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WayForward Technologies

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WayForward Technologies is a game development company 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 including Shantae, which appeared on the Game Boy Color and was published by Capcom. Currently, WayForward Technologies works on games for the Nintendo DS handheld console, and WiiWare games for Nintendo's Wii console.

History

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.[1] 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.[2] Early on, the company focused on producing software for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear and GameBoy Color. They also branched out into educational computer games for the Personal Computer and Leapster.[1] During this time, many of the staff were doing other jobs in order to support their ambition to become game developers.[3]

In 1994, WayForward Technologies entered into a partnership with American Education Publishing in order to focus on developing further educational computer games.[4] 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.[3]

WayForward restarted their videogame development business in April 1997, working as a "developer for hire" by providing services to software publishers.[1] 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.[1]

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.[3] 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.[1] 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.[3] The game met unfavourably with the majority of critics and gained only a single positive review.[5] 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.[6] 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[7] at the E3 trade show but also received mixed reviews upon release.[8] By contrast Contra 4, a game developed for Konami and based on the popular series of Contra games, was almost universally praised by critics.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] A new game in the Shantae series is also being considered for the platform.[12]

According to the Spring 2009 entry of the Shantae Fan Club online newsletter, WayForward introduces a new character named Alta who is a pink-haired girl that wields a scepter. She will be representing a brand-new original franchise. This was revealed on March 9, 2009 to be a DSiWare exclusive game called "Mighty Flip Champs!".[1]

Games Developed

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Brandon Sheffield (2004-11-17). WayForward To The Handheld Future. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  2. Simon Carless (2008-02-08). WayForward Technologies Vs. Dirk Gently?. GameSetWatch. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Stephen Totilo (2007-08-21). The Flop That Inspired 'Contra 4' And 'Duck Amuck'. MTV. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  4. WayForward Technologies - The Company. WayForward Technologies. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  5. Geoffery Winter. Ping Pals. Nintendojo. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  6. Justice League Heroes: The Flash. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2008-06-24.
  7. Guy Cocker (2007-07-13). E3 '07: Duck Amuck Impressions. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  8. Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck. metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  9. Contra 4. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  10. Games Developers Conference - Independent Games Summit. CMP Media. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  11. Damien McFerran (2008-03-06). WayForward Developing Exclusive Horror Puzzle Title for WiiWare. WiiWare World. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  12. James Ransom-Wiley (2008-02-22). GDC08: Shantae summoned for WiiWare. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.

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