Creative director Greg Kasavin has said Bastion was built with the goal of enriching gameplay experience by providing consequential choices.
“Providing players with meaningful choices around their play experience not only makes for richer gameplay but can make the entire play experience more expressive and rewarding,” he told GameInformer in an extensive post-mortem interview.
“One of our goals with Bastion was to present the player with an ever-growing series of meaningful gameplay choices. We wanted players to feel a frequent sense of surprise at the expansion of the game’s scope.”
Kasavin said Supergiant aimed to find a mid-point between strong narrative structure and player freedom.
“For me personally this comes from trying to reconcile the best aspects of Western role-playing games, known for their open-ended structure, and Japanese role-playing games, known for their crafted (but generally very linear) storylines,” he said. “I think you can have it both ways.”
Bastion’s ending has been the subject of much discussion, and Kasavin said it plays into Supergiant’s focus on meaningful decision making.
“The choices around the ending are meant to be expressive. Many games offer moral choices but I don’t think we go through life making moral choices, or at least that’s not how they feel,” he said.
“People make choices based on logic and faith. We don’t weigh the good or the evil of our decisions, we just do what seems appropriate and will bring about the outcome we want.
“So it was important to me to have an ending in which every outcome was fully justified, and that put the essential question of ‘how will you leave the world’ in the player’s hands.”
Although Supergiant doesn’t have access to metrics, it has received feedback on how the ending has gone down with players..
“We’ve been getting really great feedback about the game ending, including some players telling us that they’ve sat there paralyzed by it for like 10 minutes or even 30 minutes. That’s been really great to hear,” Kasavin, who wrote the story, said.
“We didn’t know exactly how people would take the ending of the game, but it’s the ending we had intended from relatively early on, and we also knew we were going to set aside an ample amount of time during development in order to execute on it as well as possible.”
Bastion is available now on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade.