Shovel Knight, the character, made his debut in 2014 in a video game appropriately named Shovel Knight. The game was praised upon its release and is remembered as a well-executed platformer inspired by the NES classics. Since then, the game has received multiple DLC additions and Shovel Knight has appeared in spin-offs such as Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon and more recently the roguelike platformer, Shovel Knight Dig. More impressive, however, is Shovel Knight’s penchant for appearing in games that don’t have his name in the title. Shovel Knight has appeared as himself or been mentioned in at least 33 non-Shovel Knight games. He even received his own Amiibo and a line of children’s toys with Arby’s.
Prior to the release of Shovel Knight Dig, we spoke to Celia Schilling of Yacht Club, who handles licensing and marketing for Shovel Knight, and asked her a simple question: Why is Shovel Knight in so many things that aren’t Shovel Knight? ? “Oh, I don’t know. There are a lot of them,” says Schilling. “We think it’s fun. It’s just that we’ve always envisioned Shovel Knight as an all-encompassing universe. Seeing Shovel Knight in different things, or as Arby’s kids’ food toys, just makes sense for our brand. And it’s hilarious.”
Shovel Knight Dig es mucho más que un cameo para el caballero con un arma única. Dig es un roguelike que le da a Shovel Knight una gran cantidad de nuevas habilidades y mejoras, pero a diferencia de juegos como Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon (un juego de rompecabezas), Dig parece que casi podría ser una secuela. Sin embargo, no se llama Shovel Knight 2 por una razón muy específica. “No puede ser una secuela porque es una precuela”, dice Schilling. “Sigue el punto de vista de Shovel Knight en su historia, por lo que técnicamente es una precuela de Shovel of Hope. Te lleva de vuelta a los viejos tiempos de él y Shield Knight simplemente aventurándose, golpeando a los malos y recolectando tesoros”.
Podría decirse que su género también impide que sea una secuela numerada adecuada. Y aunque Yacht Club estuvo muy involucrado en su desarrollo, como lo está con todos los spin-offs de Shovel Knight, fue desarrollado principalmente por Nitrome. “El proceso de pensamiento para [Dig] It started when we were finishing Treasure Trove. We’re like, ‘Okay, well, what’s next?’ And we were playing around with different ideas,” says Schilling. “How about a platforming roguelike where a lot of stuff happens and the levels are constantly changing? But who is going to do it?
Yacht Club had been eyeing Nitrome for some time, a developer that has a history with popular browser games, as well as the 2018 puzzle-platformer Bomb Chicken. “We have a million ideas like… I don’t know, Shovel Knight party or pictocross or something. And that was just one of the ones that we really enjoyed and Nitrome has experience with that kind of thing too,” says Schilling. Yacht Club gave Nitrome the basic pitch and Nitrome came back with tons of concepts, and that’s where the project came from.
In 2020, Yacht Club started talks with Apple Arcade to add something to the mobile subscription platform. “Apple is great and they don’t demand exclusivity or anything like that because Dig is coming out on Switch, PC and Apple Arcade all at the same time,” says Schillings. “Keep in mind that we plan to expand our list of platforms in the future, but right now, and it’s the same for Nitrome, but at Yacht Club Games, we put everything in everything. So it’s good to focus on a couple of platforms and say, ‘Okay, we’re launching here.
As for what’s next for Yacht Club after the release of Dig, Mina the Hollower is the next Yacht Club game. Unlike its recent batch of Shovel Knight spinoffs and publishing efforts (such as the release of Cyber Shadow), Mina the Hollower is an entirely new game developed in-house that recently raised over $1.2 million on Kickstarter. “To speak in Nintendo terms, Shovel Knight is our Mario and Mina is our Zelda,” says Schilling. “And then we have an untitled project that I can’t talk about.”
You can read GameSpot’s Shovel Knight Dig review by following the link.
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