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Battletoads in Xbox One version of Shovel Knight sets tongues wagging

As Rare's 30th anniversary approaches, we quiz Phil Spencer.

Battletoads re-imagined in Shovel Knight.

Battletoads, whose first appearance was on the NES in 1991, will return, albeit in cameo form.

In April the Battletoads will be added to the Xbox One version of 2D side-scrolling action game Shovel Knight, with developer Yacht Club re-imagining the NES sprites in Shovel Knight style.

Battletoads was created by Rare founders Tim and Chris Stamper and achieved a cult following for its impressive graphics and rock hard difficulty.

The Microsoft-owned developer is often asked about a new game in the series, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer partial to wearing a Battletoads T-shirt during presentations.

And he recently visited Rare at its Twycross, Leicestershire headquarters to check out the company's new game now that the Kinect Sports series appears to have run its course.

So what's going on? At GDC this week Eurogamer's Martin Robinson asked Spencer about Battletoads and Rare's 30th anniversary later this year.

Phil Spencer teases Battletoads during Microsoft's Windows 10 event earlier this year.

Here's the exchange:

You've brought this up a number of times now, so you can't blame me for asking. Battletoads... It's Rare's 30th anniversary this year...

Phil Spencer: Is it? (laughs)

You're going to celebrate it with cupcakes, I'm sure, but what other plans are there?

Phil Spencer: We know it's their 30th anniversary. I can say that. And Rare's a very special studio, and I think I said a couple of months ago that I got to play the prototype they had for their new game.

Gregg Mayles [veteran Rare designer] is someone I've a tonne of respect for. We recognise that it's their 30th year. And that's an important time - without giving away too much.

Is it time to celebrate their heritage?

Phil Spencer: I think it is.

All eyes now turn to E3 in June.

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Xbox One, PC

Shovel Knight

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii U, PC, Mac, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.