As if Axiom Verge weren't already glitchy enough, with the vibe that you might be dying inside a computer, soon items won't be where you expect to find them. Creator Tom Happ is officially adding a randomiser mode, which will shuffle the placement of orders to spice up repeat runs. Randomisers have been popular in recent years through mods for everything from Dark Souls to old Zeldas, and modders made one for Axiom Verge too. Now it's becoming official, and you can try the beta now.
Axiom Verge's randomiser mode will shuffle where items are found in each run of the metroidvania, which can add variety, challenge, and surprise. Such modes recapture some of the fun of playing for the first time by encouraging us to explore everything, and add drama to return visits. You might blaze through and be blessed with powerful gear early, or struggle to get by. But you won't get actually stuck.
Happ explains in yesterday's announcement that the randomiser is clever enough to ensure you will receive gear you need to pass certain barriers and obstacles (in that classic metroidvania way of gear-gating progression). The solution just won't necessarily be found in the same place, or even in the same item. Some functions can be served by several items, after all.
The randomiser mode started as an Axiom Verge mod made by a number of people, who Happ says "have since worked with me to incorporate it into the game as an official mode of the game". He adds, "They spent years working on this and refused any compensation I offered. It was a labor of love, and I'm hugely grateful to all of them."
The randomiser also has advanced modes for savvy players who know how to exploit their way through parts of the game, and will take those into account. Happ also says they're "looking at" including support for Crowd Control, the Twitch extension which can let viewers alter games by giving or taking items and screwing with the rules too.
The randomiser beta is available now in the Steam and Epic versions of Axiom Verge. See the blog post for details on how to opt in on each.
Happ notes that if people really dig the randomiser, they will "be sure to do something similar for Axiom Verge 2—and not take 6 years to do it!" Sadly for us, the sequel has so far only been announced for Nintendo Switch.