Cygni: All Guns Blazing – redefining the shoot-’em-up

July 9, 2024
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The journey of developing Cygni hasn’t been easy, especially as a start-up, with this being our debut game. Nevertheless, every step of this journey has been filled with passion.

Our inspiration was sparked by the enjoyment we found in playing shoot’em ups on arcade machines in our youth – a fun experience that brought joy to all, regardless of high scores. We aimed to recreate this exhilarating experience using next-gen technology, with the power of the PlayStation 5. This has allowed us to deliver a fresh take on the shoot-‘em-up, with an epic story, and innovative gameplay features for a new generation of gamers.

Cygni: All Guns Blazing – redefining the shoot-’em-up

Ava’s fight for survival

Cygni, a planet colonized by humans, thrives on ancient technology found in ruins left by an unknown civilization. These remnants serve as a vital power source and catalyst for technological progress. Our protagonist Ava, a recent recruit in Cygni’s Air Force, pilots the Orca in a desperate struggle against a sudden, potent attack by bio-mechanical aliens— potentially Cygni’s original inhabitants. 

Beyond the bullets

Energy Management: Switching between shields (health) and weapons (more firepower and missiles) on the fly. 

Combat: Air-to-air and air-to-ground combat includes a real-time crowd system—not just a background prop; they are gameplay-related, where players can interact with allied forces on the ground. This mutual assistance is not only crucial for gameplay but also aids in obtaining pickups and increasing your score.

Weapon Enhancement: Upgrade and prepare weapons – even equipping your ship with two additional side-drones – before engaging in battle.

Designer Mode: Allows players to create, save, and manage projectile patterns on the go. This feature adds a layer of customization and strategy, enabling players to toggle between saved patterns on the go.

Three Difficulty Modes: Easy (being more accessible, by having 3 lives per level) Normal and Hard. 

Local Co-Op: Players can revive each other at the cost of sacrificing shield points, while enjoying double the firepower.

Arcade Mode: Tailored for high-score enthusiasts. Players start from Level 1 and continue to the game’s end without any interruptions or cutscenes, but with only one life. This mode caters to those who enjoy a relentless challenge, and the highest scores can be recorded on global online leaderboards.

Colossal Bosses: Cygni features large bosses each with their own unique combat mechanics, providing players with challenging and memorable battle experiences.

Innovation with indie passion

Using our past experiences in filmmaking and animation, we wanted to push the visual storytelling boundaries in Cygni without compromising gameplay. This includes short cutscenes in-between levels and creating full scale high-quality CG cinematics (Intro and Outro to the game), uncommon to most indie games, and the genre. Cygni takes full advantage of the PS5’s power and its SSD allowing for crisp visuals, fast loading times and a smooth experience running at 60FPS/4K.

We wanted to create a shoot’em up that’s not entirely a bullet hell experience – sometimes you WILL get hit, but that’s OK. The core gameplay mechanic of balancing your ship’s power between its weapons and shields means you can strategize your offensive vs defensive gameplay (firepower vs. shield). We have utilized the DualSense controller’s directional haptic feedback to help elevate and enhance this in a tactile, but logical way. 

Behind the bullets

With indie roots at our core, it’s been essential to stay connected to our community who’ve been patiently supporting Cygni from the start. From two people working on the game in their spare time, to signing with Konami, we wanted to share our story for all those eager to learn about us and our journey. Introducing our Behind-the-Scenes short series, and you can watch Episode 1 right now!

Cygni: All Guns Blazing – redefining the shoot-’em-up

Cygni: All Guns Blazing launches on PS5 next month on August 6.

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