Image from PopGamer. Click for the interview with Mr. Cunningham.
The Kid marches right up to that pedestal, “Best Narration of 2011” scrawled all around, and in his eyes lives a fire that knows: “this award, it was made for me.”
Yeah. For sentences not unlike the one above, XBLA hit Bastion grabs our Best Narration of 2011 award with unerring hands. It’s something of a no-brainer. What other game would have won this award? Portal 2‘s GLaDOS can hardly be considered a narrator, as her quips of harsh manipulation are spoken from a forthright perspective. Most other narrated games – whether this year or last – make use of an all-knowing narrator, abstracted from the world’s fiction.
But let’s not dwell on what other games don’t have. Let’s talk about what Bastion does have: Rucks, a gravelly-throated narrator (voiced by Logan Cunningham) who speaks the protagonist’s exploits in the present tense and the third person. The Kid walks, talks, and shoots. The Kid is You, the Kid is He.
This originality is enticing of its own nature, but it also makes for a fresh sense of reward. Rucks sometimes points you in the right direction, but more often than not he’s giving you an approving nod once you already have moved in that direction. Give us a game and we’ll play it well, hand-holding be damned. Developer Supergiant Games knows that, and keeps its narrative spark right by your side like a faithful dog, not perpetually in front of you like a carrot-on-a-stick.
Rucks has raised the bar. Let’s see it jumped in 2012.