Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 12, 2013.

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Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with unknown dangers and lost technologies. Inspired by nightmares and dreams alike.

Final Hour! Join our Livestream

We are on Steam now! Thanks for voting!

We have a PayPal Humble Bundle up!

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Update #31 - Add-ons & Friday Livestream

Update #30 - $5 Soundtrack and more!

Update #27 - Wii U Stretch Goal!

Note:  $10 gets you the game on PC, Mac or Linux, Steam or DRM-free. $15 and up lets you choose PS4, Vita, Wii U, or OUYA!

Add-Ons

You can add extra rewards to your current tier if you so desire (remember, no need to change your tier, just add the amount and we'll see the amount and a note from you during the survey):

  • Add $5 - Digital OST for the game
  • Add $10 - Unlock the Alternate playable Drifter
  • Add $15 - Additional Copy of the Game for any platform
  • Add $30 - Limited run t-shirt (no international yet)
  • Add $35 - SNES style physical box and manual (no international yet)
  • Add $42 - Limited Compact Print (11x14) (no international yet)
  • Add $60 - Printed Softcover Companion Art Book (no international yet)

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Drifters of this world are the collectors of forgotten knowledge, lost technologies and broken histories. Our Drifter is haunted by an insatiable illness, traveling further into the lands of Buried Time, steeped in blood and treasure hoping to discover a way to quiet the vicious disease. Echoes of a dark and violent past from the dead eras resonate throughout and he can't help but listen.

Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D Action RPG in the vein of the best 8-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.

Visions for this game have been fluttering in my skull for ages; something dark and fantastic, with giant forests to navigate, huge floating structures to explore, deep crumbling ruins to loot, massive throngs of enemies to rend, and behemoths both flesh and mechanical to overcome. I want it all to be as beautiful as possible, forging color with the dark and eerie wastes and intimidating landscapes. It plays like the best parts of A Link to the Past and Diablo, evolved: lightning fast combat, more mobility, an array of tactical options, more numerous and intelligent enemies, and a larger world with a twisted past to do it all in.

  • Rip through enemies with responsive, fun combat; engaging and brutal. Upgrade weapons, discover new equipment and trek deeper than ever.

  • Traverse a dark, detailed and interconnected world with alternate paths and secret loot. Miyazaki films have taught me that beautiful animation and design add life to a world. From characters to background elements, everything is lovingly crafted while I hum show-tunes and squint suspiciously at the flickering pixels until they perform as intended.

  • A challenge - The game is accessible and easy to pick up, but difficult to master and complete; enemies and hazards become more vicious and numerous, so players must use clever tactics to avoid death. (Some yell hurtful phrases at players simply to bring tears to the cereal bowl below.)

 

Core Mechanics

  • Primary weapon - Composed of phase shifted Hard Light (also known as Solid Light), your sword acts as the primary means of offense; it's quick, brutal, and can slash through most anything. Best of all it never runs low on energy.
  • Sprite Companion - An indispensable personalized drone, the Sprite manages your inventory virtually, maintains your shields, seeks out hidden paths and lights the way in the darkest of times. Functionality may be expanded with new modules.
  • Secondary items - You'll come across a variety of advanced weaponry, items and gear throughout your travels; Light Rail Pistols, Heavy Rifles, various hi-power explosives and enemy-aware Seeker Drones. All of these are powered by limited batteries, found scattered throughout the world. 
  • Defense System - A rechargeable Hard Light Diamond shield which offers total protection from attacks for a short burst of time. If timed correctly projectiles can be reflected back at enemies for extra damage. Can be upgraded to extend duration.
  • Dash Module - Multi-use gear that enables a triple speed dash; can be used to evade attacks, cut across gaps and chasms, break through certain blocks and rubble and even stun enemies.

Rifle

Roly Poly

From Sean Ward
From Sean Ward

Enemy Sprites

From Nick Wozniak
From Nick Wozniak
From Ian Schlaepfer
From Ian Schlaepfer

Boss Reveals

#1

Sprite work: Johan Vinet
Sprite work: Johan Vinet

Name: Rivan The Tamer

Attributes: User of searing RedShift light, causing great destruction when attacking. His companion beast adds to his already fierce tactics.

