Rogue-likes are all the craze at the moment. With both Hades and Boyrfriend Dungeon releasing on Xbox Game Pass just days apart to great success, I think it’s safe to say that the genre is really starting to pick up speed again with mainstream audiences.
Hell Punk Awakening, developed by Philip Hesselbäck of Philisophic Games is an indie roguevania-style hack and slash FPS title set to release on Steam later this year. Philip, who is most known for his work on titles such as the Twin Peaks inspired itch.io horror game Wake Up and the first-person-camera-shooter Axis Mundi featured in Dread X Collection: The Hunt initially began working on the preliminary version of Hell Punk Awakening known as Hell Punk Horror back in late 2018. For those wondering if Hell Punk Awakening is a complete rebrand of Hell Punk Horror, Philip noted that the reason for the name difference was due to the fact that varying mechanics and other gameplay focuses had changed since he released the demo for Hell Punk Horror. With that in mind, he explained that Hell Punk Awakening is intended to act as a prologue to Hell Punk Horror.
Since releasing the demo for Hell Punk Horror, the game has underwent a lot of changes to optimize and adapt it according to how the demo was received…. Initially it was only supposed to be a simple wave-based survival mode, but as planning went on I decided to make it more of a fully fledged separate game with its own story, largely because the structure of Hell Punk Awakening isn’t really something that could be explored in the main game. So, in the end Awakening is a separate new entry that acts as a prologue both story-wise and mechanically to Hell Punk Horror.
Since beginning work on the title back in 2018, Hesselbäck has been hard at work improving the already extremely solid and fluid movement and gameplay of the original Hell Punk Horror demo. He noted that back “in late 2018 [he] was a lesser game developer and didn’t really know what [he] wanted to do with the game” but over time began to appreciate that the game could be vastly improved with “more advanced tech like realistic animations” and “a more well-defined art style.”
After working on it these past few years I’ve come to realize that the feel and presentation could largely be improved by using a more well-defined art style and introducing more advanced tech like realistic animations, a new gameplay arc and a full body for the main character. These features were added to make the game feel more polished, professional and approachable.
After working on Wake Up and Axis Mundi, Philip mentioned that he quickly realised that story presentation was one of his favourite parts of game development, something that he hadn’t focused on in any large amount when designing Hell Punk Horror.
The abstract and indirect storytelling of Wake Up, and the lore-based worldbuilding of Axis Mundi have been some of my favourite parts of those games, and I’m trying to incorporate similar elements in Hell Punk Awakening while telling a completely different story.
Along with changes in story presentation Hesselbäck has also been working on creating a “good balance between intense action and more relaxed exploration” and it’s something he says he’s always “considering when designing the game.”
With the game already looking like something special Philip was initially planning to release that title in September but due to a number of reasons is hoping to have it complete by the end of the year but has noted that he won’t set a fixed release date until the game is closer to completion. In the meantime, you can check out Philip‘s previous titles over on his itch.io page and you can also play Axis Mundi as part of Dread X Collection: The Hunt over on Steam. You can also wishlist Hell Punk Awakening over on Steam right now!
If you’d like to check out an interview we did with Philip back in May of this year for Indie Insight you can do so by clicking the video below or heading over to our podcast page on Spotify or Anchor!
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