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Developer Interview: WayForward on Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Going to HD and Expanding the Franchise

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Moving onto bigger screens

WayForward is a company that seems to have two very different representations of itself. There's the contracting company that takes on projects for third-parties, some of which are excellent, crowd-pleasing projects and other movie spin-offs that perhaps aren't, and then there's WayForward the developer of its own popular, download-only IPs. The latter is ultimately the more powerful identity, and while the Mighty games have plenty of fans, it's the Shantae franchise that seems to have the most dedicated and vocal of the company's fan-bases.

3DS owners can look forward to Shantae And The Pirate's Curse later this year, but the company made headlines recently when it launched a Kickstarter campaign for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. This'll be the first time that the iconic character will be stepping off portable devices and onto TVs, with the Wii U eShop included in its list of platforms; it's well on track to reach its funding goal, sitting on over $260,000 of its $400,000 target with 21 days to go at the time of writing.

Keen to learn more about how this project came about, we caught up with Matt Bozon, WayForward's Creative Director, to talk over the new HD project.


Nintendo Life: Firstly, can you explain the beginnings and processes that kicked off the Shantae: Half-Genie Hero project?

Matt Bozon: I’m looking back at concept art and creative documents — the initial germ of the project...

It looks like we started in October of 2011. We wanted to have a new HD Shantae for the launch of the Wii U, but as we drew closer it became clear that we should shift gears. We put Half-Genie Hero on low burn, and focused instead on Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition. During that time, I kept tweaking the Shantae design and adding concept artwork here and there. We didn’t get a full team on the proof-of-concept demo (the Kickstarter video) until around E3 of this year.

We considered remaking Shantae (Game Boy Color) in HD, but finally landed on a new game that would run parallel to our current tech efforts.

NL: Kickstarter has been around for a little while now and has seen successes and failures alike. How is the WayForward team approaching crowdfunding?

MB: We were cautious. We had team meetings for several months to consider how we’d approach it, or even if we should. Eventually we began a proposal… kind of a dry run (also in 2011) for Sigma Star Saga “2” for 3DS. The design team learned everything we could about Kickstarter, funded some, watched the idea gain popularity, and ultimately decided to scrap it and start over. We considered remaking Shantae (Game Boy Color) in HD, but finally landed on a new game that would run parallel to our current tech efforts.

NL: Is there any concern about the additional pressures that Kickstarter can bring, such as managing backer’s expectations and hitting targets?

MB: Our backers have been really enthusiastic, we’re really looking forward to working with them throughout the entire process. It may require more detailed explanations than we're used to, but we're eager to help educate everyone on the development process. I think it’s going to be fun!

NL: It’s been described as a project beyond a typical independent game budget for WayForward. Can you expand on that?

MB: Yes, it helps to think of WayForward as a contractor with a day job, which is making games for other publishers. This is how we earn our keep. By night (often literally) we work on our pet projects. In a typical year we’ll have 6 or more projects running in parallel, and if we run things efficiently, we can put maybe 5% of our savings into an original game. For example, by making Silent Hill BOM, Happy Feet 2, Adventure Time Hey Ice King, iCarly Groovy Foodie, Build-a-Bear, Double Dragon Neon, Lalaloopsy, and Hotel Transylvania (phew) we were able to sock away enough funds to create Mighty Switch Force! 2. To make a multi-console game, we’d need to save up for more than a few years. To partner with a publisher would mean giving up the rights to our creation. To get our audience more games, or bigger games, crowdfunding makes a lot of sense.

NL: With so many platforms being supported, does that multi-platform approach — at least to that degree — pose new challenges for the studio?

MB: Not really, it just requires a larger team these days. Ducktales: Remastered and Smurfs 2 helped to widen our pipeline.

NL: Shantae has always been a portable series. Knowing that people will be playing on a TV this time around, are any design philosophies being tweaked?

MB: Definitely. We’re only scratching the surface of that subject. The demo video plays it very “safe” by showing things that have always worked before. To make it feel right for consoles some of the handheld sensibilities will need to change. If our handheld Shantaes could be compared to Simon’s Quest, then Half-Genie Hero could become our Symphony of the Night.

NL: How about bringing this particular franchise to HD? Can you tell us about adopting a new visual style to suit these platforms?

