Axiom Verge: Sci-fi Sidescroller coming to PS4, Vita

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Axiom Verge: Sci-fi Sidescroller coming to PS4, Vita

Axiom Verge on PS4 and PS Vita

I’m Tom Happ, the sole programmer-artist-designer-composer person behind Axiom Verge, a 2D side-scrolling action-adventure coming out on PS4 and PS Vita in early 2015. If you’ve not heard of Axiom Verge (or even if you have), the best thing to do is to put on your best pair of headphones and watch the trailer below:

So, What’s This About Glitches?

People usually try to describe games in terms of other games, established genres, numbers of items to find, numbers of modes to play, etc. And if it’s an indie game, there is often a mind-bending new mechanic involved (“Can only be played during a tracheotomy!”) as well. I’ll give you these bullet points in just a bit.

But first: Think of your earliest encounters with video games – before you had any preconceptions of what to expect, how they were made, or why they were made that way. Didn’t they just seem magically limitless? It might be that a game only had a set number of areas and tight constraints on what you could do, but for all you knew, the world continued past the edges of the screen, if only you could figure out how to get there.

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Eventually, of course, you come to realize that there are limitations to these virtual worlds, and, ultimately, you end up seeing the entirety of what was designed to be seen. But then, if you were fortunate, there might have been a time when a flaw in programming of the game allowed you to see or experience something that was not intended – a secret world, a glitched-out character, an item with bizarre stats and effects when used. And then there was that magical feeling again – that the world continued beyond the boundaries presented, and who knew what you might find?

Back of the Box Bullet Points

Axiom Verge is a retro-styled 2D “metroidvania” action-adventure, inspired by such classics as Rygar, Contra, Bionic Commando, Blaster Master, and, of course, Metroid. But it also gives you power over glitches like those found in classic games, allowing you to scramble enemies, corrupt environments, and enter hidden areas.


  • Expansive Non-linear Exploration of 9 labyrinthine, interlocking areas.
  • Gobs of unique tools and abilities, loads of weapons, and tons of health/power/attribute upgrades.
  • Combat with dozens of unique creatures and bosses.
  • Glitches allowing you to break past the boundaries of normal gameplay.
  • Speedrun Mode – Play with a streamlined interface and additional features to facilitate speedrunning.

Axiom Verge on PS4 and PS Vita

The Hook

When I say that Axiom Verge features glitches as a major game mechanic, please don’t take that as some self-reflexive fourth-wall-breaking joke about dusty old cartridges or the like. Nor am I going to pile on glitch after glitch just for the sake of being different. Instead, picture this: you have a full game that would be awesome on its own – your dream Metroid + Contra + Bionic Commando + Blaster Master or what have you – but then, what if in addition to that game, you were given the means to break past the edges of the world and see things beyond — things that weren’t and couldn’t have been designed for you to see?

It’s a hard thing to do; maybe impossible. But if Axiom Verge can bring back even part of that magical feeling, I will feel that it’s been a success.

From AAA to Indie

I’ve actually been working on Axiom Verge for over four years now, most of that being part-time after-hours, while during the day I was a programmer for the (awesome and thankfully flexible) folks at Petroglyph Games, developing such titles as Grey Goo and End of Nations. While I wouldn’t trade those years for, it did mean that work on AV progressed at a glacial pace.

So you can understand where I’m coming from when I say that Sony’s Pub Fund was one of the best things ever to happen to me (and to Axiom Verge). I can now work on AV full-time, which has a whole host of benefits, not the least of which being the fact that development is going at light-speed compared to before. And since it’s headed to PS4 and Vita, it’ll be exposed to way, way more gamers than I ever imagined.

Speaking of gamers, I’ll be checking the comments on this blog post. I’m curious about what people would most like to see in Axiom Verge. And, do you have a favorite classic gaming memory? Or a particularly enjoyable glitch you’d like to share? If you’re a speedrunner, is there a feature I can add that you’d find particularly helpful for that?

Also! Follow Axiom Verge on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks!

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17 Author Replies

  • The music in that trailer was sickening. If the rest of the soundtrack is even half as good as that…count me in!!

