hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Ken Levine

Ken Levine's new game photo
Ken Levine's new game

BioShock creator working on a new sci-fi game


Smaller scale, player-created main character
Jan 28
// Steven Hansen
After BioShock Infinite, developer Irrational effectively closed down. About 70 folks lost their jobs while studio head Ken Levine formed a smaller team focused on highly-replayable narrative-driven games. Rece...
Irrational photo
Irrational

Irrational's hiring again almost a year after 'winding down'


Who wants to work with Ken?
Nov 24
// Brett Makedonski
In February, Ken Levine (bio)shocked the gaming world by announcing that Irrational Games was shutting down. Well, sort of. The plan was to lay off the majority of the staff, and continue forward as a small group dedicated to...
BioShock on Vita photo
BioShock on Vita

BioShock on Vita probably would have been like Final Fantasy Tactics


Key words here are 'would have been'
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
An installment in the BioShock series for the PlayStation Vita may be one of Ken Levine's only wishes for the franchise that will go unfulfilled. Levine's longing for one of his signature games on the handheld device is ...

Fox News photo
Fox News

Someone at Fox News is either a BioShock Infinite fan or a massive copycat


They could be both, too
Jul 03
// Brittany Vincent
I feel like I could have just presented the above image without context or explanation, and that would have been the entire news post. Really, any kind of commentary I could provide on this just writes itself.  Just take...
Bioshock Vita photo
Bioshock Vita

So...whatever happened to Bioshock Vita?


Remember that?
Feb 21
// Chris Carter
Remember when Ken Levine went on stage at E3 in 2011 and held up a PlayStation Vita, championed the hardware, and noted that Bioshock would be coming to it? Well... he just disbanded Irrational Games. CVG reached out to ...
Irrational Games closing photo
Levine forming smaller team focused on highly-replayable narrative-driven games
"I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," wrote co-founder Ken Levine in a post that comes as an utter shock. "I'll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean ...

BioShock Infinite DLC photo
Start your journey next month
2K has just announced that the first major DLC for BioShock Infinite, Burial at Sea: Episode 1, will be available on November 12th for $14.99 (or included with your Season Pass). This date is a worldwide release for the PS3, ...

Ken Levine photo
Ken Levine

Levine to receive recognition at Golden Joystick Awards


The show's first ever Lifetime Achievement award
Oct 23
// Brett Makedonski
Ken Levine, one of the most well-known and respected developers in the videogame industry, will be honored at this year's Golden Joystick Awards with a Lifetime Achievement award. Throughout the course of the show's 31-year h...
BioShock Infinite DLC photo
Spoilers, obviously
BioShock Infinite's Burial At Sea Episode 1 is on the way, and you can get a quick look at the first five minutes courtesy of Irrational Games above. Although there are obvious spoilers as to the setup of the DLC, not a whol...

 photo

BioShock: Burial At Sea, RIP Fez II, GTA has purple cars


The Destructoid Show says a swearword
Jul 30
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! Here's today's Destructoid Show. Because Tuesdays. The first BioShock Infinite DLC has been released, with later DLC plans revealed, and Caitlin sat down with Ken Levine himself to discuss it. Fez II has been ...

