I remember when the seven of us here at Supergiant were days away from revealing our first game, Bastion, back at PAX Prime in 2010. The game had been in development for about a year but we were only just figuring out how to talk about it to the public. When people would ask us “what is this game about,” what would we say? We weren’t sure at first, because Bastion is an action RPG where an old man talks to you the whole time — and that sounds really, really terrible.
Thankfully, those who played it tended to come away with a much more positive impression. We eventually came up with stuff we could say about Bastion with a straight face, but by far our favorite way of presenting the game to people was to invite them to play it.
Now here I am trying to tell you about our next game, Transistor, and I wish I could just hand you a controller and let you try it for yourself. We revealed it earlier this year at PAX East, and today we’ve announced it will be making its console debut on the PlayStation 4 when we’re finished with it sometime early next year.
If you check our reveal trailer you’ll get a feel for what Transistor is like, though let me give you a little more background.
At Supergiant our games take inspiration from many of the most memorable games we played when we were kids. In my case it’s a very long list, everything from RPGs like the classic Ultima and Final Fantasy games, to fighting games like Street Fighter II and Samurai Shodown. Those games challenged my preconceptions of what games could be, and introduced me to unforgettable worlds and characters.
Rather than throw back to the classics, though, we’re much more interested in capturing the experience of playing games like that for the first time. It’s that rush you feel when you find a game that’s incredibly novel but turns out to have a lot of depth there too… the kind of game you lose yourself in, and that leaves a lasting impression long after you’re done playing.
Bastion was our first attempt to act on this aspiration, and fortunately, it got a great response from around the world. It’s sold more than two million copies and earned more than 100 industry accolades, and put us in a position to maintain our independence, stick together as a team, and make something new. And, when it came to making something new, that’s exactly what we wanted. With Transistor, our aim is to create a unique-feeling game with its own strong, distinct identity, and many of its own surprises.
We’ve been working on Transistor for about a year and a half now, and most of the time has gone into finding that identity for the game. The result is a play experience that merges the kind of immediate moment-to-moment action we love, with a much more deliberate and thoughtful strategic layer that lets you dictate the pace of a battle.
We took inspiration from our favorite turn-based games and tactical RPGs, and aimed to capture the inherent drama and suspense of that style of play but in the context of an easy-to-learn action RPG. There’s nothing like turning the tables from the verge of defeat with some sort of spectacular last-ditch reversal, and the moment-to-moment play in Transistor should be packed with those kinds of opportunities. It’s all presented in a way that we think is unique to our game, and deeply connected to the story of this mysterious and powerful weapon you’ll be using throughout.
While I still sometimes struggle to find the words to describe the game I’m working on, I love talking about it almost as much as working on it, and I’d be happy to answer your questions right here in the coming days.
In turn, if you want to know more about what we’re up to, please have a look at our web site at supergiantgames.com or keep an eye on @SupergiantGames. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing our best to make a game that lives up to that Supergiant ideal.