It’s been over a year since Tom Happ’s metroidvania Axiom Verge released on PS4, but it finally lands on the Playstation Vita tomorrow, April 19th (and 20th for EU). If you haven’t yet picked it up (seriously, shame on you) there’s a 10% launch week discount over on PSN, but if you already own the PS4 version, you’ll be happy to know that it’s cross-buy on PS Vita.
So what took so long? Over at the official Playstation Blog, Tom Happ explains:
I’d like to give a little bit of context on what took so long. When I started development of Axiom Verge, I was using a development framework called XNA. Support for XNA was abandoned, so the community created an open source version of XNA called MonoGame. Sony told me they were working to get MonoGame supported on both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. I knew that Axiom Verge would be great on a handheld, so I jumped at the opportunity.
Tom Spilman from Sickhead Games was in charge of the porting process. Porting an engine to a new platform is an incredibly complicated task, yet he was able to pull it off easily for PlayStation 4. After the PlayStation 4 version was done, however, porting it to Vita turned out to be a lot more challenging. Optimizing an engine is slow and painstaking work. As the months ticked by, Tom was feeling a great deal of pressure to get MonoGame working.
It’s easy for us, the consumers, to sit back and ask “why did it take a year to port over a game that looks like it belongs on the SNES?”, but the truth is that most of us aren’t game developers. We don’t know the intricacies, the pitfalls, or the real-life goings on behind the scenes.
Axiom Verge made it to #2 in my Top 10 Games of 2015 post, and I stand by that decision today. It’s one of the single greatest gaming experiences of my life, and was only narrowly edged out by the fabulous Undertale. But I’ve always felt it belonged on the Vita.
Although I’ve finished the game already, you can bet that I’ll be downloading it to my handheld the moment it goes live. Maybe now’s the time to aim for the platinum?