|Industry||Video game industry|
|Headquarters||Valencia, California, United States|
|Voldi Way (founder)
John Beck (CEO)
Matt Bozon (creative director)
Jake Kaufman (audio designer)
WayForward Technologies, Inc. is an American independent video game developer based in Valencia, California. Founded in 1990 by technology entrepreneur Voldi Way, WayForward started by developing games for consoles such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis, as well as TV games and PC educational software. In 1997, they relaunched their video games arm, placing the company as a contractor for publishers and working on a variety of licensed assets.
The company has created a variety of original game properties such as the Shantae series, including the first title Shantae which appeared on the Game Boy Color and was published by Capcom. Currently, WayForward Technologies works on games for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita handheld consoles, WiiWare games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U consoles, games for personal computer and other licensed titles for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.
WayForward Technologies was founded in 1990 by Voldi Way as an independent videogame design company, following on from a previous company he started that specialised in software for sheet metal fabrication. The name WayForward Technologies may refer to the novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, where a character named Gordon Way had founded a company by the same name. Early on, the company focused on producing software for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear and Game Boy Color. They also branched out into educational computer games for the Personal Computer and Leapster. During this time, many of the staff were doing other jobs in order to support their ambition to become game developers.
In 1994, WayForward Technologies entered into a partnership with American Education Publishing in order to focus on developing further educational computer games. The partnership was successful, with the company winning awards for innovation at the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. During this time, WayForward focused on licensed assets such as the Muppets for their educational games or Godzilla or The Scorpion King for their more traditional games.
WayForward restarted their videogame development business in April 1997, working as a "developer for hire" by providing services to software publishers. John Beck, CEO, stated that by providing services on small projects the company has managed to remain a stable level of work. In mid-2002, WayForward released their first internally developed game based on their own intellectual property called Shantae. While it achieved critical acclaim, it was one of the last games to be released for the Game Boy Color and as a result only enjoyed limited success.
When Nintendo announced the dual-screen handheld console that became the Nintendo DS in early 2004, WayForward began examining the various options the new console offered. Work started on a sequel to Shantae using the two screens. Despite presenting the concepts to a number of publishers, they were ultimately unsuccessful at securing a deal. Because of the large number of Shantae related assets that were produced, including 3D models, WayForward frequently uses them when trying out new technology or development platforms. Later in 2004, the company was contracted by THQ to produce a new chat game called Ping Pals for the Nintendo DS. Despite the tight timescales involved in developing the game, WayForward used the opportunity to obtain development kits for the platform. The game met unfavourably with the majority of critics and gained only a single positive review. In 2006, the company produced and released Justice League Heroes: The Flash just as the Game Boy Advance was reaching the end of its commercial life cycle, which met with largely positive reviews. Since then, WayForward has gone on to develop further titles for the Nintendo DS. Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck, based on the 1951 Warner Bros. cartoon Duck Amuck was highly anticipated at the E3 trade show but also received mixed reviews upon release.
On February 19, 2008, John Beck and Matt Bozon were speakers at the Independent Games Summit, part of the 2008 Game Developers Conference, discussing a range of issues facing independent games companies. Currently, WayForward are developing titles for Nintendo's Wii console involving the use of internally developed intellectual property. LIT was announced on March 5, 2008 and was released on February 9, 2009 for the WiiWare online shop platform. A new game in the Shantae series is also being considered for the platform.
According to the Spring 2009 entry of the Shantae Fan Club online newsletter, WayForward introduced a new character named Alta, who is a pink-haired girl that wields a scepter. She represented a brand-new original franchise. This was revealed on March 9, 2009 to be a DSiWare exclusive game called "Mighty Flip Champs!". WayForward would create Mighty Milky Way, another puzzle platformer with a new character named Luna. Its sequel, Mighty Switch Force!, was released exclusively on the 3DS eShop on December 22, 2011, with a sequel two years later called Mighty Switch Force! 2 on the Nintendo 3DS' eShop.
Recently, WayForward Technologies developed a game for the Nintendo DS and 3DS based on the popular Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. The show's creator, Pendleton Ward, confirmed the news of the game's development on his personal Twitter account on the 23rd of March, 2012, and Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! was released on November 20, 2012. A sequel, Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!, as well as a Regular Show video game, Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land, were released in 2013. On February 24, 2013 WayForward Game Director & Designer Austin Ivansmith confirmed that a sequel to Mighty Switch Force! was in development on the 50th episode of "Sup, Holmes?" on Destructoid, which was released on June 13, 2013. A new Shantae title was revealed via Nintendo Power, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, which was released in October 23, 2014 on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShop. Another game in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, is currently in development.
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