Axiom Verge 2, the sequel to developer Thomas Happ's acclaimed retro-styled Metroid-a-like, will no longer release this year as originally anticipated, and is now due in the first half of 2021.
Breaking the delay news in a post on his blog, Happ explained that while last year's reveal trailer enthusiastically culminated in the words "Coming Fall 2020", that will no longer be the case. "I originally based my prediction on the remaining features on my project list and how long those tasks took when I was making Axiom Verge," Happ wrote; ultimately, however, a number of unforeseen factors - including the inevitable unpredictability caused by the ongoing pandemic - have "led my project schedule astray."
Happ goes through each contributing factor in more detail as part of his blog post but, succinctly, complications have arisen from Axiom Verge 2's enemies - which no longer follow a fixed path, unlike those seen in the original game - as well as its more complex art style, requiring seamless tiles that can blend into one another. The latter demand, says Happ, has "far reaching implications for the design, art, and ultimately feel of the game".
Happ also highlights the added complexity of Axiom Verge 2's enhanced glitch-based Address Disruptor tool, said to serve a similar function to that seen in the original, "but in a way that gives the player more control over the outcome." All this means Axiom Verge 2 will now come to Switch and "additional platforms" in the first half of next year. "Hopefully sooner in that window than later," says Happ, "but I don't want to disappoint anyone so I'll just leave it there."
Axiom Verge 2, apparently already four years in the making when it was announced last year, launches players on a quest to "discover the origins of the Axiom Verge universe", and features new characters, enemies, powers, and an entirely new world. "Hiding in a cargo lift in Antarctica is what appears to be an ancient, alternate Earth, complete with mountains, lakes, deserts, and the ruins of a civilisation," explained Happ at the time, "But you get the feeling that something else is lurking just past the fringes of reality, waiting to pull you in."
"I am extremely grateful for all of the inquiries into the release date for Axiom Verge 2," the developer concludes in his latest post, "I had my concerns about whether people would even care at all about a sequel coming 5 years after the release of the original. Although it's taking longer than I originally hoped, I am going to do my best to make sure it's worth the wait."