Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Interview — Yacht Club Games Reflects on Five Years of Support
Yacht Club Games' David D'Angelo reflects on the development of everything in Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove in this interview with DualShockers.
Next week, Yacht Club Games will finally release Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown, the final two hefty pieces of free DLC for the indie darling. It will mark the end of over five years of support for that title that put Yacht Club Games on the map. While things are looking bright for the studio going forward with Shovel Knight Dig and Cyber Shadow, this is also a time of reflection for the developers.
Recently, DualShockers caught up with Yacht Club Games’ David D’Angelo to learn more about the entire Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove package prior to its conclusion. We reflected on Yacht Club Games’ journey and growth, how Shovel Knight Showdown was built on the back of a 2D platformer and even got an update on when we will be hearing about Cyber Shadow and Shovel Knight Dig next.
Tomas Franzese: What game design lessons have Yacht Club Games learned from King of Cards and Showdown’s development that you would implement in Shovel of Hope if you could go back?
David D’Angelo: We’re pretty proud of how Shovel of Hope turned out, and we wouldn’t change a thing! Actually, there are a million things everyone is trying to change all the time, and we had to enforce a no changing old games rule while developing the new games. The games are fairly different, so most of the lessons learned that would apply to Shovel of Hope just come down to small polish items that most players probably wouldn’t even notice!
TF: What difficulties have Yacht Club Games ran into while trying to create what is basically a fighting game on the back of a 2D platformer?
DD: There have been a lot of fighting games built off of 2D platformers- so just figuring out how to make one that stood out as unique was our first big challenge. Then next was figuring out how to make the game fit in with the other 4 adventures in Treasure Trove. We didn’t want Showdown to stick out as odd. We went to great lengths to make sure all the players played how you expected them too based off their campaign or boss battles.
TF: Which new playable characters were the most difficult to bring to life for Showdown?
DD: We struggled the most with the big characters like Polar Knight and Treasure Knight. It was tricky to make them feel big and weighty while simultaneously balancing the fact that on small stages their hitboxes could take up a significant portion of the screen. We spent a fair amount of time playing with four Polar Knight or one Polar Knight vs 3 small characters, trying to figure out what mechanics were necessary to make it feel fun and fair.
TF: Who has been the most requested character for Showdown by Shovel Knight fans?
DD: Before we started announcing characters, it was definitely Mona! Now that we have, it’s hard to say if there’s a clear winner. At this point, it’s mostly speculation as to who will be in the roster. We look forward to hearing which character is most desired after they’ve seen the full list.
TF: How does it feel to have this five-year journey finally come to a close?
DD: It’s truly incredible! We’re so proud that we were able to complete what we promised in a way that could please both us and our fans. We feel incredibly lucky to have been afforded the space and time to pour our hearts and souls into building five great games. We’re so grateful to all our fans for supporting us every step of the way.
TF: How has Yacht Club Games grown as a studio over the course of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove’s development?
DD: We’ve almost tripled in size, we’ve gotten way more professional and buttoned-up, and we’ve honed our design skills and sensibilities. It feels like we’re operating on all cylinders, and we can’t wait to tackle new challenges.
TF: DoesShovel Knight: Treasure Trovestill contain any secrets or cheat codes that fans have not found yet?
TF: What does Yacht Club Games think of cloud-based platforms like Google Stadia and is it a platform that you would consider supporting in the future?
DD: We’re always excited about technology that makes new game experiences possible. Although streaming isn’t always the best for the low latency kind of games we focus on, it provides opportunities to make different games that might be really cool! So we’re looking forward to seeing what is made, and we hope we can be a part of it.
TF: Is there anything else you would like DualShockers’ audience to know about King of Cards or Showdown?
DD: Oh so much! Please stay tuned to our social media and website for lots of design articles about how we created everything. We hope everyone plays both games and has a blast.
TF: When can we expect to hear more about Yacht Club Games’ other projects, like Cyber Shadow and Shovel Knight Dig?
DD: Currently, we’re very focused on Showdown and King of Cards, but when the dust settles early next year, we hope to start talking about Cyber Shadow and Shovel Knight Dig more. They are both so fantastic, and we can’t wait to reveal everything!
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, which currently includes that Shovel of Hope, Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment campaigns is available for 3DS, Switch, PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U and Xbox One. King of Cards and Showdown will be topping off that package on December 10.
Questions were contributed by Max Roberts