Supergiant’s Transistor Looks Nothing If Not Promising

Today, developer Supergiant Games gave us a look at their sophomore release in Transistor, the follow-up to the Indie darling Bastion released in 2011. With an impressive pedigree and an ever-growing stable of talent, it’s no secret that there are big expectations placed on the shoulders of the Bastion developers.

So the question remains: can their next release possibly meet the high bar set by the release of Bastion?

Well, if what they showed us today serves as any indicator, it may not only live up to Bastion’s success; it could surpass it.

Stepping away from the more traditional fantasy RPG roots of Bastion, Transistor takes place in a sci-fi/cyberpunk universe and stars a young woman who happened across an “extraordinary weapon of unknown origin” shortly “after a group of assailants nearly kills her with it.”

The bulk of the game will be spent running through the streets of the city, fighting enemies who will stop at nothing to gain control of the weapon again.

Supergiant aims to incorporate several new  features into Transistor, including the design choice aiming to “seamlessly integrate thoughtful strategic planning into a fast-paced action experience, complete with our studio’s signature melding of responsive gameplay and rich atmospheric storytelling.”

So, why should we be excited about Transistor?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at what made Bastion so fantastic: smooth combat, gorgeous art style, great atmosphere, and an overall reliance on new ideas and unique conventions that made the game, in a word, great.

For Transistor, it looks like the fine folks at Supergiant are looking to return once again to the same format, only using a new set of ideas to throw in the mix to keep things interesting.

A new weapon suggests a re-vamped combat system that could potentially provide hours of satisfying gameplay much like Bastion did with the game’s different enemies and encounters. There’s still so much we don’t know about the game that almost makes speculation fun. My hope is that the game makes use of its sci fi setting and allows you to equip the weapon with new abilities that reflect the futuristic tone the world is set in. Power ups or abilities would give it a needed RPG flavor to keep things engaging and drive you to continue with the story. It’s said that the main point of the game is to learn about the weapon’s origins and what exactly makes it so special enough to drive enemies to want to take it away from the game’s protagonist at all costs. Hopefully the great storytelling in Bastion will find its way over to Transistor to make for a compelling and unique experience as a whole.

The game’s setting looks fascinating as well. The cyberpunk/sci-fi aspect of it is a pretty drastic change from the fantasy setting in Bastion, and it allows the creators to do different things with the setting that might not fit in with more traditional fantasy backdrops. Enemy types, environments, the way you interact with the world…there are literally endless possibilities that could be super interesting and unique if mastered well in Transistor. Add to that the fact that they’re bringing back the same gorgeous hand-painted style of Bastion, and color me excited to learn more about this game in the coming months.

Supergiant is targeting early 2014 for a release and plans to tell us more about Transistor at PAX East. Keep it locked here for more information about the game as it is announced.