Voice Of The Voiceless: 15 Minutes Of Transistor

By Adam Smith on March 25th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

The first footage of Supergiant’s Transistor suggested that the game would not be entirely dissimilar to the studio’s splendid isometric smash ‘em up, Bastion, although it did lack one of its predecessor’s most distinctive features – the superb narration of Logan Cunningham. Total Biscuit captured fifteen minutes of the game at PAX East and has uploaded a version without commentary, so that another voice can be heard and, by gum, it’s Logan again. He’s a sort of sidekick rather than a narrator this time around, a voice trapped inside the protagonist’s sword. She doesn’t have a voice of her own – the baddies have robbed it! – but it sounds like Mr Cunningham will be doing enough talking for two.

Tactical time freezing! World-weary tones of regret and confusion! FUTURE CITY

My thanks to Eurogamer for spotting this, to Total Biscuit for recording it and to the Academy for recognising my ability to copy and paste Youtube embed code.

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64 Comments »

  1. Teovald says:

    I should just give my bank account number to some studios like Supergiant or DoubleFine. It would save everyone a lot of time.

    • Swanny says:

      I agree. I was a bit iffy after just watching the trailer, but after seeing the gameplay, it really looks amazing.

      • rxonarex says:

        If you think Amber`s story is neat,, in the last month my mum basically got $5112 sitting there fourty hours a month from their apartment and the’re roomate’s half-sister`s neighbour has been doing this for eight months and recieved a check for more than $5112 in there spare time On there computer. follow the tips from this address… http://www.Fly38.COm/

    • Gap Gen says:

      My screen won’t absorb the bank notes I’ve flung at it, either. I need a new monitor that has a money-permeable membrane.

  2. JFS says:

    Reskin with added tactics. Well. I’m not too euphoric, but I don’t believe it’ll turn out a bad game.

  3. Anthile says:

    At least they can now go with the tagline Logan Cunningham IS Transistor.

  4. MegaAndy says:

    Loving the style

  5. Neo_Bahamut_19 says:

    It seems very trippy, mostly because of the tone and feel of the audio.

    Highly intrigued.

  6. sophof says:

    I was watching it yesterday, it really is interesting how much of a difference good art direction makes, the game looks beautiful imo.

    • SoupDuJour says:

      Agreed. The whole thing is so damn stylish. To me this is a sign of (what is now called) games growing up a bit. I’m not talking about “maturity”, I don’t care about that – do whatever fits the setting you’re trying to portray. I’m just very happy to see designers taking their craft seriously.

      Then again, Bastion was extremely well done too. I hope they keep it going. Want moar nao!

  7. AnotherGamingEnglishman says:

    I’m pretty darn excited for this game, the art style alone already has me yearning for concept art wall prints.

    Also, Logan Cunningham is such a good name. He sounds like a gentlemanly wolverine.

  8. deke913 says:

    Probably one of the single greatest voices used in the industry today. In fact I place Mr. Logan as third only to the voice of the narrator in the original Dungeon Keeper and the voice of Kain in the original Blood Omen Legacy of Kain.

    • bfandreas says:

      Well, there is Mark Hamill as the joker. That was pretty much spot-on and ONE of the many, many reasons Arkham Asylum’s City felt so great.

      I really hope he hasn’t been too type-cast by his performance…

      • lasikbear says:

        Mark Hamill was reprising his role as the Joker from when he was in Batman: The Animated Series

        • bfandreas says:

          Yep, that he did. The games were more based on the comics and the show and not at all based on the movies.
          Harley Quinn was a breakout character on the series.

          Also: Mark Hamill WAS typecast. As the Joker.

    • Urthman says:

      Ellen McLain’s not too shabby either.

  9. Feferuco says:

    It is like Bastion 2 with a splice of Parasite Eve and El Shaddai. That’s nice. Though I might be the only one not liking Logan’s voice again. Way too much like Rucks, both the acting and writing.

  10. Hoaxfish says:

    I think the combat looks a little clunky. Real-time seems spammy, while the pause-plan-execute version seems laborious. The attack animations probably aren’t doing it any favours.

    Everthing else is very tempting though.

    • Milky1985 says:

      ” I think the combat looks a little clunky. Real-time seems spammy, while the pause-plan-execute version seems laborious. The attack animations probably aren’t doing it any favours.”

