Multi-player is a dream-feature, but no promises
Warning: Sean Velasco of Yacht Club Games doesn't want you to get your hopes up. Shovel Knight had a great showing at PAX, and is chugging along on Kickstarter, but the game is far from done and there is no way of telling what features (beyond the firmly planted gameplay structures and design tenants) will make it to the final game.
That said, the team is bursting with ideas, specifically, ideas for local multi-player. I was fast talking with Sean about how how surprised I was to see that the lovely "Pokemon for knif collectors" 2D action games Mercenary Kings has both local and online split-screen co-op, accommodating up to 4 players at once. "It's like Metal Slug meets Zelda: Four Swords" I said with a inappropriately triumphant swagger, forgetting I was talking to a guy who was in a position to make that idea, or nearly any game design idea, a potential reality.
Sean's face immediately lit up as he said "Awww, just saying 'Four Swords' make my brain go electric! I want that so bad. Just picturing four Shovel Knight's running and jumping and digging around on screen together at the same time.... and the Wii U control pad? So many possibilities..."
It was then that Sean remembered that I worked for a major game dev blog and said "Don't post that."
I talked Sean into letting me write this story about his electric brain because I trust that the level headed, insightful readers of Destructoid will understand that this is not a promise that Shovel Knight will have any multi-player components. Super Meat Boy once was set to have multi-player components, but they never made it to the final game. Time, budget, and how current ideas will fit with future design epiphanies can change everything development.
Speaking strictly as a fan of Shovel Knight, I'd love to see multi-player happen, maybe in a Coin Battle/Boost mode side game like in Super Mario Bros. U. It could work as a place to really push your skills to the limit while teaching/learning from your friends in the process. Make it an endless mode filled with fun unlockables and you'd have me really freaking out.
At this point in Shovel Knight's development cycle, anything is possible. If you want to be a part of it, follow Yacht Club Games them on Twitter/Facebook and let them know what kind of features you want in the game. More importantly, help keep that Kickstarter going by spreading the word. It's easy to imagine that if and when the game makes its goal that additional backing funds could go towards stuff like multi-player and/or endless modes, but before that, we need to make sure it gets funded at all.
We have the power to help make the games that we want a reality, so we might be noisy about it.
(Oh, and if you want an exclusive interview with Sean, with some special Shovel Knight reveals to boot, check out the new issue of Nintendo Force. It's pretty good.)