Interview With David D’Angelo

Monday, June 1st, 2015

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With the recent release of Shovel Knight on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox One, I got a chance to interview David D’Angelo, one of the founders of Yacht Club Games. I recently reviewed the PSN version of Shovel Knight. With their successful Kickstarter, Yacht Club Games was able to release Shovel Knight last year and release it on additional platforms this year. I asked some questions regarding both Shovel Knight and Yacht Club Games’s future plans. The following is a transcript of the interview with questions in bold.

  • Did you convince Sony to add Kratos to the game or did the idea come from Sony?

When we decided to bring Shovel Knight to Sony’s and Microsoft’s platforms, we spent a great deal of time trying to think about how to make the game feel unique and at home on those systems. When people play Shovel Knight, we want them to think the version they are playing is exclusive to that system. That it’s as good and well suited for the system as a first party title. That’s why we spent a great deal of effort creating features like the Miiverse Digger’s Diary for Wii U and StreetPass Battle Arena for 3DS. So we brought ideas to Sony and Microsoft about how to make the game feel unique on their systems. We all remember the day when Soul Caliber II was announced with exclusive characters on each system, and we wanted to create that same kind of fervor. So we presented the idea of bringing Kratos and Battletoads to Sony and Microsoft. They both loved our choices and were happy to collaborate with us!

Shovel Knight | Kratos

  • Where there any restrictions imposed by Sony or Microsoft when adding the characters to their respective versions?

No! Sony and Microsoft (and Rare!) were very helpful and supportive through the entire process. They both even brought ideas of their own! They were very passionate about Shovel Knight and respectful of the decisions we made. It was great to work with such amazing partners!

Shovel Knight | Battletoads

  • What was the hardest thing to program in the game?

Typically, the difficulty in programming a game isn’t managing the tech as much as it is balancing the gameplay. For example, Polar Knight was a really hard fight to program! Making sure the player didn’t die too easily on the spikes, but still appeared in locations that were fun, threatening, and exciting was quite a challenge. It was also tricky to have a giant, slow character not be wailed on by the player too easily! Figuring out ways he could move across the screen without detracting from his character persona and making him too easy to defeat was hard.

Shovel Knight | Plague of Shadows DLC

  • When can we expect Plague of Shadows to be in the game?

Right now, we’re aiming to have Plague of Shadows release at the end of Q2. We’re currently wrapping up all the systems and content. Hopefully it’ll be ready for everyone’s eyes soon!

Shovel Knight | Plague Knight Stage

  • When will the Battle, Challenge, and Gender Swap Mode be ready for release?

We’re currently aiming to get as much content out this year as possible, but we don’t have any hard deadlines. Right now, we’re focused on the Plague of Shadows update which include the Plague Knight campaign and Challenge mode. After that, we’ll move onto Battle Mode, Body Swap, and Specter Knight and King Knight’s campaign. There’s a lot of content still to come! We’re very excited to keep expanding Shovel Knight!

Shovel Knight | Fire


  • Once all the Kickstarter obligations for Shovel Knight are complete, do you plan to make a sequel to Shovel Knight or do you plan to create a new game?

We’d love to do everything! It’d be a ton of fun to make an NES style sequel, or bring Shovel Knight through the ages making Super Shovel Knight and then Shovel Knight 64! We’d also love to create a new franchise or do something completely different! But right now we’re focused on finishing the content for Shovel Knight. After that, we’ll decide what is next!We don’t know yet. We would love to possibly make a sequel to Shovel Knight and a new IP simultaneously.

Shovel Knight | Map

  • Will the Wii U and 3DS versions receive their own unique boss fight? Are there any negotiations with Nintendo?

We currently do not have any plans to add exclusive boss fights to the Wii U or 3DS versions, although that’d be super fun! It’d be amazing to be able to work with Nintendo’s IP and figure out how they can fit into Shovel Knight’s universe. We continue to talk with Nintendo all the time about how to differentiate Shovel Knight on Nintendo platforms. Hopefully, we can make the Nintendo versions feel even more unique and special as we add updates!

I would like to thank David for taking time out of his schedule to interview with me!