Unless you've been completely out of the gaming sphere in the past year, chances are you've heard something about indie platformer sensation Shovel Knight. Started as a Kickstarter project a couple of years ago, the game has since grown to garner the love of gamers all over, gathering enough critical acclaim to win over 70 Game of the Year awards in 2014 and enough fan favoritism to elevate the eponymous knight to Smash character contender status - in some fans' minds, that is. It is set to release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita later this year alongside the brand new free DLC pack, Plague of Shadows — among other surprises. The love for this new wave retro platformer is sure to grow over the next year.
In between working on the aforementioned expansions and debuting footage of the highly-anticipated DLC at PAX East, Yacht Club Games, the studio behind Shovel Knight, kindly took the time to answer some of our questions about what the future holds for the title, and the franchise:
Could you introduce yourself and your role to our readers here at Gamnesia?
I'm David D'Angelo, one of the creators of Shovel Knight. We all take on hundreds of roles throughout development. We're just a few people! But my main task is handling gameplay and engine programming for the team.
How long has Plague of Shadows been in development? Plague Knight obviously won your poll, but was this the character on whom you wanted to focus first?
We've been working on it since before the game even released! It's been a long process to figure out how we wanted to fit in the other character campaigns. Out of the 3 that were chosen, we definitely wanted to focus on Plague Knight first. We didn't really think about doing the other knights!
Did the success of Shovel Knight shape the plans for this first stretch goal DLC release?
Possibly? It's hard to know! We increased the scope of what we were creating to try to make it surprising and more than a simple character swap like you'd see in a game like Symphony of the Night. We are probably being extra careful with everything we create too. We don't want to adversely affect people's opinions of Shovel Knight's campaign.
The feats in the original Shovel Knight provided plenty of challenge for players. Will these gamers be able to adapt quickly and meet the challenges of Plague of Shadows?
We're not quite finished with the campaign yet so it's tough to say. But we imagine the difficulty lining up similarly with Shovel Knight's campaign. It'll be tricky enough for players to handle the new mobility!
Shovel Knight has been an exclusive on Nintendo’s consoles up to this point, finally coming to the PlayStation family of consoles in a little under two months. Besides a clash with Kratos himself, has the adventure changed to fit the taste of PlayStation gamers?
Not significantly. We're doing our best to add PlayStation specific features like cross-save, PS4 lightbar, etc. Beyond that, the game will have the same core experience.
Will any more crossovers, console exclusive or otherwise, be coming to Shovel Knight as more DLC comes out?
(Editor's Note: This interview was conducted before the announcement regarding the inclusion of console-specific characters in the Xbox One version of Shovel Knight)
We're always open to doing more crossovers, console exclusives, etc., but it's all about finding what makes sense for the world of Shovel Knight. We want to make Shovel Knight feel at home on each platform, and we're excited about anything that makes that possible.
Will all future playable boss packs be free like Plague of Shadows?
One of the most unexpected elements of Plague of Shadows is the addition of a brand-new story mode. How has this helped to flesh out the colorful cast of Shovel Knight? Will Shovel Knight ever become a secondary character?
Yes, it will definitely flesh out the world of Shovel Knight a tad more. For more details, you'll have to play the game!
Shovel Knight boasts a huge number of cheat codes, originally made backer-exclusive, but now widely available to players. Will all of these be maintained in Plague of Shadows? If so, does this include the infamous “butt mode”?
All of the cheat codes will be maintained in Plague of Shadows. We may even add a few more!
While it will probably be a long while until all the planned DLC packs for Shovel Knight are released, do you have plans once they are all finished? Could we see a "Super Shovel Knight," or some other kind of follow-up title?
Who knows! We'd love to continue the Shovel Knight series. But at that point we may need to take a break. It really comes down to everyone's mood when the content is complete.
Many thanks to D'Angelo for taking the time to answer our questions. We're certainly excited to play as the oddball Plague Knight, as well as fellow boss knights, King Knight and Spector Knight: the other winners of the "Dig the Vote" poll, used to select the boss knights that would be playable, back during the original campaign. For more news about Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, make sure to keep it here at Gamnesia.