Shovel Knight, Kickstarter star and indie darling, looks to be receiving a free expansion starring one of it's once-enemies. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows sees the alchemical antagonist Plague Knight set out on a quest to collect ingredients for his masterpiece by gathering reagents from the bodies of each of the other original bosses, his former allies. Plague Knight is meant to allow players to re-experience all the levels and content in the original Shovel Knight world, but from a new perspective and with a new playstyle.
Developer Yacht Club Games took time at the GDC to announce the new content for their headliner, potentially doubling the appeal of their already award-winning IP. Although no further expansions have been announced, speculation about the possibility for future content or sequels within the Shovel Knight mythos can only be encouraged by this new development.
Yacht Club also used the opportunity to announce that Shovel Knight would be coming to the XBox One marketplace this coming April, and will feature an exclusive guest appearance from legendary combat amphibian franchise Battletoads. In their first authentic video gaming appearance since a 1994 arcade machine, the Battletoads will appear as what seems to be a bonus miniboss fight in the standard Shovel Knight story, much as several Kickstarter backer-designed foes did. Given that the 'Toads last guest appearance saw them visit the Double Dragon universe, which was itself referenced during the original River City Ransom, this is likely part of a plot to retroactively tie Shovel Knight into classic gaming like some sort of pixelated Kevin Bacon.
Plague of Shadows promises to add several features atop the retro-homage platformer action that was the original Shovel Knight. Initially experienced like a love letter to such classic games as Mega Man, it's upcoming expansion will include upgrade construction, remixed levels, and entirely new bosses. Though it remains to be seen exactly how differently Plague Knight will play as compared to Shovel Knight, the absolute difference between the shovel-based melee focus of the original protagonist and the bomb-centric flask throwing of Plague Knight's boss stage suggests that a more different manner of fighting would be hard to find. Knowing Yacht Clubs excellent performance regarding level and mechanic design in the original, it is a safe bet that Plague of Shadows will be perfectly balanced and eminently playable, regardless of the new style of play.
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows is slated to release for free in Q2 of this year, so hop on your Steam if you're thirsting for the latest scoop on new Knightly goodness. Toadpotionshovel jokes!