Heart Machine, the studio behind the critically acclaimed game Hyper Light Drifter, has officially unveiled its next project: Solar Ash Kingdom. Purely based on art style alone, it seems the company's second output is highly different from the game before it, stepping away from Hyper Light Drifter's highly stylized 2D graphics toward cleaner and smoother 3D visuals.
Still, graphics alone don't determine how good a game is, and so much about Solar Ash Kingdom has yet to be determined, meaning there's plenty to be excited about — and while the game looks strikingly different from its predecessor, some things never change. Which is why both titles share a colorful and stylish aesthetic, still. Beyond that, though, there's not much information on the mechanics itself.
Solar Ash Kingdom
A teaser trailer published by IGN previews where Solar Ash Kingdom is set, featuring a panoramic alien landscape rich with vibrant colors. Gamers get a look at the hero, who glides in every direction with a ballerina's grace. Most notably, he seems to be wielding an energy-based melee weapon, as Polygon puts it.
The teaser then cuts to the hero preparing to unleash an attack on what appears to be a giant specter-like creature, who almost fills up the entire screen. Whereas Hyper Light Drifter features a top-down perspective and heavy use of stylized pixel art, Solar Ash Kingdom seems to be its inverse, with full-on 3D graphics partnered with what are unmistakably side-scrolling elements.
Heart Machine creator Alx Preston didn't share much, but did say in a statement to IGN that Solar Ash Kingdom will have "incredible tech and key innovations," and that gamers can expect a compelling story, world, characters, and of course, gameplay. Again, there isn't much detail to glean from at the moment, but what little Heart Machine is showing off does look pretty incredible.
There's no word yet on a release window, but the trailer confirms it'll be released on the Epic Games Store, confirmation enough that the game is heading to PC. Hyper Light Drifter debuted on Mac and PC in 2016, then was ported to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 just months later. Based on this, it's possible Solar Ash Kingdom cold hit other platforms, as well.
For those who have yet to try Hyper Light Drifter, it's available on Steam.