Shantae Advance is an actually new GBA game
Look, I’m not going to pretend that new games on retro hardware is a novel concept. If Destructoid’s Zoey “The Flying Zebra” Handley can write 1000+ words about an Atari Lynx game that came out in 2009, nothing should surprise me. I say should, because WayForward has announced that Shantae Advance: Risky Revolution will hit the Game Boy Advance in 2024, and it’s taken me a good hour to wrap my mind around it.
To provide some backstory, Shantae Advance is a long, long lost chapter of WayForward’s trademark Shantae series. Though it began development in the early 2000s, the lackluster sales of the first Shantae game scared off potential publishers. Refusing to release a compromised version of the game, WayForward decided to cancel the project in 2004.
Fortunately, all that work never went to waste. In a world of abysmal game preservation, WayForward had the foresight to archive the game’s files. Now, approximately 20 years later, the original team of creator Erin Bozon, director Matt Bozon, and programmer Michael Stragey have reunited to pick up exactly where they left off.
In years past, the prospect of a team like WayForward releasing a title for a legacy console would sound preposterous. However, thanks to a growing interest in retro games and the efforts of Limited Run Games, Shantae Advance has what it needs to cross that development finish line.
A lost chapter of Shantae lore
In a behind-the-scenes video, Matt Bozon details what to expect from Shantae Advance. Notably, he talks about how the cancelation of Shantae Advance has impacted the series canon.
“Risky Revolution is when a lot of the main cast meets, in some cases for the first time,” Bozon explains. “We went straight into Shantae: Risky’s Revenge where everyone just somehow knows everybody. There’s an entire missing chapter of their lives that was never touched on.”
Rather than exist as a sheer novelty, WayForward seems intent on fulfilling their original vision of the game. So far, we have the promise of “multiple chapters, numerous towns and labyrinths, six creature transformations, fierce bosses, and a soundtrack by acclaimed composer Maddie Lim”. Additionally, Shantae Advance will feature four-player Link Cable support in what looks like a competitive minigame. This feature will fortunately require just one cart, though good luck finding three friends with Game Boy Advances on hand.
Overall, Shantae Advance looks legitimately impressive, even beyond its console novelty. I’ve played a lot of GBA games lately, and Shantae’s giving even the system’s lookers a run for their money. Unfortunately, WayForward has confirmed no other platforms other than Game Boy Advance for the title. We’ll have to see if it remains exclusive to the retro handheld.
Shantae Advance: Risky Revolution will launch in early 2024.