After discovering this art from a Housemarque developer, I want it more than ever
Later in the SNES era, shmup fans had no problem going to their local rental store and picking something up. One of those ’90s classics is Axelay from Konami, with the memorable “lava guy” box art (that’s exactly how I was drawn to it). Not only were the aesthetics on point, but it was also a very serviceable shmup on a mechanical level, and people still hold water for it today. While there’s no official Axelay sequel in the books (one was planned, but scrapped), this Housemarque artist is keeping the dream alive.
Spotted by Nintendo Life by way of the Shmup Database Twitter account, although it’s a tad old at this point, it doesn’t make the work of artist Tomi Väisänen (of Housemarque fame) any less impressive. Noting that it was “easily one [their] favourite childhood videogames,” with “countless of hours [spent] on this hard as nails- shoot em up,” they present what is essentially concept art for a modern version. We get a good look at the original ship players took control of in their bid to take down the Armada of Annihilation, as well as a rotating 3D render, boss battle recreations, and some level concepts that are absolutely stunning. You don’t have to be a shmup fan to appreciate the art.
If you haven’t played it before, it’s worth clicking around to see how ambitious it was at the time. And note that James Bond-esque Axelay sequel tease at the very end of the credits that never happened!