As of late, WayForward, the minds behind DuckTales Remastered, Double Dragon Neon, and Contra 4 (my favorite) among other games, is giving Shantae plenty of love. The original Shantae on Game Boy Color is now available on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (read our PAX Prime 2013 impressions), the sequel to Shantae: Risky’s Revenge on DSiWare (also available on 3DS eShop), will release for the Nintendo 3DS eShop this winter.
But WayForward has much bigger plans for their purple-haired, belly-dancing mascot. By receiving frequent questions from fans and journalists alike if they’ll ever make more original titles, WayForward made a Kickstarter page to seek funding for a new original title that goes well beyond their normal resources. And that, of course, is Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, a next-generation take on everything WayForward does best to a new level by running on a world-class PC engine at 1080p and 60 frames per second. The game has already been announced for Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PCs (via Steam). So far, the campaign has collected about $120,000 in 24 hours.
You play as Shantae, a human-genie hybrid who explores Sequin Island by leaping platforms and venturing dungeons to fight monsters and foil the plans of the pirate Risky Boots. She fights enemies by whipping them with her ponytail and belly-dances to transform into creatures and avoid harm’s way. Reminiscent to titles like Metroid, Castlevania, and The Legend of Zelda, labyrinths and dungeons are interconnected in a way where exploration is crucial to the game’s design. There are also customizable features for magic, abilities, and more to keep the series’ formula fresh, like the game’s new art-designs and animations.
Particularly for this game’s story, Shantae, awakening from a deep sleep, heads to a forest for answers, where she reaches a place called Scuttle Town and discovers a trap door, thus leading her into a subterranean cavern. When she follows a familiar voice and enters a fountain, she is taken to the fabled Genie Realm and witnesses a powerful evil escaping before finally waking up. Whether it was a dream or a premonition, her new adventure is definitely beginning on the spot.
The structure is divided into chapters with subplots that contain different friends and foes, transformation abilities, puzzles, bosses, and more. With the current budget, the game can have only an action-packed opening stage, 3 chapters, and a concluding level like the original Shantae games, which is why WayForward needs your money via crowdfunding so they can settle for more and add lots of extra content, meaning more levels, modes, unlockable costumes, animated sequences, and extra playable characters! The targeted budget is $400,000, but there are stretch goals, which you can see a sample of below:
Further stretch goals ask for more than 1 million dollars of crowdfunding moneys (which will see up to three more bonus chapters), but it is worth noting that a million dollars is relatively cheap compared to the production of triple-A blockbuster games. Plus, it shows that WayForward is literally going the way forward (haha) by making a game like this on their own, as their last HD console outing, DuckTales Remastered, actually had funding by Capcom as a publisher.
And with Matt Bozon (Contra 4, Mighty Switch Force!, Shantae) directing the game, Jake Kaufman—whose music alone is worth supporting—composing the soundtrack, as well as the art and 3D designers behind games like Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame, A Boy and His Blob, DuckTales Remastered, and Silent Hill: Book of Memories working on this game, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is worth supporting for these talented folks.
Reward tiers for those who pledge toward the project start at $5 for special wallpaper. Copies of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero start at $15. Jake Kaufman’s soundtrack (which should be amazing, just like his previous work) starts at $25 for a digital copy (you can also get the physical copy at the $75 tier). Other interesting rewards include an art book ($35 for digital; hard cover at $200), access to the Beta on PC ($45), and a collector’s coin with Shantae and Risky Boots ($90).
So, would you like to help WayForward acquire the necessary funds to make Shantae: Half-Genie Hero their biggest and boldest game yet? Check out their Kickstarter page to see more.