Hyper Light Drifter is one of those games that game developers like to chat about.
Before Heart Machine's Alex Preston and Teddy Diefenbach arrived, Nathan Vella from Capybara was in the studio, telling us how excited he was about the game. He loved the early trailers, featuring flashy animation, but was especially jazzed by the lore that's creeped into more recent videos.
Russ Frushtick talks with the developers about how the game plays, how development is progressing and the similarities between their game and the Diablo and Zelda series.
Hyper Light Drifter - All News
Saturday - April 09, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Review @ God is a Geek
God is a Geek has reviewed Hyper Light Drifter:
Hyper Light Drifter Review
Heart Machine’s action RPG is a breathtakingly beautiful alien world where enormous sun-kissed water temples, deserts, snowy mountain paths and lush jungle are intertwined with mechanical remains. There are echoes of Studio Ghibli, most notably Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind here, nature and machine are mashed and mangled together in this post-apocalyptic setting. Some terrible event has left the most of the inhabitants of this world dead and those who remain are haunted by the terrible things that have happened to them. As you pass silently through their camps they mutely inform you, through comic book cells, of the violence they have survived at the hands of an unknown enemy. Nothing here is as it seems, and Hyper Light Drifter catches you off guard, presenting to you its beautiful, melancholy world before shocking you with its brutal, all-encompassing combat.
It’s rare that you’ll come across a game which so readily leaves the player to figure out every facet of its systems, that refuses to handhold and assumes a knowledge of its genre. In the beginning you’ll be baffled by its map, its objectives, even its system of currency and upgrading, everything is presented in an almost alien fashion. There is a difficulty barrier that some players will be unwilling to work past, you will die repeatedly as you perfect your skills and learn to read your enemies, you will be confused and lost in the strange and otherworldly landscape and you will be stopped in your tracks by the boss fights. However, if you’re willing to persevere, you’ll find in Hyper Light Drifter, one of the most perfectly balanced, stylish and intriguing action RPGs of recent times.
Tuesday - April 05, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Reviews
Here are the additional reviews we have found for Hyper Light Drifter.
This is an old-school game. Dying several times in a row won't unlock a Chicken Hat or easy mode option. If you're stuck against a boss (likely to happen, since the bosses are waking nightmares), don't bother waiting on a miracle to come, or for some secret technique or new item to allow you to turn the tables and suddenly make it a cakewalk. No. In Hyper Light Drifter, you have to eat your fucking broccoli and ask for seconds. You have to pile on the muscle, learn the patterns, and take your lumps. As it was, so it is.
We Got This Covered, 5/5
All of this style would mean nothing if it wasn’t tied to the fantastic gameplay mentioned above. And the two sides of that coin work perfectly in tandem to build a holistic experience that keeps on giving. After making my way through the main quest, all I wanted to do was hop back in and keep playing. Thankfully, the nuance of Hyper Light Drifter means there are unsolved mysteries in the game that are likely to keep players busy for weeks or even months to come.
Hardcore Gamer, 4.5/5
Hyper Light Drifter stands out as a game that not only manages to combine exciting combat, gorgeous visuals and an inherent drive towards exploration, but its emotionally open-ended narrative and thematic prowess make this a title that feels like a true labor of love. Even if you’re not someone whose personal tales of hardship align with those of The Drifter, you’ll still have your hands on a unique title well worth the wait. If you’re someone who typically shrugs off indie games as somehow less meaningful then their AAA counterparts, you owe it to yourself to play Hyper Light Drifter. Alex Preston and his team have delivered a title that highlights everything great about the medium as a whole, it’s as simple as that.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun impressions
So I’m rather stuck. I’ve watched myself die so many sodding times now. And it’s not just the death – it’s how agonisingly slowly I get back up just outside the boss room, the completely unnecessary lack of controls while the boss waves a staff around, and then the next failure, before I’m even halfway through his health (at which point the attacks step up, naturally).
And I know, I know very well, that others will breeze through it and be snarky and entirely without empathy for others who aren’t them. But there goes my time with Hyper Light Drifter, a completely gorgeous game I was utterly loving. It apparently doesn’t want me to play it any more.
Slant Magazine, 4/5
However, compelling as combat is and as satisfying as it is to hunt for secrets, the overall disconnect from the story is frustrating. A clear predecessor like The Legend of Zelda may not have had much plot, but it at least provided a specific sense of progression in the way that tools would allow players to access new areas. Hyper Light Drifter's somewhat non-linear approach to its four zones and the main character's limited skillset too closely approximates the game's title, creating a sense that the player is just drifting along. This is especially true for some of the vaguer puzzles in the game, like a dark tunnel that players can simply (and uncomfortably) brute-force their way through in the absence of better lighting. Maybe that's why the combat stands out: It's the most purposeful thing about Hyper Light Drifter.
