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Exploring The Setting
by Matt Miller on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:58 AM

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Platform PlayStation 4, Switch, PC, iOS
Publisher Supergiant Games
Developer Supergiant Games
Rating Teen

We uncover details on the fascinating fictional backdrop, characters, and organizations at play in Supergiant Games' upcoming action/RPG.

Supergiant Games brought a demo of Transistor with them to E3, but its content is very similar to what the team has shown at previous shows, except the game is now running with a PS4 controller in hand. The game plays beautifully, but given the opportunity, Supergiant Games' Greg Kasavin was able to share a wealth of info about the fiction of Transistor.

The game is set in the city of Cloudbank, a romanticized city of soaring towers and high culture, but there's something amiss in the metropolis. An organization called the Camerata is behind a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths, and their latest target is a famous singing star known only as Red - the female protagonist of the game.

During the assassination attempt, Red's companion (an as yet unnamed character) is killed by a powerful artifact called the Transistor, and in the ensuing chaos, Red and the strange sword-like object are teleported to the far outskirts of the city of Cloudbank.

Red awakens, shivering, confused, and absent her voice, and finds the body of her friend nearby. The Transistor weapon is still impaled through his body, and we learn the first odd quality of the item. Your male friend begins to speak through the sword - his consciousness is still intact inside the Transistor, even though his body has died.

Red sets out with the Transistor dragging behind her, and before long mysterious entities called the Process have found her, and they attack. These seemingly robotic creatures are intent on recovering the Transistor, desperate to reclaim what was originally theirs. The battles that ensue combine fast real-time combat with occasional opportunities to pause and set up a series of attacks as if it was a turn-based game. The Transistor turns out to be an incredibly potent weapon, which is in line with the goals Supergiant Games has for the project. The team wants players to start out with the ultimate weapon, rather than have to wait until the end of the game to acquire it.

Between battles, Red begins to find strange glowing objects floating in the world called Traces -- the remnants of individual dead souls killed in the area. Just like it absorbed Red's friend, the Transistor can gather these Traces and acquire new abilities, that automatically map to the face buttons. Though we play with only four of these Trace-acquired combat moves during the demo, we're assured that many more lie across the breadth of the game, and that they're a big part of how you customize your play experience.

Partway through the demo, Red finds a strange gateway that takes her into the otherworldly home of the Process, and it's not clear whether it's an entirely real place or a virtual one. Deep mysteries surround the nature of the Process, their connection to the Transistor, and why the Camerata are involved in the attacks around the city of Cloudbank. It's an unusual and original concept for a game world, and a great backdrop for the combination of action and RPG gameplay that Supergiant Games seems to be shooting for.

As the demo ends, Red finds a motorcycle, and accelerates along the highway back into the city of Cloudbank, intent on resolving the mysteries that have arisen. I'm eager to follow her into the sprawling urban landscape, and find out what  Red learns about the Transistor.

Products In This Article



PlayStation 4, Switch, PC, iOS
Release Date:
May 20, 2014 (PlayStation 4, PC), 
June 11, 2015 (iOS), 
November 1, 2018 (Switch)