Indie developer Wayforward has laid out plans for their next bit of content coming to Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, which includes the long-await “Friends mode” update.
— WayForward (@WayForward) November 3, 2017
Originally tweeted out on Saturday, a lengthy update was provided for fans and backers on the game’s official Kickstarter page as well. This update explains in great detail what fans can expect from this new mode — which is now being called the Friends to the End expansion — from both a story and gameplay perspective. As the name implies, this campaign will focus on and allow players to control Shantae’s friends Sky, Bolo, and Rottytops. Here is just a brief excerpt from the overall announcement:
The Missing Piece of the Story!
Friends to the End takes place chronologically in the middle of Shantae’s storyline. Unlike the (possibly embellished) tale of Pirate Queen’s Quest, this new mode would be considered “official cannon”, and fills in a part of the narrative that we, as the audience, were previously not witness to.
Shantae has been turned to evil by the foul Risky Boots by way of a polarity-swapping machine, and is reborn as Nega-Shantae! Sky, Bolo, and Rottytops must enter Shantae’s mind in order to rescue her consciousness from the “Nightmare Realm”; a series of twisted memories designed to swallow Shantae whole.
This translates into a brand new mode with three new heroes, a whole new story, and altered memories (revamped versions of existing levels) to explore and conquer. The icing on the cake is a new final level, and a showdown against Nega-Shantae.
In terms of gameplay, it has been confirmed that players will be able to Switch freely between all three heroes on a whim. As each character has unique and useful abilities, it will be up to the user to determine which will suit a situation best in order to complete an area. Where Sky can be used for agile movement, Bolo excels in dealing out heavy damage — and Rottytops can use her zombie powers to detach and regenerate.
In addition, contrary to the typical gameplay of Shantae or Risky Boots in the Pirate Queen’s Curse DLC, there will be no inventory of power ups to manage in Friends to the End. Instead, players will obtain Gems throughout each area that will “level up” each friend, bolstering their attack power and speed. However, taking damage will reduce these elements as well, so ability will come down to the player’s efficiency in avoiding damage and collecting everything they can.
Coming as a bit of a surprise as well, Wayforward confirmed that development on this mode is entire completed, so all that stands between now and release is submission and acceptance from Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Valve. While no concrete launch date can be given quite yet, they are aiming to get the content downloadable by the holidays.
Following in the trend of Pirate Queen’s Curse, the Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Friends to the End expansion will be free to backers and available for paid purchase by the general public. It will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam once completed.