Transistor Dev Supergiant is ‘Preoccupied’ with Strategy Games

The rest of the demo gave a broad taste of what Transistor might be like, but Korb wouldn’t reveal much in the way of details. Players will fight off The Process in other instances and varieties, including flying versions that fire vicious lasers and larger, hulking varieties that stomp around the battlefield and lay waste to everything they touch. The only option Red has in those moments is to try to stay behind destructable walls and other obstructions, which can absorb at least some incoming enemy fire between tactical turns.

We also got small sense of what Transistor’s story will be like. Bastion players will see a lot of familiar elements: like that game, Transistor seems mostly to consist of monologue and narration from a single character (in this case, a spirit trapped within the sword, voiced by Bastion’s narrator, Logan Cunningham). As Korb described it, Red’s story will take her across the city as she searches for answers about what has happened to her — as well as revenge.

Though the game is a science-fiction title, Transistor evokes a lot of the same visual elements that made Bastion so interesting, and Art Director Jen Zee’s distinctive, phenomenal hand-drawn graphical style makes a return as well. Bastion had what might have been the best soundtrack of the year thanks to the work of Korb, and his work on Transistor seems equally powerful.

“For this game, I wanted it to be very distinctive — as distinctive as Bastion, but very different,” Korb said of Transistor’s soundtrack. “I wanted it to have a different vibe that reflected the tone of this game uniquely. So the tone of this is definitely more electronic feeling, it’s bleaker, I would say, it’s also more kind of lounge-y, as well as has classical elements. So it’s definitely a different vibe, but I wanted it to have some of the same textures as Bastion as well.”

As I progressed through the demo, Red and the Transistor occasionally encountered the bodies of other victims of The Process, usually in areas of the city that the robots seemed to have digitized and corrupted. Upon encountering those bodies, the Transistor was able to commune with the victims’ spirits; the two I encountered both wanted to “come along,” and entered the sword, giving it new attacks. By the end of the demo, there were four different attack options in the Transistor, each with different uses and effects.

Korb said players should expect to come across a number of these abilities, which can be swapped out over time, although he wouldn’t say much more about the game’s RPG elements. He also noted that, like Bastion, Transistor will include non-story gameplay sections. In Bastion, players could take part in challenge maps for each of the game’s weapons, which conferred upgrades and other benefits.

Something like those levels will make their way to Transistor, too, but Korb wouldn’t say just what they were.

In many ways, it seems, Transistor is a game that would only have been possible because of Bastion, but it’s also a full realization of what the team at Supergiant wants to make. The indie team expanded slightly to work on Transistor, going from seven employees to 10, and Korb said Supergiant had been working on the game on and off for a year and a half before E3.

“(Transistor has) been a lot of fun to work on and, you know, very challenging,” Korb said. “Probably in a lot of ways, more challenging than Bastion because we’re really trying to create something very specific this time, and with Bastion, a lot of what we did was dictated by what we felt we could execute and whatever works.”

Korb said Supergiant is looking to release Transistor in early 2014, and will launch on PC and Playstation 4. Additional platforms may well be in the offing, though.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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