Artist Yuji Natsume previously drew the shovel-wielding bruiser (as you can see above) in a piece of fan art after IGA and Takuya Aizu played Shovel Knight during the Bloodstained Kickstarter’s launch stream. At the time, the fan art was titled simply “Shovel Armor,” and no one thought anything of it. But now that we know that it’ll appear in Bloodstained it may indicate as to how Shovel Knight will function in the game – i.e. as a piece of armor, perhaps.
As it is, both Inti Creates and Yacht Club Games aren’t saying exactly how Shovel Knight will manifest inside Bloodstained. Yacht Club Games tweeted on the subject saying (in Shovel Knight’s voice), “just because I’ll be appearing in
#Bloodstained doesn’t mean I’m automatically an adversary! Maybe! You’ll see.”