Hijacking Hijinks: Heat Signature

Judging by the new trailer for Heat Signature, two things are essential in a Tom Francis game – manipulation of interconnected systems and comical physics. Gunpoint’s infiltration often involved tapping into electrical systems and adopting a smart tactical overview, but usually ended with trouser-propulsion and instinctive defenestration. Heat Signature’s procedural spaceships provide similarly fertile ground for both forward planning and farce. The video shows two missions in full but really comes into its own when Tom decides to hijack a ship for no good reason, plotting a route to the cockpit and isolating the crew by sealing doors. Once he has the helm, explosions occur.

As Tom says at the beginning of the video, space is looking far more seductive than it was last time we checked in with the game. The new art is the work of John Roberts, who was also behind the graphics in Gunpoint.

There are many things to admire in this video. The sight of crew members sliding across rooms after being struck by a wrench will stay with me for a long time and the drifting, blood-hose that the player becomes when lobbed out of an airlock is a thing of slapstick joy. Despite the vague intimations of a Hotline Miami-esque massacre when the guards rush toward the player’s position, the tone is always silly rather than sinister, and Tom’s commentary reflects that. It’s lovely to hear a designer chuckling while exploring their own game and Heat Signature looks like it will offer improvised comedy comparable to Space Station 13. Faster and tighter, but seemingly drawn from similar thought processes – what happens when a chain reaction of potentially disastrous events unfold. In space.

You can sign up for testing right now, should you wish to create your own space catastrophe.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    No, no, no. You get missions from emission nebula.

  2. Drayk says:

    Looking forward to this game ! A unique game with both the amazing momentum of Hotline Miami and the freedom of Gunpoint ! I’ve seen the first prototypes but it’s looking great with the new graphics

  3. JiminyJickers says:

    This is looking better and better. Will definitely be giving this a try once it comes out.

  4. Ross Angus says:

    Love Tom’s videos. Not quite as hypnotising as those of Limit Theory, but always full of fun and insight.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It helps immensely that he’s always having so much fun with them.

      …I wonder what happens if you shoot the green mission cube with a missile.

  5. Kaeoschassis says:

    I cannot properly articulate how happy it makes me to hear a developer get so excited just playing around in their own test build. Love Gunpoint to pieces, love space to pieces. Love blowing spaceships to pieces – to pieces. Very much looking forward to this.

  6. vahnn says:

    This game is looking better and better.

    Dreaming of a Multiplayer mode in which one team has a massive mothership to defend while one (or more) teams try to invade and destroy/capture/bug/kill everyone, or perhaps a particular target within the ship. There could be a short period before the assault formally begins during which attackers can scavenge for weapons or a better ship while the defenders can prepare defenses/post guards within the ship and allocate a limited number of external defenses.

    I haven’t thought about much (basically as I typed it), but I think this game has a lot of potential for fun things to do on the multiplayer front. Aside from just coop and free-for-all sandbox stuff.

  7. Urthman says:

    I hope he doesn’t “fix” the wrench smacking, which looks about as entertaining as Gunpoint’s gratuitous punching.

    • Nogo says:

      A rather endearing tweet from him: “To clarify, when I called the wrench physics in the new trailer ‘questionable’, I only meant the direction. The force will remain ridiculous”

  8. derbefrier says:

    Looking great. I like this guy’s style

  9. Stellar Duck says:

    What the hell?

    This is a very different looking game compared to when it was announced. I like it!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Interest levels going up

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Are you both new to how game development works? Sincere question, not mockery. Even if it hadn’t been obvious that Heatsig was using placeholder art before – and I did think it was pretty obvious, considering Tom Francis’ previous game was utterly beautiful – he explicitly stated that it was placeholder art all over the place.
        I for one never had any doubt that it was going to look gorgeous.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Mostly its just a result from having seen a screenshot when it was amnounced and then forgetting about the game again save for when he mentions it on C&C.

  10. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    I was trying to fix something in my registry the other day and was pleased to note I have a ‘Tom Francis’ folder under HKEY_CURRENT_USER/SOFTWARE/

  11. Graedient says:

    Gunpoint was one of only two games I actually bothered my arse finishing last year, so although I won’t be signing up to the test I’ll be looking forward to playing the full release.

  12. Charles de Goal says:

    I liked gunpoint, but its huge weakness was the lack of a difficulty curve : all levels were approximately equally difficult or easy, and there was no progression in the amount of skills and tactics mastered by the player. I hope that game will be better in that regard.