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Yacht Club on what’s next for Shovel Knight, possibility of sequels, interest in original titles

Posted on June 30, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS eShop, General Nintendo, News, Wii U eShop

Shovel Knight designer/director Sean Velasco and pixel artist Nick Wozniak recently spoke with Hardcore Gamer and gave some lengthy insight into what the studio has planned next for the game. Additionally, Yacht Club discussed the possibility of sequels – again touching on ideas like a 16 bit version or N64-styled game with 3D visuals – as well as interest in pursuing original titles as well.

You can find Velasco and Wozniak’s comments below and the full interview here.

Sean: Well, first off we have a whole bunch of content that we still need to make for Shovel Knight 1. So this initial release of the game is going to be everything we promised in the Kickstarter plus even a few of the stretch goals that we achieved during the Kickstarter. So we have things like New Game+, the music player, achievements; a lot of our stretch goals have already been implemented. But, there’s also big, content heavy stretch goals. Those included things like having an additional three playable characters that were the Order of No Quarter guys. On top of that there’s also going to be a challenge mode, which was described as having several rooms; like let’s say there’s like forty different little challenges, and one or two rooms, and it’s just some super difficult thing you have to get through. Although we’re not exactly sure what the format of that is going to be yet. Then we also have a gender swap mode, which is kind of just for fun but changes the gender of all the characters to be female if they’re male and vice versa. And then we’re going to cap the whole thing off with a 4-player couch co-op battle mode. So with all of these stretch goals, obviously if we had tried to develop all of them Shovel Knight wouldn’t be coming out for another year. So we put the initial game out, and now we’re going to spend the next…we’re not exactly how long, we kind of have to pick up all the pieces after release and see what the schedule is going to be like. But, there’s going to be free updates that are coming to Shovel Knight in the coming months, and each update will add cool, new functionality that’ll extend the game and just make it more awesome in every way. And if you hadn’t bought it before, maybe it’ll entice you to pick it up then. So yeah that’s what we’re going to be doing for the next year. In a lot of ways it is like a Shovel Knight 2, because it’s going to be the same kind of game, but it’s going to be a totally different playable character, a different story.


Woz: It’s more of like the Metal Gear Solid Subsistence or whatever, like it’s the extra, 1.5 version, where it is meaty content, and you can spend a lot of time playing it, but it’s just going to come as a free update.

Sean: Yeah. But I mean I don’t want to over-sell the campaigns as being totally unique, right. It’ll be like 90% the same. But the cool part like we were saying Shovel Knight just has a couple of mechanics and that defines everything you do in the game. Well, we’re going to make a new character that has brand new and totally foreign mechanics and that’ll make the game that you play completely different. Like what if Plague Knight , when you’re playing as him, could transmute sand blocks into something, like into a resource. Then all of a sudden as you’re looking through the game you’re not seeing those sand blocks as just a thing I have to dig through anymore it’s like now each of them is an important and valuable thing that you’re going to notice and take advantage of.

Woz: Yeah so then think about your inventory, and how you’re making bombs or whatever, and it’s just a different way to approach this, even it’s the same geometry, even if it’s the same enemies, you’re just approaching the levels a whole different way. And because an NES game like this is based on those core mechanics it basically changes the whole gameplay. So yeah Plague Knight could do that, and Spectre Knight could be a more risk/reward kind of thing where he uses his health to do attacks and so you’re constantly on the verge of dying but you’re faster and you’re just more action packed.


Sean: That also brings up another good point which is like these characters will probably be easier or more difficult than the standard Shovel Knight campaign, to accommodate to players of different skill levels or like different things that they want to do. So Spectre Knight, let’s say his health is always draining and he’s rushing around and he’s all fast like a frickin’ badass, right, and maybe like King Knight is more easy going but it’s a kind of funny, like lighthearted adventure that’s maybe easier than the regular Shovel Knight adventure.

Woz: Yeah we’ve got a lot of feedback from people, everything ranging from “It’s balls to the wall, way too hard” to “It’s too easy, I hope New Game+ gives me a challenge”, so we want to make sure that when you play Shovel Knight with these updates maybe people who think it’s way too easy find Spectre Knight’s challenge to be like exactly where it’s at. And then maybe people who are like, “Shovel Knight’s way too hard, let me train a little bit more” or something like that will play King Knight’s romp through gold land or whatever. (laughs)

Sean: Yeah, just a more laidback experience. In addition to all that stuff, we’re also putting out the game, you know localized versions, for both Europe and for Japan, and you know there’s a very high likelihood that we’ll be looking into coming to other platforms. There’s a lot of stuff just with regular old Shovel Knight that we would love to look into. But, that being said, we’re always having tons of ideas about new things that we might be doing at the Yacht Club. A few things that we’ve talked about are doing like a Super Shovel Knight, like a 16-bit version, or doing like an N64-style like Shovel Knight 64 that would be a 3D platformer. I mean like I wouldn’t want it to look terrible, you know. (He and Woz laugh)

Woz: Well in the same way we didn’t want Shovel Knight to look like a terrible NES game, I’m sure that we would approach Shovel Knight 64 with the same level of you like, you know, it’s pushing towards that era but not adhering to its limitations.

Sean: Right, it’s like maybe we would round off the polygons so it looks a little bit more Wind Waker-y, you know, but it still has a very simple and clean 3D aesthetic.

Woz: Whether the use of textures, emphasis on geometry, and maybe some billboarded enemies. (laughs)

Sean: So it’s like maybe that kind of thing. What we’ve been saying a lot is after this we kind of want to just step away from Shovel Knight for a bit and make something unique and new so we’re not pegged as “The Shovel Knight Studio”. We may not even do something that’s like a retro-remake style thing, right, like we could just do a game that has no nostalgic trappings to kind of show our range a little bit more.

Woz: Yeah yeah, we could do like a (laughs) super high-def 3D FPS.

Sean: Something smaller in scope, right. Something we could put together maybe a little bit more quickly.

Woz: Maybe focus on like one technical thing. A thing that we’ve talked about is like doing online multiplayer, maybe that’s what we tackle, and that’s the goal for the game. And mixing fun with it. So it’s more of a company building thing, and more like a buffer to more Shovel Knight, because after developing Shovel Knight for a year and the next, probably year, I’m sure we’ll be totally done with Shovel Knight (laughs), just like sick of it. At least for a few months. (Laughs)

Sean: I was reading about the Mario team, and you know Miyamoto, he’s like “Every time we make a Mario, usually we swear never to do another one. Then like six months later everyone starts kind of remembering the ideas they had or starts to have new ideas and then everyone’s like ‘Okay, maybe it’d be a good idea to make a new one’”.

Woz: And then that becomes excitement, and that becomes the dredge of like, executing it. (laughs)

Sean: And that’s the cycle of development.


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