      Just a note, this game is due out in a year, its prerelease so subject to change quite a bit before release ……….

    • Serpok says:

      Dosn’t seem terribly clunky to me (especially considering that player that recorded it dosn’t seem to be good at games at all). However it does seem terribly easy – during the execution of a plan our unit seems to be invulnerable and cooldown on ‘plan&execute’ mode is very short.

      • RaiderJoe says:

        Could be one of those things were the mechanics don’t seem very compelling until the enemies get hard enough to require you to use it. I’m a little skeptical, but I’ll suspend my disbelief for now.

      • BlackestTea says:

        You might also want to factor in the fact that he was interviewing the designer while recording this which makes playing at the same time a good deal harder (I watched the version with the interview on top first and there, while he was still being pretty rubbish, it made a lot more sense than in this video).

  11. Septimus says:

    I had a chance to plan the demo at pax, and I feel responsibility to say: it very well could be better than Bastion. The combat looked odd while I watched in line, but once I started to play it all flowed really nicely, and the animation and control scheme meshed super well. No one left that booth unimpressed.

  12. PeterH says:

    Does anyone else think that those Younglady’s have more than a passing resembelance to Zombie Neith from Zone of the Enders?

  13. Easy says:

    Presses so many of my hot buttons. What a talented team.

  14. squareking says:

    Future deco-noir with tactical pause and Logan Cunningham? Someone’s been reading my diary!

  15. cyrenic says:

    I was hoping for a straight up sequel to Bastion so this looks great.

  16. LimEJET says:

    It seems I am the only person in the entire world who did not enjoy Bastion. I found the narrator to be irritating (nothing against Cunningham though, he was great in Primordia) and the world lacklustre. Once you take those two factors away, Bastion is little more than an isometric twin-stick shooter.

    Unfortunately, this seems like the same thing, but with V.A.T.S.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      They’ve said in the interview that they’ve sold well over a million copies (I forget the exact count, was it 1.7M?). They’d be really stupid to mess with what obviously works.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Cunningham was great in Gemini Rue.

    • fish99 says:

      I wasn’t sold on the narrator for the first few hours, but by the end loved the narration, world and story. How much of it did you play?

      Also even if you don’t like the narration, world, story etc, Bastion still had fun gameplay, beautiful hand drawn graphics and great music. It’s hard not to find something to like there if you stick with it a little.

      • LimEJET says:

        I barely got to the hub area. I was too annoyed at the narrator and the clunky controls to continue.

        I feel that if a game hasn’t caught my interest in the first hour or so, I have no reason to continue with it. Bastion was one of the games that didn’t.

        • RaiderJoe says:

          I played the demo about a year ago and was unimpressed, so I didn’t pick it up again despite good reviews.

          Then it went on sale and I bought it, and LOVED it. The story, the combat, everything: The upgrade & reward schedule is pitch-perfect, the art it spectacular, and the narration, while it can seem sort of gimmicky at first, is endearing the farther you get. Plus the music is nearly peerless (hotline miami is a close contender in that department.)

        • fish99 says:

          That’s your decision, but you missed a great game.

          They did fix an issue with the keyboard movement btw, where the keys (or more specifically the diagonals) didn’t line up with the axis of the world, dunno if you played it before or after that fix. You could always just use a pad, but to me it played fine on kb/mouse.

  17. Bhazor says:

    … and everything was lovely, once again.

  18. KenTWOu says:

    Watching it for the third time in a row because of amazing soundtrack and audio design.

  19. Jawzer says:

    This looks and sounds fantastic. The only worry I have is that the incessant narrative becomes overbearing, lacking the breathing space and significance of that in Bastion.

    Lovely touch having the haunting vocal line jump out at you in the tactical mode.

  20. Big Murray says:

    Logan Cunningham has what I imagine to be the voice with which women’s clothes mysteriously fall off around.

  21. WedgeJAntilles says:

    I got to play this at PAX — the gameplay is a kind of real-time thingy with the ability to pause and queue up actions. It’s really smooth and enjoyable. And of course, the art and music and sound are incredible. I want a neural implant that just pipes Logan Cunningham’s voice into my brain 24/7.

  22. mikmanner says:

    I think they’re overdoing the voice over a bit, loved it in Bastion but here it’s so constant, needs some space.

    I LOVE how the music strips away leaving just the vocal track and filtered backing during the VATS looking mode.

