With the average age of the Australian gamer now well into their 30's, and with a vast majority of people now playing games - be they hardcore or casual - there is certainly a market for retro gaming and this has been demonstrated with the popularity of HD ports and remakes of classic titles. 17-Bit studios are a company formed in 2009 by ex-Sega Japan developer Jake Kazdal, and which is now made up of 8 staff, and who want to bring back the magic of the 16-bit era, albeit with a new lick of paint for modern hardware.
17-Bit's first game was the well received turned based strategy game Skulls of the Shogun which was initially released on XBox 360 and Windows devices before being ported to PS4 only a few weeks ago now. For 17-Bit's second game they are returning to the PS4 with Galak-Z: The Dimensional (pronouced Galax-zee, as in galaxy, not Galax-zed), a top-down shooter that looks quite impressive.
Lighting in the shooter is impressive.
So this is a top-down shooter, which uses the Astroids styled controls rather then twin-sticks, but what you can't see from the surrounding screenshots (but which is evident in the video below) is that there is a lot of physics behind this game. When you move your ship it has, and maintains momentum - not dissimlar to the classic Asteroids. When you shoot something it breaks apart and interacts with other objects in the environment. As one would expect from a shooter too while you start the game with pretty weak weapons and shields these can be upgraded as you progress and advance through the title.
Galak-Z is procedurally generated.
In recent months the developers confirmed that the game has moved to a procedurally generated world - that being one that changes every time you play it, however by doing this months of work had to be scrapped and the developers are now under some pressure to get the game released as time and cash runs short. Indeed, this is probably the reason why 17-Bit have confirmed a PC release will now follow the PS4, with the originally planned PSVita version now canned.
In an interview with Gamasutra (available here) the developers have confirmed the game will not ship with any multiplayer modes, however they are keen to see one implemented and will investigate possibilities for DLC, possibly free, after launch.
Galak-Z has been dated for August 2015.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots, and moreso from the video below Galak-Z is a pretty nice looking game with a mixture of 2D and 3D visuals, but where the lighting reacts with everything on the screen and there are many particles from debris and objects within the levels. Also deserving mention is the gorgeous artwork from the 2D painted backgrounds to the models of the objects such as your, and enemy, ships. Running on the Unity Engine the game will hopefully run at 1080p and a brisk frame rate, but that's still to be confirmed.
For Sony to get Galak-Z: The Dimensional on the PS4 is a big deal, although it will only be a timed exclusive with the game also set to release on PC at a later date. After the game originally targeted a Q'3 2014 release the game went AWOL for a while but has resurfaced for release on August 8, 2015 at a time when decent console games are thin on the ground. This looks like one to keep an eye out for in a few weeks.
Released at E3 2015 is the latest trailer for Galak-Z which is pretty slick.
Released in mid-2014 is this trailer titled "Every Action Counts" which details some of the procedural generation.
This is the original E3 2013 Announcement Trailer for Galak-Z: The Dimensional which gave a great look at what to expect going back two years now.