Lead programmer, Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight was the first ever thirdparty Amiibo. How did that happen?
We sent an email to Nintendo saying, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we had a Shovel Knight Amiibo?’ And, like they do with everything, they said, ‘Well, first we’re doing firstparty stuff and then we’ll see how it goes’. Then a few months later they came back to us and said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we made an Amiibo for Shovel Knight?’ [Laughs.] And they said it would have to be all on us, so if we could prove to them that we had the capability to do it, then they were up for it. We did research and put systems in place to make it happen.
You must have been pleased to get Mega composer Minami Matsumae on board.
The guys at Brave Wave reached out to us – they’re a music company that gets old game composers to write music. They sent an email: ‘How about instead of donating to your campaign, I have Minami Matsumae write a few songs for you?’ And we were like, ‘She hasn’t written any music since UN Squadron – there’s no way she would write music for us’. But she agreed to write two songs. We sent her a book of the stages in progress with some character artwork, and she just dropped two tracks and they were amazing.
Shovel Knight has had a few cameos in other games – is that to keep him in the public eye?
That’s part of it. But the bigger thing for us is that we like bringing attention to those games. I mean, Yooka-Laylee is probably more popular than Shovel Knight, but anything we can do to bring more eyes to that game – that’s all we want, really. We want to encourage people to pick up as many cool games as possible.