As a part of our companion coverage to our interview with WayForward about all things Shantae, we sat down with Matt Bozon to discuss what could have been with their Shantae for Smash campaign.  Could se see Shantae cameo in a Nintendo game in the future?  We’re certainly excited about the prospect!

PureNintendo: WayForward was one of the first studios to start promoting one of their characters being in Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS when the campaign was announced by Nintendo back in April of 2015.  How did the idea come about to feature Shantae in Smash Bros.?

MATT: It was all Fan-driven! Once Nintendo announced the Smash Ballot, our inboxes became flooded with emails asking if we were going to be in the running, or if we knew anything special about the campaign. We didn’t of course. For all we knew this was Nintendo’s way of measuring fan interest in cameos, or maybe which brands crossed over in the minds of fans. Or, maybe they had some completely different motive, measuring the reach of certain brands by territory. Or maybe the whole thing was just for promoting Smash in general. We weren’t sure. But when we saw how much effort Shantae fans were putting into promoting Shantae’s inclusion in Smash, it seemed crazy to not back them up as much as possible!


PN: Did you ever contact Nintendo during the ballot process or nudge them to see what Shantae’s chances were? How was Nintendo involved with you in the Smash ballot process?  Did they encourage you and other developers to submit their characters or was it merely up to the individual developers to promote their characters on their own?

MATT: Well, we do have daily contact with Nintendo for our day-to-day goings on, but we avoided this topic altogether. In years past, we’ve mentioned plenty of times that we’d like to see Shantae make an appearance as a Trophy or something… any kind of first party inclusion that would excite our fans. So we didn’t want to formally ask. They know we’re insufferable Nintendo fans over here, Just remember that until recently Shantae was unknown in Japan. But now she is known all over the globe! So, maybe something like this could still happen when the time is right!

PN: If Shantae had been selected, what sort of moves could we have seen from our favorite half-genie?

MATT: I’ve usually held that Shantae uses hair-whips as a primary move, and dancing or transforming as a secondary gameplay layer, typically for mobility or utility. And third comes item-based magic like fireballs and such. So if this was carried over into Smash, she’d be a close range player with a variety of hair attacks, and some interesting cosmetic changes into animal form when she does certain moves. Like poofing briefly into  Harpy form to recover from a fall, or poofing into an elephant when performing a charged smash.  Maybe the occasional fireball throw. Shantae fans have put together a ton of their own ideas, many of which feel spot on. Personally, I’d picture Shantae as somewhat short and iconic like her game sprite….something between Pit and Mega Man. Not between Peach and Samus in terms of proportions and visual style.

PN: Were you ever approached from Nintendo before the ballot results were announced?  Did they give you any indication how many votes Shantae accumulated?

MATT: No, but we have a pretty good idea from the straw polls, which were conducted throughout the campaign. Sure, the results were mixed, but Shantae was usually near, or at the top. But since we didn’t really know the nature of the voting process, we just took it as reinforcement that Shantae has some of the greatest and most passionate fans ever. The whole thing was nothing but encouraging and fun for us!

PN: This may be a no-brainer, but if Nintendo ever runs a ballot for a future Smash Bros. game, do you think WayForward would start up another campaign for Shantae’s inclusion?

MATT: Sure! But in the meantime, I’d like to get her an Amiibo and get her into Mario Maker!

to read more coverage about Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, check out Issue 27 of PNM, available now in print and in digital on iOS and Android!

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