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Shovel Knight Showdown: Chester's Choice

A breakdown of how Chester's Choice, an innovative mode in Shovel Knight Showdown, a multiplayer platform fighter, was created.

What’s up picky people?! We wanted to discuss an upcoming feature in our new game, Shovel Knight Showdown (releasing December 10th!!) that we’re very proud of. And because this thrilling new feature isn’t part of your typical fighting game, we thought we’d also talk about how it was deemed so necessary, and then developed! You may have already seen the small snippet of the mode 52 seconds into our trailer:

Welcome to Chester’s Choice!

Shovel Knight Showdown is a multiplayer platforming fighting game where you can pit up to 4 of your favorite heroes or villains from Shovel Knight against each other. Our goal was to make a Shovel Knight battling game with tons of variety, something you and your friends could play forever- always finding new ways to play it.

We started tackling that goal with 2 main game types: Treasure Clash, where you fight over gems, and Showdown, where you fight to be the last one standing. You may have seen variants of modes like this in other multiplayer or fighting games. But our desire to give the player endless variety culminated in a brand new, crazy mode we call Chester’s Choice! In Chester’s Choice, players are presented with an ever-shuffling roulette of gameplay! All of Showdown’s options: teams, items, cheats, modes, stages, and more – are set up and curated to create a new, engaging experience each time you play. 

In fighting games, we’ve found that players rarely change the settings around because it can be quite a hassle. In Chester’s Choice, you don’t need to navigate endless menus or decide the rules – you just load up the mode and voila- fun times await!

Building the Box

When we were working on Showdown, as the game got bigger and grander, the number of ways to play grew exponentially! We kept adding items, features, and cheats – so many that it started to become a chore to open the options menu and tweak everything. Sometimes we’d even forget that certain options existed!

We did our best to condense these menus and features onscreen and make them simple and easy to understand! We also only implemented options that we thought would make a significant impact on the fun…

But as the game grew, there was only so much we could do to contain the options! This was largely because we found it fun to set up very specific matches. While we playtested, it was very common to hear things like:

  • “This stage should have no items so it’s like a duel!”
  • “How about we do only warping glass items on high so we’re all swapping places all the time?” 
  • “I bet the ‘run fast, jump high’ cheat would be crazy with lava everywhere.”

These kinds of gameplay setups are pretty common in multiplayer games with lots of options. In the single player experiences of other battlers like Mortal Kombat’s Towers of Time and Smash Bros’ World of Light, these options are set up automatically. But in multiplayer modes, rarely are these options presented in a digestible way. Maybe players are used to setting it up themselves, they’d experiment, and it would be fine!

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