Video game developer Sean Valesco discusses “Shovel Knight”

Jacob Clary and Jacob Clary

Sean Velasco hasn’t always been a lead developer for Yacht Club Games. Prior to his current position he worked for Wayforward, which created the games Double Dragon Neon and Contra 4.

In 2014, following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, Yacht Club Games developed the game “Shovel Knight.”

Now, the game is getting its first downloadable content and Velasco spoke with The BG News recently about the game and himself.

Q: What kind of background did you have in the games industry before you started development on “Shovel Knight?”

A: Most of the staff here, including myself, used to work at a company called WayForward. During that time, they specialized in 2D side scrolling games and licensed brands, so we got great experience making classic games within a tight budget and time frame.

Q: Do you have any advice that you would like to give to people that want to start developing video games?

A: Work on a game and try to finish it- it doesn’t have to be big. Copy a very simple classic game you enjoy, and try to work out all of the mechanics. After that you can build more complicated things, but it’s also helpful to work with other people, as games are almost always made in teams. Get used to working and collaborating with others!

Q: After the huge success of the base game of “Shovel Knight” across every platform, what has been your mindset going into the development of the Plague of Shadows DLC?

A: We wanted to make an alternate campaign that would embody Plague Knight. We wanted playing as him to be like playing the boss fight in the original game – he’s explosive and shoots around the screen all crazily! We also wanted to rework any parts of the game that seemed out of place or repetitive to play again, and to show the story from a different viewpoint. In hindsight, we definitely got carried away, and this free update turned out to be larger than we anticipated. But, hopefully we succeeded in our goals!

Q: What kind of features will the 3DS and Wii U versions get, respectively, when you use the “Shovel Knight Amiibo” during the game? Also, will the “Shovel Knight Amiibo” work in other games like Super Mario Maker, or even Super Smash Bros?

A: First, the amiibo unlocks deep character customization, with new relics, skins, and more! Additionally, it unlocks new challenge levels on the Wii U and 3DS. The coolest amiibo feature, however, is cooperative play, exclusive to the Wii U. You can finally pick up a Shovel Blade and play the whole game alongside a friend.

As far as other games, we have nothing to announce at this time!

Q: What part of “Shovel Knight” are you guys most proud of?

A: I love that “Shovel Knight” always has something to do and doesn’t waste your time… except when we really waste your time on purpose!

Q: Where would you guys like to see the franchise of “Shovel Knight” go from here? Super Shovel Knight, or something different entirely?

A: I’d love to see a 3D Shovel Knight game – a “Shovel Knight 64” if you will. However, after all the DLC, it might be nice to take a break from Shoveling for a while.