Domain: The Deep Red Keep, roaming the Barren Halls.

#2

Music Reveal

From the Masterful Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland) here's the first sample track:

Notes on $160,000 Goal:

I want this game to shine. I want to fully indulge this vision, so I will use the funds to further the quality of the game rather than bolster any after-thoughts.

On $180,000 Goal:

There are so many great artists, illustrators, writers, wonderfully creative people that I'm surrounded by and I want them in on this! I plan to commission small pieces of art to flesh out the world; they can create new character that live in this world, write new lore, and punch out some rad art, all within the limitations of the history and style of this world. All work will be collected in the Companion Art Book and their pieces featured on our site once they start producing!

On $200,000 Goal:

The Companion Art Book is a physical compendium of knowledge and reference materials, high res unused art assets and never before seen art works for the project. It will also include commissioned pieces and extended lore for the world and characters within created by several artists throughout the community as well as a collection of some of the fan art that has been and continues to be posted. (Love it all!) this will be available for purchase after the campaign has ended, once everything has been commissioned and compiled. 

Notes on PS4 + Vita + Wii U + OUYA support

REVISION! I'd like for everyone to be able to get the version they want. If you have already contributed at the $10 tier, simply pledge an additional $5 and I'll compose a survey after the campaign is over to determine which version you would like a key for. Cross-buy is undetermined for right now. If you have already contributed at $15 or more, you will be given the choice of PC, Linux, Mac, PS4, Vita, Wii U, or OUYA. That's as simple as I can make it for now!

Details on the Challenge Mode

This mode will have several mix-up mini quests for you to test your skills at; you'll have wave-based challenges where you fight off increasingly difficult hordes to see how long you can survive as you level up, boss rush runs, speed runs and other odd modes that wouldn't typically fit in the main game. All will have a scoring mechanism that unlocks achievements, plus we are working on local co-op for this mode.

Physical Box and Manual

We will be able to provide and ship out a slick designed SNES style physical box and manual to go with your digital download! Both printed in full color and shipped directly to you. This is NOW a Reward Tier AND you can get it as an add-on for any Tier if you add $35 to your pledge! The Stretch Goal allows us to offer it outside of the Kickstarter for any who would like to nab it down the line.

The game is in a prototype phase, planned initially for PC, though I would love to expand to other platforms. 

Having worked with Beau Blyth of Samurai Gunn fame on the programming side, the framework for the game is in place - remaining mechanics and the body of the game will slot nicely into current systems. All will be refined until it feels sleek, satisfying and fun. 

The venerable and talented Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland) has been gracious enough to jump on board to compose the soundtrack!

The bigger task ahead is asset generation; enemy sprites (which use dozens of frames of hand drawn art, including the major Boss encounters), new level designs (plus fancy lighting!), and sound design.

If I reach the $64,000 stretch goal, I will be able to hire a secondary animator/designer which will allow more time to sink into expanding the world.

The $75,000 goal will allow for an even deeper soundtrack with bonus tracks plus a SFX pro.

I have planned for a potential release date in mid 2014, with beta access at least two months prior, allowing time to tweak and bug-fix and adjust according to player feedback. A more solid schedule will become apparent for backers once resources have been assessed.

This project has rapidly evolved into a much larger world and story and needs the help of the community in order for it to thrive.

Completing this game by mid 2014 requires focus and time; the initial goal will afford me these two (current) luxuries.The higher stretch goals will allow a fully realized version.

  • Paying outside help - This is a passion project for me, but other friends and professionals (such as Beau and Rich) need to be compensated for their tremendous talents. Having a sound effects producer/musical talent as well as an animator to assist would lighten the workload considerably and allow me to concentrate on the overall structure and scope of the game, as well as fine tuning all of the time consuming little things.
  • Company and operation costs - In order to begin selling through any platform I'll need to establish Heart Machine as a full game company, which takes a fair chunk of money and time, plus licensing, living costs and bills factor in.
  • Improving and fixing - Getting testers, implementing community feedback, using every ounce of my soul to produce a game I've been dreaming of for decades.

Access to the Game 

I have been researching distribution methods. Now I have PC, Mac, Linux (DRM-Free or Steam), PS4, Vita, Wii U, and OUYA.

