Bastion is a role-playing action game set in the world of Caelondia after it has been destroyed by an event known as the Calamity, a doomsday of sorts.
The game revolves around a silent protagonist who is referred to as the Kid. The focus of the game’s story is the Kid’s quest to create a safe haven, known as the Bastion. The rest of the world has become a series of floating islands after the Calamity.
Bastion is an action RPG with a level structure that emphasizes fast paced and frantic gameplay. The Kid moves through fantasy-themed environments that form up underneath his feet as he moves thorough each level. In order to progress, the Kid must defeat enemies using a variety of melee and ranged weaponry while collecting items and leveling up his attributes with experience points along the way. There is a currency in Bastion known as fragments, or pieces of the Old World. They are found laying about in the different environments and are dropped by enemies upon defeat. Between levels, the Kid visits the Bastion, where he can use the fragments he has acquired to purchase weapon upgrades and spirits. These spirits alter and enhance the Kid’s abilities in a number of different ways. Depending on the level of the character, players can “equip” more spirits and therefore give themselves a greater advantage in battle.
The game incorporates a unique feature called ‘dynamic narration’. Rucks, the strange old man (voiced by Logan Cunningham), serves as the game’s narrator. As well as delivering story exposition, Rucks’ narration will change based on the player’s actions and style of play – for example, he might remark upon the player’s affinity for a certain weapon if said weapon is used frequently during battle, or he might comment on an enemy that the player is about to fight.
Aside from the main locations that the player visits throughout the progression of the main story, there are also optional challenge levels for each weapon. Referred to as Proving Grounds, these areas test the player’s ability to use each weapon efficiently. The player is also able to participate in three different arenas that provide additional lore for the game’s characters while adding a competitive nature to the game through online leaderboards.
The Kid has access to buildings in the Bastion that can drastically alter the way game is played such as: weapon/spirit load out, weapon upgrades, and enemy difficulty.
- Arsenal: The Kid comes here to swap his weapons and his Secret Skill.
- Forge: The Kid can upgrade his weapons here using materials he finds or buys.
- Lost-and-Found: The general store that the Kid can buy materials, mementos, and Spirits with fragments (money).
- Memorial: A place that honors the citizens of Caelondia. The Memorial contains challenges for the Kid to complete and award fragments upon completion.
- Shrine: The place where the Kid can invoke the gods and make the game harder in a number of different ways.
- Distillery: The Kid can choose which Spirits he is using here.
Some of the above buildings can be found in levels and used there. Typically, an Arsenal will soon show up after the player discovers a new weapon so they can swap it out if they dislike it.
Later in the game, the player has the opportunity to upgrade each one of the buildings at the Bastion. Upgrades grant additional features or items for the upgraded building.
- Arsenal upgrade: Trapper Snare secret skill unlocked.
- Forge upgrade: Two additional tiers of weapon upgrades become available for The Kid to make his weapons even better.
- Lost-and-Found upgrade: More items available for purchase unlocked.
- Memorial upgrade: More vigils become unlocked for The Kid to achieve.
- Shrine upgrade: Additional idols become unlocked.
- Distillery upgrade: Several spirits unlocked for The Kid to increase the variety of passive skills available to him.
The Kid meets three characters during his adventure, including the narrator of the game.
The main character of Bastion. The Kid never got to know his father, and spent his early life living with his mother. To support the two of them, he worked at The Rippling Walls — Caelondia’s primary defensive line — being sure to send his earnings back home. One day, after his work term ended and he returned home, he found his mother dead and his hard-earned money stolen. He became the first person in history to return to the Rippling Walls for a second term. He wakes up some time after the Calamity.
The Kid’s “Who Knows Where” level is available by using the smoking pipe acquired after a few cores have been gained.
Rucks (The Narrator)
The narrator of Bastion, voiced by Logan Cunningham. Rucks is the first character that the Kid meets, although he is only referred to as The Stranger until the two of them officially introduce themselves. Rucks knows a lot about the Bastion and the Calamity, and throughout the game he fills in the history of Caelondia, the Calamity, and the history between the Caelondians and the Ura. He also knows the back-stories for the other two characters, Zulf and Zia, and tells them during the Kid’s trips to Who Knows Where.
Zia (The Singer)
Zia is special in that she is a Ura who was actually born in Caelondia. Her parents were allowed to live in Caelondia as long as they never returned to the Tazal Terminals. She never knew her mother for she died due to birth complications. Her father worked for the city Mancers. Zia began playing music and singing to pass the time, and became quite skilled at it.
Zia is found in Prosper Bluffs, singing a song. Her song can be played in the Bastion once the player acquires the gramophone.
Zia’s “Who Knows Where” level is available not long after she arrives in the Bastion through a cooking pot.
Zulf (The Survivor)
Zulf is a Ura who was sent to Caelondia to spread peace. Zulf survived the Calamity and is found by the Kid in the center of The Hanging Gardens, who welcomes him into the Bastion. Zulf befriends the survivors, but things eventually go sour. Zulf learns from an old diary the truth about the Calamity. In his ensuing rage, he damages the Bastion and flees. By the time the Kid successfully restores the Bastion, Zulf has already rallied the remaining Ura to rebel against the Bastion and the survivors. They don’t realize that the Bastion has the potential to undo the destruction.
Zulf’s “Who Knows Where” level is available late in the game through a bedroll that Rucks finds.