Friday - April 01, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Review @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer has reviewed Hyper Light Drifter:
The drifter, a mute warrior draped in a red cloak and wielding a sword made of light, is an enigma. He roams a broken landscape searching for something, but it’s not really clear what. Occasionally he hunches over and coughs up blood, which causes the screen to glitch and flicker. There’s a beguiling mystery about this shadowy figure, like the nameless gunslinger in a Western or a wandering samurai, and the same can be said of Hyper Light Drifter as a whole.
It’s a world of strange machines, ethereal forests, ancient temples, and lifeless, overgrown robots. An evocative intro sequence shows you glimpses of a cataclysmic event—a gleaming futuristic city disappearing in a flash of explosive light—and this seems to be the aftermath. A ruined place littered with the remains of advanced, long forgotten technology. It’s not a dead world—there are people and creatures everywhere, some of which are friendly—but it feels like you're exploring the wake of some incredible disaster.
There’s a lot to love about Hyper Light Drifter. The elegant, expressive animation makes fighting and traversing the world a joy. The visual design and music are stunning. And the exhilaration of clearing a dungeon with only a sliver of health left is a feeling worth chasing. But the unwavering difficulty—especially the bosses—makes it an experience for a very specific type of gamer. If you have the will to overcome its many trials you’ll find a rewarding, uncompromising action game. If not, you might feel like you’re banging your head against an incredibly pretty brick wall.
Stylish, beautiful, and uncompromising, Hyper Light Drifter is as rewarding as it is frustrating.
Thursday - March 31, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Released
Echoes of a dark and violent past resonate throughout a savage land, steeped in treasure and blood. Hyper Light Drifter is an action adventure RPG in the vein of the best 16bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.
Drifters of this world are the collectors of forgotten knowledge, lost technologies and broken histories. Our Drifter is haunted by an insatiable illness, traveling further into the lands of Buried Time, hoping to discover a way to quiet the vicious disease.
- From each character to subtle background elements, everything is lovingly hand-animated.
- Easy to pick up, difficult to master; enemies are vicious and numerous, hazards will easily crush your frail body, and friendly faces remain rare.
- Upgrade weapons, learn new skills, discover equipment and traverse a dark, detailed world with branching paths and secrets abound.
Tuesday - March 22, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Release Date
@PCInvasion Hyper Light Drifter is due to be released 31st March.
- OS: Windows 7 and above
- Processor: 1.2 ghz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: 512 mb video memory
- DirectX: Version 10
- Storage: 2 GB available space
Sunday - February 21, 2016
Hyper Light Drifter - Cover Art
In Kickstarter update #68 the cover art for Hyper Light Drifter is revealed. The game can be preordered from GOG now.
Drifters! This will be a shorter post, with some important information about Surveys that requires your eyeballs for reading.
We have a (nearly) final cover, which is currently being used as banner art on the GOG pre-order page: [...]
We'll be sending out the remaining surveys this month, so please be on the look out. This means you get to select your platform(s) and provide us relevant info on your tier and rewards.
Please read the instructions carefully, as there are a fair amount of questions due to the complexity of the KS survey system and the variety of rewards we offered during the campaign. There are some questions about add-ons: these concern only the money you pledged DURING the campaign. We cannot offer add-ons after the campaign, as we explained last year in an Update.
The Wii U port is, unfortunately, currently in limbo.
So what happened? We had information about our engine, two years back, when we announced support for the platform. This had assured us we could port to the Wii U with relatively little hassle by now. However, due to ongoing internal contractual issues beyond our control between the platform holder and engine developer, we just don't know when or if this situation will have a good resolution. We are looking into the options available and doing what we can to help push the issue, including posting about it here.
This means we will still offer the option of Wii U in the Surveys, with the stipulation that if you do choose it as your platform, and we end up unable to support it this year, we will offer you a key on another platform of your choice. We would rather keep this option open, knowing there's still a possibility for it to work, than cancel the port right now.
I realize this isn't ideal, and plenty of people are looking forward to the release on a Nintendo platform (as are we, being life-long fans). Please understand business can sometimes get in the way of production, and there's only so much we can do to help sway these types of events with larger entities. We'll keep everyone updated as soon as we know more.
Development continues to be very intense, so updates will remain a bit spartan. Looking forward to next month with details on release date! Until then, have a wonderful remaining February.
Friday - October 09, 2015
Hyper Light Drifter - Interview @ Game Trailers
Eye noticed that Game Trailes had an interview with the Hyper Light Drifter devs.
Thursday - October 01, 2015
Hyper Light Drifter - September Update
Eye found a new update for Hyper Light Drifter in which some PAX pictures are shown and a development update is given.