The closed Beta will surely hold some valuable insight, and in order to implement that knowledge delays may happen. I will do my best to keep Backers informed of progress on all fronts.

 

Concepts

Alex Preston (Heart Machine) -alxpreston.com, @HeartMachineZ

Lead Designer + Animator + Secondary Programming

I've been an illustrator and designer for a good long while now. Developing games has been a passion of mine since I was a child, though I've never had the courage and support until now to actually release something into the wild. Spread your neon wings you sweet pixelated bastard!

Beau Blyth (Teknopants) -teknopants.com, @Teknopants

Lead Programmer + Tremendous Hair

Developed loads of rad fast-paced arcade style games including the upcoming super bad-ass Samurai Gunn. A master of many disciplines and the man helping me code this beastly project. A massive thanks and unending high fives/hugs/punches go his way. Also payment.

Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) - disasterpeace.com/, @Disasterpeace

Musical Score + Piercing Eyes

This chip-blasting machine of a man has produced tons of fantastic game albums, most notably Fez. (Which completely wrecked my mind for a solid year.) I've been lucky enough to get him aboard on this project to develop the soundtrack; you know he'll deliver something special.

Will Wiesenfeld (Baths)- bathsmusic.com, @BATHSmusic

Contributor + Super Fantastic Beat-dropper

A supreme talent and fine craftsman of music and smiles, also known as the one-man pound-storm of deep beats and carnal wailing that is Baths, has produced the trailer track. Is producing another track for the game during production.

Teddy Diefenbach (TeddyDief) -teddydiefenbach.com, @TeddyDief

A thoughtful soul who created The Moonlighters and Shove Pro, co-founded Rad Dragon, is a programmer and game designer extraordinaire. Dives deep into things such as systems design, narrative design and his ultimate mission of recreating the golden age of late 90s Squaresoft.

The Game

All copies will be sent out upon release 2014. Planned platforms are Windows, Linux and Mac OSX and now PS4, Vita, Wii U, and OUYA. PC copies can be DRM-free or Steam keys (thanks to our backers pushing us through Greenlight!). Everyone in the $10 tier will get the PC/Mac/Linux game on release, $15 and above will net you an option for PS4, Vita, Wii U, or OUYA, and the $25 tier receives a Kickstarter exclusive version of the game with bonus side quest.

Instruction Booklet

A nifty little booklet to bring you back to the days when manuals meant something; revealing a little known move, a secret passage, or simply bolstering the story and context of the world outside of the game. This particular Instruction Book will include all of those items and more, with illustrations to accompany important sections.

Companion Book (Art and Stories)

This beauty will contain tons of concept illustrations, sprites, sketches, notes on characters and the world, plus revealing knowledge of the finer details of this realm. This process has already generated a lot of assets that won't be used in game, so I'd like to provide a look behind-the-scenes of a project like this. Plus silly drawings of cat creatures and Pork-Peoples will be stuffed into the pages for pure entertainment purposes. Much mocking of lowly creatures shall be had!

Original Soundtrack

The master Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) will be composing the eerie OST for this game! I'm jazz-handin' all around this room with excitement at this very moment, nearly unable to continue typing! The full OST will be included in digital form at the $40 Tier with bonus tracks. Boom!

Alternate Drifter

Receive a Kickstarter-only alternative main playable character to destroy and explore with. He might have a variant weapon, glowing eyes, and sinister intentions.

Resplendent Print

A 18x24 archival quality print of the main character posing in a fantastic manner (probably with creature parts flying about) will be yours to man-handle or gently place in a frame. Hand signed and numbered, with a lovely thank you note on the rear to haunt you in your sleep.

Immortal sprite

Your name will be translated to the in-game rune system, thus immortalizing your very being into this world beyond. These symbols will be used in special locations. Real names only, please. (No, Crack McButtson is not a real name.)

Design a dastardly enemy

Put your skills to use and help design the look, behavior, name and location a new enemy will appear. This is no fools errand; you'll be creating (digital) life itself, and thus comes the responsibility to nurture the sad heap until it's of age to brutalize Drifters every moment it can.

Design a mid-boss creature

Have you always wanted an angry spider to lob shells at you? Well we can help bring your vision to life! Together we will build an entire mid-boss encounter, with behavior patterns, chamber layout, the look of the creature and it's rewards. As above, choose attributes wisely.

T-Shirt Special

The $60 tier will net you a snazzy design from Casey Hunt in small, medium, large or XL. This will be available to purchase sometime after the Kickstarter as well, so those who have already donated won't be left without something to wear.

Party in the city

You'll join us (a bunch of goofy independent developers) for a wrap party evening of hangabouts, Smash Brothers (plus other multi-player games) and general raging at Glitch City, the Culver City Indie game space. You'll also receive a hand-signed print, a few high fives, and some great big smiles. Your name will be listed in the credits under the Major Thank-You section. 

Reference Sheet

 

Add-Ons

You can add extra rewards to your current tier if you so desire (remember, no need to change your tier, just add the amount and we'll see the amount and a note from you during the survey):

  • Add $5 - Digital OST for the game
  • Add $10 - Unlock the Alternate playable Drifter
  • Add $15 - Additional Copy of the Game for any platform
  • Add $30 - Limited run t-shirt (no international yet)
  • Add $35 - SNES style physical box and manual (no international yet)
  • Add $42 - Limited Compact Print (11x14) (no international yet)
  • Add $60 - Printed Softcover Companion Art Book (no international yet)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

After months of planning and writing and drawing and programming the vision for the project became vivid and succinct. That was the biggest hurdle to overcome. The second was exposing this to the public eye, as that can be a terrifying prospect; and here it is.

Creative endeavors like this are difficult and often unwieldy beasts with many mouths to feed and razor-tipped claws to bind. I've written and planned as much as I possibly could up to this point, and with the framework in place I have the bulk of the more difficult obstacles conquered. Issues will come, as they always do in any long-term project, but I feel thoroughly prepared; I have the proper tools and skills and a large support network through our shared community space Glitch City which is bursting at the seams with excellent developers with vast wells of knowledge and years of experience prototyping, building, and releasing games. I feel incredibly lucky to be tapped into this community and to have such reliable friends willing to lend a hand with resources I may need in the future to complete this game.

I've done what I can to get this far through some rather extreme health struggles, and I don't plan to stop. Heart and soul have been etched into this project and I hope it shines through. Stay with me, all will be well in the end.

FAQ

24,150
Backers
$645,158
pledged of $27,000 goal
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    8431 backers

    EARLY BACKER COPY - - - A DRM-free digital copy of Hyper Light Drifter is yours to play (or make distressing faces at).

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    5643 backers

    FULL PACKAGE COPY - - - DRM-free copy of the game plus a PDF instruction booklet (crafted from endlessly refracted light) and a set of hi-res Backer-only wallpapers to stare at in a dreamy fashion.

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    1708 backers

    FULL PACKAGE + BONUS ---Receive all items from the previous tier, plus an alternate Golden Companion Sprite and a flashy Golden secondary weapon. These will be included in all tiers above as well.

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    2596 backers

    EARLY BETA ACCESS - - - Help improve the game by breaking it, thus making it stronger and rich with scars. You'll also be thanked by name in the credits. All previous rewards included.

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    3301 backers

    DIGITAL COMPANION ART BOOK + OST - - - Receive a glimmering digital copy of the soundtrack composed by Disasterpeace, and a book that includes concept art, game assets, story revelations, behind the scenes notes and silly drawings chiseled into PDF format and sent your way, plus another copy (key or download) of the game. All previous rewards included.

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    200 backers All gone!

    SPECIAL T-SHIRT + GAME --- This tier ONLY! Receive a T-Shirt with design by Casey Hunt (see Update #9) plus a copy of the game! All previous rewards included. All awards above this price do not auto-receive T-shirt; it will be available as a stand-alone purchase after the Kickstarter.

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    184 backers Limited (116 left of 300)

    SPECIAL T-SHIRT + GAME #2 --- This tier ONLY! Receive a T-Shirt with design by Casey Hunt (see Update #9) plus a copy of the game! All previous rewards included. All awards above this price do not auto-receive T-shirt; it will be available as a stand-alone purchase after the Kickstarter.

