It’s usual to see snowy summer in Seoul, 2074. The population cliff by the single lifestyle, low birth rate, pandemic disease, and climate change made Seoul a ghost town managed by AI.

I have been developing Axiom of Maria as a solo developer. The free demo will be released in 2022, and the official release is projected to be in December 2023.

Axiom of Maria is a fast-paced, unconventional action-adventure game. The concept for this game development originated from the sensational gaming experience of punching and defeating opponents during bike fights in the game “Full Throttle.” The phenomenal sword fighting in “Devil May Cry” and “Ninja Gaiden,” along with the new progressive style, fusing directing and playing together of “Another World,” and the impressive bike fighting scenes in “Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children,” inspired me to create Axiom of Maria as my very first game out of 20 other potential game development ideas I have conceived.

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Based on these gaming experiences and ideas, I wanted to make a game with a story inspired by “The A-Team,” an American action-adventure TV series from the 1980s, set in the future of Seoul. Rather than lengthening the playtime with repeated actions, I included fast-moving and new actions with an intriguing story as key features. I spiced up the game with some retro vibes.

All footage was captured from real play scenes in the prologue version.

Actions / Bike Actions

  • Opponents in the beginning and middle parts of the game use guns. The bullets from the opponents are fast but are automatically blocked as long as the player has sufficient stamina.
  • The player can dodge bullets by looking at the laser beams from the opponents but cannot defend themselves from bullets when attacking.
  • During bike fights, the bike drives itself and the player can maneuver the bike to approach and attack opponents.
  • During bike fights, the player can still dodge bullets by looking at the laser beams from the opponents.
  • The actions in bike fights are designed to be similar to the actions in regular fighting. 
  • The main character becomes stronger and obtains new skills by acquiring new weapons and allies along the way, which is different from other role-playing games (RPG).
  • Opponents are bots that use shotguns, grenades, and shields. Some bots are capable of moving as fast as the main character, and there are also unmanned tanks as opponents.

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A wire and double sword will be added as weapons. There will be other characters (allies) who use heavy weapons and other ultimate attacks. They can also amplify the player’s attack abilities.

The characters are introduced later on this page.

Concept

One of my favorite TV shows of all time

The initial storyline was envisioned as an homage to “The A-Team” but plot in the future of Seoul. As I added the characters with superhuman powers to fight against the opponent AI organizations, stories of myths and legends came to mind. One story is about the battles between a hero and the god of harvest, and the other is about an ungodly Indian chief. I approached and designed the story of this game from the point-of-view of AI that became analogous with the time when our ancestors became conscious of embarrassment, fear, and inner struggle between eating and storing grains. The relevant stories are revealed later in this game.

Background Setting and Story

Due to a population cliff and epidemic in 2043, the population of Korea plummeted below one million people in 2074. Seoul, which has become a ghost town and empty of government agencies, has been managed by AI and it is unknown how much AI has taken over. In 2070, superpowers called the “irregulars” began to appear. Scientists reported that the irregulars were associated with the epidemic of 2043. Irregulars do not know they are irregulars until they experience their superhuman powers. The government considers the irregulars as a threat and attempts to control them.

Kay, a former instructor for the 707th Special Missions Group, lost consciousness when she was hit by a stray bullet during training. When she reawakened without any wounds, she realized that she was in a hospital of the 15th AI Special Operations Command (AISOC) which controlled the irregulars. It turned out that Kay, who cannot be physically wounded but feels pain, and her daughter were detained by AISOC while her husband vanished without a trace. There is an institute in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland that helps and rescues detained irregulars. This institute is called “the School” in South Korea. The School helped Kay and her daughter successfully escape from the SOC. At Kay’s request, the School dispatches “Principal”, “Mr. Jung,” and Kay to Seoul to find Kay’s husband.

Characters

From left to right: Mr. Jung, Principal and Qyuri

Mr. Jung (code name): He can communicate telepathically with a person he has contact with and experiences the person’s senses for a certain period of time. To avoid AI’s wiretapping on other radio communications, Mr. Jung was dispatched to Seoul for operational communications using his superpower. He avoided detention by the SOC because he was diagnosed with schizophrenia for his psychic powers.

Principal (code name): He is a former chef. He has the ability to learn anything quickly. Despite not having a license or degree, he is talented in mechanical engineering, material engineering, and programming. The suit that protects Kay from frictional heat when she stops time and moves, the sword that can penetrate bots, and Kay’s bike were designed by him. He is a little chubby but muscular and excels at developing and shooting guns. With his timid personality and mysophobia, he always wears latex gloves and cleans obsessively with disinfectant wipes.

Qyuri: She is a part-time worker at a convenience store. She is a special irregular classified in the documents that Kay is attempting to steal in the prologue of this game. Her superhuman strength is the ability to locate the owner’s whereabouts when she touches the person’s belongings. The School and Kay are trying to find Kay’s husband using Qyuri’s psychometric ability. However, there is more to Qyuri as the story goes on.

My name is Henry Lee. I started making games when I was 10 years old using an Apple II home computer, an 8-bit system. I started my career in 1992 as an artist in the gaming industry and I have worked for 30 years in this field. In 1997, I released my first PC game as a director. Except for programming, I was involved in all aspects of gameplay, story, graphics, music, video, directing game scripting, etc.

I directed an Xbox game, Kingdom Under Fire (referred to shortly as KUF below) that was released worldwide in 2004. Fortuitously, KUF: The Crusader was awarded “Best Strategy Game” and “Most Surprisingly Good Game” by major media around the world such as E3, OXM, etc. I developed more console games and worked on other online and mobile games as a game designer and director. In general, my work involves directing, game system, scenario, game script, level design, producing, video, recording, and prototyping. In creating a prototype, I also worked on programming, graphics, and sound. I have experience in programming 3D game engines and processing procedural animation of arbitrary body structures.

I have created more than 20 ideas for game development since 2000 and have chosen Axiom of Maria as my very first game.

I have worked on this game mostly independently: programming, story, directing, planning, music, graphics, etc. Some parts of the graphics were purchased from Marketplace, and some of the character modelings provided by a friend.

For character modeling, I started directly with a mockup rather than detailed original drawings to save time.
I used Cakewalk to compose the music. Game music composition is the most fun and favorite part of game development for me.
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