Ken Levine on BioShock Infinite's new DLC, Burial at Sea

Jul 30 // Caitlin Cooke
Ken and his team have built Burial at Sea from the ground up, including the objects and assets. This was surprising to me seeing as it's only DLC, but Ken explains, "it was a huge undertaking and I’m not exactly sure why we do things that take so much time, but we thought this was our last chance for a while to give our fans a love letter so we decided to do it.” This method seems to pay off -- when Ken describes the game to me, I can already tell how unique it will be compared to previous installments. He continues: “It’s basically two parts -- [the first episode] takes place in sort of the pristine Rapture, and that’s very much like being in Columbia at the beginning. There’s a hubspace that’s pretty…I think actually one of the best BioShock spaces that the team has ever built in terms of what I like to see. "I look at levels like the medical level in BioShock and Fort Frolick as sort of the right structural layout of things because they’re less linear, they’re more sort of the center. They feel organic to me, [but] buildings are designed in a hierarchical fashion […] where the more big action stuff tends to push you down a single corridor. It is a constant struggle to get the team around that non-linearity. We’ve definitely done a better job I think in this DLC than we did in Infinite." When I asked about the story, Ken didn't want to get too much into the specifics so as not to spoil it, but he did say that everything ties together and certain characters will make appearances. "We’re fans of integration, we’ll put it that way. We want to both give people a chance to see characters from BioShock before they splice up as much as they do and what they were like beforehand. There is a very well known character in BioShock who will be involved substantially in the story [...] It is connected to the larger story.” Ken also touched on a few themes from the original BioShock, and mentioned that this DLC will dive a bit deeper into the intricacies of Rapture. "You see this opening part which is in pristine Rapture and there’s this whole quest there that doesn’t involve combat and your journey takes you to […] a department store that’s now a prison that you’re there for a reason, you’ll find out. That’s a very traditional BioShock experience with all the fucking crazy splicers down there and the place has gone to shit. So you get both -- you get the pristine Rapture and the ‘gone to shit’ Rapture in the same package.” I prodded about the second episode, in which players get to experience everything through the eyes of Elizabeth. I was particularly interested in Booker's role, but it hasn't been fleshed out completely so Ken was hesitant to share a lot of information. However, he has an outline of a story in mind and wants it to have a different combat feel than the other games. “We’re in relatively early stages of the third part of the DLC [Burial at Sea Ep 2]," Ken told me. "It’s something that we wanted to do, we didn’t know if we could or had the time or resources but finally we decided it was important that we did it. It’s funny, each of the DLCs are a different combat feel, the first one [Clash in the Clouds] is very much like Infinite. The second one is much like BioShock, we reintegrated much more of the player-initiated combat notions of BioShock. In the third one, it’s almost like survival horror. Elizabeth is not like Booker, she’s not a huge tank. We’re still figuring out the details, everything is open to change, but we want her to feel like she’s always on the bleeding edge of resources and decisions and even push the stealth mechanic." Ken continues, "We also have this notion of grifting from the original game that we didn’t have time to do, and I wanted to show that side of Elizabeth and her saviness through her wits to get the things she needs done, done.” When I asked about everyone's favorite characters, the Luteces, Ken said that "I'm not only a huge fan of writing them but I'm a huge fan of working with Oliver [Vaquer] and Jennifer [Hale] on them, and I'll leave it at that." For now, Ken seemed excited about the future and about what fans will think of Burial at Sea. He explains, “We never know what we’re doing next but I think if we knew… it wouldn’t be surprising because we’d have to surprise ourselves. I’m just curious to hear people’s reactions. We know people were frustrated by how silent we were and how long it was taking, but at the end of the day we’re always going to make the choice to present things in a way to actually give people a sense of what we’re doing and do the thing that we think is right for the gamer in the long run, not in the short run. So they’re frustrated that they haven’t gotten the content yet, but we could have done something quicker but it wouldn’t be this. People get anxious but I think they’re going to be pretty happy.”
BioShock interview photo
Returning to Rapture on the eve of its downfall
Irrational Games, and Ken Levine in particular, have been known for creating games with innovative narratives and unique gameplay. BioShock Infinite is no different, and we expect the same for the remaining downloadable cont...

Logan's Run movie photo
Logan's Run movie

Ken Levine will write the new Logan's Run movie


Welcome Humans! I am ready for you.
Jun 18
// Joshua Derocher
A remake for Logan's Run is in the works, and it's surprisingly going to be written by BioShock Infinite's master guru, Ken Levine. He isn't leaving Irrational Games or anything like that; he is just writing this as a side pr...
System Shock 2 on Steam photo
System Shock 2 on Steam

System Shock 2 now on Steam, no more excuses


Just buy and play the damn thing, already!
May 10
// Patrick Hancock
System Shock 2 is one of those games that everyone should get around to playing eventually. It's an eerie and atmospheric first-person shooter with RPG elements that truly was ahead of its time. Some folks like it better...

