlayStation 2 "Platform Game of the Year" in 2004.
However, the series saw disappointing sales commercially. Lunatea's Veil only sold 133,401 copies in Japan during 2001, making it the 85th best-selling game of the year, while Klonoa on Wii only debuted with 5,800 copies sold in Japan, making it the 33rd highest-selling game in the region in its first week.
- ^Arai, Yoshihiko (March 6, 1998). "今回のエッセイスト グラフィックデザイナー・荒井 佳彦： OUTER VISION 2:主役キャラを考えよう". Bandai Namco (in Japanese).
- ^風のクロノア/開発者リレーエッセイArchived 2005-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
- ^"Klonoa: Gateway to Phantomile". IGN. 1998-03-11. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- ^IGN staff (2009-03-07). "IGN: Klonoa". IGN.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
- ^Kemps, Heidi (27 March 2018). "INTERVIEW: Hideo Yoshizawa and Keiji Yamagishi". Gaming.moe. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- ^"Bandai Namco has trademarked Klonoa of the Wind Encore". My Nintendo News. 2019-09-17. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
- ^"Klonoa Encore trademark now listed as Issued and Active". My Nintendo News. 2020-09-11. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
- ^"Bandai Namco trademarks Wahoo Encore and 1&2 Encore in Japan; miHoYo trademarks Honkai: Star Rail". 20 September 2021.
- ^IGN staff (2000-11-06). "Go Speed Klonoa, Go!". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- ^"PS4＆Xbox One『鉄拳7』DL版のプレオーダーがスタート、追加予約特典"開発スタッフ描き下ろしキャラパネル"もお披露目". Famitsu. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- ^疾風天国風のクロノア 第1巻. ASIN 4091424562.
- ^疾風天国風のクロノア 第2巻. ASIN 4091424570.
- ^"Klonoa: Dream Traveller of Noctis Sol". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- ^Schilling, Mark (2016-10-27). "Tiffcom: Henshin Developing Film Based on 'Klonoa' Video Games (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
- ^"Real Talk - Episode 45: Hidden Costs". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- ^Paulsen, Ash (2017-01-18). "As @rpereyda mentioned, I can now VERY proudly announce that I have been brought onto the #Klonoa animated film as an associate producer!". @AshPaulsen. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
- ^ ab"Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for PlayStation". GameRakings. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- ^ ab"Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- ^"Klonoa: Empire of Dreams for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 12 March 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- ^"Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- ^"Klonoa for Wii Reviews". Metacritic. 2012-01-22. Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- ^GameSpy Staff (2004). "GameSpy.com - Game of the Year Awards - 2001". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- ^"2001 Top 100 Japanese Console Game Chart". The Magic Box. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- ^"Famitsu Japan Game Charts 2008-12-1 to 2008-12-7 and Sales". Weekly Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain, Inc. 2008-12-08.
Today marks the 22nd anniversary of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile‘s release in Japan on PlayStation, and the game’s director and one of the composers celebrated the occasion with some art and an arrangement.
The game follows Klonoa on his journey alongside his friend Huepow on a quest to save the world of Phantomile from nightmares. After the game’s release, it would spawn a direct sequel, several spin-off titles, and a remake on Nintendo Wii before quietly going into hibernation. There were plans for an animated feature, which were sadly revealed to be cancelled early this year. However, in September, a trademark for Klonoa Encore trademarked by Bandai Namco appeared in Japan, leading to speculation.
Both director Hideo Yoshizawa, and composer Kohta Takahashi left Bandai Namco to become freelancers, but they both still have a lot of love for the series. Yoshizawa wrote, “Today is Klonoa‘s 22nd anniversary! Thanks for all the never-ending support! Please look after the little guy from now on as well.”
Meanwhile, Takahashi’s short arrangement of ‘Lunatea Waltz’, ‘L’il Waltz’ speaks for itself:
Klonoa released on PlayStation on December 11, 1997 in Japan. It released in North America and Europe in 1998.
.Namco / Klonoa Works (2002)
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