MB: I hoped that by creating a new look for the series; it would help everyone to jump in at the same time. This game won’t release at least 10 months after “Pirate’s Curse”, so anyone who feels that they skipped the Shantae series won’t have any reason to pass on this one since we’re all starting fresh. It’s a happier, more playful style than has appeared on consoles for a while. This should be a feel-good adventure with elements of danger and mystery, some humor, and a lot of playful animation and big moments. We wanted a visual style that would elevate the charm and playfulness.

NL: Does your experience to date with the Wii U help with that version, and can you tell us if it’ll have any unique features to utilise the GamePad?

MB: Yes, it’s good to have a couple of Wii U titles under us. Our plan currently is to have inventory on the touch screen, with the option for players to use off-TV play.

NL: Assuming the core chapters will be part of the initial project (and not episodic), will the stretch goal chapters, if unlocked, arrive with the main game, delay release or be additional DLC?

This game won’t release at least 10 months after “Pirate’s Curse”, so anyone who feels that they skipped the Shantae series won’t have any reason to pass on this one since we’re all starting fresh.

MB: No, if those goals are reached they’ll be woven seamlessly into the game. To hearken back to my Symphony of the Night comparison, not meeting the stretch goal might be like not having the Catacombs locations, boss, and creatures that lurk in that area. It would still be a great game, but it would have one less area to explore.

NL: At this stage, how confident are you of hitting your initial and stretch goals?

MB: We’re only a week in, and are nearly 2/3 funded. So, it’s looking pretty good for reaching those stretch goals.

NL: What can you tell us about Jake Kaufman’s soundtrack? Will an album be released?

MB: Most likely. Jake is juggling both the Pirate’s Curse and Half-Genie Hero soundtracks, and both will sound very different. Music is a third of every game in my mind… this is an incredibly important element, so I’m hoping people will be able to enjoy the music even after they’ve conquered the game. Heck, I’m listening to the Castlevania: the Adventure (Game Boy) soundtrack in my car right now. I think this music will stick with people.

NL: WayForward has two flagship properties — the Mighty series and the Shantae series — that star women as the main protagonists. What’s the inspiration for this?

MB: Our heroes (er… heroines) are designed to characterize our gameplay, and both Shantae and Patricia do that very well. Patricia is confident, decisive, and aggressive just like her play mechanics. Shantae is inexperienced, curious, hot-headed and alluring and wanting to grow and adapt — just like her gameplay.

NL: Is there a particular message for fans and potential backers of this project that you’d like to share?

MB: Yes! Thank you for believing in our work. We’re really glad you enjoy our games, and we are working like crazy to increase the number of original WayForward games out in the world. We really want to improve our average of 1 original game for every 10-20 “for hire” games. To do that we need help from our fans! If you haven’t funded Shantae Half-Genie Hero yet, please head over to Kickstater (http://kck.st/1e7PwHu) and do it!


We'd like to thank Matt Bozon for his time.

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User Comments (54)

Dogpigfish

#1

Dogpigfish said:

This is a gifted team, I like their original concepts better. This company has the potential to create long lasting franchises if any big business was smart enough to pick them up. However, I'm sure they prefer to stay small.

TromboneGamer

#2

TromboneGamer said:

Unfortunately I don't expect them to reach more than one or 2 of the stretch goals. That said no doubt in my mind it will get funded. Just makes the game seem a little bare bones with all those stretch goals simply sitting there.

Bensei

#3

Bensei said:

I still hopes fundings boost a lil more when actual bonusses are only a 100K away. But sadly I guess they won't reach more than 600K either... I would have wished them to reach 1.2M !

Kirk

#4

Kirk said:

"We wanted a visual style that would elevate the charm and playfulness."

I'm sorry but that's just gibberish to me.

There's absolutely ZERO lack of charm and playfulness in any of the other Shantae games with the superior old style of art.

You can try and convince me all you want but all I see is simpler more generic looking visuals, still very nice for what they are, but nowhere near as beautiful or stunning as they would have looked if you'd actually taken the likes of Risky's Revenge or Pirates Curse visual style and character designs and simply made them in full glorious HD (with any advanced lighting and stuff you feel like adding too).

The old look is simply superior but I'm going to assume many people will lack the ability to simply visualize it realized in full HD to make a fair comparison between the old and new and actually realize this.

