Axiom Verge 2’s developer was kind enough to answer a few questions and give me the latest.
The original Axiom Verge may be one of the greatest solo-dev indie games ever created. Wait. Actually, no. Axiom Verge definitely is one of the greatest solo-dev games ever created. And for fans, the sequel can’t get here fast enough.
But you can’t rush perfection, and it seems like Thomas Happ, Axiom Verge 2’s solo developer, is determined to make sure the game is as near to perfect as he can make it. So yeah. It’s taking a while.
In fact, development for Axiom Verge 2 began only about a year after the release of the original, which puts the current development time around 4 years and counting.
As Tom quietly bombards himself with the work of (hopefully) pulling together an epic masterpiece the likes of which the gaming world has never seen before, the hype for Axiom Verge 1 has settled and the hype for Axiom Verge 2 seems to be on pause. Fans are waiting for more information.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot published about it lately, and that “Fall 2020” launch target is starting to loom larger and larger. My fan curiosity got the better of me and I needed to know what’s going on with Axiom Verge 2.
So I took the liberty of scouring the internet, scraping Tom’s website and social media, searching for interviews, stalking Tom and his family and digging through their trash (That’s a joke. I did get a hold of Tom by email, though). And after a reasonable amount of research, I have pulled together everything I could find. So far.
This is everything we know about Axiom Verge 2.
There are around 8 more months until launch, and I do plan to update this page as more information comes to light. If you’re an Axiom Verge fan, bookmark this page and check back once in a while to see how things are coming along. But remember: since the developer is just one dude, leaks are going to be few, and progress is going to be (agonizingly) slow.
So without any further ado, let’s dig in.
For the sake of newcomers to the Axiom Verge series, I’ll start with the basics. If you’re a fan, you probably already know some of this. But we’re covering a lot of ground here, so please stick around.
Axiom Verge 2 Developer
The developer for Axiom Verge 2 is Thomas Happ. And only Tom Happ. He is single-handedly producing the art, the programming, story, and even the music for Axiom Verge 2. Sounds crazy to me, but Tom seems to be a true renaissance man.
As a solo dev, he pulled together the original Axiom Verge and the results have spoken. It is still one of the finest Metroidvania games period. But to be the result of just one developer? That’s pretty astounding.
Axiom Verge 2 release date
Fall 2020, but take this with a grain of salt. A solo-dev game is bound to hit a few snags. When I reached out to Tom, he made it very clear that he would delay the date if necessary. According to him,
“If it ever looks like it won’t be ready, I’m not going to rush it out the door unfinished just to meet a deadline which I made up myself to begin with.”
He’s channeling Shigeru Miyamoto here, of course. “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” Definitely words to dev by. And it may not be a coincidence that Zelda has been a significant influence in the development of AV2.
Axiom Verge 2 Platforms
Axiom Verge has already been confirmed for the Nintendo Switch, with other platforms still under consideration.
Tom wants to make the game available on all current-gen platforms, but has not confirmed anything besides Switch so far. My personal opinion is that a Steam release is all but assured. Beyond that? We simply don’t know yet.
Will Axiom Verge 2 have a physical release?
According to the developer, yes. There will most likely be a physical release, but “it’s not as likely to come out at launch. We’ll see, though.”
Equally unannounced is any kind of collector’s edition, but my fingers are crossed.
It’s another Metroidvania. Duh.
Hey, there are no stupid questions, right?
But I mean, we’ve all seen sequels that diverge radically from their predecessor. But Axiom Verge 2 looks like it will stay the course and set by the original.
Players will still be exploring non-linear environments to discover powerups and abilities that allow them to continue exploring the environment. So yeah, it’s a Metroidvania. Whew.
Axiom Verge 2 features all new characters and environments.
Rather than making a chronological successor to the original, Tom decided to develop Axiom Verge 2 as an entirely new chronicle set within the same game universe.
Axiom Verge 2 will feature completely new characters (as far as we know today), new weapons, brand-new enemies, and brand-new everything else.
The Axiom Verge games can be played in any order (good news for Axiom Verge n00bs who want to start with the newer game) and it won’t affect the narrative exposition.
So yes, AV1 and AV2 will be two completely independent games, with AV2 delving a bit deeper into the lore of the Axiom Verge universe.
My personal suspicion is that the games will be tied together in a clever and profound way. I thought the plot of Axiom Verge was a bit vague and more mysterious than anything I would consider a lore. But Tom seems to know what he’s doing and has big plans to flesh out his world a bit more in the sequel.
Axiom Verge 2 will star a female protagonist
The leading lady of Axiom Verge 2 is named Indra. She’s the mysterious billionaire behind the worldwide Globe 3 conglomerate. Whatever that means.
This info is a teaser from AxiomVerge2.com. There are a few other tidbits there, especially concerning the plot and world of AV2. We’ll cover them in this post, of course.
