The fifth entry in the Shantae franchise, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, is now available across various platforms. Over the last 18 years, the character has become something of an industry icon, despite her humble beginnings on the Game Boy Color. Shantae was created by Erin Bozon and Matt Bozon, who continue to create new adventures for the character. With development on the game officially at an end, Comicbook.com chatted with co-creator and director Matt Bozon about the game's many new additions, the possibility of an animated series, and Shantae's recent explosion in popularity.
Do you plan on checking out Shantae and the Seven Sirens? Are you a fan of the franchise? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
Keep reading to see what Matt Bozon had to say about all things Shantae and the Seven Sirens!
10 consecutive years.
Comicbook.com: First of all, congrats on the release! How does it feel finishing work on the fifth entry in the Shantae franchise?
Matt Bozon: Wow, thank you on behalf of the team. We’re pooped. We just did ten consecutive years of Shantae with no gaps. It’s crazy! We could all use a tropical vacation. Just hopefully not the kind with flesh-eating Sirens in it.
Comicbook.com: Has there been a part of the development process for Seven Sirens that has really surprised you?
I’m surprised that this was able to come together so quickly. It was about one-and-a-half years of production, which is record time for a Shantae game. We were lucky to have a lot of returning team members, which allowed for more creative work and fewer explanations of how things should work. This one really clicked for a lot of our team. Even people who were new to Shantae were able to jump in quickly and bring something new to the project.
Monster Card system.
Comicbook.com: The game features a new Monster Card system that’s pretty different from what we’ve seen in previous Shantae titles. What was the inspiration behind it?
Oh, that? It was stolen from Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow! Did I say stolen? I mean borrowed! Having a chance to gain the power of any monster you encounter in the game - that’s such a cool idea. Konami did it first, and it was amazing. So we put our own twist on it 17 years later, and this kind of drop system adds a lot to the game. Now players can augment Shantae based on whatever Monster Cards they happen to find, or they can try to create a custom “Shantae build” to max out a favorite ability. It’s great for replaying the game, too!
Comicbook.com: Shantae and the Seven Sirens had kind of a unique release, appearing in two halves released on Apple Arcade before a combined release on PC and consoles. What was the genesis for that release method, and did it make development more difficult?
We had committed to Apple Arcade launch day. The plan was to release the game alongside the console releases on the same day. It wasn’t intended to be an exclusive. But, when we ran late, splitting the game in half for Apple was the solution we went with. It did buy us more time, but I’m sure that was a confusing six months for our fans. The game came out great, and thanks to Apple, it supports 15 languages and is available in even more places and will be seen by many more people!
Development during a pandemic.
Comicbook.com: The game still released on time, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Did the pandemic present challenges with the game’s development?
We were finished with development before all of this went down. But the game was with our testing department when work-from-home began. Everyone adapted quickly, and we’re fortunate to have jobs dealing mostly with ones and zeroes. We had to give a little more time for submissions, since we weren’t sure what would happen with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s timelines. We weren’t able to have all versions release at exactly the same time, but it was pretty close, all things considered! We hope the game will provide fans with an exciting tropical adventure while they’re hunkering down at home.
Comicbook.com: Shantae has really become a video game icon over the last 18 years, but a lot of that success has come in just the last few years; there’s been a Funko Pop, a cameo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the announcement of a Totaku Collection figure. Has this success been surprising to you?
Yes. Shantae fans are awesome. They have this increasing demand that keeps us constantly moving. Honestly, we’ve been so busy that we sometimes forget that she’s having these milestone moments. For example, last year marked 25 years since we created Shantae! And somewhere along the line she broke 3 million copies sold, but, now that I think about it, we didn’t celebrate when it reached 1 million. I guess this...right now...we can celebrate with a TOOT! If fans keep commenting, streaming, posting fanart, Shantae will keep growing and we’ll never get a chance to slow down. And that would be amazing!
Comicbook.com: Your wife Erin created the Shantae character. Does she still have any role in the development of new characters?
Some of the main characters, yes, like the new Half-Genies in Seven Sirens. She was also part of the dev team this time around, and she produced the Studio TRIGGER opening for the game! This was the first time we were able to work side by side like that in quite some time, and it was fantastic. Our daughter and son also work at WayForward now that they're older, in animation and QA respectively. It was fun to have the whole family working together every day! I miss it.
Comicbook.com: While the technology has greatly changed from game to game, Shantae has existed solely as a 2D platformer. Do you ever see the character appearing in other game genres?
Yeah, we’d love to see her spread out a bit into different game genres. For ages we’ve had side game ideas involving music, puzzles, racing, or spin off characters. If demand stays strong, maybe we can try delving into these areas sometime soon.
Comicbook.com: With development on Shantae and the Seven Sirens now complete, what’s next for you?
I’m taking a breather by helping out with a few other projects where I can while we prepare for the next big thing. Erin really wants to keep exploring Shantae as an animated series, and I’m all for that, too. After that Studio TRIGGER intro it feels like it’s closer than ever. Why doesn’t the cartoon keep playing? Why does it end?
Comicbook.com: You guys have something in the works for New Game+ Expo. Anything you can tease beforehand?
Yes! We’re excited to participate. We all need something fun to do now that in-person expos aren’t happening. We’re going to do our best to provide some entertainment. As for something to tease? If you tune in to NG+, we’ll do our best to make you chortle!0comments
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is now available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, iOS, and PC. Stay tuned for Comicbook.com's review of the game, coming soon.