After a brief respite from PAX, we picked up where we left off: ironing out the full gameplay loop. We're planning more extended internal play tests now that we're nearing the tail end of content production.
I'll let Teddy, systems wizard and designer extraordinaire on the Heart Machine team, provide insight on this subject:
"Let's be real. Everyone at Heart Machine has gotten pretty good at playing Hyper Light. While that makes us feel pretty bad ass, it makes us terrible judges of how difficult or understandable our own game is to play. The most valuable and painful tool we have in game development is what we call "playtesting" ~ putting the controller into the hands of someone outside the team, and having them play as total rookies with no help or instruction from us.
For the last 6 months, we've been holding a formal full-team playtest every 2 weeks. We usually ask a friend or other developer who hasn't played Hyper Light to come to Alex and Casey's house, where we all gather on the couches and watch them play. It's incredibly useful to watch them play, to see what they understand and what they don't, and how much challenge or frustration the game is giving them. These tests can be very validating, and sometimes painful to watch a player struggle against a part of the game we thought would be relaxing... even see them get frustrated. Ultimately, the point is to catch these issues and bugs, and spot them as early as possible. It's a vital part of the development process... and then we can all have pizza together."
Tuesday - September 15, 2015
Hyper Light Drifter - Interview @ Indie Haven
Josh Hinke (Indie Haven) has interviewed Alex Preston of Hyper Light Drifter:
I knew Hyper Light Drifter was going to be a big game. It was one of those games that caught your eye as you walked past Heart Machine’s booth. The neon colored pixel art of the game should be rote and dismissable as it’s become a go-to indie aesthetic, but Hyper Light Drifter makes it feel new. Like they invented the style. If the art doesn’t grab you, the breathless gameplay will. An action/adventure RPG with twitchy, dodge-heavy gameplay, the game is deviously difficult, but a joy to play. The kind of game that makes you turn to the person in line behind you and say, “I promise this is my last try.” I wasn’t the only one enamoured with what I was seeing, the line to get your hands on the game was growing deep.
IH: Between the Kickstarter and positive early showing, there’s been a groundswell for this game. Has that made it difficult to push back your release date?
AP: It’s always hard. But it’s always easy too. I don’t want to release a bad game, I don’t want to release an unfinished game. So I’m not gonna release it until it’s finished and it’s good. And we feel like it’s been a pretty good game for a while, it’s just not been finished. We have a lot to do and we’re making a big game and we’re a small team. I’m like a mostly broken human being. So it’s difficult but I don’t function on the same level as most people. And it’s a complicated game. It’s not like, “I’m Tetris.”
There’s a lot of things to consider and we’re building an entire world. When considering anything, it’s easy for me to make the call to say we’re not ready yet. It’s always difficult to talk about that stuff. Now I have to present it to everybody and tell them what’s going on. We like being open and transparent with everybody — and that part can be difficult because you have to word it the right way. You have to express [that] we’re not trying to screw anybody over, we’re not holding out on anything. We’re genuinely excited about this stuff and we want to make a good game.
So that stuff can be difficult to express in a way that comes off in the best possible manner because we’re tired. I could easily just put blinders on and not talk to anyone — I have all these Kickstarter backers and all these people anticipating it — and just focus for a year and not do anything else, not engage, just go into my hovel. But that’s the part, like coming out of my shell and sharing the experience, [that] can be really difficult. It takes time to word it, it takes time to express all the thing I’ve been feeling without screaming or yelling. There’s all these emotions when making a game and sometimes that can give you the wrong impressions. Even in my worst times in making this game, even when I feel shitty about [certain] things, it doesn’t mean I feel bad about the game. I feel great about the game. But people can misinterpret stuff or quotes can be taken out of context. At one point I said our game is low resolution — it’s like 480p or 270p, and that turned into a whole long thread about me saying that nobody gives a shit about 2D game resolution. Well, I was actually talking about our game, and I was talking about how it scales, so 1920 x 1080 doesn’t matter because whatever resolution you use it’s a block pixel game. Again, being careful with words so people can receive [the message] and can understand clearly what you’re trying to communicate can be a big task, especially when you have a lot of stuff to share. I’m happy to do it, it’s just like, that takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes I’m already burnt out on development. But I kind of love doing it at the same time, it’s a huge conflict. I wanna share stuff, I like talking to people, I like seeing the comments, but also holy shit I’m tired. And I’ve got a lot of stuff to do.
IH: You talked about how you’ve been sick, making a game about a sick character. Can you talk about that?
AP: I’ve talked about it pretty openly. It sucks having long-term illness. Yeah, that’s it, it fucking sucks. I think a lot of people are fortunate that they don’t have to experience that stuff — disabilities of any kind or chronic illness or disease. I have a whole long list of stuff that keeps coming down on me. I’m limited by it, I cope with it. It can be really, really brutal and super fucking depressing, but I do the best I can. The thing that keeps me going is making a game, and having that creative outlet to focus on and distract myself from my body which is always trying to kill me. It’s always good to do that stuff and of course it works its way into my game and how the story plays out and how I feel about things. It’s a very personal project to me so I want to express very personal emotions.
Saturday - August 29, 2015
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ The Escapist
The Escapist has previewed Hyper Light Drifter at PAX Prime.
In Hyper Light Drifter, you are an adventurer equipped with an energy sword and knowledge of certain technologies other people in the world have forgotten. You are searching for a cure for a disease you are suffering from in a world you do not know much about. The developer on hand was very secretive about many of the story elements, but here's what I saw in my hands-on time.
In addition to the energy sword, you also have guns to keep enemies at a distance, and a mechanical sidekick that floats along with your character, not unlike Navi. The demo only offered the pistol and long-range railgun for gun options, and players will find these very useful when encountering certain exploding baddies. There was an impressive variety of enemies, each with its own attack and movement patterns. Like many 2-D platformers, learning the enemy and boss patterns is the key to success. You can interact with objects in the level - computers, for example, that I was told the player would eventually discover the purpose for - which led to item acquisition or level manipulation, like raising a bridge to allow access to a new area. Eventually, I encountered the large boss scene shown in the newest trailer, which was just released a few days ago, and the difficulty was more than I had anticipated it to be. Even the developer on hand was only able to do partial damage before dying himself. It looks like there will be many a solid challenge with this one.
Tuesday - October 21, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer's Christian Donlan played the backer beta version of Hyper Light Drifter, and he shared his opinion of the game in a new preview.
What's the best way to describe Hyper Light Drifter's art style? It's the art, after all, that immediately excites. The world of this action RPG is organic and day-dreamy, but it's also tartly technological. Grottoes and forests and shattered twists of circuitry thread together and entangle. Heart Machine - the name of the developer - is also the phrase that ultimately seems to get at it most precisely: messy life meets cold hardware.
One dungeon down and I was left wanting more: I want to see how Heart Machine can build on this mean-spirited and wonderfully exacting combat - and I want to see where the light-stepping tour of artful dereliction takes us next.
Sunday - October 19, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Early Preview Videos
A YouTube user by the name of Sijunzi has posted four videos that show over two hours of Hyper Light Drifter game footage. You can watch the first video below.
Hyper Light Drifter is a game project launched from Kickstarter that was hugely successful. The game is currently scheduled for release TBA 2015. This is footage from an unfinished, early backer preview build.
Tuesday - October 07, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ Pixel Dynamo
Pixel Dynamo's Brian McLaughlin posted a new preview for Hyper Light Drifter.
Each component – from the visuals, to the soundtrack, to the gameplay – works in harmony to create a rich world to explore, even if you’re glad it’s digital exploration. If this is what Heart Machine can do in a preview, I can’t wait to see Hyper Light Drifter‘s full release version.
Saturday - October 04, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview Build Extended
Heart Machine announces the new preview build of Hyper Light Drifter is extended.
Preview Build Extended!
Drifters, we have one more update for you on the subject of the Preview.
After backer feedback and much discussion internally, we have decided to extend our preview build! This means it will run from the 3rd of October through the end of the month.
We had originally planned a brief window for this build in order to gather as much information on play-throughs without overwhelming ourselves with data and feedback, and to keep the content from getting old for everyone, as it is specifically limited in scope - keeping the story tightly under wraps, targeting particular systems and testing out others.
However, allowing everyone who supported us at this level (and above) the time to participate and help inform the foundation of the game is important! Some wouldn't be able to join in on the 3 day weekend, thus, the extended timing.
Tuesday - September 30, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview Build Delayed
Heart Machine announced the new preview build of Hyper Light Drifter is delayed.
We Need a Week!
Drifters. It's been a very short time since our last update.
As always, your support has granted us the time we need to do things right. After a long conversation with the team last night and this morning, we decided to release the three day Preview Build next weekend, October 3rd through the 5th.
Join us on the Twitch stream this Friday at 5pm PST, for an extended hang out to answer questions and comments. See you then, kind souls.
Friday - September 19, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Beta News Update
Heart Machine latest update for Hyper Light Drifter has information on the games Beta.
Preview (beta) News!
Drifters! It's been a whole year (!!) since we launched our campaign (wow, time bleeds quick these days), and it seems apt to celebrate with this playable Preview build! If you supported us at the $25 tier or above, get ready for the avalanche of meaty murder before you.
