Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

Axiom Verge: A Labor of Love in the Indie Game World

Axiom Verge

Many artists find solace in collaboration, leveraging each other’s strengths to create incredible works. However, there are a few designers who possess the audacity to embark on a solo journey to create a complete game from scratch. Tom Happ is one such designer, who, fueled by his love for 8- and 16-bit games from his childhood, dedicated himself to the creation of Axiom Verge for nearly five years. This article delves into the story behind Axiom Verge, shedding light on Happ’s creative process and the unique elements that make the game stand out.

The Accidental Designer

Happ’s path to game development was unconventional. Originally pursuing a major in physics, a fortuitous enrollment in a computer science course led him to discover his passion for game design. Despite struggling to find a game programming position after graduation, Happ’s perseverance led him to a graduate program for computer animation. This diverse background equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the game development process, making him well-prepared to embark on his solo venture.

Crafting a Vision

In 2010, Happ began translating his vision for Axiom Verge onto paper, primarily through visual art. His aim was to create a game that paid homage to his beloved classics from the 8- and 16-bit era, envisioning a seamless blend of combat, grappling mechanics, vehicle sequences, and unique weaponry. As development progressed, the game naturally evolved, taking inspiration from the metroidvania genre and incorporating tiled environments reminiscent of the original Metroid. Happ also integrated a fascinating glitching mechanic, allowing players to intentionally manipulate and distort the game world.

Embracing the Glitch

Happ’s fascination with glitches became a central theme in Axiom Verge. The game intentionally features areas that appear visually distorted or corrupted, inviting players to explore a secret world within the game’s code. With the Address Disruptor tool, players can manipulate these glitched areas, either restoring order or exacerbating the chaos. Glitches can also impact enemies and the game environment itself, opening up new pathways and opportunities for the player to navigate the game’s intricately designed world.

Unveiling the Mystery

The opening moments of Axiom Verge introduce players to Trace, a scientist who finds himself in a surreal otherworld after a building collapse. The game’s environment exudes a futuristic yet ancient feel, with remnants of a lost civilization and mutated creatures lurking at every turn. As Trace explores this enigmatic landscape, he uncovers powerful weapons and an array of items and power-ups. With over 20 weapons and 60 other collectibles, players can customize their playstyle and adapt to the challenges they encounter.

A Journey of Passion

Axiom Verge has been Tom Happ’s labor of love for over four years. Initially a side project, the game eventually caught the attention of major publishers like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Happ secured an indie pub fund scholarship from Sony, providing marketing support and financial assistance for the game’s development. However, the road to completion has not been easy, with Happ juggling his former job and working on Axiom Verge for five days a week without rest. Despite the challenges, Happ’s dedication saw the game make significant progress in the span of eight months, further solidifying its place as one of the most highly anticipated indie titles on the horizon.


Q: When is the release date for Axiom Verge?
A: Axiom Verge is scheduled for release in 2015 for PS4, Vita, and PC.

Q: How many weapons and collectibles are available in the game?
A: Players can collect over 20 weapons and 60 other items and power-ups, allowing for diverse gameplay experiences.

Q: What inspired Tom Happ to create Axiom Verge?
A: Happ drew inspiration from his favorite games of the 8- and 16-bit era, aiming to create a game that combined elements from classics like Contra, Bionic Commando, Blaster Master, and Rygar.


Axiom Verge stands as a testament to the passion and dedication of a lone designer. Tom Happ’s unwavering commitment to his vision has resulted in a game that pays homage to gaming classics while introducing fresh mechanics and an intriguing glitching system. As players prepare to embark on this immersive journey, they can anticipate a captivating experience that seamlessly blends nostalgia with innovation.

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