E3 2011: Bastion Interview With Gavin Simon

By Darryl Kaye on June 12, 2011, 3:39PM EST

This year's E3 had a plethora of titles on show, but we took the time to speak to Gavin Simon from SuperGiant Games about their first project, Bastion, a downloadable title coming soon to Xbox Live Arcade.

We discuss the decision to put the title on Xbox Live, expansion possibilities for the studio and how they came up with the unique narration style.

GamingUnion.net: What were some of your inspirations for when you were coming up with the game?

Gavin Simon: Really, it's all over the place. As far as Xbox Live Arcade games are concerned, you have games like Braid and Castle Crashers. But everything from Diablo to Zelda to Earthbound were all big inspirations. Every member of our seven person team has different favourite games.

GamingUnion.net: Why did you decide not to release on PlayStation Network?

Gavin Simon: Well, we haven't ruled that out yet. We're a very small team so we can only do one skew at a time, so we decided to start with Xbox 360. We have a PC version planned next and after that we'll see.

GamingUnion.net: Did you choose Xbox Live first because it has the biggest market?

Gavin Simon: Not really. We were inspired by games like Braid and Castle Crashers and because they succeeded on Xbox Live first, that's why we decided to go for it.

GamingUnion.net: How did you come up with the idea for the narration style, it's very different?

Gavin Simon: It was just an experiment that we wanted to try one day. We were looking at different ways to deliver story without interrupting the play experience through walls of text or cutscenes, so we came up with this idea and tried it for a bit. We really liked where it was going so we expanded on it a lot more and made it constant throughout the entire game.

GamingUnion.net: If this is a success, where are you going to go from there. Will it be ports first, or something else?

Gavin Simon: Hopefully it'll be a success, but we'll see. We have a lot of good ideas and we're an independent studio so we'll make that decision.

GamingUnion.net: Do you want to stay as a seven-man team, or do you want to grow?

Gavin Simon: Yea, we'd like to grow over time, certainly. But we want to stay within our means and hire people who would work with the team. Pretty much the entire team are people who're friends and family, people who knew each other through connections.

GamingUnion.net: So you'll only hire more people who're either friends or family?

Gavin Simon: laughs Who knows what the future will hold, it's hard to say. We're just really glad to have almost finished our first game after 2 years hard work on it.

GamingUnion.net: What do you think about the downloadable market? When it was first established you had ports of flash games, but now it's really flourishing.

Gavin Simon: Oh, it's been great. New games come out that are doing stuff that's really interesting and unique and it's great to see. we're really excited to be in Microsoft's Summer of Arcade when games like Limbo, Castle Crashers and Shadow Complex have been in there. All these games have done great things in a format that's a little bit easier to digest than your typical $60 experience.

GamingUnion.net: Do you see this as more of a future for the game's industry if the big budget games saturate themselves?

Gavin Simon: I don't want to even try to predict the future, but this is certainly an emerging market that we're very excited about - it's been doing very well. And it allows small teams like us to form and make a game.

GamingUnion.net: How long do you think the game takes to complete?

Gavin Simon: For the main story, it's about 8-10 hours. Then you've got the New Game+ mode which allows you to play through it all again. But there's also a bunch of challenge levels and different weapon development that can extend the duration of the experience.

GamingUnion.net: Do you have any multiplayer modes, or is it just a single player experience?

Gavin Simon: It's going to be single-player only. We prototyped co-op a little bit, but we ended up focussing on the story and narratio techniques so much that we felt it was better for us to just focus on the single-player instead.

GamingUnion.net: Maybe with Bastion 2 you can cram that in there?

Gavin Simon: Who knows, we'll see. We all like co-op games a lot, but we wanted to do everything we could to make Bastion a solid experience.

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