Hyper Light Breaker trailer shows off first gameplay in 'infinite open worlds'

Wood monster man and company crest pink hill under teal sky in hyper light breaker
(Image credit: Heart Machine)

Developer Heart Machine has unveiled its first official gameplay trailer for Hyper Light Breaker, a follow-up to 2016's beloved indie Zelda-like Hyper Light Drifter. While Breaker is a huge gameplay departure for the series, its distinctive soundscapes and visual identity seem very much intact.

Hyper Light Breaker presents a roguelite, distant prequel to the original game, with the titular Breakers exploring "infinite open worlds" that combine bespoke design and procedural generation. Breaker seems to be leaning into new RPG elements, with multiple classes on display like a fast-attacking swordsman in the vein of the first game's protagonist doing battle alongside what appears to be a burly engineer or gunsmith, as well as a more slight, thiefy character armed with Wolverine claws.

It's hard to get a sense for Breaker's combat without feeling it in the hand, but the soulslike, dash-and-bash rhythm looks like a faithful translation of the original game into 3D. I'm most intrigued by the direction Heart Machine has taken with its environments and worldbuilding though.

The trailer shows off neon pink beaches and sandstone ruins cut with surprisingly vibrant cyberpunk cities and desolate arctic bases. Hyper Light Drifter felt like a world on its way out, but this one seems full of life. A recent NoClip documentary drilled down on Heart Machine's designs for "infinite open worlds," with failed runs leading you to wake up in an entirely new generated map. That promise of procedural generation is often made but rarely fulfilled, but what's on display here is incredibly enticing.

In a lot of ways Breaker reminds me of Risk of Rain 2, a fellow 3D, roguelike follow-up to a well-liked 2D indie, but the team at Heart Machine also has their work cut out shifting genres in addition to rendering and perspective. I'll be eager to see how it all comes together when Hyper Light Breaker enters early access this fall, and you can currently wishlist the game on Steam.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.