Heart Machine has unveiled Hyper Light Breaker, a 3D co-op game set in the same world as cult classic Hyper Light Drifter, coming to Steam Early Access in Spring 2023.
The announcement marks the sixth anniversary of Hyper Light Drifter, the studio’s seminal action/adventure game that took players on a beautiful yet melancholy journey through a ruined world. This first game was built around difficult combat and a host of secrets that offered brief glimpses of the game’s otherwise opaque narrative.
However, where Drifter offered a 2D single-player experience (albeit with a local co-op mode that was added post-release), Heart Machine is now planning to make Breaker in 3D, with online co-op as the focus.
The trailer (below) seems to indicate that Breaker will combine Drifter’s demanding combat with the sleek traversal mechanics seen in Heart Machine’s second game, Solar Ash. Speaking to IGN, creative director Alx Preston also noted that it will be “a little more systems heavy, with more RPG mechanics” compared to Drifter, with a range of distinct playable classes.
“And when we talk about online cooperative play, we mean multiple players, not just you and one other person; we envision a group of players who can go out and kill monsters together.
The online aspect represents a second major technological leap for Heart Machine since its inception; Solar Ash saw it go from 2D to 3D, resulting in a well-received game, but one that took nearly twice as long as Drifter.
Hyper Light Breaker – Exclusive Concept Art
We asked Preston if having already made this transition could result in a smoother development cycle for his new 3D game. “Yeah. I mean, that’s definitely part of it, now that we’ve made this transition to Unreal and developed the technology. It’s important for us to make sure that we release content more regularly, and we’re not locked into a very focused mentality without being very public about it for several years.
The plan to announce Breaker about a year before its planned Steam Early Access launch is a big part of that desire for transparency, and marks a natural progression from Drifter’s first Kickstarter success.
“We want to get Breaker out. We want to start talking openly about the development, the process, the live streams and all sorts of fun stuff like that. Because I think on Drifter, after the Kickstarter, we ended up doing something similar on a smaller scale, where we can engage with that particular community on a regular basis.
While Solar Ash was a departure from the Hyper Light universe, Breaker is an integral part of it. Drifter’s story was told without a single word of dialogue, instead opting for environmental cues, alien text that players had to translate outside of the game, and occasional cutscenes that blurred the line between things that actually happened to the game. player character and his own illness. – induced hallucinations.
Despite this – or, more likely, because of it – players have really bought into Drifter’s narrative and, six years later, still want to know more about its world. “There will be discussions and things for people who have played Drifter, which they will certainly derive some value from. And certainly, there’s an aesthetic and a vibe, and the lore of the world that we continue to build on.
Preston adds that you won’t need to have played Drifter to know what’s going on. “But still, it continues the lineage in a lot of ways.”
Hyper Light Breaker – 5 in-game screenshots
It’s too early to discuss story or themes, we’re told, but Preston suggests that Breaker will likely follow in Drifter’s footsteps, while also reflecting the changes taking place within the team as a whole. “I think we tend towards those elements of past experiences that have really shaped or shaped us in some ways. For me personally, those are my own health issues that I’ve tried to expose in some way or another. another, and with Solar Ash being a bigger team of people feeding into the story, it became a bigger context for those vicious circles you can get into.
“There’s some humor that I think we want to exploit a bit more. We’ve kind of started doing that with Solar Ash. But I think our stories are still going to be dark and about really tough stuff. , regardless of the game format. Sure, Breaker is online multiplayer, but we still have a story to tell there. We still have a world that we’ve built, and we still have themes to exploit.
Players can look forward to examining these themes (while slaying monsters with their friends) when Hyper Light Breaker hits Steam Early Access in Spring 2023.
Correction: Heart Machine and Gearbox clarified that Hyper Light Breaker will not be a sequel to Hyper Light Drifter, but will be set in the same universe. We’ve updated the story to match.
Sean Bell is a freelance writer, podcaster and streamer. You can find his bad jokes and worst opinions on Twitter: @CaptainToss.