I have however done a comparison image of the old Shantae character vs. the new design so you can actually just sit and analyse and compare each element and it's very clear the old design is superior to the new design in almost every single way:

http://oi40.tinypic.com/2iswld2.jpg

See her stupid looking new wristbands, wtf are they, or the lack of jewel in her headband (now plain and boring), or the new angles in her ponytail (angles on hair, wtf), or her new slightly pear shaped body vs. her more universally accepted as being more appealing hourglass shape before (this stuff is important), or her new slightly saggy looking boobs now (yes, boobs, but still), or the slightly more blocky/angluar shading on her new hair, or her new pale complexion vs. her natural and correct tan (at least that's now been addressed), or her now more chibi look vs. a still cartoony but more natural proportions for the head and stuff (has super deformed ever really been more universally appealing than slightly more "realistic" but still cartoon proportions)...

The game might appeal a bit more to kids and people who like the kind of cartoons that are all over Cartoon Network these days but I don't think a lot of gamers, who are the people who bought all the other Shantae games and most likely are the people who are going to buy this game too, would prefer that specific look over the beautiful style of all the other games in the series.

I don't understand why so many developers when going from great bitmap pixel art to HD have to change the looks of the games into this more simplified vector-Flash, almost flat blocks of color, style that loses so much of the charm and character of the originals in my opinion.

You're all just trying to save some time on creating the assets, clearly, but to me that actually shows very clearly too in this new look. Not to the point that the game looks bad but to the point that it does in fact look worse than the old style in HD would look. So it's just disappointing seeing the artistry go slightly backwards here (other than jumping to HD and having some extra realtime lighting effects, which could still exist using the previous artstyle too).

I hate to moan (not really) but once I get a bee in my bonnet that's my thang.

That new art and design really is not better and that's a shame because this specific change in style really wasn't necessary.

sinalefa

#5

sinalefa said:

I supported this kickstarter and I hope they meet their goals. I should download the old games in the meantime.

Also, I think her skin is darker now than in the original pitch (like the drawing above), maybe due to fan feedback.

Rawk_Hawk

#6

Rawk_Hawk said:

I love the DSi Ware game and I can't wait to see where they take the Shantae series

odd69

#8

odd69 said:

Im so so so happy for this being on big screen. day one buy. Wayforward say what you want makes good games.

unrandomsam

#9

unrandomsam said:

I want to see a proper pixel art based game that is in full HD. (Metal Slug kind of quality but just loads more frames of animation / overlays and resolution).

I like the GBC one but think it went down hill for the dsiware one. (Too short and easy).

It will be like Symphony of the Night but not in a good way if they don't get the stretch goals. (Cut content - Badly ported - Not proper 2D when it should have been on the Saturn). Not as good as Rondo. (Bosses too easy / main character too powerful).

Dragon's Crown cost 1,000,000 usd. (Using what looks to me to be a more expensive way of doing things).

Controls are not acceptable for DuckTales / Smurfs 2 likely this.

We will see Wayforward has made a few good games but so have most of the developers that have been around for a while.

They are certainly not the pure gold developers people make them out to be.

WoottWinds

#10

WoottWinds said:

Super freaking excited for this. Can't wait to see how it progresses, reeeeeally hope we can see the game funded and then some, and maybe even eventually get some of the out-of-reach stretch goals as future DLC! Also can't wait to pick up Pirate's Curse, it's looking really really strong, and I'm hoping it'll be more substantial than Risky's Revenge which was over way too quickly for me!

Also that HD original Shantae remake mention almost killed me. Dear god would I have loved to have seen that... Maybe we can hope for an eventual retail Shantae trilogy release, WayForward...? Shantae remake, slightly updated Risky's Revenge, and Pirate's Curse all on a 3DS cart?? Eh??? :D

EDIT: Also, thank you Nintendo Life for the fantastic interviews. Favorite part of this site, you guys are awesome.

NImH

#11

NImH said:

@Kirk clearly you don't know the meaning of the word "objective." It's a very important term to learn before you award yourself the honorary title of "art critic." The art style looks rad to me. I find the opposite feeling of yours when I look at the new Shantae. She looks young. This looks like an origin story so it makes sense.
Personally, I really hope Bozon and his design crew are able to ignore rants like yours and stick to being creators not crowd-pleasers.

