Hey everyone – this is Tom Happ, the sole developer of Axiom Verge. About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to come to PS.Blog and describe the dedicated Speed Run mode feature of Axiom Verge. I was absolutely thrilled with everyone’s response.
If you aren’t familiar with Axiom Verge, please check out my initial PS Blog post about the game. The tl;dr version is that you play as Trace, a scientist who wakes up after a lab accident in a hostile, alien world. You need to uncover the mystery of how that world came to the state it’s in and your role in it all. Similar to classic games like Super Metroid, Contra, Blaster Master and others, the gameplay incorporates a mix of exploration, hidden powerups, strange creatures to fight, and epic boss battles.
Let’s talk powerups!
Powerups are the lifeblood of an exploration-based game. New abilities give you access to areas you couldn’t reach before and open up entire new sections of the game. They also open up lots of room for puzzles that can keep players challenged and thinking the entire way. It’s risky to talk too much about powerups, though, since it’s definitely possible to spoil some of the surprises along the way. So for now, I’m just going to focus on the first few powerups that you’ll find to give you a feel for the game.
The first one you’ll get is a new weapon called Nova. Unlike the first basic weapon you start out with, the Nova can be shot in 2 different ways. The basic way is just to shoot it like a normal weapon. It has a larger size, so you’re more likely to hit your target. But it’s slow. The second way is to detonate it while it’s in mid-air, making it split into 6 pieces. You can use this effectively to shoot at targets where you don’t have a direct line of sight.
Second is the drill. When you first get the drill (after defeating the first boss), you’re in a room where there are rocks blocking your path. This is to show players how and when to use the drill. Later on, though, I made sure to teach players that it’s not only rocks that you can drill through. Some other materials can also be drilled through. The more diligently you explore the world, the more likely you will be to find health upgrades and new weapons.
Later on, you’ll discover the address disruptor. I came up with this idea from the days of my youth playing with things like Game Genie or just finding glitches that weren’t originally intended to be in the game. I found it fascinating to uncover areas that I was never intended to see and corrupt different elements of the game to see how they would behave. I wanted to replicate this feeling of discovery by creating a sort of glitch ray that would corrupt the reality around you. Every enemy can be glitched, and they all respond in different ways. This opens up a lot of new puzzle ideas for people to explore by glitching every enemy to see what it does.
Some of this has been seen before in some of the sneak previews I gave out to press the last few months, so I’ll give you a sneak peek at one powerup that I don’t think I’ve shown to anyone yet. Without any further explanation…
I’m so tempted to talk about more of the powerups, but I really want everyone to discover them on their own!
And now for the biggest news of all: the PS4 version of Axiom Verge is ready!
It’s done! It’s through certification, has all of its age rating stuff done, has been localized into 6 languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese), and poked and prodded by multiple playtesters. Technically, you could play Axiom Verge today.
As we speak, review codes are being prepped to be sent out to media outlets and journalists so they will have plenty of time to write up thorough reviews. I feel this is an extremely important part of the process. There’s a lot of content in Axiom Verge and I want to make sure reviewers have plenty of time to play through the entire game and savor the full experience. I’m personally really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish as a solo dev, so my emotions run the gamut between excitement about letting the rest of the world check it out, and anxiety over letting my baby take its first steps in the wild.
Although the PS4 version is ready, I’m still working on the Vita version as there are some tools that are still under development that I’m waiting on. However, when Sony asked me when I wanted to release Axiom Verge, I had a tough decision to make. Should I hold the PS4 version so I can launch it simultaneously with the Vita version? Or should I just launch the PS4 version now? After hearing from so many people who are eagerly looking forward to playing it, I decided just to launch the PS4 version first. But people who are mostly interested in the Vita version should not worry. It’s definitely coming, and it’s definitely going to be cross-buy, so if you buy it on PS4, it will be ready for download on your Vita as soon as it launches there.
So with that caveat out of the way, I am a little freaked out to announce that Axiom Verge will be available for download on PS4 on March 31 for $19.99!
It’s been the greatest experience of my professional life creating this game. I really hope you enjoy it even half us much as I enjoyed making it. Thank you for your support.