Matt and Matt talk Shantae, WayForward, and Mighty Switch Force! (Interview with Matt Bozon!)

shantae-riskys-revenge-dsiware_69606-1It’s no secret that we love WayForward. So when I got the chance to chat with Matt Bozon, WayForward’s Creative Director and director of the Shantae series, I was super excited. Let’s not waste any time and jump right in.

mattmagician

Thanks for taking some time out of the schedule, I know you guys are super busy right now! If you could, tell us a bit about WayForward and how you got started?

Matt

Sure! My name is Matt, and I was one of the founding members, back when it was just 3 guys and a couch.  Our first game was Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge for the SNES back in the early 90s. After development was done we ported the game to Game Boy, Game Gear, and Sega Genesis.  200 something games and 25 years later we’re still at it! Today I’m the Creative Director and I also head up publishing.  On occasion I’ll jump back into the trenches and lead a team like in the old days.  Contra 4, Sigma Star Saga, the Shantae series, and the Mighty series are some of my babies and I hope you like them!  

John

i agree

mattmagician

How did development on both of the current Shantae games start?

Matt

I started designing Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse right after finishing Risky’s Revenge in 2010.  We brought a team on about 2 years later, once our tech was up and running on the 3DS, and the tools had matured a bit. The game was far into development when we decided to run the Half-Genie Hero Kickstarter campaign, but it wasn’t’ long afterwards that we decided to make some heavy revisions on the game and improve the quest flow.  Since Pirate’s Curse was not funded, sometimes the project had to take the back seat to other needs, but we always kept a team on it, and they worked extremely hard through thick and thin.

mattmagician

How has Shantae evolved since the original title, development wise? 

Matt

The biggest change is team size, and the actual people who work on Shantae.  There has been very little cross over from one Shantae team to the next, so each project is sort of a classroom (and sometimes I’m the one doing the learning).  The first game was mostly me and programmer Jimmy Huey, with a few others.  Risky’s Revenge was a considerably larger team, and the Curse Team included around a dozen.  Half-Genie Hero is even bigger still. Our tools are different every time, since we’ve never done a Shantae game back to back.