Kirk

#12

Kirk said:

@NImH

The irony is it's you that needs to learn the meaning of the word "objective".

OBJECTIVELY:

The wrist bands look more like actual wrist bands an Arabic woman would wear in the old design. The hourglass figure is universally regarded as more attractive and appealing than the pear shaped figure. Perky boobs are considered more attractive and appealing than saggy boobs. Arabian girls have tanned skin not white skin. Hair has flowing curves not sharp edges. Super deformed and chibi proportions are less universally accepted and appealing than more traditional cartoon proportions that are closer to human proportions but just slightly exaggerated.

I made all those criticisms precisely because I WAS being objective and that's why objectively the older design is better in almost every single way.

You however just gave your completely subjective opinion, didn't you.

http://www.cubed3.com/media/2010/September/jesusraz/shantaedsi/60009_155467501148147_149435571751340_412986_5818809_n.jpg (looks like a Disney Cartoon)
vs.
http://thegamingpixelshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Shantae_HalfGenieHero_new_shantae_design_9671669863_l-1.jpg (looks like a Flash game)

Edit: I also never made a single criticism of the character being younger precisely because objectively it totally make sense since this game is set earlier in the series than the others.

Korius

#13

Korius said:

@Kirk

Your opinion pal, I think the new style looks rad. Gigi working on the backgrounds is just icing on the already delicious cake

jon_simmons

#15

jon_simmons said:

so in order for one good game to be made, a bunch of bad games need to be made first. I think I understand the video game industry now. Her new look is terrible.

eviLaTtenDant

#16

eviLaTtenDant said:

Dangit. While i don't have huge doubts about it getting funded i always wanted it to reach as many stretch goals as possible. I'm even thinking about raising my pledge to 200$ now. I beg you Wayforward, don't ever do this again.:o
I just hope the bonus chapters won't be lost if they don't get funded. DLC or sequel maybe?

Lionhart

#17

Lionhart said:

I've backed the game and I'm really excited about this. I sure hope all the extra content makes it into the game and that they reach all their funding goals.

Ralizah

#18

Ralizah said:

Funneled the money I was planning on putting into a Mighty No 9 pledge into this one instead. Inafune doesn't need any more help, and I'm more excited about this project.

RainbowGazelle

#19

RainbowGazelle said:

@Kirk I agree with you, man. You pretty much summed up exactly what's wrong with the new art style. I'm not one to judge games based on graphics, but, as you said, they were actually better before. I couldn't have worded the argument any better than you did.

NImH

#20

NImH said:

@Matt_Bozon please do what you do best. Your design and art styles are epic, and your team's creations are some of my favorite platformers in recent years.
@Kirk you're completely right in every way. How could I not see it before? You are the sole authority on beauty and artistic expression. How did anyone define art before you came into the world?
Artists create. Fanboys debate.

Kirk

#23

Kirk said:

@RainbowGazelle

Cool.

Here, I've even tried to very quickly create an example of what I'm talking about so those people who don't quite get what I'm meaning can maybe have a better idea:

http://oi42.tinypic.com/2d1uzjt.jpg

I hope they have enough sense to understand that I drew it quickly using a mouse so obviously it's going to look a little bit rough but they need to imagine it as if it were drawn as well as the original artwork:

http://www.cubed3.com/media/2010/September/jesusraz/shantaedsi/60009_155467501148147_149435571751340_412986_5818809_n.jpg

I know I definitely like the old style better, and objectively it's just overall more "correct" as it were (for all the reasons I mentioned in my previous posts), even with the younger Shantae character.

citizenerased

#26

citizenerased said:

I'm loving the style that is objectively worse! I definitely hope more developers look into styles that are objectively worse so that we can see other awesome styles.

@Kirk the developers have made it pretty clear from several comments/updates on the Kickstarter that the new style was chosen for maximum visibility in big environments on HD screens. Details have to be enlarged to still be seen from your sofa.

Kirk

#27

Kirk said:

@citizenerased

I didn't imply you couldn't like it and I didn't even specifically say I didn't like it either (unless it's in the context of being compared to the older style where I like it less than the older style).

