Vampire Survivors was rebuilt just to run well on Xbox consoles

Vampire Survivors
(Image credit: Poncle)

What you need to know

  • Vampire Survivors is an indie roguelike title developed by Poncle Games, and arrived with much fanfare to Xbox Game Pass in November 2022.
  • The game was originally designed using web technologies like Javascript and needed to adapt to a larger audience fast when it gained traction in the gaming community.
  • Originally a PC game, the Vampire Survivors needed to be rebuilt on a new engine to work on Xbox, and fans didn't even notice the change.

Today we have been blessed with brand new DLC for our favorite game to play in meetings, Vampire Survivors. Tides of the Foscari went live mere hours ago and to celebrate the launch Xbox Wire today published an interesting interview with the game's creators, revealing the hard work that went into getting the game onto Xbox consoles, specifically rebuilding the game on a different engine. 

Vampire Survivors

I will survive, oh as long as I know how to live I know I will survive... (Image credit: Poncle)

Vampire Survivors originally launched on PC as an early access build in December 2021, and was a viral success with its addictive gameplay loop and pixelated graphics when the full game eventually dropped. On PC, Vampire Survivors runs on a web-based engine called Phaser 3 which is a web-based development framework, using Javascript as its main programming language.

Whilst this worked well for the game on PC, Poncle ran into issues when trying to run the game on other platforms such as mobile and console. For the launch on Xbox Game Pass in November 2022, Vampire Survivors needed to adapt. In Xbox Wire's interview, Sam McGarry (Poncle Tech Director) revealed more about the transition.

Many fans haven't noticed the engine change

The fact that some players of the game across platforms haven't noticed the engine change at all, is a success in itself for Poncle. And as McGarry confirmed, "The overall goal was for players not to notice."

Xbox consoles were the first platform to receive the enhanced engine version of Vampire Survivors, and the game was released onto Game Pass with the new engine at launch. The mobile version of the game arrived on Android and iOS on December 8 last year using the same, as yet un-named new engine.

The experience between Xbox, PC and Cloud are completely seamless and they've done an incredible job of making it appear that you are playing the same version of the game across all platforms. McGarry confirmed that the parity between platforms was of utmost importance to the creator of Vampire Survivors.

Game Pass was a crucial component for success

In another interesting but not all that surprising admission, McGarry says that all the efforts that have gone into the engine change for console and mobile have been worth it. The addition to the Game Pass library was the final spark to the explosion in popularity Vampire Survivors received. 

The graphic style of the game is not to everybody's taste, and its the gameplay loop that is the real cincher for bringing players into the world of Vampire Survivors. Having it available to play on Game Pass, including the Xbox Cloud, lets a much wider audience experience and grow to love the little pixelated heroes. "The presence on Game Pass helps us bring a lot more players in through the doors and lets them experience the game."

Vampire Survivors isn't the only game to have attributed its success to Game Pass, as we know other more niche titles like Pentiment have reached a much wider audience owing to the ability to experiment without committing to purchasing a game. High on Life broke records and was the biggest third-party launch of all time with Sqaunch Games blown away by the positive response from the Xbox community.

Not only have Xbox Game Pass subscribers been playing Vampire Survivors in their droves, but it was Phil Spencer's most-played game of 2022 and he's not been shy about sending love to the development team on Twitter.

A BAFTA winning team

Vampire Survivors

(Image credit: Poncle)

Vampire Survivors may have been pipped to the post at The Game Awards for best indie title, but it's won countless other accolades of its own. Most recently the BAFTA Game of the Year, which for a title that's only $5 to buy outright is no mean feat.

The popularity of the title has meant not only does their development team need to manage two different versions across the game over multiple platforms, but they're also still managing this as a tiny team of people. The wiki page for Vampire Survivors lists a mere 10 members of staff involved in the development. Luca Galante, the game's creator is still on the whole in charge of the creative process but is now helped by a wider team to deliver the game we know and love on Xbox.

I can't wait to see what's next for Vampire Survivors and Poncle Games following the last 12 months of storming the gaming industry, in fact, I'm off to play the DLC immediately. 


Vampire Survivors

If you haven't played Vampire Survivors yet, you are missing out on an Indie gem of epic proportions. Combining elements of shoot 'em up, rogue-lite and survival tactics, you'll become so addicted you'll wonder how you ever played anything else.

Buy from: Xbox 

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.