Posted by Greg Kasavin on May 11, 2011
We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Bastion for easy reference in case you’re wondering something about the game. If you have additional questions you’d like answered, send us a note!
Last Updated: November 14, 2012
What is Bastion?
Bastion is an original action role-playing game featuring a reactive narrator who marks your every move, lush hand-painted 2D artwork, and tight responsive gameplay that rewards playing with finesse. The game is designed to be simple to pick up and start playing, while offering a lot of rich choices around character customization as well as a deep story and gameworld you can lose yourself in.
Is it any good?
Bastion has earned more than 100 industry accolades from dozens of different publications, including spots of Best of the Year lists from TIME, the Associated Press, NPR, CNN, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, and more.
Who is the developer?
That’s us. Bastion is the debut title from Supergiant Games, and we’re a small independent studio that started in San Jose, California (we’re now in San Francisco). Our team includes former members of Electronic Arts’ Command & Conquer franchise and Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare franchise. We moved on from working for giant publishers to make games our way. If you’d like to know more about us, you can see how we operate and what’s gone into the making of our first game in the Building the Bastion documentary series featured at GiantBomb.com.
Where can I get your soundtrack?
The Bastion Original Soundtrack is now available at our online store! Bastion includes an hour of original music composed and created by our audio director, Darren Korb. Darren started making music for Bastion relatively early in development as we were working to define the exact tone we wanted to strike with the game. As we started talking about a fantasy frontier world, Darren came up with a musical style he calls “acoustic frontier trip-hop”, which struck the balance we were looking for. You’ll hear this musical style all throughout the game. The Bastion Original Soundtrack is also available through the Steam Store.
What platforms is it available for and what is the release date?
Bastion launched on Xbox LIVE Arcade on July 20 as the first title in the fourth annual Summer of Arcade. Visit the game’s official page on Xbox.com.
Bastion launched on PC on August 16, 2011 on the Steam Store. Visit Bastion’s Steam page for more information. Bastion is also available from other select digital retailers.
Bastion launched on December 9, 2011 on the Chrome Web Store. Visit Bastion’s page on the Chrome Web Store to play the game right in your browser!
Bastion launched on April 26, 2012 on the Mac App Store. Visit Bastion’s page on the Mac App Store to download it.
Bastion for Linux launched on June 1, 2012 on the Ubuntu Software Center. Visit Bastion’s page on the Ubuntu Software Center to download it.
Bastion for iPad launched on August 29, 2012 on the App Store. An update released on November 14, 2012 added compatibility for iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Visit Bastion’s page on the App Store to download it.
What differences are there in the iOS version of Bastion compared with the Xbox 360 or PC versions?
We have a whole ‘nother Bastion for iPad FAQ with a bunch of details on what’s unique to that version.
What differences are there in the PC version of Bastion compared with the Xbox 360 version?
We’ve taken the time to make sure the experience feels right at home on your gaming rig, specifically with these features:
• 1080p Resolution: Experience the lush world of Bastion in stunning detail.
• Custom-Tailored PC Controls: Fully redesigned, remappable controls created for PC – plus gamepad support.
• DRM-free: When you buy something it should be yours.
• Steamworks Enabled: Cloud saves, Leaderboards, and Steam achievements.
What are the minimum system requirements for the PC version?
Bastion for PC requires:
OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7
Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core or Greater
Memory: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 1.0 GB
Video Card: 512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 2)
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Some players have reported being able to run the game just fine on a lower spec, but we cannot guarantee performance in those cases. If you’re not sure if your system can run the game you can always try downloading the free demo first.
What is the game’s content rating?
The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB, and 12+ by PEGI, USK, CERO, ACB, and GRB. The ESRB cited the game’s fantasy violence, animated blood, and alcohol and tobacco reference.
Is there a playable demo available?
