Since the release of Shovel Knight, developer Yacht Club Games has been lavished with nothing but love for how well it's refined old-school goodness – in fact, some fans have even said that the 2D platformer has set a new standard for indies. We got in touch with the team's David D'Angelo to talk about bringing the title to PlayStation.
Push Square: First off, thanks for doing this! Could you give a brief description of what Shovel Knight is?
David D'Angelo: Shovel Knight is a 2D action adventure platformer with awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and an NES aesthetic.
Let's rewind a bit: your team is comprised of people who used to work for WayForward. What motivated you all to pick up, leave, and start this new team?
We wanted to keep our team together. At WayForward, when a project finishes, the team is usually split up and sent to whatever other teams need the most help. We wanted to keep making games together, so we decided to form our own company to make it happen.
In an industry where old-school platformers are dime a dozen, what sets Shovel Knight apart?
It's simple and understandable while being complex, intriguing, engaging, and fun like the NES games that inspired it. Every component is built like this...from its simple but effective story to its gameplay and aesthetics. Its characters and world were created to be universally appealing like Mario or Mickey Mouse. It was designed to live on its own, without the need of understanding previous games or other media. Shovel Knight is very much the personal creation of the team here at Yacht Club Games, and hopefully the love and passion we poured into the project shines through and sets it apart.
A lot of people say that Shovel Knight has set a new standard for retro indie games, if not indie games as a whole. How does a small development team respond to something like that?
That's crazy! We're happy to simply have people say that they enjoy the game. It's an incredible honour to hear that some may think that we're setting a standard, but I think that standard was already set by companies like Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, and more that have been putting out these great games for decades.
What features/content are exclusive to the PlayStation versions of the game? How have you taken advantage of Sony's hardware?
The biggest feature addition is the battle with Kratos from God of War. Beyond that, we tried to take advantage of Sony's platforms in small ways. Things like cross-save, PS4 light bar support, Vita back touch Easter eggs, and more adorn Shovel Knight's PlayStation version.
Is it safe to say that Yacht Club is a team that will always make retro stuff, or is there any interest in trying something different in the future?
No! We're up for anything and everything.
Why do you think that the indie scene has grown so much over the past few years?
It's simply grown because now there is a viable marketplace for smaller studios to thrive. Before digital sales picked up on XBLA, Steam, iOS, Nintendo eShop, PSN, and otherwise, it wasn't really possible to release a small game. Now small games can easily be published to digital stores allowing consumers to easily find these games and realise their high quality. It's a great time to be making games!
Our thanks to David D'Angelo for taking time out of a no doubt hectic week to chat to us. Are you looking forward to digging into Shovel Knight this week? Pogo hop into the comments section below.