A year after its debut on PlayStation 4, Thomas Happ's Metroid-esque platformer Axiom Verge has finally entered certification for Vita. The road to portability has been a long and difficult one, as Happ has discussed quite openly and frankly in his blog.
"One of the reasons I couldn’t give a status update on the port before was that there was nothing to show," he wrote in February. "It was all plumbing and wiring. It’s only when you get everything hooked up and hit the switch that it goes from 0-100 pretty much overnight."
With official news that the game has entered the certification process, the plumbing-and-wiring phase has ended and the various quirks of the porting process (including making things work correctly at the Vita's lower resolution) have been ironed out. Seeing the end of the road draw near for Axiom Verge Vita should come as no small relief to the beleaguered system's fans, who have grown increasingly accustomed to disappointing news. While big publishers have all but abandoned Vita, leaving indie developers like Happ to keep the lights on... even if their efforts probably won't net them much (if anything) in the way of financial rewards.
Perhaps more surprising than the game's incipient launch for Vita after a year of good intentions, however, is the fact that Sony's handheld won't be the only platform to see Axiom Verge ports this year. Along with the long-gestating Vita version, Happ has announced conversions for both Xbox One and Wii U for the near future as well.
"We always wanted to make @AxiomVerge for Wii U anyway," the game's official Twitter account joked today, "but the real reason for doing it is for this guy."
Happ promises the new console renditions will arrive in a far more timely manner than its handheld version; both will be handled by Sickhead Games, who also adapted the game to Vita and presumably knows the code inside and out at this point.
At this point, Axiom Verge will be putting in an appearance on every current platform save the 3DS and mobile — one assumes for logistical reasons. Despite Axiom Verge's pixellated "retro" look, the game plays fast and loose with screen resolution, zooming its perspective in and out as best suits the situation. The 3DS's low-resolution screen — much lower that Vita's! — would necessitate significant changes to how the viewpoint is handled, compromising key sequences (especially boss fights, which tend to pull back the camera to give you an all-encompassing sense of the action). And while the game would theoretically work with mobile virtual touch controls, the idea sounds frankly awful.
Despite these key absences, Axiom Verge proved to be one of the most thoughtful and inspired Metroid-inspired games of the indie Metroidvania movement and absolutely deserves to get into as many hands as possible. Although Happ hasn't announced firm dates for the upcoming adaptations, he's teased the possibility of the extremely near future for the Vita port and sometime in 2016 for the other consoles.