Back in 2010, Beat Hazard riffed on the ‘feed the game music to become levels to play through’ Audiosurf idea to turn MP3s into twin-stick shooter arena battles. The flow of battle would follow the flow of music, all resulting in a lot of colours and explosions – vital for any shmup. I blasted through a few albums back in the day myself, enjoying the colours and, y’know, the explosions. Creator Steve Hunt has been working on a sequel for a while, and is now starting to talk more about Beat Hazard 2 as he aims to release a beta version this summer.As before, Beat Hazard 2 will build single-screen shmup battles out of music you feed it, with waves generated based on how a song goes. Listen to music, shoot baddies, get powerups, get points, shoot more, colours, explosions – you get it. This time, boss ships will be procedurally-generated based on the music too.
Eight years after the first game, the way people listen to music has changed too, with songs across all sorts of formats and streaming services (I’ve even heard of young people listening to music primarily on YouTube?). Beat Hazard 2 will reflect this change with an ‘Open Mic’ mode that will use any music currently playing on your PC, letting music come from anywhere and everywhere. That mode might not work quite the same because it won’t inherently know when a song begins and ends so it (probably) can’t tailor flow, but Hunt suggests it might work for a survival or boss rush mode. The game’s still early in development so not everything is settled yet.
Hunt hopes to get a playable beta build to people who pre-order some time this summer. See Beat Hazard 2’s site for more on everything. For now, here’s a look at some colourful musical visualisations in this first video dev blog: