Supergiant Games’ first big hit, Bastion, was a strictly single-player affair . The developer’s upcoming follow-up, Transistor, won’t be able to say the same, creative director Greg Kasavin tells Rock Paper Shotgun. The game won’t just feature the traditional arena deathmatch or co-op gameplay modes, however.
“Something we’re more interested in is a sense of feeling connected to other people who are playing in a subtle way,” Kasavin tells RPS. “You can still have your personal experience around the story, but you always know you belong in a larger [world]. For example, players can sometimes see traces of other players’ paths moving around. Things of that nature. What’s interesting to us about this world is that it lends itself to some interesting things like that.”
Kasavin said Transistor’s gameplay would lend itself to more traditional multiplayer, but it didn’t seem to fit the style of the game.
“I don’t see this game having death match arenas or whatever,” he said. “I think I can say that pretty safely.”
Kasavin also tells RPS multiplayer was considered and tested for Bastion, but noted that the co-operative gameplay interfered with the narration-based story, which was one of the most successful and most widely-praised aspects of the game when it dropped in 2011, so it was cut before the game released.
“Traditionally, we agree that co-op is probably the most enjoyable way to play action-RPGs – with 1-3 other people,” Kasavin said. “But we found it to be quite at odds with our narrative goals. When we had three people running around in Bastion, they just started goofing off and messing up the narration.”
Kasavin said a similarly narrative-based story will be important to Transistor’s atmosphere, which would mean adding a second player into the mix “would come at a heavy cost.” Still, the developer wanted the player to have a sense that they were not alone.
“[Co-operative gameplay] may open up some interesting gameplay opportunities, but at the expense of other areas. It’s not in the cards for us right now. But again, the part where you don’t feel alone in the world is very important to us,” Kasavin said. “Solitude can be a very powerful feeling in games, but we want to use it intentionally. We don’t just want it to be the default mode of being in the game. We’d rather play around with it and use it purposefully.”
There’s still a good amount of time before Transistor hits the market, so any number of things are subject to change between now and release. However, Kasavin notes that whatever the end product is, the multiplayer elements are expected to be “pretty subtle” and “something a little more under-the-hood that hopefully adds an interesting dimension to the world.”
Transistor is developer Supergiant’s follow-up to its 2011 hit, Bastion. The game is set in a futuristic cyber-punk city and follows protagonist Red, a famous singer who finds herself in possession of a mysterious, sword-like transistor after an attack. The game’s viewpoint and combat will be similar to that of Bastion, although turn-based battle elements will also be incorporated. The game won’t likely release before next year and the developer has yet to announce what platforms on which the game will launch.
What do you think of Transistor’s multiplayer elements? Do you want to see a full-on co-op or deathmatch mode? Let us know in the comments.