Pretty much everybody is starting to get excited about the Shovel Knight release date — if they haven’t been excited about it all along. After a brief delay to add extra content, Shovel Knight reached its final build last week, and will be out on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and #Steam pretty soon. The folks at idigitaltimes recently caught up with #NickWozniak and the team at Yacht Club Games to talk about what we can expect when Shovel Knight drops — check it out below to learn more about the Shovel Knight release date, the game’s structure, battle mode and more!
The Shovel Knight release date will be simultaneous across Wii U, 3DS, and Steam, and should be coming up soon. (Image: Yacht Club Games)
Congrats on the final build! What does that mean in terms of the release date for Shovel Knight? Are you aiming for a simultaneous release on Wii U, 3DS, and Steam?
Yacht Club Games: Thanks so much! It’s been such a long journey but we are all really happy with where we’ve landed! Now that the game is shipped off and out of our hands, we are eagerly watching our email inboxes, awaiting news of our release date. When you send off a game for certifications, you are basically inserting your game into a black box that eats submission candidates and spits out approvals or rejections. It’s a mysterious process known only to a few, but once we have word, we’ll make sure everyone knows our actual real release date. And, yes, the release will be simultaneous for all of our launch platforms!
Q: Is there a story? Who is this Shovel Knight? Where did he get a shovel?
YCG: Shovel Knight is a small knight with a huge quest: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. But between Shovel Knight and his beloved stands a cadre of villainous knights! These terrible foes, known as The Order of No Quarter, have been dispatched to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching the Enchantress, and will pursue their mission at any cost.
As for his Shovelblade, that just happens to be his preferred weapon. We really spent a lot of time making the world and characters exciting and interesting enough to draw players back to playing Shovel Knight time and time again.
Q: How long is the game?
YCG: The game’s length heavily depends on what the player’s expectations are. If you think back to the first time you played and finished Super Metroid, you may remember your time at the end being 7, 8 maybe even 10 hours!! But there are pros out there that can beat the game in under an hour, start to finish! Shovel Knight is the same way.
We’ve had lots of people playtest it and some of their times were hitting the 6-8 hour mark, whereas the team did a few speed runs and I think the fastest time was under an hour and 10 minutes. I’m sure that time can be improved and we are really excited to see that happen!
Shovel Knight aims for Metroid-style replayability, with a focus on secrets and exploration. (Image: Yacht Club Games)
Q: How do upgrades work? What customization options are available?
YCG: Shovel Knight is a game born of a few simple mechanics but there are a few upgrades and secondary weapons that will help the player on their adventure. You’ll be able to upgrade Shovel Knight’s armor and even the Shovelblade itself!
As we designed and iterated on possible upgrades, we wanted to avoid just making an increase to minor stats. Instead, we made each of the upgrades something that changes the way you play. For example, my favorite armor upgrade is called the Dynamo Armor. While wearing this armor, Shovel Knight gets a more powerful attack after bouncing twice in a row off an enemy or object. It really changes the rhythm of play and, if used well, grants a huge advantage to the player when trying to defeat the more powerful enemies.
Q: Tell me all the cool secrets so I don’t have to find them myself!
YCG: We added a ton of secrets and to tell you all of them would take all day! Besides the enormous amount of in-game secret areas, collectable items, and sub-weapons, the team also implemented 300+ additional secret codes that unlock very different, crazy things from cool abilities to Shovel Knight being 4 times his normal size! These were mainly done as a fulfillment of one our Kickstarter rewards: the “Gimme the Dirt” tier.
The pledgers who backed this tier will be rewarded with a letter from the team, a sample of dirt from one of the locations in the game and a secret that only they know! Those secret codes are going to be theirs to do with as they see fit, and we are really excited to see what happens to them. Will they be out online within a week? Or will somebody take their precious secret to the grave? We’ll have to wait and find out!
The game will have a multiplayer Battle Mode, although that will come out as a free update sometime after the main Shovel Knight release date. (Image: Yacht Club Games)
Q: How does Battle Mode work?
YCG: As one of the stretch goals, Battle Mode won’t be coming with the initial release. We are starting work on it right now, along with our long list of stretch goals, which will all come as free updates in the coming months. Since we haven’t had much time to think about the specifics of what Battle Mode is yet, there’s not much to talk about. However! All of the bosses will be playable in it so you’ll be able to compete with your friends using your favorite knight from The Order of No Quarter! Until then, you’ll have to release your battle rage in the StreetPass Arena.
Q: Are there any special features unique to particular versions?
YCG: The core of Shovel Knight is the same across all platforms, but each platform brings with it unique features that we are doing our best to support. For example, Steam has trading cards, Wii U has Miiverse support, and the 3DS has StreetPass!
We’re really excited for StreetPass, even if it is a little strange. The way that it works is this: you record yourself in a single screen arena swinging your shovel around and collecting gems. This lasts for three 5 second matches. Then when you StreetPass with someone, their recording is flipped and played on top of yours. Whoever gets the first hit or collects the most gems wins! Fighting an unseen opponent can be a little silly, but we think you’ll find it to be a ton of fun!
Q: Any favorite (or least favorite) moments from development?
YCG: That’s a big question! We’ve had more than a year of development on this game. There’s lots of highlights that we can think of but one of the absolute favorites has to be on the last day of our Kickstarter, during our 24-hour livestream. As we watched the counter surpass our last stretch goal, and as we fended off sleep, it finally hit us that Shovel Knight was a real thing that people were extremely excited about. It has been the motivation, keeping us pumped enough to make it through rest of the development.
Q: Do you have further plans for Shovel Knight? Other platforms? DLC?
YCG: All kinds of plans! We’d love to keep expanding the Shovel Knight universe with more games. It would be really fun to explore what a 16-bit or even 3d Shovel Knight would play like. But before we get to that, we still have a lot of stretch goals to hit. In terms of more platforms, one of our stretch goals is to release for Linux and Mac! So that’s next! And after that, we’ll be releasing all of that new content for free as soon as possible!