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Turns out Shovel Knight is a 3D game — seriously

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Side-scrolling platformer looks like a pop-up book when the camera is shifted

Boundary Break, the YouTube series by Shesez, has shown us secrets of Fallout 3, Silent Hill 2, and even Toad’s head by going beyond the limitations of in-game cameras and perspectives. Now comes a revelation at least as startling: Shovel Knight is actually a 3D game.

As spied earlier by Kotaku, the latest Boundary Break episode talks to Yacht Club Games developers to shed light on that bizarro plot twist. (Indeed, the studio provides the camera tool Shesez uses to show how the game is rendered). Yes, Shovel Knight is a classic side-scrolling platformer, but the game has a 3D engine because Yacht Club didn’t really know what it wanted to do at the time they got started.

Layering things this way made it easier for them to port Shovel Knight to other platforms, in fact — a big reason it’s almost done a Full Ginsburg (Windows PC, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) since launching in 2014, lacking only the Xbox 360. Another bonus is that a game in a 3D engine was easier for them to troubleshoot and debug.

The perspective bending and explanation starts at the two minute mark, and makes Shovel Knight look like a neat-o pop up book or art class diorama. By angling the camera, Shesez is able to show, for example, how far Grapps extend (pretty damn far) off the screen, or how retracting platforms in fact stack up on themselves behind the set.