What’s up Shovelociraptors! It’s been 5 years since the initial release of Shovel Knight, now known as Shovel of Hope! Much has happened since then, and the Blue Burrower has certainly gone places!
First off, there are 3 games in the Shovel Knight Saga, with 2 more on the way. Shovel Knight had epic crossover battles with Kratos and the Battletoads. Co-operative gameplay was added! There’s been a bunch cool Shovel Knight merchandise! We made the first third-party amiibo, with more on the way! Nintendo published us in Japan. Shovel Knight is in Smash Bros! We have released on 12 platforms and sold over 2.5 million copies! And had over 25 cameos! There’s even going to be a board game! We have so much gratitude for our legions of fans and friends. Your support of our original Kickstarter started it all!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, we thought we’d take a little trip down memory lane and share some of our memories from development, WIP images, group photos, and weird things that got posted in our Slack from the last 5 years. Like a TV clip show we guess!
Be sure to join our stream today, Wednesday, June 26th from 3pm~7pm (PDT) as we’ll be reliving some of the moments, playing old builds of Shovel Knight, giving out prizes, and revealing a thing or two in Shovel Knight Showdown. In the meantime, check out this cool stuff:
Kickstarter Launch Video
This video was taken the very moment we launched our Kickstarter. How could we have ever anticipated the insanity that followed!?
Fresh from the pages of the Shovel Knight Game Design Document. Pretty funny to look back on these now. Game development sure creates a weird web of ideas!
Super Skeleton was a weird collapsing cyclops!? Notice the structure of blocks on the right, which is used to show how tall the character should be in tiles.
Mole knight mockup doing his belly slide. We do a little mockup like this for every attack.
Early spear viking concept. He ended up being fat and huge!
The rainbow bird barf statue was a complicated object to design. These mockups helped prove it out a bit.
Another helpful boss mockup! Simply saying "Black Knight should summon a meteor" can paint a picture of very different attacks in everyone's minds!
Liquid samurai! he was a blobby boy from the get go. Look at that temp art!
Mockup of Enchantress battle. This would become her Scream Dash attack.
Development Snapshots and Screens
Here’s a little selection of maybe interesting-screens and factoids about our development process.
We've often tried to make 3 levels of upgrades, but always end up cutting them! they finally got put into Specter of Torment... but even then, whittled down to just 2 upgrades!
It's a little-known fact that Shovel Knight's HUD is larger on the 3DS version to accommodate for the different aspect ratios. This mockup shows all the variations for when we were making the final call!
This was an image from the original Kickstarter. This knight with the green visor never returned, but Treasure Knight dons one when doing paperwork in Specter of Torment.
Whoa Giant Mobile Gears!! And a billion of em! Not sure what was happening here..
Woz had to pixel a lot of faces for the "your face in the game" Kickstarter tier. I remember we had to reduce the colors for these many times to make them look right. Sorry Woz! the Dragon Knight on this page later made a cameo in Specter of Torment.
I think that Wind is a bit too fast.
Why did we make so many of these.. it's like staring into the mouth of madness. This is why the game still isn't done.
The Streetpass Arena was an 3DS exclusive feature where Shovel Knights could battle through Streetpassing! Even in this early version, a Super Skeleton was the host.
Early Custom Knight Menu. The final design was much more amibitious!
Can you believe NPCs used to found in the action stages! Look at Rooster Gent just hanging out here on the Flying Machine!
The village was initially called "only village" since there was supposed to be only 1! The ladder led up to Mr. Hat!!
The miiverse was so cool!
The team spent countless hours sharing and enjoying the hilarious and creative posts on Miiverse. What a great feature!!
It was especially bustling everytime a new game was released!
Amazing to see everyone’s spontaneous creativity in each moment. Ah, to go back and browse the catalog again..
This was a minigame idea where Shovel Knight would have to skate around on the ice to make snow cones. This idea still gets brought up probably once a month! Don't worry, I'm sure you will do this in a future Shovel Knight game!
We still get many emails asking for Mona to return to the Potionarium after the game is over. This temp texts really hones in on what we were going for hahaha.
Classic Giga Enchantress temp art! (her final name became 'Remnant of Fate' but we usually call the final boss "Giga" something hahaha). She was playable in this form for some time!
This almost made the cut for the Battletoads cameo. RIP!
So far, there are no regular horses in SK, only horse people! From the looks of this mockup, maybe that's for the best.
We had to make big edits to the player sprites for Plague Knight, Specter Knight, and King Knight to constrain them into smaller hit boxes. We were relieved that no giant characters were voted in as campaign characters! This gif illustrates the problem of fitting Treasure Knight into a Shovel Knight-sized gap..
It’s been a wild ride with some amazing people. Just look at ’em all!
The original booth from PAX East 2013. We launched on a shoestring budget before the Kickstarter funded!
The first troupple sighting on a post-it the the fridge
Kickstarter delivery assembly line. How can i hold all these packages!?
Our first real disc version of the game! Gold Master Candidate!!
Virt at PAX West 2014!
We traveled far and wide to preach Shovel Knight. Everybody just loves talking to Woz!
Our tiny windowless office was crammed with gifts and accolades from our friends and supporters! We moved shortly after this!
Our little team circa 2016.
For the European release of Shovel Knight, we got to be in a Nintendo Direct! Here's some practice of that all-important pose. (Thank you, Mr. Iwata!!)
Woz and Sean having some amiibo fun time. As you can see we were very excited!
Meeting the Legendary composer Koji Kondo
Visiting the Nintendo offices. They ended up Publishing us in Japan!
Woah! Shovel Knight in the wild in Japan!
Our booth grew alongside our ambitions. The giant Shovel Knight towering over our booth was especially cool.
A real book series on a real book shelf. We've arrived!! We always get giddy excitement from seeing Shovel Knight appear in places like this!!
Hangin with Jirard and Jesse Cox!
Shovel Knight in Smash Bros!!
Finally, the culmination of everything. Witness our genuine freakout when we saw the Blue Burrower in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the first time!
Thanks for 5 amazing years!!
Thank you to everyone for supporting us. We appreciate it so much! Here’s to the next 5!
YCG team circa 2018