News Article

WayForward Initially Planned a Shantae HD Title for the Wii U Launch

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Half-Genie Hero could become our Symphony of the Night"

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a new HD entry in the series currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter; at the time of writing over $260,000 of the $400,000 target has been pledged with 21 days to go. It's an ambitious release from WayForward, which is set for a significant number of platforms — assuming a successful fundraising campaign — including the Wii U eShop.

We decided to catch up with WayForward's Matt Bozon — the full interview will be published later today — to discuss a range of topics surrounding the project. In terms of the origins of this new release, Bozon explained that the studio had initially considered a new HD Shantae release in time for the launch of the Wii U, before swapping it out in favour of Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition.

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.

One of the challenges with bringing this title to HD systems, in particular, is stepping away from the handheld-only dynamic, which itself is continuing with the upcoming 3DS-exclusive Shantae And The Pirate's Curse. While acknowledging the challenge, WayForward's man is clearly expecting plenty of benefits to the fresh approach.

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.

Check back on Nintendo Life later today for the full interview. In the meantime let us know what you think in the comments below.

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User Comments (19)



StephenYap3 said:

That sounds interesting. If Konami won't port SotN to Wii U, then Half Genie Hero could satisfy me.



Jeyl said:

Dang it. More "Shantae could have been a Nintendo Exclusive" articles.



Volmun said:

iv been tempted by thes games befor haw do thay play? is it metroidvania like?



ThomasBW84 said:

@Jeyl Well, the handheld ones are exclusive, we should surely be happy about that! I thought it was interesting that it was originally planned as a potential Wii U launch game, but it makes perfect business sense for WayForward to go for multiple platforms with this one. Hopefully the handheld arena will stay exclusive.



JayceJa said:

having just played sotn for the first time last week, i think that would be pretty cool, so long as the difficulty and balance isnt as shot as sotn(rather dificult early, becomes an absolute joke by halfway)



HyperSonicEXE said:

That's actually how the first Shantae is. And I don't care how many powerups anyone got in that game, those Prairie Dogs bring the non-avoidable, random pain!

I would love for this game to be on the same level or better than SOTN, but I don't know if it will get the chance if some of these Stretch Goals can't get hit, especially when people are calling for it to have a ton of content (even though I liked the short, easy-replay length of Risky's Revenge).

First post ever from me, I've browsed for a while and love this site's reviews and comments. If you've thought about Kickstarting a game, or just trying it out for kicks, please help out our resident half-genie! It's a niche series, which is silly, since the 2 games that have been made so far were very fun! Not perfect, but well worth it! This series deserves a chance to be popular, and I'd personally like to see that 900k goal reached, so that this will maybe have 4-player just to even try and match up to spec with Old Samey Moreio Bros. (I hope there's a good 3D Mario in the pipeline).
Please consider helping out, and definitely spread the word, even about the past two games! I've put my pledge in, I love this series' humor and gameplay, and definitely want to see more!



Kirk said:

With this visual style it will not become your "Symphony of the Night". Or it certainly won't be the universally loved and praised hit that game was in my opinion. Certainly among the more core and mature gamers who are usually a bit more discerning about how their games look.

There's so much less attention to detail now and the game looks more like just another slightly simplified vector based HD mobile platform game* than the Shantae games I know and love. It's putting me off the game.

Go back the visual style of all your previous Shantae games that all your fans clearly already loved, please (just now in HD).

If you forget about the fact the new game is in HD and the other games are not for one second (it's not like you couldn't do the old style in HD); the new style is just not as visually appealing or as well executed.

The new HD game for Wii U does not look bad but it simply does not look as good as a Shantae game using the old style but in HD could and should look.

*I'm assuming people with eyes can actually see what I'm talking about if they do a quick comparison between the likes of Pirate's Curse on 3DS and the footage of the game on Wii U.



HyperSonicEXE said:

I know DuckTales Remastered received some flack on that point as well. That's a tall order, and I'm not sure what could be done about that, looks like they hand-draw a lot. But, WayForward is really listening to and responding to their Comments section. That's how all the art got changed to make Shantae's skin darker and more closely match the originals. They've been using this engine since at least Bloodrayne - if you brought up reviews and general reception to the art style in a constructive way, I'd bet they'd listen!



Kirk said:


I'd actually like to think they have someone at the company that comes in here and reads these comments to be honest (or I'd like to hope so).

I get the impression most companies of the typical small-medium size of WayForward would have someone in them who still likes to view sites like Nintendo Life and see how people are responding to any articles about their games and stuff.

I might be wrong but I'm hoping they do in fact read these comments.

Not that I have any expectation it will make any difference at this point because it looks like they're dead set on this new slightly simplified Flash-Vector-Cartoon-Network look to this game.

It's a shame because I think the original style just looked better all-round and in full HD, with the same attention to detail and overall quality of the original pixel art, I think it could have been simply stunning.

As it is, the game just looks like any the hundreds/thousands of slightly generic HD vector looking games you'd find on the likes of iPhone.



Lionhart said:

Personally, I think it's a bit greedy to want Shantae to remain a Nintendo exclusive in this advanced day in time. The Sony PS Vita is truly the PS3 made portable. The PS Vita is such a dynamically advanced handheld that it makes it's predecessor the PSP look like Rebel Wilson trying to compete against the glorious Olivia Munn. WayForward has confirmed on their Kickstarter page that Shantae Half Genie Hero will be released on the PS Vita in response to many pledgers pleas (myself included) for Shantae to make history on the PS Vita.



HyperSonicEXE said:

Yeah, and even if they don't, I'm sure the reviews of D:R's graphics are still in the backs of their minds.
Still, I'd be okay with it, even if it could be a bit more uniquely stylized to the series. But then that's just me, I'm more wrapped up in the gameplay to get put off by graphics (though there have definitely been exceptions).



Ralizah said:

Pity. A Wii U exclusive Shantae game might have sold me on the system. Oh well. As it stands, I'll probably get it for PC and Vita.



Squiggle55 said:

Is a studio like Wayforward and an IP like Shantae really having trouble finding publishing money? That would be a sad situation if publishers weren't willing to back something like this. Or is it just more attractive for devs not to do the traditional model? I do see the attraction of knowing exactly how much guaranteed money you have to work with. I'm just wondering if something like this really couldn't be done at all without Kickstarter.

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