- Regular GSW readers may recall that smallish portable developer WayForward, the folks behind Shantae and the upcoming Contra IV, are particularly appreciated by us for their nimble, smartly drawn, intelligent takes on classic gaming. So it's cool that MTV News' Stephen Totilo chatted to WayForward creative director Matt Bozon last week, touching on a multitude of neat stuff.

Particularly, there's info on the notably semi-awful Pictochat-duplicating Ping Pals: "In mid-2004 the publisher THQ came to WayForward with a DS idea. THQ had licensed artwork from the makers of the hit online Korean game "MapleStory" and wanted to use the art for a DS instant-messaging program called "Ping Pals."" And yes, THQ knew that it was a bit useless and wanted it anyhow, in, uh, 5 weeks for DS launch!

Also v. interesting for Shantae fanboys: "Inspired by the DS announcement, the team assembled a 13-page treatment for a "Shantae: Risky Waters" DS game. The game had players rafting in 3-D on the DS' top screen while simultaneously controlling a bird on the bottom screen that was flying over a 2-D version of the river. Another phase of the game had the player digging caves in the bottom screen, while characters battled on the upper screen. They pitched it around, but no publisher took them up on the offer." Aw.