I'm simply saying the older style is just plain better most ways you look at it, and I've provided some objective reasoning to support my assertion, and while I'm sure you'll now of course argue with me when I say what I'm about to say next; I think you'd also love the game if it were done in the old style too. In fact, I'm going to suggest you'd actually like it even more if it were in that old style but done in HD.

Of course, because I said it would look better in the old style instead of the game actually being in the old style and me saying something else you are conditioned to disagree with whatever I say, aren't you, either because you don't like the way I say it (I'm an arrogant douche) or you're defensive of the guys making the game over some random punter in a forum and regardless of what that punter says, irrespective of how much sense it makes, you're going to side with the developer.

Now, disagree...

Edit: That bit about being able to see it easier with the new style is complete gibberish. Sure, there's less detail to look at now, so it's maybe easier to see each element in that context, but you could stick 100% with the old style in HD and it would look amazing on your HDTV and still be perfectly visible. Justifying it looking worse because it supposedly fixed a problem that doesn't really exist is ridiculous. You've probably played a couple of old SNES games on the HDTV via the Virtual Console, right? I assume you simply couldn't see those clearly at all... I assume drawing them in much sharper detail HD would make them even harder to see... Nope.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/kopf/pixelart/

Ignoring the fact that this ^^^^ is just using a filter technique for now; Is the image of the dolphin on the left suddenly harder to see/read because it's now smooth and in HD?

http://oi39.tinypic.com/sy44g2.jpg

Is my quick example of drawing the new design in the old style ^^^^ really any harder to see than the current new version on the right of the image? I even added a thicker line around my design just to show you can easily make it stand out more and still stick to the same old style.

Remember, I drew this quickly in Photoshop using a mouse and in a real version all the lines would be super sharp and clean. Like this : http://www.cubed3.com/media/2010/September/jesusraz/shantaedsi/60009_155467501148147_149435571751340_412986_5818809_n.jpg

Squiggle55

#30

Squiggle55 said:

I like the sound of more original WayForward projects. I will definitely back this because they are easily one of my favorite developers.

Kaze_Memaryu

#31

Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Kirk I completely agree with you in that the old design looks better - but I don't understand if you actually think the HD version is 'bad' or just 'inferior'.
Admittedly, I had some trouble getting used to the new style (just like with Guilty Gear Xrd), but after some time, it really grew on me.
And better or not - Shantae in sleepwear is freakin' adorable, don't you think?

Austroid

#33

Austroid said:

@Kirk I don't want to get in a thing with everyone else, but I honestly agree with you about her pixel style looking better than this new HD version. Her overall look is superior to it in terms of uniqueness and is more recognizable than the HD's almost generic approach, with all the females having the same proportions.

Why couldn't they just make HD versions OF the pixel style like the Mighty Switch Force games?

Its almost as if they took their Ducktales graphics engine (or whatever) and put Shantae in it.

OptometristLime

#34

OptometristLime said:

NL: Shantae has always been a portable series. Knowing that people will be playing on a TV this time around, are any design philosophies being tweaked?

MB: Definitely. We’re only scratching the surface of that subject. The demo video plays it very “safe” by showing things that have always worked before. To make it feel right for consoles some of the handheld sensibilities will need to change. If our handheld Shantaes could be compared to Simon’s Quest, then Half-Genie Hero could become our Symphony of the Night.

This is a huge red flag to me; folks on Kick Starter might not approve of the actual direction the HD project takes. I'm just throwing that out there.

WinterWarm

#35

WinterWarm said:

@Kirk

Normally I love to debate topics in the video game industry.

Then I realized you commented on Shantae's boingy bits( FE:A ). And you then stated 'This stuff is important'.

So, the graphics and physics of swinging breasts are important for platformers? Gotcha, lose the dress, Peach.

I can honestly say I've never heard that before. But hey, ya gotta love America.

From a more objective view point, your comment could be considered selfish: Here's Shantae, in a bikini top, but no! Needs more attractive body parts!

  • Sigh *
Ophis

#37

Ophis said:

@WinterWarm

Oh my god, he said 'boobs', how dares he? Let's burn him in a stick.

Sorry but, that part is just a very little aspect of his whole argument, and it's spoken in an artistic point of view anyway.
But it seems you had to come up with this weird reply because you have nothing intelligent to say as counter-argument. You're disagreeing just for the sake of it.