New weapons are found as the player progresses through the game’s main story. The Kid can also equip one special attack, called a Secret Skill, which is used by pressing the right trigger. These attacks are usually weapon specific and drain a single Black Tonic on use. Players can find additional Secret Skills by completing weapon challenges with high scores, or purchasing them from the Lost-and-Found.
Spirits are items the player can equip that grant specific in-game bonuses. Although the Kid can initially equip only one spirit, new spirit slots unlock with each level-up with a maximum of 10 slots. Spirits can be switched at any time by visiting the Distillery.
Idols to each of Caelondia’s deities may be activated at the Shrine. Activating an idol increases the rewards the Kid receives for defeating enemies; however, each idol also makes enemies more difficult to defeat. This allows for a high level of user customization of the game’s difficulty. Idols that are turned on will remain on for both the story and Who Knows Where arenas. The online leaderboards for Who Knows Where do not track scores, but rather the Idols that a player had on when they completed all 20 waves.
|Hense (Goddess of Pain and Pleasure)||Foes are more ferocious|
|Acobi (Goddess of Oath and Abandon)||Foes drop a live grenade when defeated|
|Lemaign (God of Hope and Despair)||Foes’ attacks slow down the player|
|Pyth (God of Commotion and Order)||Foes are quicker, both with movement and attacks|
|Jevel (God of Health and Atrophy)||Foes are more resilient|
|Yudrig (God of Impulse and Bravery)||Foes cause damage on contact|
|Roathus (God of Thirst and Plenty)||Foes never drop Health Tonics or Black Tonics|
|Micia (Goddess of Loss and Longing)||Foes have regenerating health|
|Olak (God of Chance and Whim)||Foes occasionally turn to air, making them invulnerable to attacks for a short period of time|
|Garmuth (God of Purpose and Folly)||Foes are more capable of deflecting attacks|
Giant Bomb’s “Building the Bastion” series of videos give substantial insight into the development process of Bastion. The first video can be seen at the start of The Whiskey Media Happy Hour 10/29/10 and the subsequent videos can be seen in Bastion’s video section.
Supergiant Games started development of Bastion in August of 2009 whilst Amir Rao, Greg Kasavin and Gavin Simon were working at EALA. They had previously worked on Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 and decided to make a small game together.
The earliest version was an isometric action game where a boy wakes up and sees everyone from his village dead or dying. The monsters from this build were scanned from the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual and the collectibles were Rupees from the Zelda series. The world of this early build was very grim. Most of the music from this build was made by Darren Korb, and still appears in the finished game.
Rao, Kasavin, and Simon showed off the early build at GDC, but were told that it wasn’t ready to be shown yet. After receiving this feedback, the team hired Jen Zee to create the game’s artwork. The debut trailer for Bastion was released on August 31st, 2010 and was picked up by many gaming sites. By September 1st, everyone on the team had left their jobs at EA to start working on Bastion full-time.
After showing the game at PAX for the first time, Supergiant continued working on the game in a house in San Jose. They used a custom-built editor made by Simon to create and use the assets in game. The voice work for the narration was performed by Logan Cunningham and recorded by Darren Korb. The recording was done in closets in Darren’s apartment in New York and a closet in the house of Supergiant Games in San Jose.
Some assets did not make it into the final game. Examples were a Castlevania-style Bullwhip and the moose-like creatures Meese. Over the course of development, the team’s electricity bills shot up to almost $600 a month as they had computers and other devices running constantly.
The game came to the end of the alpha stage in February 2011. In April 2011, the team submitted the game to Microsoft for technical certification requirements. Supergiant had to ensure Bastion could run off of a memory stick, and that the player could use a Guitar Hero controller to start the game. Following its certification, Bastion received an E10+ rating from the ESRB in the U.S. for animated blood, fantasy violence, and alcohol use.
Bastion was finished and ready for release on Xbox Live after 20 months of work, and was released on July 20th, 2011 as part of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion. A PC version released on Steam a month later on August 16th, 2011. As of December 8, 2011, the game also became available through Google Chrome.
PC System Requirements
- Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7
- Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core or Greater
- RAM Memory: 2 GB
- Hard Disk Space: 1.6 GB
- Video Card: 512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (with pixel shader model 2.0)
- DirectX®: 9.0c
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Mac System Requirements
On April 26th, 2012, Bastion was released on the Mac App Store, and is now also available for Mac on Steam via SteamPlay.
- Operating System: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
- Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core or Greater
- RAM Memory: 2 GB
- Hard Disk Space: 1.5 GB
- Video Card: 256 MB OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card
On August 5th the original score for Bastion was released in both a digital and a limited edition CD version. Composed by Darren Korb, it includes the game’s original 21 tracks, along with two new bonus tracks, and the CD cover features Jen Zee’s very own artwork.
The soundtrack is available for purchase at the game’s official website.
|Track #||Song Title||Running Time|
|01||Get Used to it||00.54|
|02||A Proper Story||01.09|
|03||In Case of Trouble||02.56|
|04||Bynn the Breaker||04.09|
|05||The Sole Regret||02.27|
|09||Faith of Jevel||01.31|
|10||Mine, Windbag, Mine||03.06|
|12||Build that Wall (Zia’s Theme)||02.45|
|13||Spike In a Rail||02.54|
|14||What’s Left Undone||00.22|
|16||The Mancer’s Dilemma||02.01|
|17||Mother, I’m Here (Zulf’s Theme)||02.16|
|19||The Bottom Feeders||04.44|
|20||From Wharf to Wilds||01.21|
|21||Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme)||02.54|
|22||The Pantheon (Ain’t Gonna Catch You)||02.27|