  • Whoa out of nowhere, 4 new games for PS4, but this one is the ONE that caught my eye.

  • What the… 4 MORE games whoa… Oh and thank you for bringing this to the Vita! I like the platforming style of this game, like you said like Metroid, and considering the MegaMan games are my favorite games!

  • Ok, this looks awesome. Vita release too? SOLD

  • NOOOO, “coming out in early 2015″……

    I wanna play this right now!

  • This is absolutely my kind of game.
    Hopefully a cross-buy/cross-save deal works out, but you’ve got a purchase from me regardless.

  • This game looks amazing it really appears to have everything in it that got me into console gaming as a kid I’m looking forward to this game, any chance Mr. Happ that your game will have a Platinum Trophy?

    • I haven’t coded the trophies yet, but I believe this is automatic when you obtain all the other trophies?? If I’m wrong somebody set me straight!

  • I’m not sure but there have been a few games that are PSN exclusive that have trophy support but no platinums, Resident Evil 4, and Scott Pilgrim I know don’t have Plats but have trophies

  • Tom, according to Sony a game is Platinum-trophy eligible dependent upon the game’s length. With 9 labyrinthine, interlocking areas I can only imagine Axiom Verge would qualify. Hope that helps. =)

  • That art, that musuc, you have my money!

  • This game looks awesome I’m already down to buy it! I would love to see something like co-op on this even if it’s restricted to local to just have a friend hop on a controller.

  • Day one for me! Looks a lot like super Metroid and I’m a fan of that serie. Can’t wait :D!

  • The retro is strong with this one.

  • One of my favorite things in 2D games like this is the quiet time between enemy encounters when I’m just shooting or swinging my weapon around (like an idiot, if you will) and I hit a nondescript wall and something actually happens (a turkey falls out or something). Not all walls, mind you, but occasionally my random environment abuse actually result in something happening. I love that.

    • I love that stuff too. It makes you wonder what else could be hidden there; makes the world feel a bit richer and less like a maze of collision boxes.

  • My god…it’s full of pixels…

    Insta-buy. NG+ would kick this thing to 11!

  • Holy crackers this looks/sounds good. Thanks for bringing it to Vita!

  • Game looks great. Even more great is hearing that is it cross buy. Looking forward to this!

  • can’t wait to play this on my Vita #BestOnVita! :D

  • Awe yeah the indie games are just simply amazing to see what is coming out very soon. The indie developers are more important than what people know.

  • This looks great. I’m loving the retro style games that are making a comeback, and I’m glad to see more 16 bit style stuff.
    It does look very Super Metroid inspired and that’s awesome.

  • I’m hungry now.

    P.S. Reminded me of last year’s Risk of rain.
    Got grate Alien vibe to it and sound is grate. Looking forward to it.

  • I’m incredibly excited about this game. Can’t wait!

  • You’re gonna have to talk with Sony to see if your game qualifies for a Platinum trophy in accordance to it’s size and scope. Never sounded too difficult to get in touch about it though. Sir, you got my attention at Vita and full Cross-Compatibility.

  • Holy crap, this looks amazing! Super Metroid is one of my favorite games ever, and I just had some serious deja vu watching this trailer. Thanks for supporting vita too. I’m torn, I want you to take your time and make it perfect, but I NEED to play it now!

  • So pumped for this. Awesome music, really cool look, especially those crazy color fluctuations.

  • Full Spectrum PlayStation Cross (Cross Save, Cross Buy, Cross etc)?

  • can’t wait to have this on my vita.

  • Looks awesome defently keep a eye on it.

  • Really love where this game is coming from! Can’t say I recall any particular glitches that fondly. Maybe cheat codes like 99 lives, infinite ammo/health, big head mode or blood codes were more my thing. You know, the kind of stuff you’d read about in the back of Gamepro ;-). Or the rare game that never expected you to put in a second controller, because it lets your friend help you cheat/modify the level? That kind of feature could be a really cool local co-op assist / grief mode.

  • Looks fantastic!! Love these types of games. The PS4 needs this!

