WayForward On Cancelled Shantae Games, And The Difference Between Pirate’s Curse And Half-Genie Hero



WayForward Technologies have wrapped up work on Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, which is coming to Nintendo 3DS (and Wii U), and plan to release the game sometime this Fall. In a recent interview with Siliconera, series director Matt Bozon explained how they went about designing the game, which is heavily inspired by Metroid’s non-linear gameplay—a first for Shantae.


Pirate’s Curse isn’t the first time that WayForward have experimented with Shantae in different ways either, although most of those other experiments haven’t worked out. Back in the Game Boy Advance days, WayForward prototyped a game called Shantae 2: Risky Revolution, which was to be a sequel to the original Game Boy Color Shantae. The first world of the game was playable, and late last year, WayForward actually showed it off on a livestream for the first time. You can view this in the video embedded above.


Beyond Risky Revolution, there were other prototypes that didn’t get made into full games either, a lot of those being 3D games.


“We had a polygonal Shantae that could be run around in three distinct gameplay ‘gyms’,” director Matt Bozon shared with Siliconera. “One was a spline-scroller (like Namco’s Klonoa), one was a free-range 3D like Mario 64, and the last was an isometric 3D platformer. We’ve done a lot of exploration in this area… Shantae was a sprite/3D hybrid for PlayStation and PC, and was free-roaming on the PlayStation 2.”


“She even rode a river raft on the GameCube,” he revealed. “It’s possible that we’ll see a polygonal Shantae down the line, but only if it serves the style of gameplay we want to create at the time.”


Now that Pirate’s Curse is done, Bozon is concentrating his next project, Shantae: Half-Genie hero, which is going to be an entirely different game. The most obvious difference between the two new Shantaes is that while Pirate’s Curse is heavily inspired by Metroid, with its interconnected areas and gradual item progression, Half-Genie Hero is a more straightforward action platformer. We asked Bozon if there were any other notable differences between the two titles.


“The games are fairly different,” Bozon said. “The teams have no real crossover besides me and Jake (Virt) Kaufman. Half-Genie Hero is more about dancing, over-the-top spectacle, arcade action, and some light quest elements to keep it true to the series (and it’s still in development, so anything can happen!). It’s like a Shantae TV show come to life!”


Pirate’s Curse has a deeper narrative and is more rooted in 16-bit stylings, even though it has higher resolution paintings and occasional voice over,” he continued. “Pirate’s Curse expands the original gameplay and takes into new territory. Half-Genie Hero goes back to belly dancing and magic, but adds a ton of variety with more playable characters and HD visual design.”

Ishaan Sahdev
About The Author
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.