Axiom Verge 2 lands on Earth this summer, coming to PlayStation

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Axiom Verge 2 lands on Earth this summer, coming to PlayStation

First details on the new protagonist, setting, and tone of the retro-inspired sequel.

It was the year 2014, and my video game career to this point had been one as an unknown role player at larger studios and publishers. Hypnotix, EA, Petroglyph. I had been making my own game on the side for about three or four years at this point, and Sony placed a bet on me. They played an early build of Axiom Verge and saw some potential that others may not have seen, and that has made all the difference.

They showed Axiom Verge in their booth at E3, where it won Best in Show from IGN and GameSpot. They included the demo in their kiosks at major retailers. They lent me their megaphone to tell the world about my little game.

So as I was working on Axiom Verge 2, I felt I owed it both to Sony and all of the earliest fans of Axiom Verge to bring it to PS4 and PS5. I can’t imagine launching any other way. I am excited to confirm here and now that the PS4 version will be available on day one. I am going to try my best to get the PS5 version ready for launch, but that might take a bit longer since I really want to take advantage of that in-game hints system!

If you haven’t heard of Axiom Verge, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Axiom Verge is a 2D pixel art action-exploration game about a scientist named Trace who wakes up in an alien world called Sudra after a lab accident. I won’t spoil the story for those who haven’t played it (which begs the question: why haven’t you??) but suffice it to say the storyline includes themes of what makes us…us and questions of morality and reality. You can also shoot lots of creatures with tons of different weapons and find hidden areas in a labyrinthian map.

Most people assumed that the sequel would pick up that story where it left off; namely, about the relationship between Trace and the antagonist, Athetos. But fans of Axiom Verge also know to expect the unexpected. I’ve actually been hiding a secret from everyone. The story of Trace, Elsenova, and Athetos is just a small sidestory in a much larger universe spanning thousands of years and about seven or eight games. Axiom Verge 2 is about Indra, a mysterious billionaire/tech genius who winds up in an alternate version of Earth while in Antarctica. Although there are references to the first game, you won’t actually see how they relate until Axiom Verge 3. Because they are separate experiences, you won’t have to have played Axiom Verge 1 to enjoy Axiom Verge 2.

It would be boring both for myself as a developer and for fans of Axiom Verge if Indra interacted with the world in the same way that Trace did. I didn’t want Axiom Verge 2 to be Axiom Verge 1…only bigger. So although the core DNA of the game is intact—exploring a labyrinthian world map in particular—the majority of the gameplay and environments are quite different. 

First, since it is set on Earth, the world has a much more Earth-like feel with gentle slopes in place of the blocky alien landscape. You’ll notice from this early tileset how different the look and feel of the game is from the original:

And here it is in action:

Although I try to put on my blinders with respect to other people’s opinions about my games and stay true to my original vision, one common theme came up when I watched people play. There were some people who wished the game were a lot harder, and there were those who wanted it to be easier. Some loved the exploration but just got to a boss they couldn’t get past. That’s happened to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop playing a game because of a choke point.

I addressed the difficulty issue in two ways. First, I’m letting players adjust their own difficulty settings. Rather than choosing among an Easy, Normal, and Hard Mode, players can adjust both how much damage they do and how much enemies damage you. Second, bosses are optional. You will be rewarded for defeating them, but gone are the days where they stood in between you and the rest of the game.

But in addition to the approach to bosses and the landscape, combat itself is very different. For one thing, Indra does not have the sheer range of weapons that Trace had at his disposal. She starts off with a pickaxe and does a lot of her fighting up close and personal. Fortunately for her, it’s a question of brains over brawn, and she can use her technical skills as a tech genius to hack her enemies.

There is so much more ground to cover, but I’m doing my best to avoid spoilers. I’m putting some of the finishing touches on the game as we speak and am looking forward to releasing it later this summer. I can’t wait to see what the legion of PlayStation fans discover.

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22 Comments

  • Very much looking forward to this launch! I logged alot of PS Vita hours with the first game, can’t wait to download the sequel and try out Indra’s new playstyle. Thanks for putting the long hours in Tom. The finish line is in sight.

  • I rarely buy games “day one”, but Axiom Verge was one of them, and it was definitely worth it. I knew it would only be a matter of time before 2 was announced for PlayStation, but still, it’s great to see the announcement. I hope you get to create all the games you want. I’ll be looking forward to them.