Yes, there is a free demo available on Steam. There is also a free trial version of Bastion on Xbox LIVE Arcade, containing the prologue of the game. This early portion introduces the reactive narrator and the story, the style of play including several different weapons and secret skills, various aspects of character customization through the use of specially-brewed Spirits, and of course our lush gameworld. As such, the demo should provide a good sense of what the full experience has to offer.
How big is the development team?
During Bastion’s development, Supergiant Games was a core team of seven including our voice actor whose performance is so integral to the game. To learn more about us, visit the Team page. In addition to the core team, we got invaluable assistance from some of our friends and former colleagues in disciplines like animation, 3D modeling, and quality assurance.
Why is the game not available for my favorite platform?
It’s nothing personal. As a studio, we’re not limited by what platforms we can support, and as game players, we like and use them all. That said, the quality of our game is our primary concern, and that means having to focus on developing for one platform at a time. Our secondary goal is to make Bastion available on as many platforms as makes sense – where there exists a sufficient demand and where we can offer the game without compromising on its quality. Weighing these priorities together, we made the decision to start with the Xbox 360 version and move on to PC after that. Beyond that, we haven’t ruled anything out though we’re not committed to any other versions either.
How long was the game in development?
Bastion started development in September 2009, so development took a little less than two years for the original Xbox 360 version of the game.
What engine is the game running on?
Bastion runs on our own proprietary tools and technology, which were written in C# by Gavin Simon expressly for this game.
Which languages does the game support besides English?
Bastion’s voiceover is in English only. The game’s text and subtitles are available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
We decided not to localize the voiceover for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the quality of the English voiceover performance. We worked very closely with Logan our voice actor in countless recording sessions to get the timing and tone of the performance just right for the game, and we could not have replicated this relationship with any other actor. Further, the in-game voiceover is timed manually and carefully, to fractions of a second. All that said, we feel the English voiceover will lead to the best possible experience even for players who don’t speak the language, since even the tone of the voice is important to the game.
What is the story of the game about?
In Bastion, you play as a young man who wakes up to find his world shattered to pieces in a surreal catastrophe called the Calamity. You head for a place called the Bastion, where your people were supposed to go in case anything ever went wrong. But all you find there is an old man… who believes he can fix everything that’s happened, but he needs your help. You then seek out the materials necessary to complete the Bastion and realize its true power.
This story unfolds through the use of real-time narration, so you will be piecing together the mysteries of the gameworld every step of the way, as the narrator conveys the greater meaning behind your every action.
What do you mean when you say the combat rewards finesse and experimentation?
Bastion is designed to be an active, action-packed experience. In some role-playing games, the difference between victory and defeat can boil down to how high your stats are and how good your equipment is, rather than on your skill as a player. In Bastion, the combat has much more of an action-oriented feel, where you’ll have to keep moving to evade or defend against your foes, take advantage of the terrain you’re fighting in, and attack when you see an opening.
As you gain experience levels, rather than simply becoming more powerful, you will gain access to more and more options with which you can custom-tailor your playstyle to best suit your preferences. The numerous weapons in the game are not designed in a way where each one is bigger and better than the rest. All weapons remain viable throughout the game and can be upgraded and paired in a variety of different ways. The game makes it easy to try different options for customizing your character, so you won’t feel like you’re locked in to choices you made early on.
How long is the game?
We aimed to create a game with a “just right” length and scope – the kind of game that feels truly complete in every sense – but we know that players have very different expectations about optimal game length. Bastion is paced such that you will spend no time grinding for experience or loot, or performing the kinds of menial tasks that can pad the length of some games. Even so, in our tests the average player usually takes from 8 to 10 hours to play from start to finish the first time. The game includes a lot of optional content and offers a variety of reasons to revisit the story after you finish it the first time, so Bastion can last you a good long while if you want it to.
How open-ended is the game?
Bastion is designed to feel like a grand adventure with a clear purpose, so it isn’t the sort of game in which you’ll spend time wandering aimlessly looking for things to do. However, the structure of the game means you will always be given a choice of different areas to explore. Some areas must be completed to advance the story while others are purely optional but will reward you in different ways should you choose to complete them.