Apparently, Axiom Verge 2’s plot begins when Indra discovers a cargo lift in Antarctica. It leads her to a sub-world deep below the surface of the earth, complete with varying terrains and a long-dead civilization.
Many different game environments are already represented in Tom’s marketing pics.
- There are snowy mountains
- Hidden temples
- Submerged caverns
- Whatever this is
- Deserts, too. Though I couldn’t find an image for that.
- The developer has made clear that Axiom Verge 2 hides a secret that he refuses to leak. And as I mentioned, leaks from a solo developer are rare. Tom doesn’t want us to know what he’s hiding. We probably won’t know until the game is released and we can discover for ourselves. Which is how it should be, of course. Never mind my impatience.
- Axiom Verge 2 features a brighter and more nuanced color palette than the original. It turns out: Creating the same art in the same colors for year after year can get boring. Tom decided to bring Axiom Verge into the light and incorporate brighter, prettier colors that seem inspired by nature.
In addition to a souped-up color palette and natural environments, it looks like Tom is implementing some really good-looking lighting and shadow effects. The trailers show Indra making her way through dark caverns accompanied by a moving light source. My guess is that the light source is a hacked drone.
The aesthetics of AV2 are very exciting. Visually, everything is true to the spirit of the first game, but with some very effective improvements to the environment and character sprites.
- There will be a streamlined interface and additional features for speedrunning. Sure, Axiom Verge 1 currently supports speedrunning, but the impression I get is that Tom is going to make Axiom Verge 2 even more accessible to those that want to play it competitively. We don’t have many details at this point, but Tom has declared his intent, and that’s cool.
- And in terms of playing competitively or socially, it looks like speedrunning will be the only option because Tom also declared in an interview with Nintendo Enthusiast that he will “probably never turn Axiom Verge into a multiplayer game no matter how much people ask for it.” I’m not sure how a multiplayer Metroidvania would work anyway. But it could be interesting. Bah! Doesn’t matter. Not happening.
- Indra will be able to unlock and gain powers and abilities by locating mysterious urns throughout the game world. Presumably these were left behind by the mysterious civilization she uncovers. With a lapis-lazuli pendant she can detect the locations of the urns and increase her power. But Tom hints that there may be a price to pay for such power!
It’s an interesting allusion to make. It hints that as the game develops, Indra will become more and more powerful to a point where she loses touch with reality or her humanity altogether.
Tom also talks about the mysterious voices that are calling to Indra from just beyond the fringes of reality. You see, she may have discovered a portal to a new Earth, but there is something mysterious, just outside the fringes of reality. I’m sure they will have something to say about the ultimate price of Indra’s power.
Axiom Verge 2 Enemies
The world of Axiom Verge 2 will be populated with an army of enemy drones that are programmed to attack on sight. They look like ancient stone drones. Which seems weird, but I’m willing to go along with it.
Clearly a Metroidvania wouldn’t be complete without a full roster of enemies. Fortunately, Indra is equipped to hack these drones and exploit their abilities to her advantage.
Will there be an Axiom Verge 3?
According to the developer, that’s the plan. But Tom Happ has also mentioned that he would probably like to develop an in-between game after after Axiom Verge 2 and before Axiom Verge 3.
I mean, the guy has been developing Axiom Verge games for about a decade. So he could probably use a break.
A Message from the Future
While the plot of Axiom Verge 2 is still a delicious mystery, except for the bare-minimum of the premise, AxiomVerge2.com has a message to gamers. It reads as not much more than a non-answer to any generic questions about the timing and setting of the game.
“Life. Afterlife. Real. Virtual. Dream. Nightmare. It’s a thin line. It’s Axiom Verge.”What the hell does that even mean? We’ll just have to play it and find out.
Really, the point is that Axiom Verge 2 is being developed with a plot that will challenge reality. The original Axiom Verge did too, but Tom stated with surety that the new game will take us even deeper into the rabbit hole of his indie game universe.
Gameplay mechanics, graphics, characters and all else aside, I’m most interested to see how Axiom Verge 2 can top its predecessor in terms of environmental ambiance, attitude, and atmosphere. Tom has his work cut out for him, but I think he’s up to the task.
Is everyone excited now?
I know 2020 is packed with awesome games. Cyberpunk 2077, DOOM Eternal, Animal Crossing, the Final Fantasy VII Remake (check out Kyle’s take on that!) and a ton more. But for me personally, Axiom Verge 2 is probably the most exciting.
The original Axiom Verge was so playable and engaging. It unapologetically took what was great about Super Metroid and put it into a totally unique package. Maybe it’s because the whole thing was Tom’s work, rather than a big team, but the whole game felt so cohesive, too. Every piece seemed to fit together.
I’m very interested to see where Axiom Verge 2 will take us. And I can’t wait to discover this big secret is that Tom keeps alluding to.
Stay tuned. More to follow.
This story is ongoing and this post will be updated accordingly as Axiom Verge 2 continues to be developed and marketed. We suggest you bookmark this page and check back every now and then to see what’s happening.
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See you soon!–GG