As long as it goes to PC too (since it's using Unreal engine, you could consider leaving things open for ship modding at a later stage) you can release it on the Atari 2500 if people want it, heh.
Anyway, I posted it on youtube, tweeted about it but I'm loving the way this is going so damn much. Musically, it hits all the right chords. I want the OST now! I'm glad western games are starting to lay off the BGM as just a decorative 'loopable' feature and making it an integral part of the whole thing. Every video posted so far has some of the best stuff I've listened to recently, game and feeling related. Pure '80s awesome, keyboardy driven stuff, pianos, guitars, etc. All great! Unique theme bosses also help (and that's where I feel CAVE fails, just reminding the awful Espgaluda boss theme I want to cry).
Visually, well, it's using Unreal engine so it's bound to look great. I'm liking the constant Macross reminders of the background explosions. Needs more Macross-like smoke trails and lock-on guided laser missiles and I'm sold but so far so good. The sword weapon is awesome. Kind of a mix of Einhänder and Radiant Silvergun but shinier.
If you are gonna make an opening video, the second song of the OST is screaming to become the title/OP song. People just won't quit the game to listen to it, lol.
I know you guys are looking for a modeller, in any case, remember to keep the ship size a bit smaller, perhaps adding a speed control ala Thunder Force or a speed selection before starting. Same with the enemies so you can play with bigger and complex formations in the vein of, say, Ether Vapor (take a look at some of the flashy movements from stages 1, 2 and 4) or Alltynex2nd (ships that come banking/rotating and firing on Stage 1, etc.). Engaging enemy formations are what make 3D shmups stand out and take advantage of the fact of being, precisely, 3D.
Loved how the music was timed with the opening of the stage, those neat details are the kind of stuff that adds polish.
Bosses will of course need those over the top warnings full of flashy text and flashy flashes. Probably more missiles.
Anyway, like I commented, at 1:07 you have this part with loads of people ejected to the vacuum Starship Troopers-like and, while an awesome effect, it totally cuts off the action. If you check most japanese shooters, those people just don't have mercy. I would rather see a more brutal move, like having something in the background or a mid-boss (people seem to forget of cool mid-bosses, they are just as important as the regular bosses) breaking the havoc and contributing to the madness. A big missile barrage can always do the trick as well
(sorry, I'm just so "Macross-lized", "ALERT: Long Range Missile Volley Inbound!", gotta love messages like that)
I see what you guys meant with the announcer. Personally, I would have both options, a male or female like some old games used to. I would totally pick the dude one if it has the echoey Gradius V-like style I love so much.
Either way, good luck with this, it's seriously looking great! And I definitely sign in first for a beta test and multilanguage support, heh.
Oh, guys, here is the approximate katakana spelling for Heaven Variant if you want to make it flashy and promote it to the nihonjin/japanese (no, I'm not, I'm actually spanish if you need multilanguage support, but I'm studying the language, heh):「ヒーベンーバリアント」