Not too long ago, we discussed Wayforward’s Shantae and the Seven Sirens, which will soon be seeing a release on consoles and PC after being an Apple Arcade exclusive since launch. The title was originally released back in September, but will be seeing its new release on May 28th for everyone to enjoy.
Ahead of this launch, Matt Bozon, co-founder of development studio WayForward and co-creator of the Shantae series as a whole, gave an interview with media outlet Goomba Stomp discussing the title. Bozon discussed the past and future of Shantae and how these things inform the design of Seven Sirens, the fifth in the series, as the team works to keep things fresh.
Discussing game design, Bozon describes some of the innovations they brought to the series, such as the Monster Card concept. This mechanic is interesting, as it provides buffs to Shantae but not ones so strong that they’re absolutely critical, allowing players to ignore the mechanic entirely if they prefer.
“Players can skip the Monster Card concept entirely if they like,” Bozon states, “But by beating enemies and performing sidequests and searching for hidden secrets, players can find cards that boost their abilities. For example, a player who only cares about speed can defeat a water-based enemy to get a card that grants faster swimming… It’s a fun system that offers a lot of ways to play, and replay, the game.”
Bozon also mentions art direction, which remains similar at its core while still taking a new stylistic approach. The team pulled inspiration from anime, naming popular shows like My Hero Academia and Shield Hero.
This also translates into the animation of the game, which the development team saw a bit of difficulty in. Bozon discusses having to re-create even her basic mobility and several enemies during the translation to 4K, but as a result, they were able to make a “bigger and more complex game that could ship this year, rather than a likely 2021-2022 time frame.”
In closing, Bozon discusses WayForward’s approaching 30th anniversary and reflecting on a hectic year. The co-creator hints that we may be seeing a bit of a hiatus from the team, as 2019 saw a huge amount of releases – River City Girls, Vitamin Connection, and Shantae and the Seven Sirens to name a few, all of which were in development at the same time. Bozon humorously states that the team needs a nap, which means that there’s a good chance Shantae and the Seven Sirens might be the last game we see for a bit of time.