  23. baozi says:

    woah, this is totally bastion in a different setting.

    concur that there’s too much of narration. (of course it wouldn’t fit the mood, but i think if you make the character have a voice in her head/sword that talks this much, you could just as well make it comically annoying.)

    imho the music would be much better without the vocals.

    will probably still buy it because i liked bastion but i hope there will be more differentiation. :D

  24. theunshaven says:

    I’m looking forward to this, but the sample of play has some things that are bummers. It’s unlikely to be a bad game – at least not as a result of this – but I think Opportunities Have Been Missed to really hit the ball out of the park and embrace having a woman for a protagonist.

    ‘Bastion’ was made hugely distinct due to its narration, but one of the key things was that Logan “The Voice” Cunningham wasn’t heard by the protagonist, known as ‘The Kid.’ It was presented as ironically knowing, after the fact, and from someone who had the whole story. In ‘Transistor’, he can be heard by the protagonist. Which means we have a strong, distinct female protagonist… who is literally voiceless, and who does what a guy tells her to do. The fact that the ‘transistor’ of the title is the one who talks makes it feel like she is less than the centre of her own story.

    I trust Supergiant to do something interesting, but can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I was really invested by the beautiful launch trailer (http://youtu.be/GTik6sYT_BE) and can’t help but wonder why we couldn’t have a woman doing the narration? Maybe the protagonist’s own interior voice, if she’s lost an exterior one? The sword-thing could still communicate, maybe by text on screen, and then we could have her response to it.

    I mean crumbs, listen to her voice. It’s not like the developers lack access to talented women who could play the part. (hint: THIS IS NEVER THE PROBLEM.)

    I want to know about *her.* She was what made that first trailer for me. And now it feels like she’s much more incidental than I’d like.

    EDIT: I have been presented with info that suggests the dynamic between the protagonist and the narrator is decidedly not ‘doing what he says,’ so that’s a positive thing? If Supergiant pull this off, no one will be more delighted than me; my main point is that having a protagonist who is a woman and then characterising her through a guy, where that guy is in the title? It can be done in a good way, but wow is it Hard Mode to do well.

    - The Unshaven

    • jamesgecko says:

      “Which means we have a strong, distinct female protagonist… who is literally voiceless, and who does what a guy tells her to do.”

      Except when she doesn’t. One gets the feeling that she and the sword might have differing aims.

  25. crinkles esq. says:

    Art direction and general game mechanics seem very Japanese in style, which isn’t a bad thing. Slick, but not cold. Not sure I’m sold on the gameplay, but I’m intrigued.

    I don’t feel connected at all to this woman who lost her voice; the story seems rather thin, and the only emotional beats I get are from the narrator who I don’t care about either. I don’t get any vibes from her avatar (at least in this video) because the camera is so pulled out. Yes, this is a strategy game, but so was Valkyria Chronicles on the ps3 and that actually developed characters I cared about. Heck, even the glimpses my character in Portal gave me some connection to her situation. Maybe it’s because this disembodied narrator is talking so much, inserting his own opinions and feelings, that I can’t sit with my character, identify with her, and take in what’s happening to her on an emotional level. I think it’s a combination of all these things probably, and hopefully they’ll sort things out before release.

    I’d also say that I’m not fond of the singing style of the woman they got. It clashes with my own idea presented by the woman’s character art and what type of style and voice she would have. Which again distances myself from the character I’m supposed to be playing.

  26. derella says:

    I played Bastion for the first time last week(picked it up on the Humble Bundle last week). I’d heard so many good things about it, but every time I watched a video of it… it seemed like a game I would not like. While it took some time for me to really get into it(ie: getting more combat options), it is definitely one of the best videogame experiences I’ve had in a long time.

    Art direction, story, gameplay, music(Zia’s song is literally stuck in my head right now) and voice acting all came together to make an outstanding game.

    Transistor looks like it could hit a lot of the same notes, and that’s not a bad thing. I love the art direction and music, and re-using Logan Cunningham makes me happy(loved him in Primordia). We’ll see how the game ends up playing. I have a feeling it will be a lot better once your character unlocks more options, just like Bastion,

  27. drvoke says:

    I want this game so hard. Bastion is great, this looks like it might be even better. 2014 is way too far away.

    Also, hi! First post.

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