Shantae Now Has Her Old Skin Tone Back In Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

By Ishaan . September 8, 2013 . 9:30am

When WayForward Technologies debuted Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, those familiar with prior Shantae games noted that the Shantae character’s skin tone was lighter than it had been in previous titles, now leaning closer to a more pale skin colour, as opposed to Shantae’s original brown-ish complexion.


WayForward have taken note of the feedback, and are presently trying out new colour palettes for Shantae’s main sprite. Above is a look at their current progress. You can compare this new sprite’s skin tone with the previous one here.


WayForward have also provided an explanation regarding how colours work in their game, and other details regarding Shantae’s more stylized and exaggerated design:


The night time colors are meant to be like the underwater or nighttime scenes in shows like 1980’s GI Joe and Transformers, or like the night time scenes in many Animated Disney Classics (like Aladdin) .


Regarding some other design elements, these were arrived at by drawing the character large, looking something like the pixel sprite. Then it was shrunk down until it was tiny on screen and edited at a micro-sized view. Body parts where exaggerated until you could clearly see her eyes, face, navel, and hip-tilt direction even at a great distance from camera. Then it was enlarged again, and cleaned up. This is the reason for the bowling pin shaped body, the very tall eyes, the long torso, and black triangular pants. She was designed for maximum contrast and readability on screen no matter how far we pull back the camera. This way we could have her battle a boss that’s truly colossal, or solve a puzzle that requires an extremely zoomed out view (think Harmony of Despair).


Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is in development for PC, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. A separate game, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, is in development for the Nintendo 3DS.

Read more stories about & & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • raitouniverse

    Much better

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      indeed <3

    • John Diamond

      Oh nevermind, i get it now. Oh well it’s nice to hear anyways

  • I really love the usage of colors here. It really does look like a mini Disney movie :D

  • idrawrobots

    Doesn’t explain why she lightened up, but I am glad it’s been changed.

    • BlackC#Bro

      Can I have a link to the full rez size of your picture.

      You know, for uh, “studying” purposes.

    • Letiumtide

      Because artists are people and not machines. Human error.

  • Curtis Kam

    Oh for the LOVE OF GOD I TOLD YOU GUYS THAT LIGHT SKIN TOME WASN’T THE FINAL SKIN TOME! God just the moment you see a favorite skin tome different, you guys freak out for nothing and unsupport the game, but seriously we need more support I mean a lot more.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Ishaan did you leak something you weren’t suppose to? Shantae: Half-Minute Hero? Is this a collaboration of some sorts? :/

    • KuroNathan

      Oh man if the hero, princess, and darklord were playable chars in Shantae that’d be neat. but probably a typo

      (or shantae in HMH2 HINT HINT)

      • brian

        If that game gets localized?

    • PoweredByHentai

      Half-Genie Hero is a kickstarter project.

      Technically, Shantae IS a half-genie, that much has been clear since the first title.

      • raitouniverse

        It’s a reference to the typo in the first sentence that says Shantae: Half-Minute hero.

        On a related note, step it up Ishaan.

        • PoweredByHentai

          Huh, I wasn’t aware of the typo until you mentioned it. I simply thought that FeatherFang was talking about something else.

    • AuraGuyChris

      I guess she has…

    • DesmaX

      I got confused the first time I saw the name too

    • Fixed!

  • ZekeFreek

    Here they are. Showing us all the… WayForward.

  • Alex

    Shantae’s better brown.

  • Shippoyasha

    I just wish this kickstarter didn’t come out at the same time as Mighty No 9 because this game might have gotten better support if everybody wasn’t going all out for Inafune’s project. I hope this game sees a huge spurt in pledges later on.

  • alixraen

    It really wasn’t that big of a deal that she had lighter skin, and I was honestly surprised at the amount of people who got bent out of shape by it. She looked fine lighter, and she looks fine darker.

    • Bunzi

      Odds are, you’re white, and thus the skin color of one of the few gaming heroes of color doesn’t mean much to you. To some of us, her lighter skin tones were an attempt to white wash a minority hero, one of very few. That’s not cool.

