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
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.”
Information aboutHyper Light Drifter
Developer: Heart Machine
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2014-12-25
· Publisher: Heart Machine