At long last, we’ve arrived at the FINAL Kickstarter Update for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero! Today we’d like to take a moment to say a final word of thanks while we look back at everything we’ve accomplished together!
September 4th, 2013 was the the day we ran screaming to the internet to seek funding for a brand new Shantae game! You might recall that we were knee deep in development on “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse” for Nintendo 3DS, a game that pushed the limits of what we could do on an indie-dev budget. Shantae’s most vocal fans were already hoping that the series would shift to a Ducktales Remastered style game after Pirate’s Curse, but we knew that launching that kind of project for worldwide console release was way beyond our reach.
If Shantae was going to take that next big step, she was going to need help! Kickstarter was still a fairly new concept for most of us, but we put together a campaign (complete with a snazzy gameplay video), held our breath, and clicked the launch button.
Hot diggity dog! You folks came out of nowhere to show your support for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero! We received fan art, thousands of emails and inquiries through social media. The Kickstarter message boards were buzzing. We debuted Jake Kaufman and Cristina Vee’s “Dance Through the Danger” theme song, brought in heavy hitter Inti Creates to create illustrations, showed off beautiful environment concepts from GiGi Digi, and animation tests from Mariel Cartwright. The campaign was going strong!
We continued to make new announcements throughout the campaign, adding Sony’s freshly revealed “PS Vita TV” (later to become Playstation TV in North America) to the mix, and bringing a free Dancer Costume to Shantae: Risky’s Revenge on iOS hoping to attract more Backers. We chatted with you on the message boards, cross-promoted with other active campaigns (Hyper Light Drifter and Mighty No. 9), and posted daily Kickstarter Updates showcasing the talented folks who would build this new game!
By September 23rd, the game was fully funded! With several days to spare, new Backers joined in, and many of you raised your pledges thanks in large part to Shantae super-fans who championed the message boards. It was starting to become a real community!
With everyone’s help we hit one Stretch Goal after another, adding twice the amount of game content! Risky Boots would get her own storyline, Sky, Bolo, and Rottytops would become playable, and Shantae would get 3 special costume modes! Tinkerbat Transformation, color swap costumes, and the Hyper Light Drifter’s “Drifter Blade” would round out the package. On Oct 4th, the Kickstarter funding period officially closed. Even then, generous donations continued via PayPal for many more months.
With the game funded, it was time get started! Concept artwork for locations, vehicles, and characters would stack up, and then we’d share it with you in regular Kickstarter updates. Backer reactions were always supportive, encouraging, and insightful. As Backers you played the part of both fans, and financiers. Many of you gave meaningful criticism and had open conversation with us throughout the process, some of which helped shape the game and influence some of the tougher decisions we had to make. WayForward and it’s Backers were working together as a team!
These relationships took on new meaning when it was time for Backer Voting on transformations, costumes, enemy designs, and the like. As we moved past pre-production and into the day-to-day grind that is game development, we worked with Enemy Designer Backers and Your Face In Game Backers to incorporate their characters and ideas, weaving everything into the narrative and levels. For those who aren’t aware, these particular Backers directly helped shape the game! Half-Genie Hero would never have been the same without their help!
The game was progressing smoothly, albeit more slowly than expected. This is when we became aware of multiple missteps on our part! Why be bashful? Let’s flip over this metaphorical rock and see what’s wriggling underneath, shall we? Bring the pain!
Our first blunder was to not take into account the more than 2X game content that was funded, how it would affect our launch day - and more importantly - how to communicate that to Backers. Once funded, the Kickstarter Page became locked. It had never even occurred to us to change the delivery date based on the game’s new scope of work. We worked quickly, but once we realized there was no hope to hit this target we sheepishly gave everyone the bad news. You responded kindly, and encouraged us to do whatever it took to make the game amazing! Knowing we had the support of our Backers, we decided to ship the main game first, and deliver the other modes as DLC expansions later.
Months later we hit our next major snag. The industry was entering a transitional period. New consoles were launching, and both consumers and Backers were leaving their aging game systems behind. Soon it became necessary to shift the production from Xbox 360 and PS3 over to Xbox One and PS4, or face even later ship dates and uncertain sales. Only Wii U, which had launched close to the start of our production, kept its candle burning all the way through to the end, only to be replaced by the popular Nintendo Switch a few months after our game launched.