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  • Pledge $64 or more
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    418 backers

    PHYSICAL BOX AND MANUAL --- This includes the physical box for the game, physical manual, a digital copy of the game (platform of your choice, bonus content included), digital download of the OST (on release), digital copy of the Companion Art Book, and Hi Res Wallpapers. A tier packed heart and soul.

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    700 backers

    ALTERNATE DRIFTER + EXTRA KEYS- - - Receive a specialized alternate character sprite to play in-game, plus an extra key for a friend (3 keys in total), and a second set of wallpapers. All previous rewards included.

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    100 backers All gone!

    RESPLENDANT PRINT - - - A hand signed limited edition archival poster shipped directly to your location with a crudely fashioned thank you note on back. All previous rewards included.

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  • Pledge $109 or more
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    245 backers

    PRINTED COMPANION ART BOOK ============================== A softcover, full-color printed version of the book, which contains all production art work, unseen concepts and unused pixel work, back story, characters and lore not explored in-game, artist commissioned side stories and character pinups as well as a collection of fan art. Includes all previous digital rewards. (Check the rewards section and reference sheet for details.) PRINTED book NOT included automatically in higher tiers.

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    99 backers Limited (1 left of 100)

    RESPLENDANT PRINT PART 2 --- The same as the print reward before, but open for international shipping and additional cost for labor intensive shipping and packing.

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    50 backers All gone!

    RESPLENDENT PRINT PART 3 --- One more chance to grab a print. All previous rewards included.

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    136 backers Limited (64 left of 200)

    LUXURIANT PRINT --- LAST chance for a print. An ALTERNATE hand signed limited edition archival poster shipped directly to your location with a crudely fashioned thank you note on back. All previous rewards included.

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    59 backers Limited (41 left of 100)

    THANK-YOU SCROLL --- Your name will be scrawled in neon upon a massive tablet of pixel stone, set in a special area of the game. All rewards - excluding the t-shirt, print, immortal sprite and enemy design - included.

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    1 backer All gone!

    UNIQUE COMPANION SPRITE --- Receive an alternate Sprite Companion, functionally the same, but with a trim new format and color scheme. All previous rewards - excluding the print - included.

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    50 backers All gone!

    LIMITED PRINTED PACKAGE --- This is a special one-of-a-kind tier; you receive a special limited edition printed copy of the book, the physical box + manual, and 3 keys for the game.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    5 backers Limited (20 left of 25)

    CREATE A CHALLENGE --- Help us develop a unique Challenge Quest for the upcoming Challenge Mode. You'll work with us on a custom Quest that all players will have access to. All previous rewards - excluding the t-shirt, Thank-You Scroll and resplendent print - included.

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  • Pledge $350 or more
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    11 backers Limited (9 left of 20)

    IMMORTAL SPRITE - - - Submit your name to be transformed into a custom rune to appear in-game. Also receive a drawing upon note paper, adorned with neon colors and a sweet whispered message, much akin to the ones you cherished in Junior High. (Oh the tragic memories!) All previous rewards - excluding the print - included.

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    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    DESIGN A DASTARDLY ENEMY - - - Work with us to create a custom enemy: influence the look, behavior and place of origin. All rewards, excluding the print and immortal sprite, included.

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    8 backers Limited (4 left of 12)

    CUSTOM WORK --- You'll receive a one-of-a-kind hand drawn piece on archival paper featuring the main character, crafted ever so gently by Heart Machine, plus 6 keys for the game, the physical box and manual, all wallpapers, the Companion Art Book, and a digital copy of the OST.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    7 backers All gone!

    DESIGN A BOSS + BEHIND THE SCENES - - Help create the look, behavior, location and backstory of a mid-boss creature! Participate in a design meeting where your feedback will influence a level, receive 10 copies of the game (in key or download form). All rewards - excluding the print, immortal sprite and prior enemy design - included.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    MASSIVE PHYSICAL LUST + MEETUP --- A heavy package: printed Companion Art Book, first-run poster Print, T-Shirt, printed box and manual, all signed by the entire team. Digital rewards as well: a copy of the game for the platform of your choice, bonus Gold Sprite and Weapon, Beta access, Alternate Drifter, digital copy of the original soundtrack. LASTLY you're invited to join us for the wrap party at the studio on the 12th. (Travel and lodging not included.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)