The moment-to-moment combat in the game is also quite open-ended, in the sense that you will have access to a growing number of viable options for configuring your character. Choosing different weapons, upgrades, secret skills, and spirits will result in a significantly different experience.
How much puzzle-solving is in the game?
Bastion isn’t a game about puzzle-solving. Puzzles didn’t align well with the type of play experience we wanted, in that we never want the player to feel “stumped” about how to proceed. We didn’t want to slow the pace of the game with a lot of puzzles.
What are some of the ways in which you can customize your character in Bastion?
Some of the main ways in which you can customize your character and playstyle in Bastion is through making different choices in the Distillery, Arsenal, and Forge structures.
The Distillery contains a variety of specially-brewed Spirits, which can enhance your abilities in a variety of ways by providing various passive bonuses. For example, Werewhiskey grants you a 100% chance to deal critical hits for bonus damage, but only when your health is very low. Alternately, Bull Brandy makes you more resistant to damage. As you gain levels, your drink limit increases, allowing you to benefit from more Spirits at once.
In the Arsenal, you can choose from any two available weapons, plus a Secret Skill. Some Secret Skills must be earned, and require you to have a particular weapon equipped. Bastion does not restrict you from choosing whichever weapons you want, so if you want to go in with two melee weapons such as the Cael Hammer and the War Machete, you’re more than welcome. All combinations are viable.
The Forge is where you upgrade all those different weapons you’ve collected. Upgrading weapons costs resources so you’ll have to make some tough choices about which ones you want to improve. Each time you upgrade a weapon, you unlock two different improvements for it, and can freely swap back and forth between them. For example, when you upgrade the Cael Hammer for the first time, you can either improve its base damage or give it a chance to deal critical hits.
By engaging with these different systems, you can shape your character into a close-combat slugger, a lightning-fast flurry, a cool-headed sharpshooter, or anywhere in between.
Does the game offer adjustable difficulty settings?
Yes, Bastion offers adjustable difficulty settings, though not in the conventional manner you’ve come to expect from other games. In most games you’re asked to make a blind choice about difficulty before you begin play, such as by choosing between “Normal” or “Hard” modes. In Bastion, the game’s default difficulty setting is designed to be suitable for anyone with basic reading ability (for brief onscreen tutorial prompts) and a grasp of how to use a game controller. Beyond that, players may wish to engage the Shrine, which is our in-game difficulty system that’s introduced at a certain point during the story.
In the Shrine, you can invoke a variety of different Idols to raise the difficulty of the game in specific ways. As a basic example, the idol to the Goddess Hense causes foes to hit harder than usual. The effects of the idols are cumulative, so the more idols you invoke, the tougher the game gets. Apart from the inherent appeal of having to learn different tactics and when fighting Shrine-enhanced enemies, the advantage of invoking more idols is that you gain a bonus to experience earned, as well as more Fragments (a currency you’ll use in the game).
How much narration is in the game?
We recorded thousands of lines of narration for the game, somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000. The narration is a pervasive part of the experience. It is designed to vary based on how the player goes through each of the different areas of the game, so players will never hear all of the narration their first time through, and probably not the second or third time either. Our hope is that the narration will end up feeling like it was crafted to your own personal play experience.
Does the game offer multiplayer or co-op?
Bastion is a single-player game. We prototyped cooperative play and considered supporting it earlier in development but eventually decided to focus only on single-player because cooperative play did not fit well with the aesthetic of the game and the personal journey we aimed to deliver.
Who does the artwork for the game? Is it all 2D?
The art of Bastion is created by our art director Jen Zee. Almost every single asset in the game is something she painted by hand.
Who provides the voice of your narrator?
Our narrator is voiced by Logan Cunningham, an actor based in New York. His performance in Bastion represents the first work he’s done for a video game. If you wish to contact Logan regarding other acting opportunities, we’d be happy to put you in touch.