WayForward joined the Wii U launch with Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition, a HD remake of their Nintendo 3DS puzzle game. In this game, you play as Patricia Wagon who has to capture Space Hooligans that escaped custody. The screenshot shows Patricia with a Mega Buster-like pellet gun, but her greatest tool is the siren on her head which makes objects pop in and out of the background.
You can use this ability to make platforms appear and walls disappear. In later levels, you shoot Patricia from a purple rocket block and as she’s flying you have to catch her in another block. If you’re looking for a platform game with puzzle elements, Mighty Switch Force! is for you. On the Nintendo 3DS, Mighty Switch Force! uses 3D effects to highlight foreground objects. The Wii U version doesn’t have those, but has pretty 1080p graphics instead.
"Basically, we had to make new model sheets because the sprite characters are great, but you can’t use them as a model sheet for high resolution animation," Sara Pocock, Art Director at WayForward, explained to Siliconera. "What we did is took the old pixel art and used a combination of that and the interstitial illustrations that were scattered through the old game and used that as a base. The in-game models are like a chibi version of the illustrations. Once we drew those all of the new animation was based on that."
"It was more work than we thought," Voldi Way, "Tyrannical Overlord" of WayForward said. "We thought we would just redraw everything HD, but then again we added double the number of levels like the Hyper Drive bonus levels and that took that a long time."
Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition has 21 stages which were from the 3DS version plus hard mode versions of all of them. "We did so much testing back and forth between me and the director, Austin, who were doing the new levels. We would constantly push each other to make this like this and meld our ideas altogether until we have a final product. Then we pass it to Voldi to try out," WayForward level designer Chris Schroder commented.
"If I can pass this, we can let it go through! I’m the low end tester," Way ribbed.
WayForward expanded the 3DS version of Mighty Switch Force! through a free update that added five bonus levels. I asked Way if they plan to release any more levels for Hyper Drive Edition either as an update or paid downloadable content.
"You know it’s hard to say just yet. I mean we don’t have any plans, I should say that. Then again, we didn’t have any plans to add new levels for the first one. If it does well and people like it then yeah we’ll keep adding stuff," Way replied.
"We can keep on adding levels if you guys want." Schroder chimed in.
While WayForward has original IPs like Shantae and the Mighty series, most of their revenue comes from being a developer. "We just take it one day at a time," Way said when I asked him if they were going to release more original WayForward games. "Because still, as of last year, 93% of our business was with other publishers like Adventure Time, Silent Hill or any of those."