  • That trailer was reaaaally good, specially the music. Too bad that the release is so far away, I really wish that it would come out sooner. Definitely the most interesting of all the indie games announced today.

  • Nice thinking outside the box(there’s a pun in there somewhere).

  • I must say, this has grabbed my attention and twisted my innards in a way I haven’t felt for a long time. I’m really enjoying the monster and level design. It really begs the question: What are these strange creatures and what connection to the axiom do they have? I can’t wait to dive into this game and explore and be overcome by a strange feeling while traversing this bizarre landscape.
    Tom, this is a long-shot, but if you need assistance with music and/or sound effects I’d really like to help. Thanks again for spending this long to bringing a game you clearly have a passion for. I can see it through and through.

  • This game looks awesome! First day purchase for me. Whatever sony is doing in regards to the indie scene, I hope they don’t ever change it.

  • Wooooo, I will buy this!

  • Also, if this game gets a platinum trophy (the one for unlocking all other trophies), please give it an awesome title and image. I know it seems silly, but the little things like that really seal the deal for me. Oh, and make the trophies fairly challenging but not impossibly difficult if I could give a bit of advice. Hard enough for us retro-veterans to appreciate, but not overly difficult for a newcomer to tackle with practice. Thank you again, you have no idea how much the release of this game hits home.

  • I absolutely adore metroidvania games. This game appears to have the same artstyle too so consider me excited. Just get the price right (Maybe $10?) and add in cross-buy and you’ll have me there day 1 :)

  • Just got done reading this blog post and watching the trailer. Insta-buy!!!

  • This looks awesome. I never would have expected we’d see a return to this kind of gaming for so long, I thought it was going to be a short-lived trend (the indie thing). Glad to see both AAAA and 0A games can co-exist.

    I want all kinds of games on PS4!!

  • Very cool… count me in!

  • That music is SICK! Bionic Commando + Blaster Master wrapped in a Metroidvania? On the VITA?? It doesn’t get much more awesome than that. Well played, sir.

  • i just wanted to log in and say “thank you for pleasing the ole’ school gamer” i grew up on snes and nes so this is simply awesome for my eyes to witness. day one buy

  • Wow…my brother and I who are in our mid 30’s were just talking about this concept earlier today before I saw this post. One of the great things about older games is they relied on the ultimate graphics processor…our imagination to create what we thought the world would be like. I cant tell you how many times I kept flying in Pilotwings in hopes to find a secret island beyond the invisible wall or hoped there would be a -2 world in SMB (hey, I know its PS blog but it’s not like they had 8bit or 16 bit era then :) ) That feeling you speak of where you think you found everything and you find something more really was magical and it’s awesome you’re exploring this idea. That’s what gaming was about. I will keep an eye on this for my PS4! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Contra and Metroid had a baby. Reminds me of Shatterhand (a little bit), too. Goodness.

    Will buy.

    • Shatterhand is a beautiful game, don’t you think? It was so late in the NES’s life cycle that I hadn’t heard of it until a few years ago.

  • Oh wow. This looks awesome.
    I see some shades of Castlevania + R-Type.

    1st day purchase for me.

    Greta job guys/gals. This game looks like an ole 8 Bit classic.

  • The PS4 is officially as powerful as the NES.
    This, Nidhogg, and Sports Friends are pushing boundaries.

  • Haha! :)

  • Tom, please tell me you’re going to be in LA at E3. Please tell me Axiom is going to be on the floor…I’d love to talk about it with you. It looks fantastic, it sounds fantastic…this is exactly what I’ve been wanting. Stunning!

  • Here comes yet another great looking Indie game that I can add to my Indie library on my Vita.
    This game looks like it’s the very definition of what a good 2D/Metroidvania/platformer can be!!! The fact that I can buy this game and be able to play it on my PS4 & Vita makes it a day 1 must buy for me. Everything about it looks top notch… and to think it all comes from one person working away by himself for 4+ years… WOW!!! Congrats to you for all of your hard work, it really looks as though it has paid off.

  • Holy crap this looks amazing, I’m in.

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