Hey, Pathfinders! While developing King of Cards, we thought a lot about how to increase the excitement of the game on the map. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope started as a game with a map heavily inspired by Mario 3. The map was structured so that players would be encouraged to try out different levels if they were having a hard time with any one in particular. Players would have the flexibility to travel in a specific stage order to get to a bonus, or to travel along a different route to find reprieve in a village more quickly. The map was a way to do some world building, and a means to pepper in some flavorful ideas that couldn’t be communicated in the core set of stages. Through the map, we wanted to reinterpret the Mega Man experience of facing 8 core baddies by selecting them from a menu, and extend the depth of that concept just a little bit. This map structure was also used for Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows.