The odds are much better with Atlas taking over as publisher. Ignition seemed pretty intent on running the game into the ground. It was either going to end up cancelled or a shell of what it could have been. Atlas seems more likely to let Vanillaware make the game they wanted to make. Spring 2012 was a pipe dream, they were never going to have the game done within that window.
Does your character's sprite change with new equipment or levels? May be a bit too much work for an HD game, but I would be absolutely pumped even more for this game if true (yeah it's kinda pointless but dammit it looks cool).
The above statement is true. The below statement is false.
I recall an older interview where one of the devs said they would like for that to happen, but they didn't want to give an official comment since they weren't far along enough to know if it would be practical. So all we really have is a maybe, but that's better than a no.