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

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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:

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Deviation Games signs with PlayStation to develop a new original IP

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It’s been a wild and crazy roller coaster ride this last year, building a new studio and hiring a ton of great talent amid the pandemonium of the COVID-19 lockdown. What an incredible journey so far and finally the day that marks the beginning of our next chapter has arrived! Today we are thrilled to announce a landmark deal for Deviation Games, working with Sony Interactive Entertainment to develop a brand-new original IP.

When my partner Jason Blundell and I first met decades ago, we often dreamt about having our own studio, making games our way with our own team of like-minded developers, and building a community where lasting friendships are created. That dream has become a reality today. We feel so fortunate to have this incredible opportunity – one for Jason and I to build something completely new from the ground up, to fearlessly innovate and forge an incredible community and legacy.

We call ourselves Deviators. And as Jason describes it, “Another way of saying Deviator is Renaissance mindset. Deviators are not only passionate about their own discipline, but they love others too. We believe that is what is unique and special about our studio, the culture, the team, and this project.  From experience, young determined studios need rock solid support to thrive. That’s why it means so much that PlayStation is partnering with us on our first game. As you all know–having enjoyed the amazing PlayStation Studios portfolio–they know what it takes to make great games. To have a partner like that behind us makes the road ahead simply breathtaking.”

I know what you’re thinking as you read this. What kind of game are we making? How long have we already been working on it? Is it story based? Multiplayer? Co-op? Or all of the above and more? When is it coming out? While I can confirm development is already underway, it’s really early for us to be going into specific details. We’re drawing on what we’ve learned over our collective decades making games, but we’re also out to make something fresh and brimming with innovation like you’ve never experienced before. We’re not afraid to say that our ambitions are super high: we’re setting out to make a huge, content-rich game with a focus on a lot of action and a lot of energy, but let’s leave it at that for now and hopefully it won’t be long before we can share more.

As for today, I’m here to say: keep an eye on us–we’ve brought on amazing talent from around the world, we’re over 100 Deviators and growing fast, and we have an incredible partner behind us in SIE.

 To our fans, particularly those who’ve followed some of our team members’ past work over the years: thank you for all your support, particularly now as we venture into creating something for ourselves. Follow our studio channels for all the latest and stay tuned. We might be quiet for a little while but next time we can talk specifically about what we’re working on; we’re confident it will raise a few eyebrows! 

Leaving Sanctuary: Ska Studios’ journey to Salt and Sacrifice

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Today I’m excited to announce that Salt and Sacrifice launches on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in 2022. 

I started working on the original Salt and Sanctuary nine years ago, and looking back, it still holds a lot of mystery to me. Development began after I’d already shipped a few games with what I’d humbly claim had adequate combat and gameplay. Like so many other indie devs, I’d recently become obsessed with the Dark Souls formula: its numerous seemingly inscrutable systems, its beautifully dark and imaginative world, and its tense moments where razor thin margins for error emerged elegantly. 

Leaving Sanctuary: Ska Studios’ journey to Salt and Sacrifice

I’d built some pretty competent combat systems in The Dishwasher series (which is now unbelievably two console generations old), so the idea of using that as a foundation for exploring an indie soulslike made sense. From there, it was a lot of world pieces, monsters, weapons, and more: all hand-drawn, hand-animated, scripted, and placed; a gradual journey to see if the bones of 2D brawling could animate the flesh of this dark fantasy RPG.

In hindsight, I’m certainly a little in the dark about what worked best for Salt and Sanctuary, not that there is a single right answer. For some, the lore stood out. For others, it was the elaborate skill tree. The fighter DNA resonated with some people. But to so very many people, the lack of online co-op was the most egregious omission, which brings me to Salt and Sacrifice.

Salt and Sacrifice expands on the world of Salt and Sanctuary by exploring a new era and region, as well as a new role: a Marked Inquisitor. A Marked Inquisitor is a criminal condemned, yet spared the hand of justice in exchange for a lifetime of service in the unending war against Mages: twisted, irredeemable creatures of elemental malice. Mages roam the world, summoning minions and wreaking havoc. Hunting a Mage is a multistage pursuit in which your quarry is just as likely to clash with rival Mages as it is with you. 

