Monday, November 28, 2011

"Bastion" by Supergiant Games: A Love Story

Do you know the reason why Kickstarter is so great?  That's a trick question, because there are actually a bunch of reasons.  First and foremost, though, it easily allows content creators to connect with (potential) fans.  There's a lot of different works out there vying for your time, your attention, and - perhaps most importantly - your dollars.  Even if you have the greatest game or album or book or whatever that doesn't mean you're going to get the focus you want for it.

One way to stand out from the competition and not just be another project in a lineup is to really connect with the people you're trying to sell that project to.  It can be maintaining a Twitter account or some other social media account to open a dialogue with others - not just about your project or upcoming works, but just shooting the breeze with them.  It could be personalizing a project, like Kinch did some time back.  It could be providing incentives like including them in the work itself like a few lucky people are getting in the upcoming Very Near Mint Volume 2 by Justin Peterson.

All that brings us to Supergiant Games' Bastion.  It's been out for a while on Xbox Live Arcade and PC (via Steam) but just caught my eye again recently.  The game itself of worthy of it's own review.  It's got great action, balance, gameplay, graphics, music, narration - yeah, you read that right.  The narration isn't boring or plodding but actually engaging and adds so much to the game, and it's integral to this story so bear with me. - and you can read all that on any gaming site that's much more qualified to comment on such things.  Tangent aside, go buy the game.  You won't regret it.

Anyway, what brought Bastion to the forefront again was the story I read about maker Supergiant Games contributing to a fan's wedding.  The fan wanted the game narrator to read a few lines at his wedding.  Greg Kasavin of Supergiant Games agreed, though he wanted to tweak some of the lines to maintain the tone of the narrator even outside the game.  It all went off without a hitch and Supergiant's superfan is happily married and has a unique wedding story to tell.

Supergiant did something great and will surely get rewarded for it.  They kept a fan, got some press, and no doubt got a few new people to check out the game.  All of this will serve them well in the long run.  It's important to note, again, that Bastion got great reviews across the board.  A bad product won't won't help you out even if you've got all of the camaraderie and goodwill in the world.  Conversely, a good product doesn't mean you'll be rewarded.  However, by pairing their game, something that take a measurable amount of time and money to produce, with that little something extra, the definitely stand out from the crowd.

As a side note, you can also purchase the Bastion soundtrack on Bandcamp here.  It's gotten me through many a workday.

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