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Why Shovel Knight's devs had to go broke to become successful

To create Shovel Knight, the developers at Yacht Club Games had to go broke first, according to a post on the developer's official website.

Based on what they believe to be industry standard budget projections, creating Shovel Knight should have taken two years and $1.44 million. The core team of six developers began building the NES-inspired platformer last year with $328,682 in crowdfunded donations.

Yacht Club cut costs wherever possible by deferring composer Jake Kaufman's salary, holding Kickstarter stretch goals until after the initial release and cutting salaries during development. But as the original March 31, 2014 release date crept closer, they ran out of money.

"We ended up operating for five months without money or payments to the team here," the post reads. "It was a difficult period, where some of us were awkwardly standing in front of cashiers having our credit cards declined, drawing from any possible savings, and borrowing money from our friends and family. But we made it to the other side!"

Shovel Knight was released June 26 for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows PC on Steam. Yacht Club "essentially sold 75,000 copies" in the first week after release, according to the post. A month after Shovel Knight's debut, sales reached 180,000 copies, a milestone developers credit to backer enthusiasm and Nintendo's marketing help.

"It's been a crazy ride! We're not done yet though," the post reads. "We're going to keep working our hardest to keep this game loved, played, and selling like hotcakes. Our new goal is the quest to 1 million sold, to truly solidify Shovel Knight as a modern platinum classic! For all of you who had doubts that a Wii U game or a digital game on a Nintendo platform could sell, we hope these facts show that a good game on any system, marketed the right way, can sell."

For more on Shovel Knight, be sure to read Polygon's review for the game that's "inspired by the past in all the right ways." Check out the video below to see it in action.

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