Hi. My name is Tom Happ, and I made a game called Axiom Verge.
It all started about seven years ago as a hobby. I would get home from work (where I was a programmer at Petroglyph on an RTS game) and there was nothing on TV I was interested in watching. Actually, not so much as that there was nothing on TV; I didn’t have cable. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to recreate the best parts of my favorite games from my childhood and see if I could combine them into the ultimate game.
Could the grapple hook from Bionic Commando work in a Blaster Master environment? How about the Yo-Yo from Rygar in a Shatterhand world? All with the exploration of Metroid? And, oh yeah, I used to love glitching my way through games by swapping cartridges, or by playing around with my Game Genie. Could that be part of the game as well?
It all grew from there. Since I was trained both as an artist and a programmer, I decided to start with the art. I sketched out levels, made tons of pixel art, designed enemies and bosses — all during evenings and weekends. Eventually the art and animation came together and then I got to coding. Then sound effects, music, and polish, polish, and more polish.
People often ask why I insisted on doing everything on my own instead of hiring someone. I suppose I’m just one of those rare breeds who loves every aspect of game development. Making Axiom Verge has been one of the true joys of my life.
Over the course of the five years Axiom Verge was in development, it has grown in many ways I never expected. The scope ballooned as I came to realize all of the themes I wanted to explore in this universe. And even though I really only ever expected to share the game with some friends and family, as more people found out about it, I’ve been humbled that it turned into a bit of a critical success.
It was nominated for (and won!) several Game of the Year awards when it first launched last year and received many review scores of 9/10 or higher. Jeremy Parish, whose site I’ve read since 1999, from US Gamer even called it the best game he’d played in years. I’m grateful for all of the praise the game has received over the years and how it has enabled me to support my family.
It’s been a long time in coming, but Axiom Verge is finally available for Xbox One starting today! I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of it.