Before moving into development, Greg Kasavin, Supergiant’s creative director and co-founder, was editor in chief of Gamespot. Here, we discuss how his time writing about games informed his philosophy for making them, the studio’s move from sci-fi to fantasy, and why a team that made its name on 360 has seemingly switched allegiance to Sony. How important was it to turn Bastion’s passive narrator into an active part of proceedings? With Transistor, we wanted to create a new game with its own distinct identity and feel, [but] we did come back around to certain ideas. The narration in Bastion we felt worked really well, and in some respects is kind of a signature aspect of Bastion, so with Transistor it was really important that we take a different angle that made sense for the kind of story we wanted to tell. We wanted to make Logan [Cunningham]’s character an active participant, someone reacting to the events of the story as they unfold, as opposed to having seemingly omniscient knowledge of events still to come. We think it helps give Transistor its own distinct feel. You’ve made two games in the same genre with similar mechanics, which many studios try to avoid. It wasn’t a conscious decision. The kind of games we make are born from our love of games. There are certain genres, such as the action-RPG, that we have, I think, an unlimited amount of love for. Having made a very action-oriented game in Bastion, we wanted to see if we could take it in this more deliberate, more strategic and rather more thoughtful direction with Transistor. We’re the same small team that made Bastion, so I think to some extent you can tell that it’s the same people, though we hope that comes across in a positive way. What used to frustrate you about storytelling when you were writing about games, and how has that informed the way you make them? The short shrift it tends to get in so many games. I feel strongly that attention to detail in narrative can make just about any game better. It’s [about] using narrative to try to tie together the discrete components of a game and to establish a sense of internal consistency and continuity [for] the world. At Supergiant, we feel that narrative and gameplay can, and really ought to, exist in a harmonious state. We do our best to try to weave those aspects of the game together and make them feel as closely connected as possible. In Transistor, this meant tying key aspects of the story to the systems themselves, and letting players piece together the story from a variety of sources. Not just the voiceover, but also information gleaned through other parts of the game, even bits of interface. The entire story is centred on this mysterious weapon… Hopefully, players’ understanding of its narrative significance will coincide with their growing understanding of all it can do from a gameplay standpoint. The game seems to be saying something about our attitudes to, and use of, technology. I don’t necessarily want to pin it down to a specific set of ideas. As a work of science fiction, Transistor can be taken to reflect on certain contemporary values. I think that’s true of any work of science fiction, [which] is fascinating because of its ability to reflect the time from which it emerges. It’s almost a historical document, even though it’s about far-flung times. In Transistor, we do explore some of that, but we wanted to leave it open [to interpretation]. As a writer, I’m rather opposed to allegorical, didactic writing that has a message you’re supposed to take away. You built Bastion for 360 using XNA. How have you found the transition to different technology? Transistor is based on some of the same tech we used for Bastion, though instead of using XNA, it uses a fork of the MonoGame framework, which lets us get on to more platforms than XNA. The transition has been smooth. We like having our own engine. Handmade 2D engines are not super-common these days, so we think it contributes to the particular feel of our games. Why are you releasing on a Sony console first? Sony came and played the game when we first showed it at PAX East last year, and they really liked it and wanted to see the game on PS4. We really liked their attitude to our work – they really believed in what we were doing. We really wanted Transistor to be on both console and PC, because we love both. We’re a small team, [and] we knew we couldn’t release Transistor on every platform under the sun at the same time, so we made a decision to go for PS4 first. You’ve explored both fantasy and sci-fi now. What will you try next? We don’t know. We put everything we had into this game, and we don’t plan ahead. It’s almost a taboo at Supergiant, because nothing really matters until we see the response to what we’re working on now. Since we’re small, we don’t have multiple projects brewing simultaneously. We invest everything we’ve got into a single project, and I really like it that way. I think with games it’s important not to plan too far ahead, not to try to design the whole thing on paper, because a lot is going to change. We like to take things as they come.