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How Shovel Knight Is Inspired By Dark Souls


Back when Yacht Club Games announced their 8-bit platformer, Shovel Knight, they said the game was inspired by Mega Man, Castlevania and Dark Souls. That last one isn’t necessarily like the other two, so it may not be immediately obvious what influence Dark Souls might have to offer an 8-bit game. On the Shovel Knight Kickstarter page, Yacht Club explain:


“We love the rhythm of combat in Dark Souls, and the way you feel true fear at facing the unknown. The soul upgrading and death mechanics in that game are also refreshing and wonderful. That palpable tension that comes from fear of death!”


Yacht Club say they’re looking to make Shovel Knight a 6-8 hour game the first time through, and encouraging the player to learn the layouts of the stages. The goal is to allow speedrunners to complete the game in a single sitting, which was a decision inspired by Super Metroid. As you play, you’ll be able to collect treasure and spend it on upgrading the Shovel Knight’s armour, equipment and sub-weapons.


Additionally, since Shovel Knight has met a number of its Kickstarter stretch goals, two more playable characters are being added to the game. One is a female Shovel Knight, who is a gender swap of the original. The second is a brand new character—one of the game’s bosses. Just which boss it’s going to be will be decided by fan vote at a later date.


Shovel Knight is in development for the PC, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.


Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.