Here I was, taking this little note about Hyper Light Drifter's [official site] latest trailer off the RPS' organisatron, thinking it'd be another relatively innocuous video showing off the gorgeous pixel art or the fluid combat and then the release date. There was no way I could want it more than I already did, right?
But this last trailer took me by surprise and stopped me in my tracks: it's quieter than usual, and the dramatic piano music frames all the footage very differently. Hyper Light Drifter had beauty, style, action, atmosphere. Now it also has pathos. But I'm not going to cry. Not here, in front of everyone. Maybe past the break. Oh, it's coming out on March 31st.
I feel kind of stupid for crying at a game trailer. I have no idea why I feel so invested in this, although the music certainly helps. Maybe it's also because I just re-read Nathan Grayson's piece about Alex Preston, founder of Heart Machine and main creative mind behind Hyper Light Drifter, and his struggle with heart disease.
But I'm happy the game has shown this other side of itself, this new mood. Everyone always talked about the visuals and gameplay, and perhaps it's normal, they're easier to show off in promotional material, but a game like this would feel hollow to me, if it was just rooms of enemies without much of a narrative.
If you haven't been following or need a refresher, Hyper Light Drifter is a hack-and-slash predicated on quick and fluid movement, where the joy is to elegantly dash and dodge and chain your actions together in one swift motion, dancing with your enemies and never being hit. You can read Graham's in-depth hands-on with a 2014 demo here.
The game should be released on PC, Mac and Linux on March 31st, but the devs are having some last-minute issues with the Linux build, which may mean a slight delay for that one, if they can't fix it in time. Heart Machine are also urging backers to complete the BackerKit survey if they haven't done so already.