Saturday, 21 May 2011

Building the Bastion

Normally I wouldn't make blogs like this that are basically just advertisements for a game without me saying anything of much significance. Normally. But SuperGiant Games' Bastion is a game which has held my attention for quite a few months now and I can't wait to play it when it finally hits the PC and Xbox Live Arcade later this year.

For the past few months, Giant Bomb has had a feature going where they document the development process of the game. They'll give the independent team a camera and send them off for a month or two to shoot some footage, before bringing them back to the office for an interview. The interviews are also pretty interesting because most of the time the Bastion team will bring in a really early build of the game to show how they've progressed. I won't say too much else, will just let these videos do the talking. Grab yourself some snacks and a nice drink if you plan on watching though, since it's a good 2 hours+ of video altogether.

(For the record, these were recorded live. Don't worry if the footage doesn't play immediately - sometimes it doesn't start until a few minutes into the video. Just let the thing buffer for a while, then scan through until it starts)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

There's always four team members on the couch in these videos, but I should probably mention that the team is actually six members large, or seven if you count the voice work done for the narrator. It comprises of
  • Amir Rao - Design, Studio Operations
  • Greg Kasavin - Writing, Creative Direction
  • Gavin Simon - Engineering, Design
  • Jen Zee - Artwork
  • Darren Korb - Audio, Music
  • Andrew Wang - Systems Engineering
They also have some 3D models outsourced, but otherwise that's it. Pretty impressive.

I follow Jen Zee on DeviantArt already, so you can view her work here if you liked what you saw. Fucking gorgeous stuff -- it has to be said.
Greg Kasavin is also a bit of a hero in the industry to me. He used to work as a reviewer at Gamespot, and was probably my favourite while there due to the respectful way he treated each game he reviewed. His favourite games are quite similar to my own, so I have no doubt that Bastion will be something I will enjoy.

While the game looks stunning in terms of visuals and I like a lot of the small touches, such as the way weapons like the shotgun work and the way the narrator comments on the story and the world - one of the more interesting parts of the game to me at this stage is the Shrine system that the team has put in place for players to control the difficulty and rewards. Difficulty and rewards aren't often given enough attention - for example, in old-school platformers the good players would end up earning the most extra lives without needing to use them, and the worse players would never have enough. It'll definitely be interesting to get my hands on the game and see how the Shrine system works for myself.

That'll be all for now. Give the videos a look, hopefully you like what you see. And if you do, be sure to buy the game when it comes out and support good independent developers. Cheers!

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