As the end of production drew near for the main game (also known as Shantae Mode), it was time to shift our energies from development to publishing. Testing, ratings boards submissions, localizations, and Backer Code procurement - all of it ate up precious time, and we still had over 100 DLCs and Update submissions planned before we’d reach the end if we were going to release every bit of content worldwide!
All of you continued to give support, demonstrating the patience of saints until the very end. Finally, the base game launched on December 20th, 2016 - a total of 3 years in development. The Stretch Goal DLC shipped throughout the course of 2017. Our free “thank you gift”- Jammies Mode - released in 2018, was the cherry on top!
Even though there were plenty of obstacles throughout the production, we had incredible talent, patient fans, and strong partners to help see us through.
We’d like to give a huge thank you to our partner Xseed. They came alongside to help bring about the retail versions, helped promote the game online and at E3 events, and most likely saved the Vita version during the year of console transition. All the while they allowed us to put Backers ahead of everyone else. They helped behind the scenes as well, creating our Backer Art Book, the official Shantae HGH website, and aided us with submissions and code requests. Thank you to everyone at Xseed!
PQube published the game in Europe, and went to great lengths to promote the game there. They became an important partner, especially in the last year. Thanks PQube!
Oizumi Amuzio was our Japanese publisher. You might be wondering why all the “thank yous” to retail (non-Backer) versions of the game. They had nothing to do with the Kickstarter, right? Well, it varies with territory - but we’re sometimes required to have a publishing partner in that region. For example, without Amuzio, we would not be able to release even a digital version in Japan at all outside of Steam. So, a huge thanks to Amuzio for helping this game release to our fans in Japan!
Limited Run Games was an incredible partner as well, helping with CD manufacturing and taking on the distribution duties of our physical rewards! They took the posters created by Yes Anime (thank you!!), the shirts created by Kentoo and Handsome Devil (thank you!!), the coin by Coins for Anything (thank you!!) and with the help of BackerKit (thank you!!) got all of your rewards safely to you! Phew!!
Finally, we had the Half-Genie Hero development team, who labored tirelessly to bring you the very best product possible! Thanks also to president Voldi Way, Shantae creator Erin Bozon, and the entire WayForward staff past and present who worked behind the scenes to support this incredible production!
Let’s talk about our project status! ...Well, it’s done!
- At this time, we have sent out all of the game codes, DLC codes, and all digital rewards to Backers at each respective tier.
- Every Backer has been sent a complimentary PC download code for the game’s “Ultimate Edition”, as a thank you gift!
- Limited Run Games has finished delivering all physical rewards!
If for some reason you believe something has been missed:
- Please do not contact Limited Run Games. Their job is complete - and besides, they have no more Backer Rewards at their offices anyway!
- What then? DO contact WayForward at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to help you out!
As of today we don’t have plans for any future Kickstarter Updates. But if we have any significant WayForward or Shantae related news that we feel is appropriate to share with you, we might reach out again down the line. Don’t be too surprised if we coming knocking someday!
As for the Kickstarter Message Board for this product, we will no longer be monitoring it on a regular basis. If you’d like to contact us, please reach out via:
And with that, it’s time to say goodbye! It really is impossible to express how grateful we are to every single person who believed in this project enough to back it! The game (while very late in delivery) was a huge success by every other measure.
Together we created something that brought a smile to faces all over the world - Heck, maybe even a few eye rolls or forehead slaps. WayForward and its team members have gained a tremendous amount of experience throughout this process, and it’s helped us grow. Shantae has become more popular than ever thanks to your generosity and support, and has been able to reach fans in new territories. Shantae Half-Genie Hero even went on to break sales records on Nintendo Switch, and entered Famitsu’s Gold Medal Hall of Fame. Best of all, we pitched this for you, we made it together, and are overjoyed with the end result. Half-Genie Hero was a successful Kickstarter Campaign!
Thank you very much for your support!
Matt Bozon (Shantae series director)
On behalf of WayForward and the Shantae: Half-Genie Hero development team.
(strike a dance pose, warp out!)