Bastion studio Supergiant Games’ upcoming action-RPG Transistor will incorporate a feature similar to Dark Souls’ social aspect.
“Something we’re more interested in is a sense of feeling connected to other people who are playing in a subtle way,” said Creative Director Greg Kasavin. “You can still have your personal experience around the story, but you always know you belong in a larger [world]. For example, players can sometimes see traces of other players’ paths moving around. Things of that nature. What’s interesting to us about this world is that it lends itself to some interesting things like that.”
When a multiplayer feature is experimented with in a game, most studios would usually go for a deathmatch mode that often feels too forced and ends up being a mediocre experience. In this case, Kasavin explains that a multiplayer deathmatch mode wouldn’t really fit in very well with the combat. He confirms that Transistor will not have “deathmatch arenas or whatever. I think I can say that pretty safely.”
Kasavin also reveals that they dabbled in the idea of having a co-op feature in Bastion. “We cut it because [it just didn't fit]. Traditionally, we agree that co-op is probably the most enjoyable way to play action-RPGs – with 1-3 other people. But we found it to be quite at odds with our narrative goals. When we had three people running around in Bastion, they just started goofing off and messing up the narration.”
“We also want the narrative and atmosphere to be important in Transistor, so having two characters running around at the same time would come at a heavy cost. It may open up some interesting gameplay opportunities, but at the expense of other areas. It’s not in the cards for us right now. But again, the part where you don’t feel alone in the world is very important to us. Solitude can be a very powerful feeling in games, but we want to use it intentionally. We don’t just want it to be the default mode of being in the game. We’d rather play around with it and use it purposefully.”
“If we do it properly [the subtle multiplayer feature] I think it’ll be completely transparent – offline or not. It’s not like an ambitious always-online DRM. That’s not what we have in mind!”
“There’s a lot that we’re still exploring there. Whatever we end up doing, we’ll probably want to be pretty subtle. It’s not going to be like you select multiplayer from the main menu. It’ll be something a little more under-the-hood that hopefully adds an interesting dimension to the world.”