Preview (once called a Beta) Build
Beta isn't exactly the right term; some game features are locked, some have been hidden, others are being refined, and content is always being generated for the world. So, to help communicate a bit better we're calling it a Preview Build.
The important thing is that you get an early playable slice of the game starting on the 26th of September at 12:01 am (EST)! It will run until Midnight (PST) of the 28th. Beware vicious things living in the depths.
You'll receive a Steam Key in your email (the one used for your KS account) before the 26th.
While we have said previously that this build would be for Windows only, we've decided to push extra hard and try our best to get it on Mac as well. However, since it's early days on OSX for us we can't make a firm promise.
If you have bugs, crashes, and other issues send us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will address issues the best we can as they come in. You can also use the KS comments and Steam forums for discussion.
If you haven't supported/pre-ordered at the Beta Access level, you can still get in on this limited Preview through the "Early Access Humble Widget" on heart-machine.com.
We're working with Steam to see if we can streamline the process, and give direct access throughout the preview weekend. We'll keep you updated.
The Full Game
Though we're working incredibly hard, we still have much to do. More levels, more enemies, more weapons; so many things! We're excited to put this early build into your hands so that we may learn directly from you, our supporters, what's working and what can be refined. As always, we'll keep you informed on how the game is developing as we continue crafting the full experience.
Monday - August 25, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - A Quick Update
Heart Machine has a new short kickstarter update for Hyper Light Drifter. The update has information on the status of the project, and shares a few new gifs.
There are two reasons for the longer-than-usual timing on the update:
1) Focus. We chose to keep anything besides development as a secondary concern in order to execute and it's been extremely productive for us. (For instance, we chose not to attend PAX Prime this year in order to remain focused, even though it would be lovely to engage with everyone there.) The whole team has been blazing though tasks as we gear up for the September beta.
2) Health. As I've made public here and elsewhere on the internet, I suffer from serious health issues. Some months I'm able to do everything I need to, others, not so much. These last two months have been particularly rough for me, so updates and other Kickstarter/community related responsibilities that aren't paramount to game completion temporarily fall by the wayside in order to focus what energy I have into the game and maintaining physical stability.
The positive component of such a downside remains the incredible support from the team. They've been keeping Hyper Light bursting and on track while I tend to recovery. I'll always have to deal with the terrible challenges my body presents, but it soothes and motivates me knowing that my team has my back.
Come next update we should have a solid beta release date for everyone to look forward to. See you then, Drifters.
Tuesday - July 15, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - On E3, Surveys & Betas
Heart Machine's latest kickstarter update for Hyper Light Drifter talks about the game at E3, mentions some new game surveys, and talks about the beta version.
On E3, Surveys and Betas!
Hello again, Drifters. June is ending soon, and one of the surveys has made its way to you once more. Some details within to help clarify questions you may have on the process and progress.
It was a blast to be there, though thoroughly exhausting. One of the most exciting moments was seeing Hyper Light up on the press conference stage shows for both Microsoft and Sony. Crazy times. Thanks again to both platforms for hosting and featuring us.
The $10 tier Survey went out this week. Some clarity on this tier (and the process in general):
- Purpose: The Surveys allow us to collect critical information so we can distribute rewards (digital and physical, depending on add-ons) throughout development, once they're ready. The game is not done yet; release is still a ways off, with a date not yet announced. We're working incredibly hard each day, and we don't want to set a date until we are sure we can deliver!
- Additional info: Kickstarter is somewhat limited in what it can do with forms, plus we can send each tier Survey only once. It's a bit harsh, I know. Thus, we need to stuff in all necessary questions into one single form for each tier; some people have physical reward add-ons from the before the campaign ended, and we need address/other info. If you don't have any physical rewards, please just put "none" in the spaces and it will be lovingly ignored.
- If you added $5 to your pledge during the campaign to get a console copy, please just mark the system of your choice in the section that is titled "If you pledged for an extra copy..." and say so in the last section of notes.
- We can't support adjustments/additions to pledges post-campaign: This was an issue covered last time around, but it deserves another quick spotlight. Unfortunately, KS doesn't allow us to accept additional pledges after a campaign ends, so upgrades become a very complex prospect, needing to be handled through an outside source to manage the large amount of backers we have. This could lead to potential issues with finances, something we don't want to chance. More importantly, this would take away a huge chunk of time from developing the game, as I would have to manage this system myself (we’re a 4 man team!).
- "Early Backer" means you get the game at a deep discount for being an early supporter of the project; you'll get it at the same time as all backers.
- Rewards: Some rewards will take longer: the art book, for example, will be ready shortly after the game releases as we want to be able to include plenty of final art. Others will be distributed throughout the process, like shirts and digital wallpapers. We'll continue to keep everyone in the loop through updates.
