Bastion is one of those game that simply grows on you in hindsight. It did so many things right and with perfect balance. The tone and atmosphere. The narrative. The simple yet rewarding mechanics. The incredible audio and music. The design. Every individual element made to fit with, and enhance, the next one. So it's hard not to be excited for Transistor with this in mind, even if it should not be viewed as a sequel in any way.
We first saw and played Transistor back at PAX East in Boston in March. A short ten minute demo that introduced us to Transistor: the talking sword, and Red, a singer who has lost her voice and now seeks redemption and answers. It's a simple and clean vision, a new world, a new story, but it also has some things in common with Bastion.
"We wanted to create a whole new world, a whole new feeling with this game," said creative director Greg Kasavin when we talked to him fresh off the announcement. "We see it as being in the same genre as we also consider it an action-RPG, and in Bastion hopefully we kind of surprised people in what we were able to do with the structure of an action-RPG, and once again we want to do that here with combining this more strategic combat system with the fast pace that you would expect from the genre. And once again go to some very interesting places with the narrative..."
It may be another action-RPG, but the blend of real time combat and more strategic turn-based elements is something that comes across as both unique and very enticing. Bastion felt fresh as far as combat goes by making it more skillbased than your typical button mashing action-RPG experience. With Transistor, Super Giant Games are again looking to keep things interesting and fresh.
AT PAX East Super Giant were unwilling to talk about platform choice, and we found out why at Sony's E3 press conference. While not an exclusive Transistor will be hitting PlayStation 4 first on release and it headlined the impressive indie line up of Sony's at the massive industry event. Testament to Super Giant's standing and the promise the game offers.
The brilliantly talented Darren Korb is in charge of the music and audio at Super Giant Games and his contribution to both Bastion and Transistor cannot be understated. In a game starring a singer who has lost her voice music is naturally of the utmost importance. It's what sets the mood and it's near on impossible to think of Bastion without the narration and music. The narration is something that returns in Transistor albeit in a different manner (the narrator won't comment on your every move and misstep).
As important as the sound is the visual direction of Transistor. The colour palette and vibrancy give it that ageless quality. It's very much a tale that takes place in a different place, different time and perhaps even a different universe.
What Super Giant Games does well is they create this mysterious and perhaps a little dark, dead and empty world we somehow magically find ourselves incredibly drawn to and immersed in. We cannot wait to explore the mystery of Cloudbank City and why its most prominent voices have fallen silent.
Interview with Creative Director Greg Kasavin
For more on Transistor read our hands-on impressions from PAX East.