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August 2015 Retro Gaming Article

August 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Shovel Knight's amiibo confirmation makes us wonder how many other devs are courting Nintendo for this special deal

Shovel Knight amiibo Shovel Knight came out in 2014 and quickly became the darling of the modern retro movement, winning several awards. It's a 2D side scrolling platformer originally released for PC, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. It has now been released on all the major platforms and consoles. We highly recommend you get a copy for your gaming device of choice.

As indie games go, Shovel Knight has done very well and garnered many awards and acclaims. Yesterday, Yacht Club Games announced that Shovel Knight is slated to be released as an amiibo figure! This will allow 2-player co-op on the Wii U, and unlock additional challenges and customization options for both the Wii U and 3DS.

Yacht Club Games says the amiibo functionality will be carried forward in other games as well. This is a really huge feat for an independent video game. This is the first officially licensed amiibo for a 3rd party game.

A New Licensing Structure for Indie Games?

However, the structure of this amiibo deal is a little different. As reported by Destructoid, Yacht Club Games is actually licensing the amiibo tech from Nintendo and doing the manufacturing and distribution themselves. Nintendo is overseeing things in the manner they are accustomed. Nintendo will ensure it's look and game play options fit the Nintendo mold.

With the array of complaints about insufficient stock levels of many amiibo figures, will Yacht Club Games be able to handle this responsibility? Creating and perpetuating a successful game is very difficult for an indie studio who can't rely on a single title for too long. I would think that being responsible for manufacturing and distribution would take a large toll. I hope they are being properly supported to be successful in an area that may not be familiar to game devs - keeping store shelves stocked.

Many are already asking if this means there will be proper supplies of the Shovel Knight amiibo since Nintendo has had great difficulty keeping amiibo in the supply chain. Is Nintendo the problem and will turning distribution over to the game devs work well? Do indie devs have the time, workforce and money to make amiibo manufacturing and distribution go smoothly? Time will tell. Who else has been courting Nintendo for a similar deal?

This development & release strategy seems awfully strange, but lets hope this method will encourage Nintendo to branch out when considering how to broaden the amiibo character base and their potential enhancement to various Nintendo games.

I'd love to see some amiibo created for Capcom's Shantae and perhaps a few classic figures in line with the "retro Mario" amiibo figure. I can think of several Namco characters I'd love to see interact with a modern game or two. Couldn't Dig Dug lend his pump-weapon to a modern day gaming hero - maybe for one of Splatoon's Inklings? :)

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