Messhof’s 2014 game Nidhogg is a tense side-scrolling fencing battle. Two simple stick figures armed with swords press fleeting advantages, trying to land a kill shot that reduces their opponent to a shower of monochromatic blood. Deaths are temporary, giving you a few seconds to race towards your goal. Reach the far end of the level, and you are rewarded with a glorious fate–being devoured by a giant mythical serpent.
The simple-looking, yet incredibly deep game was a great success, winning awards through the IGF and Indiecade and accruing hundreds of thousands of sales (according to SteamSpy.) Many singled out the directness of the controls and the minimalist aesthetic as the key to its charm.
We just got a first look at the sequel, due in 2017. It employs a more detailed graphical style, and presents players with an array of weapons to choose from. Why this departure from the stark simplicity of the original?
Mark Essen, half of the team at Messhof, says that these additional features are things that he and co-developer Kristy Norindr have had in mind since they were working on the original. “There were a lot of things that didn’t make the cut, either because they would take too long to make or because it was unclear how they would fit in with the existing move-set in a way that made sense,” he says.