I hope this helps to clarify any questions that may arise. If/when more pop up, in the comments and through the message system, I'll continue to point people to this section to help keep it all consistent.
Early in the year we announced plans for the limited beta to hit during the mid-summer, targeting June. Since taking the game to both PAX East and E3, we've gathered critical feedback, which has motivated us to refine or rework certain systems and designs before putting it out to a larger audience. We want to put our best foot forward (for you to break to pieces), so we're going to hold the limited beta in the month of September.
Here's a breakdown of what kind of fancy madness you'll be getting into with this pre-release bit of the game: the beta will include a cross section of the Challenge Mode, with increasingly difficult ways to power through select maps, racking up points while doing so. We're presenting a variety of weapons to play with (rail gun, diamond shot, roly poly, an exploding jar of flames among others), and increasingly murderous enemy waves to scream at - with some larger jerks tossed in to really break your soul.
Monday - June 16, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - E3 2014 Trailer
Heart Machine has released a new E3 trailer for Hyper Light Drifter.
Wednesday - June 11, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ Polygon
Polygon has posted a new preview for Hyper Light Drifter with some input from the games developer Alex Preston.
Alex Preston still is keeping mum on what the story is with Hyper Light Drifter, the stylized action role-playing game that became an indie game to watch for this year after it obliterated a modest five-figure Kickstarter goal back in October.
"I'm not talking too much about the story, just because it's something I'd like people to experience on their own," Preston told me after I played one stage of the game's main campaign. In past exhibitions, he and Teddy Diefenbach, the co-founders of Heart Machine, had only been showing a co-operative arena mode.
"I think people are very curious about the story, but I always say the same thing, which is, 'You'll get to it when you play it,' because for me, that's such an integral part of the experience," Preston said. "I know that seems like a vague answer. I don't want to talk about, because it's important. Movie trailers blow it all the time, and some games are like 'We're doing this, and we're doing that,' and you get into the story before you even play the game."
Even if they're showing off the singleplayer campaign now (it will feature drop-in/drop-out co-operative gameplay), it's clear they want this to be as personal an experience for the player as it is for them, Preston in particular. The Drifter is on a mission to a ruined, violent world, hoping to find some means of curing or at least quieting the mysterious disease that haunts him. It's directly analagous to the heart condition Preston has battled since birth (and, of course, the studio's namesake.)
Monday - June 09, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Interview @ PoP Geeks
PoP Geeks interviewed Lead Designer Alex Preston to ask a few questions about his funded kickstarter game Hyper Light Drifter.
RPG’s from the SNES era are well known for their puzzle elements. How have you incorporated puzzles into Hyper Light Drifter?
We tend towards lighter puzzle elements as we are more interested in exploration and combat. Nothing extreme like the dense LttP [Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past] dungeons. Things like ways to access new rooms are more common for us; secret doors, hidden sequences, traps.
You’ve previously spoken about the influence that both Diablo and A Link to the Past have had on development but are there any modern tiles that given you inspiration?
Plenty! The Dark Souls series is an example of masterful game design from top to bottom. Skyrim and Fallout 3 have amazing scale and writing. Bastion was a well crafted, modernized throwback for the ARPG genre as well.
Since launching the Kickstarter and in subsequent articles and previews one of the biggest points that has been made is about the number and sheer variety of items available to the player. Will most of the items be necessary to complete the game or does it function more like loot, rewarding players for exploration and defeating enemies?
Our major design philosophy with gear: if you’re good enough, you could get through it with just the starting load-out. There’s no item gating. Just player skill. In this sense, it functions more like Dark Souls.
There will be a variety of gear to find throughout (think along the lines of Zelda with it’s excellent, unique and highly focused item designs, not so much Diablo with it’s endless loot cycles that you mostly toss aside), and skills to upgrade to make the character more mobile and adept.
Friday - May 30, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - May Update Released
Heart Machine has posted the next kickstarter update for Hyper Light Drifter that talks the games progress, and shares some concept art.
A few new things for May!
Drifters! E3 fast approaches and now seems and opportune time for an update on our progress, with a few lovely pieces of concept art neatly stacked inside.
We're currently gearing up for E3 (as is everyone else, I'm sure), then the summer beta for Hyper Light. We've been hard at work with heavy optimizations that will hopefully allow the game to run as efficiently as possible on as many systems as possible. Keep in mind that the primary point of the beta is to get as much useful feedback as we can digest, breaking down what works and doesn't. You will break things, and it will be awesome to see the silly stuff that happens.
We plan to do a limited/timed release over Steam for the beta, as it's the most streamlined platform to push any patches, and allows us the best control over key distribution to the wave that signed up. We'll keep everyone updated once further details are available on exact release date plus when keys will start going out to backers and humble bundle supporters.
