Shovel Knight is the awesome retro styled 2D sidescroller that was recently catapulted to Kickstarter success blowing by its initial $75k level to land on a cool $350k. The fans of this upcoming game spread the message far and wide and as such gained some awesome stretch goals such as Linux & Mac ports, playable boss characters, a gender swap mode(woot), challenge mode and a 4 player battle mode.

Since I am very interested in dispensing shovel justice to evil in 8-bit I decided to reach out to the Shovel Knight team. They were awesome enough to respond and what follows is the historical accounting of that conversation.

Oh and for all of you wondering, we did talk about United States law enforcement policy as well as dirt patents. Your welcome!

jdodson: Shovel Knight was recently funded on Kickstarter! What are your thoughts on how the response to Shovel Knight has been?

Sean Velasco: We are totally overwhelmed by the support we've gotten. Our lofty expectations capped out at about half of what we ended up with! Our Kickstarter caught fire and the rally at the end was unbelievable. Now, we'll be able to develop even more great content for Shovel Knight, in an office, instead of out of our apartments.

jdodson: Where did concept for Shovel Knight come from?

Sean Velasco: We wanted to build an NES-style game around a central mechanic, and we settled on a Zelda II style down thrust. This move led to us thinking about other moves: flipping, slashing, and digging. Eureka! A shovel! It was a goofy idea that we really liked, so we went with Shovel Knight. It especially seemed fitting for an 8-bit style game, where the themes were generally less serious.

jdodson: For $100 Kickstarter backers they will receive very special hand signed Shovel Knight dirt. What magic does Yacht Club Games use to sign dirt and did you patent the method?

Sean Velasco: The dirt-signing method is patent pending. We lay the first out in a thin layer of top-quality dirt, then run our pens through it, meticulously photographing the process. After that, we gather the dirt into envelopes and send them out to our loyal customers.

jdodson: How has Shovel Knight development process been moving along?

Sean Velasco: During the Kickstarter, things slowed down a lot as we were inundated with questions, updates, and media requests. We are now starting to get back into the swing of things, but we have lots of groundwork to do now: accounting, office space, businessey type stuff. We're hoping that in the next couple of weeks we can get back into full development, because that's what we love doing the most!

jdodson: Shovel Knight is styled after the 8-bit awesome games of the past. As I look at the overworld map screen, I am reminded of a few of the Super Mario games and am wondering about level progression. Many retro games allowed you a series of warps to speed dash to beat Bowser at the end. Does Shovel Knight allow this?

Sean Velasco: We are probably not going to have warps that let you skip to the end, but there will be lots of secrets and shortcuts. We're intentionally making sure that this game will be good for speed runners, and we'll be running it by some of our favorite speed runner friends to make sure it is ideal in that regard.

jdodson: As you have been play testing Shovel Knight, I wonder for you what part jumps out at you as something you really love about it?

Sean Velasco: I really love Shovel Knight's mobility. He feels weighty without feeling slow, and the bounce of the shovel is just right! We spent a lot of time thinking about and tuning the character mobility, so every time I get my hands on the game, it just fits like a glove.

jdodson: Does the game story explain the relationship between the Shovel Knight and the Enchantress?

Sean Velasco: Yes, the story will explain the relationships of all the characters, including the mysterious Enchantress! We aren't ready to talk too much about the story, but just know that we're planning on something a bit more emotionally complex than your typical "save the princess" game story.

jdodson: As I watched the Kickstarter video I noticed Shovel Knight nab a more epic shovel from a treasure chest. As Shovel Knight makes his way to the Enchantress how many power-ups does he find and do they change how you play the game?

Sean Velasco: We want to have a wealth of upgrades and subweapons for Shovel Knight. We're collecting lots of gems and loot, so we have to make cool stuff to spend it on! The subweapons will be things like the wand from our PAX demo, which shoots a fireball across the screen. We're thinking that you'll be able to upgrade those into more powerful items, as well as augmenting your health, magic, armor, etc. However, this is all in the planning stages, so nothing definite quite yet!

jdodson: If you look at the data, The United States has made huge strides in lowering violent crime in many large metropolitan cities since the 80’s. I wonder if you think we might see an even more dramatic downturn if we employed “Shovel Justice?”

Sean Velasco: If you have ever watched the hard-hitting documentary "Mystery Men", you would know that Shovel Justice can work, and has worked in the past. Maybe it's time to repeal our concealed shoveling laws!

jdodson: I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, is there anything you want to say before we wrap things up?

Sean Velasco: We're all about our fans and community! If you like what we are doing, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. We do lots of updates, contests, and live streams, so join in on the fun!

twitter: @yachtclubgames