Hyper Light Drifter Developers Ditch Pixels for Polygons in Solar Ash Kingdom

Hyper Light Drifter Developers Ditch Pixels for Polygons in Solar Ash Kingdom

Solar Ash Kingdom is the long-anticipated follow-up to the indie hit Hyper Light Drifter.

It's been three years since Hyper Light Drifter dazzled across our screens with its beautiful sprite art and unexpectedly brutal battles. Since its release, developers Heart Machine have been quiet about what it's working on next. That all changed this morning, when a new trailer debuted.

Heart Machine's long-anticipated follow-up is Solar Ash Kingdom, and it already looks quite different from Hyper Light Drifter. It trades in pixels for polygons, but retains the bright colors and somber Disasterpeace score that helped its 2D predecessor resonate. At the end of the trailer, the Epic Games Store logo flashes, suggesting that Solar Ash Kingdom will be an Epic Games Store exclusive—at least for its PC release if it comes to other platforms.

In a statement to IGN alongside its trailer premiere, Heart Machine's Alex Preston illuminated on the switch to a new art style. "It's been difficult to hold our tongues on such an exciting creation after this long," Preston told the site, "but it's been worth it to make sure we put out our best for our audience to see just how far we've come from our days of pixel art." Preston also added that development will be chronicled on a devlog, much like Hyper Light Drifter was long ago. (Those entrancing GIFs are part of what made people pay attention, after all.)

When Hyper Light Drifter released in 2016, we found it "very much worth the time, effort, and aggravation it costs you (and inflicts upon you)." Recently, a port of it made its way to Nintendo Switch in September 2018. At this point, you can play it pretty much everywhere; except your phones, I suppose. Hopefully that too is the case with Solar Ash Kingdom, which doesn't yet have a release date. But with how candid the development was for Hyper Light Drifter, we're bound to see a lot more of it sooner rather than later.

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

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