A fair few backers have asked if they can upgrade their pledge as they may have purchased a new console, or wanted to grab a particular reward tier that they couldn't previously. The short answer is this likely won't happen; it's a time-consuming process that would take away increasingly precious time from developing the game. Kickstarter does not allow users a path to upgrade post-campaign, so we would have to go through our own custom PayPal solution (costly, highly time-consuming) or a custom system like BackerKit (also costly and time-consuming), plus change a significant chunk of orders and estimates in our budget.
I hope the requesters understand the costs and our priorities; we're a very small team dedicated to building the best experience we can. I would personally be handling these upgrade systems instead of working on art, design and production.
GDC, PAX East and E3 have been at the forefront of our brains these past months. Now that they're (mostly) done on our end, the team is ready to slip back behind our searing computer screens, sans travel and hand shaking, for a good long while. It seems a proper expectation for these official KS Updates is once a month, with the usual micro updates scattered throughout on our Devlog/Twitter/Instagram/Moon Base.
On that note: Sleep well, Drifters, and don't let the giant rock spiders crush you while you rest.
Sunday - April 20, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ Games Abyss
Games Abyss has posted a preview of Hyper Light Drifter from a Pax Prime demo, and they call it a pixel-lover's paradise if you're a fan of these type of games.
My time with Hyper Light Drifter, while brief, was enough to remind me why I backed the project to begin with and why it has been on the receiving end of such high praise. From the simple graphics to its minimalist soundtrack (care of Fez's Disasterpeace), Hyper Light Drifter was one of the best experiences of PAX East 2014. It does not rely on my strong emotional ties to the 8/16-Bit era to achieve its level of greatness. Instead, it plays out like a tribute to all I loved as a young gamer and elevates it to places I never thought possible.
Friday - April 18, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Interview @ Destructoid
Destructoid had the chance to interview Alex Preston of Heart Machine at Pax East 2014 to talk about his upcoming ARPG Hyper Light Drifter.
Thursday - April 17, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - PAX Demo @ Destructoid
Destructoid has a Twitch video of a demo build of Hyper Light Drifter from Pax East.
If you haven't heard of Hyper Light Drifter then you better pay attention because you're in for a treat. If you have heard of the gorgeous Kickstarter success story you also better sit down -- we're about to blow your mind.
Attendees at PAX East will be treated to one of the first ever public showings of the game, but I'm not going to PAX East. What does that mean to you, Destructoid faithful? Well it means that we've worked a little magic and we're going to be streaming the entirety of the public build. This is the longest that the game has ever been shown on Twitch.tv and that's kind of blowing my mind.
Sunday - March 23, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Gameplay From GDC 2014
Polygon has another recorded live stream with new gameplay footage this time from a demo of Hyper Light Drifter that was shown at GDC 2014.
Friday - March 21, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview Roundup
News about Hyper Light Drifter has been non-existent in the last few months, but I managed to roundup two new preview for every to read. So lets get started.
The first preview is from PC Gamer were they played an early build of the game.
The game isn't out until early 2015, and that could drift too. “It’ll be done when it’s done ultimately," says Preston. "No hard release dates yet.” However, the good news is you will be able to sample it well before then. "We’re planning for a summertime beta," says Diefenbach, " a closed beta so people can break the fuck out of the game." We wouldn't dream of it, but safe to say expectations are, if anything, only going to get higher from hereon in.
I ask Preston how much he really expected to raise when they launched the Kickstarter. "I don’t know, I planned for maybe $100,000 to $300,000 at the outset, and I planned for it also getting nothing as well. I planned for a lot of contingencies, but not this one." What would the contingency have been if you'd somehow come up completely dry? "If I got nothing I still would have been making it but I just would have been probably eating dirt. Through a straw." "Bad dirt, not even the good stuff," adds Diefenbach. "I eat good dirt now," agrees Preston.
The second preview is from Joystiq who also played the beta, and decided the games combat mode is beautifully punishing.
Hyper Light Drifter's combat mode is a solo or co-op evil-beast explosion – it begins in a training room lined with dummy targets, and a seafoam platform that recharges your magic. A door etched in rune-like symbols waits at the end of the room. Behind it, when you're ready, lies an arena filled with creatures bent on your destruction.
First, the training room allows you to play with mechanics: Plugged into a MacBook Air, playing with an Xbox 360 controller, press the right bumper to see a circle of weapons and map the ones you want to the Y or B buttons. These weapons include an enemy-seeking mine ball, a shotgun that shoots in a diamond formation, a boomerang, and a close-up attack that embeds a fucshia crystal in an enemy, which you then detonate into huge crystal splinters covering the surrounding area. These attacks drain magic.
