Xeno Crisis: a new game for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch and Steam

Created by Bitmap Bureau

Xeno Crisis is a new game for the Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch and Steam. It's a top-down arena shooter for up to 2 players that is best described as Smash TV meets Aliens! Run and gun your way through thousands of enemies spread over 6 areas as you attempt to discover the cause of the alien menace.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Progress Update (September 2018)
7 months ago – Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 06:43:03 PM

We are a bit belated this month after a few crazy weeks on all fronts - thank you to everyone who filled out the Neo Geo survey - we’ll be back with more details in due course.

Let’s get physical

These last few weeks we’ve been finalising lots of designs and commissioning more of the physical parts of the releases and pledge items, including but not limited to stickers, dog-tags, postcards, cartridge labels, vinyl/CD OST, Mega Drive/Genesis covers.

We’re still planning to press on with this the next couple of weeks so we can have nearly everything ready. It’s definitely been a good thing to do sooner rather than later after various delays and issues we’ve faced with suppliers. We’ll show you more bits next month as items continue to arrive.

Talking of which, hot of the press as we prepared this update we just received a picture from our PCB manufacturer. The PCBs are now heading into the pick and place assembly process. Check out those hard gold connectors, always striving for the best quality!

Music Complete

Savaged Regime has finished all the tracks for Xeno Crisis! The soundtrack is amazing and we still can’t believe what Savaged Regime has achieved out of the Yamaha 2612. The techniques and tricks he’s used are mind blowing, including things like emulating the principles of how reverb works by hand. All that’s left now for the audio is a few sound effect refinements and additions as we home in on our finalised asset sets. No update is complete without some great music so here is the first area track in its entirety for you to enjoy:

With the tracks complete we quickly had them mastered and sent off to manufacture the 12” vinyl, as the lead times are so long. We ordered a few extra so there is still time to add-on the vinyl (or CD) OST to your order at: https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com


Mike has spent the past few weeks working on the final game balancing; adjusting lots of the enemy logic to present different challenges to the player later in the game. He also took a demo showcasing the first two areas of the game to the Southampton Games Festival, which is right on our doorstep! This was particularly useful as it revealed a few minor things that we’ve been able to tweak, such as exit indicator arrows and a few pointers for new players. 

We were also lucky enough to have Xeno Crisis featured in the Retro HK section at Hong Kong Games Week!

As the PC and modern console version rapidly approaches completion we’ve been looking at ways to free up Matt to focus solely on the retro console builds and reign back in the development schedules from time that was lost. So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with DO Games.

DO Games was founded by some amazing industry veterans who we worked with for a number years at a previous indie games studio called “IOMO”. Xeno Crisis will be in safe hands as they handle all the porting and certification for the Switch/PS4/XB1 releases.

Matt’s been making a steady recovery and a recent appointment with a neurologist has left him much more positive. Whilst he’s still pacing himself by jumping on lots of the physical production work, this month he’s still found time to integrate Dreamcast building into the main Mega Drive Xeno Crisis codebase. He swears he would have gone mad if it wasn’t for the Broadband Adaptor (HIT-0401) to help debug but fortunately progress has been really good and swift!

Thank you for all the continued comments and support for Xeno Crisis, we really appreciate all the feedback!

Progress Update (August 2018)
9 months ago – Tue, Sep 04, 2018 at 02:31:26 AM

This is a big update with lots of bits to get through, we hope you enjoy the ride!

First off is a big thank you from Matt for all the kind comments of support from backers, as he recovers from his accident. Sadly he had a relapse in August after pushing himself a bit too hard to catch up, but he’s on the road to recovery and we’ve been subcontracting a few of his tasks to help reduce the pressure.

However we have some unfortunate news, things are running behind schedule and we’re not going to make our target release of October for the Mega Drive version. Matt’s been beating himself up a bit, as we’ve all been working so hard to hit our target. But the reality is software development projects are very hard to land on time and we’ve been packing lots more content into Xeno Crisis than we initially planned.

That said we’re still cracking on as ever, and we will be continuing our monthly updates as always, making sure you’re informed on the project and can see the progress towards its release.

PCBs ordered

We’ve now pulled the trigger on ordering the Mega Drive PCBs! Manufacture and assembly of the PCBs is expected to take around 8-10 weeks. We’ll then be able to package the PCBs into the cartridges so they are ready for flashing the completed game ROM.

If you still haven’t pre-ordered a copy of Xeno Crisis for Mega Drive then now is the time to guarantee your copy arrives on release and before we’re out of stock of the extra PCBs we’ve ordered.


Artwork complete

Henk has now finished the last couple of bosses, so we’re pleased to say all the art assets are now complete! There might be a few tweaks in the final stages of development but we now know the ROM space left to pack with music/sfx and other good stuff! A big thanks to Henk (and Catherine) Xeno Crisis looks stunning and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you!