@Kirk
I agree with you, and you made a good comparison with the mouse drawing you did, good job on that.

Kirk

#38

Kirk said:

@Kaze_Memaryu

It's not bad, I just think the older style is better. So I'm just left asking; why even bother changing to a new slightly less universally appealing art style when what they had before was already beautiful and all they really had to do was recreate it in lovely HD.

@Austroid

Actually, that's exactly what they did do; use the same engine from the new DuckTales game for this new Shantae game. It's a very good engine but I don't think they've truly nailed the combination of 2D sprites and 3D levels quite yet, to the point that they blend seamlessly together and work in perfect harmony with each other so that it achieves the best possible result. Ideally you'd want these games to look entirely like they are made of the highest quality 2D artwork even when they actually use lots of 3D elements. It's very close but not 100% there yet.

Incidentally, the lovely Disney style character-art they have in DuckTales Remastered is exactly the kind of style I think they should be going for with this new Shantae game. In fact, it's pretty much exactly the same line style of the older Shantae characters when they where drawn in high res for press shots etc.

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130826073446/disney/images/b/be/DuckTales_Remastered_-Scrooge.jpg

http://jvmgg.unblog.fr/files/2013/07/shantae-jvmonde.jpg

Anyone that would pick the more "stylized" look of the new Shantae game over the indisputably universally appealing and loved Disney style, when trying to make their games more "playful and charming" etc, is just plain crazy in my opinion.

@WinterWarm

What I mean is that the female form is important, normal healthy guys actually do pay attention to it you know (yes, even on video game characters), and if you get it wrong you will have a character that is less universally appealing. So, absolutely, the shape of her figure and even the boobs are important.

Also; I'm from Scotland. I'm not quite sure how appreciating the female form is automatically considered an "American" trait to you.

@beatalLiToaD

Yes, I am. Well, mainly in the New Super Mario Bros games. It's not bad, like the art in this new Shantae is not bad, but it's not quite as charming and well realized as either the best of the 2D Mario pixel art or when they really try to capture the original 2D sprite look and appeal in the 3D art as they did in Super Mario 3D Land for the most part.

@Ophis

Cheers

Bass_X0

#39

Bass_X0 said:

Perhaps Shantae is less detailed this time so that they can draw a large number of HD animations for her. The more detailed a sprite, the longer it takes to draw each frame of animation. Especially in HD.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#41

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

Can we all just agree to disagree that we all have out own opinions on styles of art? Okay? If you want to debate take it to the forums. You guys are completely derailing what this article is about. Its a Q&A not an open place to debate.

When I have the funds I'm backing this title and I hope that others will help it with the same amount of support as Mighty 9 is getting.

Kirk

#42

Kirk said:

@Sakura_Moonlight2421

Look, the article was an interview where the graphics were discussed during one of the questions/comments. If we can't discus that aspect further in the comments section of the article then Nintendo Life might as well just censor all comments completely and only allow people to say exactly what it wants us to say on each article.

The discussion about the graphics of this game is on topic and it is in fact a popular talking point with this particular game so I don't see what your problem is with discussing it here and that includes people replying to additional comments made in response to previous comments too. That's what these comments sections are for. They're not just there for worshiping fanboys to heap loving praise on the chosen company or product of their affection.

Enough with the "derailing" claims.

That's the go to line when people like you don't agree with someone who raises an issue with a game you like and you want to shut them up, regardless of them having a perfectly valid point that they've expressed clearly, eloquently and backed up with lots of valid and relevant examples etc.

An issue was raised and a view expressed regarding the graphics, which were mentioned in the article, and now there's an ongoing discussion regarding the point that was raised.

There should be absolutely no issue with that at all.

Grubdog

#43

Grubdog said:

The new art style looks much better to me. I like the consistency WayForward are attaining with MSF and Shantae, looks like they're hitting their stride in a big way.

Kosmo

#44

Kosmo said:

How about we just stop fighting over what Kirk says. He is no bad guy, he has a valid point with solid arguments after all. If you still disagree, which, incidentally, I do, well, tough. Things can't be all black or white.
Shantae is less sexy, but cuter. Very often, a simpler, less convoluted style can give a better impression of action thanks to deformation effects that are very difficult to apply sucessfully to very detailed models. Look at WarioLand SD. It is gorgeousness incarnate, and Wario's style is very simple. AND he still Wario. DIsgaea D2 will also apply a simpler style to Laharl and his cohorts, and it looks great to me. Actually, Shantae's design and proportions remind me very much of the newest style of Nippon Ichi Software.
Main point of this post: I like the new style, it looks great.

