Balan Wonderworld has had an extremely rough launch cycle, and it’s only getting rougher as more people have dove into the game. Between seizure-inducing effects being found in the release’s pre-patch build, and reviews mostly panning the game for its poor platforming and design, it didn’t seem like the situation could get much worse. Lo and behold, it has, as one fan has discovered that one late-game music track rips certain motifs almost directly from the original 1984 Ghostbusters film.
While the Balan Wonderworld demo was rough in the gameplay department, it at the very least boasted a wonderful soundtrack that was composed by Ryo Yamazaki and Hironori Anazawa, which was able to slightly elevate the game out of complete mediocrity. Unfortunately, as pretty as the tunes in the demo were, it seems even the music in the full game has some issues hidden within.
The track can be found in Chapter 11, Act 2, titled “The Firefighter with Heroic Aspirations.” It may sound like a regular jaunty tune, but the opening portion is nearly identical to a piece of score from Ghostbusters. Specifically, it pulls from the “Ghostbusters Theme” track composed by Elmer Bernstein, not to be confused with the iconic Ray Parker Jr pop song. This track plays in both the film and the recent Ghostbusters video game remaster, so it is fairly recognizable, making the blatant “inspiration” all the more jarring.
After the opening portion, the Balan Wonderworld track does shift into a slightly different melody, but the similarities in the beginning are still very extremely bizarre. Despite everything, this is still a high profile release marketed heavily by Square Enix, so one would think that the company would have stepped in to prevent this borderline plagiarism, but somehow this went through nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the release of Balan Wonderworld has been fairly negative overall. The disappointing demo did nothing to build up hype, and nothing done since then has been able to salvage this game’s reputation. The plagiarized music track may seem bad, yet it is only a blip in the unending saga of a disappointment surrounding this release that will likely continue for quite a bit longer. It all comes back to fans simply having expected more from what could be Yuji Naka’s final chance at creating a video game.
Balan Wonderworld is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.