Later this month Supergiant, the makers of Bastion, are releasing their next game, Transistor. An action RPG following Red, a singer in a futuristic city, forced to run from the authorities after picking up a powerful talking sword, Transistor sounds weird and excellent but it could also be the game that changes the way Supergiant make games.
The studio’s life is banked on Transistor’s success. That’s why, as far as plans go, “there’s nothing beyond that date. We have no plans for what comes next.”
“We didn’t plan too far ahead before Bastion was out, and a lot of interesting opportunities came up after the fact that we never could have expected,” Greg Kasavin tells Gamasutra. “If we’d had firm plans in place beforehand it actually would have handicapped us a bit….since we’re small, I think we can move fast and take on stuff as it comes.”
The team is small and members are left to their own sections of the project, collaborating but independent.
“We’re pretty quiet; the word ‘monastic’ has been used to describe us,” Kasavin said. “We don’t over-schedule, and we plan in a tactical way; we have plans of what we’re going to do over the next week or two, and that’s pretty much it.”
Following the success of Bastion the team were financially free to work in this way. If Transistor doesn’t approach that success then the studio simply wouldn’t be able to do it again. Their freedom on Transistor came from being self-funded, if they had to turn back to a publisher for their next game they couldn’t hope to have the same experience.
They may not want to say it out loud but there’s a good chance that Transistor will be as successful, hopefully more so. It looks like it has a strong core game of tactical semi-turn-based combat and, as with Bastion, a gorgeously painted world with music to match. When Transistor releases on 20 May I’ll definitely be buying it straight away.