More than twenty years later, the canceled sequel to the Shantae series, Shantae Advanced Risky Revolution, rises from the ashes for a 2024 release. With Shantae sequels released over long periods since its debut, why did this one take so long to return?
What we know about the story of Shantae Advanced Risky Revolution’s development
The game started developing before the release of the original in 2002. It was for the Game Boy Advance, yet poor sales shelved it in 2004 when a publisher couldn’t be found. Then came another sequel, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, which was slated for a 2009 release but was eventually delayed to 2010. Sequels then suddenly came out a mere two or three years apart, leading us to the sudden revival of Shantae: Advanced Risky Revolution announcement in July. What began as the first sequel is now the sixth.
It’s a truly inspirational story for me to hear about. The creators hoped all this time to finish their lost sequel and finally reassembled their original development team to see the game finished to the end. The restored 8-bit graphics create a blast from the past, seeing the Game Boy Advanced era ported right onto the modern Switch. It’s quite rad, to say the least.
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The timeline of game releases alone suggests Shantae hit cult classic status in the 2010s and beyond. Even then, Advanced Risky Revolution is set where it would be in the timeline if it had been released chronologically. Why did the developers move on to other sequels and not revive the original sequel back in 2009?
Reviving a sequel
My guess is Shantae Advanced Risky Revolution wasn’t profitable back then. The era of the Game Boy Advanced was over and the Wii was still all the rage. I feel old just typing that. The time period likely demanded something new and fresh to push Shantae back into the spotlight and test if the original had left enough impact on people for sequels. Perhaps the team couldn’t reassemble before now to finish the original sequel, or it was a matter of console limitations.
Perhaps now the GBA is nostalgic enough to give it the unintended coat of shiny paint to be revived. Imagine scrapping your game for so long that it became nostalgic and retro when you finally got to finish it.
Yet this shows us sometimes persistence, interest, opportunity, and hope prevail, allowing a miracle of game development to come back from the graveyard. In a landscape that is littered with unfinished, unrealized, and scrapped ideas that just can’t make it, I’m glad to see one come back, however it managed to do so. How will it feel to play over twenty years later?