The A button is a (very useful) dash, and X is a sword slash. Left bumper displays magic and health bars, and your weapons.Unfortunately, there's no button to halt the flow of angry, violent creatures that swarm you once you open that door.
Tuesday - February 04, 2014
Hyper Light Drifter - Release Update
Heart Machine has an update on the release of the ARPG Hyper Light Drifter.
Schedule: Keeping everyone as informed as we can
After heavy development, much discussion and examination, the team and I have decided that we will not rush the project. There's an intense desire to create a polished, beautiful experience and we need more time to do so. We plan for the closed beta to come out near June, so you'll still savage hordes of beasts and explore a section of the world in due time. The Steam + PC release are first, as they were the initial platform; we have our sights set on the end of the year holiday season. Other platform releases are planned to follow shortly thereafter.
We've spent these past months working incredibly hard - on weekends and beyond - scheduling, planning and budgeting how we can best utilize the resources you, the backers, have so graciously given us to create the game everyone deserves. The original approximation of a June release was for a game developed with just myself and Beau Blyth, something much smaller; I would have been creating art for the next six months, with much rougher edges and animation. Since we have been given this remarkable opportunity, the project has evolved, requires polish and finesse that I was not originally afforded. We are able to make the experience whole, into the full vision I had wanted it to be.
The other major factor is health: I can't physically push myself to the brink; I live with limitations that most do not. The amazing thing now, after the success of this campaign, is that I have a team to support this project, to support me. This means that I'll have to pace myself to avoid crashing, a fact I was reminded of just this week. We're all working as hard as we can within reason.
I know some will be disappointed about a delay. For us it means creating as great and polished an experience as is possible. I remember yelling at Nintendo Power whenever Zelda: OoT was delayed, and now I fully understand why they did it and how it paid off in the end. In Miyamoto's words: "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."
Monday - December 23, 2013
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new video preview for Hyper Light Drifter.
Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful. Its loud yet effortless art direction screams a quiet confidence, a vision that’s both bold and incredibly vulnerable. I very much like what I see, and many, many others agree – to the tune of $645k, in fact. But looks alone don’t make a game. If Hyper Light Drifter doesn’t play well, then all the glowing pinks and passionate purples in the world won’t mean jack. And that would be very, very sad indeed. Go below to watch me play an early demo of the game and find out if it’s on the right track.
Sunday - December 08, 2013
Hyper Light Drifter - Preview @ EDGE
EDGE has a new preview of the 2D Action RPG Hyper Light Drifter.
What’s the difference between a $27,000 game and a $645,000 game? That’s the question Alex Preston is wrestling with following the runaway success of his Kickstarter campaign for pixel-art RPG Hyper Light Drifter. Preston acknowledges that he’s now able to hire more artists and animators to flesh out the game’s world, as well as recruit talent such as Rich Vreeland (AKA Fez composer Disasterpeace) to write its soundtrack. And yet “the same concepts still apply; we have the same story structure, the same combat methodology and mechanics. It’s just that now we have a chance to build it out bigger than before”.
It’s not hard to see why Hyper Light Drifter captured the imaginations of so many. The trailer alone is mesmerising. “Two months of really solid labour” went into its creation, an effort that paid off handsomely when married to Preston’s enthusiastic pitch and beautiful animated sprite art. The footage offers an all-too-brief glimpse at a rich world that combines influences as disparate as Hayao Miyazaki, The Legend Of Zelda, Diablo and Neon Genesis Evangelion. “I think people recognise the love that I have for certain games and certain cartoons and media in general,” Preston explains. “So there’s a shared experience there, and that resonates with people. You see across the comments [on the campaign]: ‘Yeah, that looks like this,’ or ‘This reminds me of that.’ I think people picked up on these little love letters that I put in there.”
Saturday - September 14, 2013
Hyper Light Drifter - Diablo Meets Zelda
Hyper Light Drifter is a new ARPG from Heart Machine. The game is described as a 2D ARPG in the vein of the best 8-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale. You can pledge on kickstarter if you are interested.
Visions for this game have been fluttering in my skull for ages; something dark and fantastic, with giant forests to navigate, huge floating structures to explore, deep crumbling ruins to loot, massive throngs of enemies to rend, and behemoths both flesh and mechanical to overcome. I want it all to be as beautiful as possible, forging color with the dark and eerie wastes and intimidating landscapes. It plays like the best parts of A Link to the Past and Diablo, evolved: lightning fast combat, more mobility, an array of tactical options, more numerous and intelligent enemies, and a larger world with a twisted past to do it all in.
Information aboutHyper Light Drifter
Developer: Heart Machine
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2016-03-31
· Publisher: Heart Machine