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Final boss battle episodes arrive tomorrow for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

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Hello everyone! I’m Ryosuke Hara, lead producer of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Thank you for your support of this game so far. And thank you very much for your patience while we’ve been hard at work developing the final DLC.

Today, I would like to give an overview of the upcoming DLC, Trunks – The Warrior Of Hope. In this new DLC, users will be experiencing a new arc based on the story of an extra chapter/episode of the manga/anime. This arc sets focus on an alternative future, where Gohan and Trunks fight the Androids to restore peace to a desperate world without Goku or any of the other Z Warriors. Regarding gameplay volume, you can expect just about the same length/content as the other arcs playable in the Main Story (Saiyan Arc, Frieza Arc, etc.).

The world is no longer what it used to be. As you travel through the utterly destroyed world, users will find ruins of iconic landmarks such as Orange City and Capsule Corp., and other characters such as Master Roshi who have been chased out of their original homes.

Nowhere is safe as there are countless drones created by the Red Ribbon Army on the lookout for any survivors. Being spotted by these drones can lead to a fatality, as they will set off an alert, automatically throwing you in a death match against Android 17 and 18. The androids are much stronger compared to the ones you’ve fought in the main story, and your only chance of survival is to find a way to escape by clearing specific conditions in battle.

I don’t want to spoil it for users who haven’t watched the anime, so I won’t go much further into the story, but I assure you that this will be a story you won’t forget. We will also have surprises and new discoveries for all of you who’ve already seen the show, so I really hope you’ll all enjoy that.

New skills will also be unlocked in the main story once you clear this DLC, so this may be your chance to replay the main game, or finish it if you haven’t already.

The final DLC, Trunks – The Warrior Of Hope is available tomorrow and is playable regardless of whether you’ve cleared the main story, so don’t be afraid to jump right in even if you just discovered the existence of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot through this article.

The Persistence Enhanced hits PS5 with visual and performance improvements June 11

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We’re so excited that The Persistence Enhanced launches on PS5 June 11. The Persistence Enhanced is fully optimised for the next-generation hardware with the inclusion of immersive DualSense wireless controller haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as the inclusion of raytraced rendering and a host of other improvements. 

Today we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect from The Persistence Enhanced on PS5 and how the next-gen technology enhances your gameplay experience aboard the decks of doomed deep space colony ship, The Persistence.

The Persistence has been on an incredible journey since its initial PS VR exclusive release in 2018. Our team here at Firesprite were delighted to bring the game to the PS4 flat-screen last year and are thrilled to offer The Persistence Enhanced as another free update for existing owners of the game.

This Enhanced Edition of our survival horror rogue-lite for PS5 flat-screen introduces a dynamic rasterized 4k60 fps Performance mode and 4k30 fps Quality mode which features real-time raytraced reflections and global illumination dialling the atmosphere and tension up to the max aboard the doomed starship.

These visual updates don’t only look fantastic, they really enhance the core gameplay too.  Improved shadows, reflections and lighting provide cues as to the positions of the creatures that now inhabit The Persistence, alerting the player to any potential threats lurking in the dark corners alongside the immersive positional audio system implemented in game. Even if an encounter with one of the mutant horde proves fatal, you’ll find yourself very quickly reprinted into a new clone body ready for another run, thanks to instant loading on PS5.

The DualSense controller brings entirely new dimensions of tactile immersion to your experience aboard The Persistence. With the haptic feedback and adaptive trigger functionality, the difference and profile of each weapon will be felt when picked up.

This extends to melee combat also, from the impact of deflecting enemy attacks to the sensation of plunging a Peacekeeper Knife into the flesh of the aberrant creatures you’ll encounter and feeling the resistance as they fight and struggle for survival.

The Persistence Enhanced features adaptive trigger pressure feedback for the various ranged weapons in the game such as the Sentinel, Valkryie, or the Grav Hook for example – each requiring different trigger pressure to master your attack. You’ll also feel the strikes and blows of different enemy attacks, and the hum of your shield as it activates, suppressing any onslaught

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