  • Wow, the look & gameplay description was a huge letdown for me. I guess i shouldn’t have read anything about it, cuz i know it may surprise me. I liked the science fiction, Metroid vibe of the original. An axe, close combat, optional bosses & putting the onus on the player to decide difficulty are all bad news to me. I like to play & appreciate someone’s vision, the way they intended like an art collector appreciates paintings. If they got to tell the artist where to paint & what colors to use, it wouldn’t be the same. My two cents.

    • Imagine thinking you’re special for turning your nose up at completely optional options and being too lazy to press a single button to select the default difficulty.

    • The default difficulty settings are set by…default. :) You’d have to go in and manually change it to make it harder or easier. We found that there were a lot of people who wanted to continue exploring Sudra in Axiom Verge 1 but got stuck at a boss or kept dying somewhere and quit. If you don’t change any of the settings and you kill all of the bosses, you’ll have an experience comparable to AV1 (from a difficulty perspective anyway). If you like to play and appreciate someone’s vision, trust Tom’s vision on this. :)

    • “I like to play & appreciate someone’s vision, the way they intended like an art collector appreciates paintings.”

      Then the change in gameplay style, and the variable difficulty shouldn’t bother you as those are the creators visions for his game. Like an artist. :)

      Also he mentioned hacking so I assume we will control robots which will probably give you your shooty mechanics you desperately desire.

  • Very neat, this is quite a welcome surprise! I was planning on picking this up for the switch but prefer to do my gaming on Playstation. Every single moment of the original was so enjoyable, especially overcoming all of the challenges! Looking forward to the day this title becomes available and excited about the plans for a larger story to be told!!

  • Ah, no longer a Switch console launch exclusive, I see.

    Still need to get the first game on my Vita.

    And lol “just a small sidestory in a much larger universe spanning thousands of years and about seven or eight games”, how long is this gonna take?! :p

  • Axiom Verge is one of my favorite games of all time. I’ll never forget discovering it on one of those PS4 kiosks, and just knowing I needed to experience all of it. I’m really excited to play what you’ve come up with for the sequel and beyond. I’m glad you’re continuing to innovate with playstyle and using the new resources available on the PS5. Thanks for sticking with PlayStation!

  • Looks like a great game! Glad to know there’ll be a way to set the difficulty of the game. Any chances of an update to the first game to offer the same possibilities? I obviously don’t expect the bosses to be optional, but setting the amounts of damage I do and receive would be great, and hopefully possible. I haven’t been able to finish it, it’s too hard for me.

    • If there aren’t any updates you could possibly use something like cheat engine on pc to make the value that is your HP static, so you won’t take damage.

  • Can’t wait for the game, I bought the first game on day one and surprised that the sequel seems to be switch exclusive. Fortunately it’s not and it will launch on the same day. This is a day one purchase on my ps5 :)

  • I’m a huge fan of the original and I’m looking forward to this. However, I’m a bit skeptical now that I’ve read “Indra does not have the sheer range of weapons that Trace had at his disposal”. Hopefully, it won’t feel like a step backwards and alienate fans. Sometimes, developers get tunnel vision and become so obsessed with subverting our expectations, that it becomes a detriment.

  • Ahhhhh! I didn’t expect a sequel, let alone a universe of 7 games! Can’t wait to play. I bought the physical special edition from IndieBox (I wish they had been more successful, they kick ass). I love everything about Axiom Verge, and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future. I hope it’s as mysterious and “other worldy” as the first!

    Keep ’em coming and I’ll keep buying them. :)

    Another special edition with some swag please? 👀👀

  • Can’t wait to get my hands on Axiom Verge 2.

    And for those who haven’t played Axiom Verge one and have been itching for something like Metroid on PlayStation, you can’t go wrong with the first game. It’s on sale for $8 right now on PSN and you’ll get it for both PS4/PS5 backwards compatibility, and Vita.

  • One of my favorite Vita games of all time. I wish Sony still had some sort of handheld. Dont have as much time at home. Able to play a lot at work!!!

  • I’m super excited! Loved the first one. I want to know if there will be a physical version like the first one (I’m pretty sure there will be) and when will it come out on other systems like Switch. Can’t wait!

  • Seven or eight games?! Unless they are vastly different from each other I don’t see how people wouldn’t get burnt out after the third one.

  • Waiting for the Randomizer on PS for Axiom Verge 1 Still. Hopefully part 2 releases with the randomizer added!

  • Waiting for the Randomizer on PS for Axiom Verge 1 Still. Hopefully part 2 releases with the randomizer added!

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