In a recent interview with with Nintendo Life, Ian Flood and David D’Angelo from Yacht Club Games discussed the development process for the upcoming Shovel Knight Amiibo, including a cut idea for the figure to function more like a Smash Bros. Amiibo in-game. According to Flood and D’Angelo, the team originally considered having the Amiibo unlock a “Custom Knight”, which would have been a customizable AI character to serve as the player’s partner in co-op play, kind of like the Yarn Yoshi Amiibo’s functionality but with an added level of customization.
Eventually, the development team decided to scrap the idea because they were unsure about how well the AI could and should work; they were afraid that if the AI was too good, then the partner would outrun the player and make them feel “foolish”, and that if it wasn’t good enough, the player would grow tired of having to babysit the character. This, plus some discussion on whether the AI character could be used in addition to a second player in co-op, eventually led to the exclusion of the “Custom Knight” idea.
D’Angelo: What we pitched to Nintendo is ultimately in the game with the amiibo. One thing we did cut out was that initially we talked about having Custom Knight be a co-op AI character, like Tails or levelling up in Smash Bros.
Flood: We thought it through in terms of it gaining abilities, and we thought about whether it’d be fun to have an AI Shovel Knight also jumping around on screen. Ultimately we didn’t think that would work.
I always thought about whether you’d be impressed or disappointed in the AI, and thought most times you’d be disappointed in it. If it did all the jumps would it make the player feel foolish, or if it failed would you want to help a baby Shovel Knight that wasn’t very skilled?
D’Angelo: We also thought about how that’d work in co-op – would you both have AI partners? Four Shovel Knights? We quickly thought that’d be a dumb idea.
Source: Nintendo Life