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Watch Shantae designer James Montagna build a Super Mario Maker level

Next to Nintendo, few companies have carried the platformer torch as steadily as WayForward. Founded in 1990, the company spent its first decade of existence cutting their teeth on licensed games before breaking out with the critically acclaimed platformer Shantae for the Game Boy Color. From there, the company has gone on to release over 70 titles spanning countless licenses and genres, but they always seem to return to their platformer roots.

During this year's Game Developers Conference, we asked WayForward designer and artist James Montagna to try his hand at building a Super Mario Maker stage. Montagna, a long time WayForward employee, has contributed design work to well over a dozen of the company's games, including Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, and A Boy and His Blob, just to name a few. Most recently, he worked as a designer and director on April Fools Day joke-turned-game Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche, available exclusively as part of this month's Humble Monthly bundle.

Above, watch Montagna walk us through the design process for his level "Help From My Friends," The level, which Montagna says takes partial inspiration from Mario Maker stages his WayForward coworkers have built, is a dense and puzzley stage that capitalizes on players' knowledge of Super Mario World enemy behavior. The level ID for the stage is 6532-0000-0251-F920, and you can add it to your in-game bookmarks on Nintendo's Super Mario Maker bookmark site.

Have a game developer you'd like to see try their hand at Mario Maker? Let us know in the comments and they may appear in a future episode!

(Music: NΣΣT)

The next level of puzzles.

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