We’re excited to announce we’ve signed a licensing deal with the progressive metal band Skyharbor to bring their amazing Trayus track to Xeno Crisis. Savaged Regime’s cover of Trayus on the Mega Drive’s YM2612 was the original inspiration behind the music for Xeno Crisis:

Savaged Regime has now reworked a new version of Trayus which is more suited to feature in the game. This track will also feature on the OST vinyl and CD if you’ve not yet added them to your order. We’ve also got a preview of yet another new track as well as the Trayus track:

Next month

Mike will be looking to finalise the PC / modern console version of Xeno Crisis ready for some solid beta testing. Savaged Regime is currently finalising the last few tracks and will then be refining the sound effects in the game.

Matt as he paces himself between some Mega Drive UI coding will be ordering the various printed / manufactured parts of the pledges, including covers, labels, manuals, postcards, OST vinyl / CD etc. The aim being to be minimise any delays later on and enabling us to pre-package and assemble all the cartridges and boxes. We will then be ready to ship as soon as the final game ROM is ready.

New platforms!

We are really pleased to announce Xeno Crisis will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We had a number of backer requests and enquiries for Xeno Crisis on more consoles for those that don’t have easy access to a Mega Drive or Dreamcast. Pre-orders are not currently available for PS4 and XB1 but we will update you when they are.

Mega Shock

What about retro platforms we hear you cry? What was under that Xeno Crisis t-shirt in May’s update? Well we’re super excited to say we’ll be bringing Xeno Crisis to:

The Neo Geo is no easy undertaking, but after having our arm twisted by HPMAN ;-) and after an initial test porting of Xeno Crisis (largely to check procedural level generation) back in May we’re happy the Neo Geo is within reach. The Neo Geo homebrew scene just like the Mega Drive scene has been amazing! As well as HPMAN a big thanks goes out to Jeff Kurtz, Razoola, Mike Wolak, Frazer Rhodes and Neil @8Bitplus. It wouldn’t have been possible to consider the Neo Geo without your help.

Of course we’re not doing any further work on developing the Neo Geo version until we’ve finished with the Mega Drive and Dreamcast release. However we’ve got a survey for those that wish to express their interest in the Neo Geo version and to make sure they don’t miss out when we open pre-orders in the future - it will be a very limited edition release!


Return Magazine

For German readers the release of Return Magazine’s 34th edition this month brings an article featuring the making of Xeno Crisis. Make sure to get your copy here:


As always thank you for all the great comments and feedback, please keep them coming!

Progress Update (July 2018)
10 months ago – Sun, Aug 05, 2018 at 01:39:44 AM

This is a bit of a mini-update after the belated one for June but as always we like to keep you all informed of progress.

Thank you for all the kind comments after Matt’s accident, it’s been a tough few weeks but his speech is now back and he’s gradually getting back to work. Still suffering a few occasional headaches but he’s really glad to be back.

We’re so pleased that the cover designs have been well received; they were important for us to get right. We will continue to make a few refinements in the coming weeks, but we’re already integrating some great suggestions and tweaks from the community. (The modern red North American cover did actually already have a candy stripe but it was lost when creating the GIF at a reduced 256 colour palette).

We can also confirm that the Mega Drive cover artwork will also be used for Dreamcast, OST CD/Vinyl, etc.. we will hopefully show some previews of those soon.


We’re pleased to announce Catherine has finished all the cutscenes for Xeno Crisis. We originally planned 12 images from Catherine, but we now have 28. We’ve been adding as much into Xeno Crisis as we can!

Pixel artwork

Henk has been hard at work on the final boss (sorry, no spoilers!), along with a bunch of minor refinements here and there, plus extra details like some more explosion sizes. We’re expecting Henk to complete all of the remaining pixel artwork in the next couple of weeks.

Steam and Nintendo Switch

Mike has really got the PC prototype to a great point - it’s now not so much prototype but nearing a beta version. So Matt decided on his return to quickly spin up the Steam and Nintendo Switch versions of Xeno Crisis to check it’s all looking good, before jumping back on to the Mega Drive version. We’re pleased to report that they’re looking great, we’ll be updating more on this soon.


This month has seen the last of the voice acting audio completed, this time for the female marine and hostage, voiced by the amazingly talented Kristen McGuire (https://www.facebook.com/kriscomics/) who we’ve worked with on our previous titles. We’re still hopeful a reasonable amount of the voice samples will be crunched and squeezed into the Mega Drive version as we push up to the 32Mbit ROM limits.


If you haven’t already heard, Tanglewood is due to be released on the 14th August 2018. Congratulations to Matt Phillips for creating another piece of Mega Drive history! Make sure to add it to your Steam Wishlist if you haven’t already: https://store.steampowered.com/app/837190/TANGLEWOOD/

Backer Details

If your address has changed or you still want to tweak your backing level, add extras, etc… then there is still a bit of time before we lockdown. You can edit your details and / or pre-order at:


Thanks for all the continued support, comments and feedback!

