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Hyper Light Breaker shifts to a procedural, open-world roguelike

Breaking the mould

Last year, developer Heart Machine announced Hyper Light Breaker as a follow-up to their pixelated breakout Hyper Light Drifter, utilising some of the 3D tech found in their sophomore platformer, Solar Ash. The team described Hyper Light Breaker as a co-op roguelike, but the game has now switched to an ambitious, procedurally generated open-world.

Watch on YouTube

In an effort to be more transparent with the community, the team have been releasing a series of blog posts, live streams, and Noclip documentaries, inviting us into their dev processes. The most recent blog and short documentary give us insight into the “Pangea Shift”, and how Breaker is structured differently from other roguelikes.

Early in development, Breaker was being developed as a stage-by-stage roguelike with procedural generation, so, each biome you visited would somewhat change every time you died. Due to Breaker’s arsenal of traversal options (hoverboards, gliders, wall-running), each biome was pretty large, creating problems for the tech team who struggled to make each random biome interesting every time it reset.

The solution was to stitch each biome (or island) together, Pangea-style, creating an “open world you’ll only see once.” Heart Machine’s dev blog lays out the benefits of this shift like the reduced workload for procedural generation, and more varied points of interest that connect the world. The Noclip doc is also a worthwhile watch as it delves into the minutiae of making such a change.

Roguelikes have always hooked me with their random combat changes, affecting my entire play style in each run. I’d be interested to see how changing an entire open world affects things, too. Will I still want to explore every nook and cranny, if it’s all gonna change when I die? With a hoverbike, the answer will probably be "yes".

We won’t need to wait too long to find out how a procedural open-world works in-game since Hyper Light Breaker is releasing into early access on Steam later this year.

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Kaan Serin

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Kaan Serin has been floating around as a games media freelancer ever since graduating with an English/Film degree. He now spends his free time campaigning for Banjo-Kazooie’s return
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