Citing development woes, 'Hyper Light Drifter' on Wii U and Vita cancelled

Sad news PlayStation Vita and Wii U fans, as indie darling Hyper Light Drifter has now been cancelled on those platforms.

In a Kickstarter update video uploaded to YouTube, Alex Preston from studio Heart Machine announced the cancellations of the Wii U and Vita versions in a sobering reveal.

Speaking with a mix of exhaustion and frayed nerves, Preston went into detail as to why both of these versions were canceled. Preston said that he personally had been working almost non-stop since the latter part of 2015. After the release of the PC version back in March, his team went straight to work on the console and Vita versions.

Preston revealed that health concerns and exhaustion were the main reasons for ending development on the Wii U and Vita version.

Heart Machine tried to get the Vita version up, but because it pushed the Game Maker: Studio engine so far, it was hard getting the game running on the handheld at an acceptable level. Even with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, its more PC-like architecture created a further challenge.

Digital Trends reached out to Preston from Heart Machine to get a better understanding of difficulties faced during development.

“We had an initial proof of concept Vita version working way back in 2014/2015 of development for E3,” said Preston. “That was right before we added a fair amount of new lighting, large textures, complex audio systems, and other very CPU/memory intensive features.” Considering the PS Vita’s limited 512MBs of RAM, the system would overload quickly. “We had been working on the Vita version with the help of an external developer for several months, struggling with it, going back and forth and ripping the game down to just the essentials to get it functioning well enough on the platform,” said Preston.

“We realized at a certain point in the summer that the native port option just wouldn’t work without big changes to our game”

Interestingly, for the Wii U version, the team was shown a native port option by YoYo Games, the developer behind Game Maker: Studio, back in 2013. Heart Machine had every intention of making a Wii U version happen, especially with such a powerful tool. But because Nintendo and YoYo Games couldn’t reach an agreement, it never came to fruition.

To get the games running, Heart Machine would have to recreate each game for each platform. This would require months of work, and may not be worth the added stress. “Even with the help of an external port house, would require a significant amount of time and effort to manage, push through on each platform and provide support for after release,” said Preston. “After much internal conversation, I made the cancellation decision for both platforms a few days before posting the video on the seventh.”

For fans of the game, its “mostly there is a mix of support and disappointment,” said Preston. “There are angry folks as well. It’s to be expected that a cancellation on a platform that people love will lead to some disappointment, regardless of the reasons why.”

In an appeal to those who backed the Wii U and Vita versions on Kickstarter, codes can be distributed for PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions instead. The team is also willing to provide refunds to those backers if asked.

Updated on 09-08-2016 by Imad Khan: Added quotes from developers about the cancellation.

Article originally published on 09-08-2016.


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