One of the most beloved new video game characters to come onto the scene is the blue-armored, helmet-horned titular hero Shovel Knight. He's become recognized enough that a new collaboration was made between Yacht Club Games and Playtonic for him to appear in Yooka-Laylee.
The trailer was recently posted up over on the Playtonic Games YouTube channel, featuring just under two minutes worth of in-game footage of Yooka-Laylee. The trailer first goes through a list of characters that players will encounter throughout the game, helping them to achieve their goals and providing them with various missions along the way. Each of the cast of characters gets a short spotlight in the near two-minute trailer leading up to the blue wonder himself, Shovel Knight.
He's only briefly featured in the video after the minute mark, where we get a nice zoom-in of the knight appearing in a fully rendered 3D state for the first time. He has a short interaction with Yooka and Laylee before the trailer concludes.
Playtonic Games had explained in an update post about the guest appearance that they worked with Yacht Club Games to bring over the hero from Shovel Knight. Yacht Club had to spend some time in the modeling lab, chiseling out a fully rendered 3D asset of the Shovel Knight, and then they shipped him over to Platonic Games.
The thing is, just making a 3D model of a character is only part of the battle. As you can see in the trailer above, the Shovel Knight moves and is animated within Yooka-Laylee and someone had to make that happen.
Playtonic explained that after they received the model from Yacht Club Games, they when into the toolset and began rigging up a bone system for the Shovel Knight. After the rigging was complete, they proceeded to have the animators give him an adequate set of animations for use within Yooka-Laylee.
Since the shovel-carrying hero comes from a pixelated 2D side-scroller, the animations had to be made up on the fly since they couldn't really reference the original Shovel Knight for too much reference data.
While it's pretty cool that we get to see this crossover, with a new-age video game icon making his way into another upcoming franchise, there is a bit of disappointment to share: you won't be able to play as the Shovel Knight in Yooka-Laylee. The hulking shoveler is only going to appear as an NPC and likely a quest-giver in the upcoming 3D platformer by Playtonic Games.
Interestingly enough, Playtonic teased that perhaps one day Yacht Club Games might make a 3D Shovel Knight at some point down the road... so not all hope is lost!
Shovel Knight is currently available for home console and PC, and Yooka-Laylee is scheduled to launch next year for the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and PC.