Kirk

#45

Kirk said:

@Kosmo

Wario Land Shake Dimension does indeed look gorgeous.

Interestingly, it's basically the same kind of style I'm saying the new Shantae should have i.e. the more traditional animation or cartoon style, which is also very much like the high resolution Shantae character art from the old games.

It's almost exactly how the old Shantae pixel art would look in HD if done properly. As opposed to the style it currently has that is nothing like WL:SD.

I'd love it if the new Shantae game art style was like WL:SD.

:D

OptometristLime

#46

OptometristLime said:

Great post, @Kosmo

I sold my copy of Wario Land; but that was only because Wario has more methodical game play, than kinetic (I prefer the latter). Fantastic art no matter what!

hiptanaka

#48

hiptanaka said:

@Kirk I agree with you regarding the art styles. I especially don't like the goofiness of the new style, with huge bracelets, etc. Anyway, I have two things I want to say to you:

1. Regardless of a slightly different art style, I would use my energy to encourage people to back this game. It's a once-in-a-decade chance to get a really well designed and expansive "Metroidvania", and I'd like them to get millions of dollars if possible.

2. A better place to voice these opinions would be on the Kickstarter board, or in e-mail to WayForward, where you could actually make a change.

Kirk

#49

Kirk said:

@PeterCoffin

While I fully understand where you are coming from in terms of bringing some variety to female characters in gaming I personally think it's right that developers are looking at this from the point of view of creating a main character that is as universally appealing to as many people as possible, be it in terms of the body shape or even the style of line that's used to draw the character etc.

Not that the new Shantae is ugly or anything but all these little details when all considered as a whole really do make a difference and despite what some people think they are extremely important.

I think they can however still keep the kind of variety in body shapes you highlighted for any other female characters in the game that people aren't going to be paying as much attention to and interacting with throughout the entire game.

It's like in the Zelda games; you want both Link and Zelda to look as aesthetically pleasing and appealing as possible but you can basically make the the great fairies look as funky as you want (and they do).

It's just good business sense to make your main character appealing to as wide an audience as possible, unless there's a specific intention to do the opposite and your whole game is designed around this (Imagine a video game of Ugly Betty for example).

@hiptanaka

Two good points but I think the hardcore fans and Kickstarter supporters can and are doing all that encouraging work themselves, I don't have any particular allegiance or attachment to this project beyond my view of the new artistic direction, and I don't have enough money to back any Kickstarter projects which means I really don't have the option of voicing my opinion directly on the Kickstarter boards for those projects (I assume).

I guess I could contact WayForward directly but I genuinely think they're past the point of no return now i.e. they're almost certainly not going to make a change as big as going back to the old artstyle across the entire game now (but still in HD obviously), so I'm really just expressing my opinion so that maybe they at least hear it in the back of their brains going forward with other projects.

MetalKingShield

#50

MetalKingShield said:

I genuinely think the hourglass figure is important to the Shantae series. She's a dancer, so it's all about the shape of her hips and how they move. When I played Risky's Revenge I really liked the statues at the fountains where you got the transformation powers. It was like they were deliberately trying to convey this idea of the hourglass figure/belly dancer, and a lot of that's about the hips and waist.

Luffymcduck

#52

Luffymcduck said:

@Kirk
Gotta agree with you. I really prefer to older design, the one is rather bland.

And after Rayman Origins and Legends, my expectations for 2d platformers graphics has risen considerably. Though we have to remember this is a digital release... still waiting for this, even though Shantae is not one of my favourite series.

Kirk

#53

Kirk said:

@Kaze_Memaryu

Yeah, it's at least appreciated that they updated the skin color if nothing else. It definitely improves even the current design and it also just goes to show that things some people might not think make a difference (line, proportions, details, color, etc) do in fact make a difference and sometimes a lot bigger than they think.

@Luffymcduck

Yeah, Legends is a beauty.

Genesaur

#54

Genesaur said:

She looks so pale in this one. I like how she looks with more of a tan complexion.

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