      • ShadowDivz

        I love how you come down on him, but your mature about it.

        But yeah, if your not a minority chances are you have no problem with it.

      • zerostasis

        I’m asian, I’m brown and I don’t have any problem with changing brown to white or white to brown. Or maybe I’m just not attached to the character yet. Probably because I haven’t played any of the Shantae games.

      • Draparde

        Personally I didint care much about her color because she was the same color as a minority. I care more because she was darker in her older games lol and it feels less like its her because of the change.
        (in the same vein it would be like suddenly Cloud is Black in his next game… i wouldn’t like it lol)

      • alixraen

        I love Shantae, but it’s not her skin color I fell in love with, it’s the character as a whole, so that’s why it doesn’t matter as much to me, the art style is gorgeous either way.

    • HELL NO! Brown female main characters are rare, so changing her skin tone is BLASPHEMY!

      On another note, Skin color is actually a big deal, no matter where you go. No matter how you attack or defend the subject, it will always go full circe. Those who have no regard for skin tones now are those who already went through those episodes before. Everyone is guilty of racial prejudice!

      • ShadowDivz

        I was having this exact same conversation the other day!
        No matter how open minded and “cool” you are. we all have a little racial prejudice deep down.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          You would know you lolimonger

          • ShadowDivz

            I don’t see what my fetishes have to do it this.
            And besides, your one to judge, aren’t you into traps?

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Uh no, I dont pull okama’s out of Zatanna’s hat.

        • @konpon568:disqus I think we all have learned well from Avenue Q.

    • Eric

      I think it also has to do with how dominant white protagonists are in not just video games but in many forms of media. Shantae was a beloved and iconic dark skinned AND female protagonist. Because Shantae broke the mold in such a way, changing her to fit the conventional cookie cutter outline is sure to cause backlash.

      Not saying that I’m a long time hardcore Shantae fan. I’ve never played any of them games or know much about them, but I can understand why people would cast stones.

      • alixraen

        I wouldn’t go so far as to call Shantae “iconic”. Beloved, yes, but I’m getting the feeling that there are those who love the series so because the protagonist is a non-white female, and not because the Shantae games are great platformers, which is why I love them.

        The color of her skin doesn’t matter as much to me as long as the game overall is great, which I have no doubt it will be.

    • Zero_Destiny

      Okay everyone I see even a day later we’re still kinda on this topic. Race/skin tones/ethnicity are all big topics, and since well the article IS about Shantae’s skin tone I let the discussion go on, but let’s wrap it up for now, and move on. Before it breaks down into something that may turn ugly.

      • alixraen

        I just wanted to clarify that on my end it’s not about race or ethnicity, but about an art style which is adorable whether her skin tone is darker or lighter.

        Also, I notice you’re from Amherst – WNY represent!

        • Zero_Destiny

          Yup, WNY, I guess you too. lol

          It’s fine, so let’s leave it at that. Sometimes it can get ugly, so I’m just trying to make sure we don’t get to that point here. No worries, sometimes it’s best to just move on.

  • Göran Isacson

    Justice has been done. Good on WayForward for noticing these complaints and changing it back. Their explanation for why they did so made a certain amount of sense, but making someone lighterskinned JUST to have a greater contrast between backgrounds and character is… not so good an idea. Still, kudos for realizing this was something they should change in the first place, can’t always get that kind of understanding from the videogame industry.

  • XypherCode

    I liked either the lighter or darker tone. XD

  • rurifan

    Personally I liked the lighter skin. Maybe they can have a slider in the settings and make everybody happy at once!

  • When I saw the trailer for this Monday I was wondering about why she was lighter and didn’t care for it for many of the reasons have already stated. Considering her attire and all it didn’t make much sense to me for her to be that light and didn’t know the reasons behind it until reading this article. In all honesty it is rare to see a darkskin protagonist in a game that isn’t being stereotyped severely and even rarer for them to be female, so it is good to see her original skintone back. Granted if this were a different version of the character I would be indifferent about it nor care as much.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos