Side-scrolling shoot ’em up Xenoraid revealed for PS4, PS Vita

10tons puts a fresh twist on a classic formula

Hello everyone! I’m excited to be back on PlayStation Blog to announce Xenoraid, a vertically-scrolling shoot’ em up with a unique feel, driven by a great combination of features.

I’m personally in the driver’s seat of Xenoraid, and the whole concept of the game stems from the fact that I personally enjoy shmups. Or at least the shmups that preceded the bullet hell movement. To me, bullet hell games feel too much about memorisation, dodging and extreme precision. I prefer my shoot ’em ups to be about good old-fashioned blasting enemies to bits!

Xenoraid has minimal bullet hell traits. We set out to innovate on how we’d get the focus on the act of shooting, and make the game about destroying enemies in a deliberate and effective way. The first thing we did in the original prototype was make the starfighters turn lightly when moving left and right. In other words, the fighters don’t always point towards the top of the screen, which in turn grants the player the ability to fire in angles. It felt immediately great, and brought aiming into the mix of game mechanics in an awesome way.


When we had the aiming mechanics down, we took a hard look at shooting. It dawned on us pretty quickly that in order to make shooting matter, squeezing the trigger had to be a conscious decision. This, almost by itself, gives a cease fire a role to play as well.

After trying a couple of things around these ideas, a weapon overheat system was born. This means that in Xenoraid you can spray and pray, but you won’t be able to do that for very long. Constantly blasting will overheat your guns, and they’ll lock down for several seconds to cool down. This instils a sense of pressure on the player to actually aim a bit, to hit and destroy the intended targets instead of keeping the trigger down and counting on hitting something eventually.

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The weapon overheat mechanic also works beautifully with the third major idea we wanted to incorporate. In Xenoraid the player goes on missions with four starfighters, and gets to switch between them at will. Having guns locked due to overheat is a great reason to switch in a fresh fighter. Other valid reasons include being on the verge of being destroyed due to taking too much punishment, or needing to bring in the big guns of another fighter to take down an enemy miniboss.

I, and everyone at 10tons, would love to hear your thoughts on this! Xenoraid will be released this year.


4 Author replies

Since playing King Oddball and Trouserheart, I really look into whatever you release. Again, this game looks great. Thanks for the Vita support. Keep up the good work :)

Jaakko Maaniemi 01 March, 2016 @ 08:10



Must be great in my Vita!

Carnivius_Prime 29 February, 2016 @ 18:03

“Or at least the shmups that preceded the bullet hell movement. To me, bullet hell games feel too much about memorisation, dodging and extreme precision. I prefer my shoot ’em ups to be about good old-fashioned blasting enemies to bits!” Yes! This bit alone makes me interested in the game. I find ‘bullet hell’ shooters just boring with how slow you gotta progress through and weave through tiny gaps between the silly amounts of projectiles. I just wanna fly in fast and blast everything in sight. :D

And Vita version too? Bonus points (especially if crossbuy/crosssave)

Jaakko Maaniemi 01 March, 2016 @ 08:13

Great to hear! I don’t actively hate bullet hell games by any means, but I just really strongly prefer my shooters to be about shooting first and foremost instead of focusing fully on dodging and just doing it trigger down and probably accidentally destroying some enemies in the process. You know what I mean?

We will definitely look into making the game crossbuy in SCEE too this time around. It may mean sacrificing free trial, but we’ll see.

I like scrolling shooters but also dislike the ones that are overwhelming for the sake of it so it’s good to see one being more deliberate.
What do the other ships do when you switch, are they AI controlled or do they leave the battle? Also is there multiplayer support with each player in a different ship?

Jaakko Maaniemi 01 March, 2016 @ 08:19

Yep, shooting is definitely fun! Dodging is important in Xenoraid too though, but to me it feels very different than what it often is in bullet hell games with pre-canned levels and intricately designed bullet patterns (or rather the gaps in between). When the enemies enter the screen from randomized directions and act on AI, it feels very organically like you’re in combat and the reason you dodge is because the enemies got to take a shot at you and they’ll keep doing that until you take them out. It doesn’t feel like a memory game or rhythm game at all (like bullet hell games often do).

Fighter switching works so that as soon as you hit the switching button, the fighter you were controlling zooms away from the screen and another zooms into the screen. There’s a gap of about one second when you’re not controlling either of them, but they’re invulnerable too. We’re constantly tweaking the minute details on this, but this is by and large how it’s going to be.

Side-scrollStation 4 – Pixelated games awaits

Silver-Stance 01 March, 2016 @ 14:09

If people enjoy them; hopefully.

Hi, thank you for all your vita support! Crimsonland has kept my busy for a long time and I still play it a lot in co op on PS4. Really looking forward to Neon Chrome on vita, any news about that? Now with Xenoraid a have another title to look forward to, looks very promising. Thanks to the team at 10tons!

howboutthisthen 01 March, 2016 @ 10:37

Sounds great, I love to play scrolling shooters on my Vita! Any idea of a rough release window, or some gameplay footage so we can see the mechanics in action, or is it way too early?

Jaakko Maaniemi 02 March, 2016 @ 13:55

We’re currently very close to beta phase, meaning we have most of the content in the game, but lots of tuning and polishing remains to be done. And we may decide to add something, content or features, based on test feedback. But we do need to start showing the game in video within weeks, so stay tuned!

Headline – “Side-scrolling shoot ’em up Xenoraid revealed for PS4, PS Vita”
Body text – “a vertically-scrolling shoot’ em up ”

Er, which is it?

Scrolling shoot em ups = win :)

i have a problem to sign in in ps vita when i sign in ps store it givs warning (you must sign in with the account that is linkes with this system.
(np-2077-6)what is this problem culd you tell me some one its really make me big problem.

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