INTERVIEW: Talk to WayForward about Spidersaurs, a run-and-gun shooter

In 2019, WayForward brought timed exclusives to Apple Arcade. One of those games was Spidersaurs, an original 2D run-‘n’-gun action game. From the early days of the game, many Switch owners were sad to see that Spidersaurs weren’t planned for Switch. Little did we know that all we had to do was wait.

In March of this year, WayForward revealed that Spidersaurs would finally make the jump from Apple Arcade to Switch. Slated for release in Spring 2022, this Switch version of Spidersaurs is more than just a port of the Apple Arcade version. This version is greatly expanded as it includes a brand new stage, a new real final boss, a new ending, two new difficulty settings and two new unlockable modes (arcade mode and speedrun mode). Add a few more tweaks and balance tweaks, and Spidersaurs is like a whole new game!

To learn more about all things Spidersaurs, we virtually sat down with Tomm Hulett, director of WayForward. You can see our full interview with Mr. Hulett below!

Well... that's certainly an interesting combo

Well… that’s certainly an interesting combo

LARP: Spidersaurs was an Apple Arcade exclusive at first, but now it’s making the jump to Switch. Was there still a plan to bring the game to other platforms after Apple exclusivity ended?

Tom: We’re still evaluating opportunities for older titles to appear on current platforms, and it seemed like a good time for Spidersaurs! I had a few tweaks in mind if we were lucky enough to port the game, so I can confidently say players will get the Ultimate Edition (and Apple Arcade users will get an update so you don’t miss a thing) more) !

LARP: Is Spidersaurs inspired by other game franchises?

Tom: Many members of the Spidersaurs team have already worked on Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS. So some of our inspiration came back to our familiar playgrounds. We had also just finished The Mummy Demastered, which combined Contra-style gameplay with Metroidvania structure. So, with Spidersaurs, we’ve added special abilities that you gain after each stage, like you might find in Mega Man X. Moment is pure Contra-style goodness, there are other surprises mixed in.

LARP: How did the idea of ​​Spidersaurs come about?

Tom: Creative director Matt Bozon came up with the premise and characters, as well as some general rules for branding. Then they asked me to run the game and fill in the details. The initial idea came from 1980s cartoons, because Matt and I both have a thing for catchy theme songs that live in our brains rent-free. I compiled a spreadsheet of all the best and it helped set the tone for development! (Yeah, X-Men is cool and all, but have you started your Sunday with King Arthur and the Knights of Justice yet?)

Through the fire and the flames

Through the fire and the flames

LARP: What makes Switch a good choice for Spidersaurs?

Tom: Spidersaurs is a great choice for Nintendo Switch – especially because Switch lets you grab a friend for 2p no matter where you are. Growing up, the run-‘n’-gun genre was particularly known for its memorable 2-player experiences (arguments?), and it was definitely a sleepover staple. I’m thrilled that we can bring this experience to Switch gamers today.

LARP: What new features and/or content can we expect in the Switch version of Spidersaurs compared to the original version?

Tom: There are a number of gameplay additions, including a new stage, new final boss, and additional endings. We’ve also rebalanced the various weapons, improved boss encounters, and tweaked the stage design. We’ve added two new difficulty modes, and once you’ve finished the game, you can play again in Arcade or Speed ​​Run mode! For Switch specifically, we also plan to offer HD Rumble.

LARP: WayForward always has great music in its games, and Spidersaurs doesn’t sound any different. Who is behind the air this time?

Tom: Our music was composed by Harumi Fujita. She has been composing since the days of the NES and has worked on Strider, Rescue Rangers and Tomba, among others.

The catchy 80s-style theme song was performed by Cristina Vee (vocals of Shantae) with guitars by RichaadEB.

LARP: The writing in Spidersaurs really seems to lean towards humor. Is it difficult to write something that makes people laugh?

Tom: I’ve spent a lot of time at WayForward writing for licensed projects, and I have a very good ear for staying ‘on brand’, having worked on Adventure Time, TMNT and Goosebumps. But Spidersaurs was my chance to find a voice for a big new WF brand. I think the other WayForward series have a distinctly quirky, wacky tone that I tried to capture. It actually took me back to my time at Atlus in the early 2000s, working on Steambot Chronicles and Metal Saga. Once you establish the characters themselves, you can put them in different situations and hear how they would interact…and Spidersaurs definitely have some unique characters that are interesting together!

Why so dino-evil, mate?

Why so dino-evil, mate?

LARP: Is there a particular stage, moment or element in Spidersaurs that the team is particularly proud of?

Tom: I think everyone on the team has their favorite Spidersaur. But the one character that has become something of a team favorite is the Roach. He’s our recurring mid-boss type character, and each time you face him, you learn a little more about how he came to be. He’s a very satisfying character visually and narratively, and he’s also a good rival to test your abilities as he’s still developing himself. There’s even a dating option in our hit April Fool’s Day Simulator, “Are We Soulmates or Am I Just Being WayForward?”

LARP: Can we look forward to WayForward Easter eggs hidden in Spidersaurs?

Tom: Easter eggs? I thought they were Spidersaur eggs… Ewwww…

LARP: Should we expect a future for Spidersaurs as a franchise, or is it more of a one-off experience?

Tom: It really depends on you. Yes, you, the person reading this! Try Spidersaurs and let us know what you think! I’m sure Victoria and Adrian aren’t done saving the world, if that’s the kind of thing gamers want. (They could definitely use the money – Victoria’s band t-shirts aren’t going to screen print themselves!)

Now I have to worry about the lava too?  !

Now I have to worry about the lava too? !

A HUGE thank you to Tomm Hulett and the entire WayForward team for taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss Spidersaurs with us! We’ll be sure to bring you all the details on the game’s official release date and pricing once that information is shared.