Hydro Thunder Hurricane: Loud, Brash and Genius

Every digital game developer and publisher should sit down, play Hydro Thunder Hurricane and ask themselves, why didn’t we do this?

The game’s gestation is an interesting one as developer Vector Unit was originally developing the game as an original IP called ‘Barracuda’, after trawling the game through the publisher waters it was Microsoft Games Studios (MGS) who expressed keen interest. An A&R flashpoint was allied to a fortuitous moment in the ongoing collapse of Midway, and MGS bought the rights and bolted it to the game. The game was built by seven people and took fourteen months from prototyping to release candidate build. The game isn’t a port and was built from the ground up using proprietary tools and third-party middleware.

  • So is Hydro Thunder Hurricane a success as it represents an opportunistic and timely reboot of a midrange franchise, on a platform with a hazy memory and a willingness to dip into its collective pocket for the right proposition?
  • Did Vector Unit play the publishing system to quickly bring a product to market in a hugely crowded and competitive space and ended up with a prime slot in the premier marketing promotion that XBLA has to offer (Summer Of Arcade) beating top-tier publishers to the punch?
  • Or is it the fact that Hydro Thunder Hurricane unequivocally delivers a visceral, screaming thrill ride of the a game with huge buzzing flys, hokey Norse mythological stylings and huge and entirely unnecessary monsters leaping from whirlpools for no apparent reason?

All of the above.

The guile, speed and downright bloody cheek of Hydro Thunder Hurricane is to be cherished, and I can’t wait to see what Vector Unit do next. You can find Hydro Thunder Hurricane on XBLA now. Buy It.



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