The Bit.Trip games are a charming series of titles that use super-retro aesthetics and simple gameplay to provide extremely addictive experiences with excellent soundtracks. Among them was Bit.Trip Runner, which was a little less abstract than the others, and gave blocky protagonist CommanderVideo a more prominent leading role.

Now, Gaijin and Aksys have announced that Runner is to get a sequel on XBLA and PSN next year. Bit.Trip Runner 2, subtitled Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, offers HD graphics; new abilities for CommanderVideo and CommandergirlVideo; achievements, trophies and leaderboards; unlockable costumes; difficulty modes and checkpoints; and "lots more" which hasn't yet been revealed.

It also has a markedly different art style from the original, as you'll see from the tree prototypes seen above. Gaijin Games argues that the "game demanded" a move away from the 8-bit art style and is instead adopting a low-contrast, smooth, cartoony style for the background in order to keep the focus on the gameplay in the foreground.

They seem very excited about it -- fans of the Atari 2600-style graphics of the original games may be a little upset, however. We'll give the Bit.Trip team the benefit of the doubt until we actually see some gameplay, however. You can follow their development progress on the official blog.

This article originally appeared on as Bit.Trip Runner Gets a Bizarrely-Named Sequel Next Year