Progress Update (June 2018)
11 months ago – Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 01:36:41 AM

Apologies for the belated update, it’s been a bit of a crazy month! Matt had an accident suffering a bad concussion, losing his speech at times but fortunately a CT scan has given the all clear - so we’re wishing him a speed recovery. Fortunately we’ve still made loads of progress with Xeno Crisis, so here are some of the latest bits for you:

Cover art

We finally have our cover art variations, courtesy of the amazing Derrick Chew (https://www.instagram.com/dcwj/) and Gonzalo Ordoñez Arias aka “Genzoman” (https://www.deviantart.com/genzoman)!

This allowed Matt to more or less finalise the cover designs (all 18 of them?!) for the various regions and styles, some of which you can see below:

General Release

Kickstarter Edition


This is the final piece in the puzzle which is the physical production of the game, as we can now not only go ahead and produce the cover art for the game’s box, but also the cartridge labels, vinyl / CD OSTs, manual and other items.


Henk’s been busy (as usual!) designing and animating some fantastic new enemies which you’ll come across in the later areas:

All of the enemies and most of the bosses are now implemented in the PC rapid prototype leaving just the final boss to be designed, and the Kickstarter backer’s boss to be implemented. With all the assets starting to finalise the Mega Drive version is fleshing out really well; we’ve also written some nice tools to monitor the ROM asset distribution and sizes as we begin to close in on the 32 Megabit limit.


Catherine has had a prolific few weeks, essentially finishing all of the cutscenes and she’s now working on the game’s ending sequence. Here’s one of the new cutscenes, but we won’t tell you what’s going on of course...


Savaged Regime has been working on some new tracks, with each somehow being better than the last! We didn’t think it was possible to push the Mega Drive’s YM2612 soundchip any further, but Daniel continues to push the boundaries with some amazing new techniques. He’s also made good progress with some of the game’s sound effects, which we’re hoping to be able to demonstrate soon.

Game design

Mike has also been doing a considerable amount of work on the game’s balance, and reckons it’s coming together nicely! Given that Mike has spent several hundred hours playing the game, he is concentrating on the hard difficulty to begin with, then toning down things such as number of enemies, bullets etc. for the game’s easy mode, but even then we don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park!

Anyway, that’s it for this month - we hope you found the update interesting, and as always, get in touch if you have any questions!

Progress Update (May 2018)
12 months ago – Thu, May 31, 2018 at 11:13:05 PM

It’s that time again for another progress update on Xeno Crisis! The last month has been a little bit patchy with holidays but still lots to share. :-)

We’re pleased to report that the PCB has passed all the testing and we’ve begun work on a parallel ROM flashing set-up. Xeno Crisis is throwing up some fun challenges along the way and this is one of them:

The aim is to be able to program the cartridges as quickly as possible once the game is complete. It takes us about 3-5 minutes to flash and verify a 32Mbit ROM which means 1,000 cartridges would take us about 3 days with no break, constantly swapping cartridges every 5 minutes - clearly not fun or possible!

So we are hoping to have a parallel set-up with 8-10 cartridges being flashed and verified simultaneously. This brings the time down to about 7 hours - whilst it will still be a crazy day, we can be ready to ship a day after game completion!

And here we have the revised enamel pin badges, exclusive to Kickstarter Edition backers. We’ve finally managed to find a great printer with some interesting finishes to make some of the other printed items extra special. And after a bit of a delay we’ve just received some more artwork for those printed items, so expect to see more on those soon!

Game Development

Art production continues to make rapid progress; Catherine has continued to put together some amazing cutscene images for us. Henk has created a wide range of boss, enemy and UI pixels and he’s also been kind enough to put together a little break down of how he designed the boss for the lab arena:

Mike continues to have fun this month coding the bosses and has been polishing and refining some of the enemy behaviours. It’ll be more of the same this coming month as the core of the game continues to be fleshed out.

Matt’s made great progress with the UI refinements on the Mega Drive which will hopefully be completed shortly, ready for the localised text. He also did what any coder would do when on holiday, he coded a bunch of cross platform logic! The result is that the Dreamcast port has started to shape up nicely and any cross platform design implications can be addressed better now versus once the Mega Drive version is complete.

However (with some amazing support!) he’s also got Xeno Crisis running on another platform (teaser above) - we’re not quite ready to announce the details just yet but some exciting news is brewing!

And of course an update wouldn’t be complete without a preview of some more great music from Savaged Regime! So here are a couple of tracks spliced together in a quick preview:

Thanks for all the great comments and feedback! It really keeps us motivated.