What BioShock Infinite could have been

Apr 24 // Taylor Stein
As a spur-of-the-moment present (my friends are amazing), I was given The Art of BioShock Infinite, an art book showcasing a collection of illustrations, concepts, and ideas crafted throughout the game's development process. I'm not a game designer or an artist, and as much as I admire the aesthetics of a game as beautiful as BioShock Infinite, I didn't exactly jump for joy at the sight of a book full of drawings. That is until I took the time to flip through each page, examine every picture, and peruse all the hand-written annotations. You would be quite surprised to discover just how different Infinite was in its early stages. A city of fragile perfection, the Columbia that we know floats in-between heaven and Earth, residing amongst the cloudy skies of idyllic wonder and concealed malevolence. Serving as a symbol of righteousness, the prophet Comstock's vision of religious purity and American ideology conceived a metropolis more picturesque than nature, seamless perfection in stark contrast to the Sodom below. Before humanity's palace of excellence was stained in the blood of Dewitt's increasing body count, it was pristine, tangibly unspoiled despite the ethereal philosophies of overt racism, sexism, and classism.Derived from the essence of its predecessors, BioShock Infinite embodied many of the series' thematic aspirations: questions of self-determination, pursuit of sovereignty, persistence of greed, and the nature of choice, all while deviating from the atmospheric spirit personified by the underwater city of Rapture. Despite the many differences between the newcomer and the previous installments, the three shared quite a few similarities during the infancy of the project from ambiance and landscape design, to enemy types and other conceptual elements.Before the sky-city of Columbia was born, developers explored the sensibilities of brainstormed elements inside a vacuum. Unhindered by receptivity of a narrative outline, many ideas would surface, but only a select few would color the final product. As expressed by visual depictions and accompanied footnotes within the art book, multiple environmental concepts emerged as plausible settings for Infinite. From an Art Nouveau world inspired by the unruly aspects of the natural world, to a derelict utopia far past its prime, the main aspect of the game, the hovering aesthetic of Columbia, was surprisingly absent during the early stages of conceptualization.From a collection of disconnected ideas to the final product, the most dramatic divergence in the evolution of BioShock Infinite undoubtedly resides with the enemy design. Capitalizing on the essence of dimensional rifts, early renderings showcase a slew of bad guys that harshly contrast the normalcy of the opponent types in the completed game. Man-eating brutes who morph into more monstrous forms after feasting on human flesh, a little girl with a face caged behind torn bloody bars, and numerous other gory, creepy, and lurid imagery tint the pages of  the illustrative collection. Borrowing from Andrew Ryan's aquatic landscape, Vigor junkies also make an appearance in the art compilation, bearing the drastic physical effects of vigor addiction similar to the splicers of previous games.One notable example is an adversary fused together by quantum rifts. These grotesque monstrosities reflect different instances of a person together in one body, the merging of realities in the faces of enemies. Drawings depict a man with features of both an infant and an elderly gentleman sprawled haphazardly across a nightmarish face. If you thought the splicers from the original where menacing or plain ugly, they're nothing compared to the eerie visuals left on Infinite's editing room floor. Besides being a pretty cool book, The Art of BioShock Infinite showcases the creative process of the game's development in a hands-on, artistic medium. Blending the boundaries between old and new, borrowing from early elements in the franchise while crafting something unique, BioShock Infinite truly epitomizes a hodge podge of symbols, aesthetics, and atmospheric clout that has evolved drastically from beginning to end. While the book can only represent a microscopic fragment of the overall design process, viewing step by step as the Songbird transformed from an off-putting Big Daddy with wings into a hulking yet emotionally-compelling beast is an experience that necessitates respect for the characters, the story, and the world of Infinite. If you're curious about the visuals of BioShock Infinite and all of its intricacies, definitely check out the art book at your leisure. If you are looking for more of a detailed background you might be a bit disappointed by the few contextual annotations present, however. Image Source: [1]
BioShock Infinite Art photo
Art book shows a new perspective of Columbia
Almost a month after its release, BioShock Infinite is still on my mind, but not for the reasons you might suspect. If you grow tired of seeing the game plastered on just about every gaming website, magazine, and TV comm...

BioShock Infinite photo
Cream or sugar?
Jennifer Hale and Oliver Vaquer, the voice actors behind the Lutece Twins, sat down with GameTrailers to talk about their roles in BioShock Infinite. The pair touch on how they both had to read each character's scripts, how it was like working together, and where they'd want to go if they could rip open tears. And then things get weird.

BioShock Infinite photo
BioShock Infinite

Enjoy all of BioShock Infinite in this 3.5-hour movie


Would you kindly give it a view?
Apr 02
// Jason Cabral
Just this past weekend I finished BioShock Infinite, and as a huge fan of the original BioShock this game did not disappoint. I'm still thinking about the story and making new revelations -- and it's been two days ...
 photo

Reviews Elsewhere: BioShock Infinite


Ken out of Ten
Mar 25
// Jim Sterling
BioShock Infinite reviews finally went live across the board today, and while I'm sure we all expected a positive showing, we maybe were not quite prepared for the veritable outpouring of critical acclaim.  Of course, De...

PAX: Voicing Elizabeth meant collaboration and abuse

Mar 24 // Alasdair Duncan
Courtnee then recalled a particular recording session that involved Elizabeth being upset after Troy berates her for still being unable to control her powers. We were shown a short video in which Ken briefs the scene and Courtnee suggest that Troy (as Booker) just berates her under Ken's direction, which he does and you can really start to see her get more upset before finally delivering the line. The video ends on a funny note as once the line is complete, Courntee regains her composure and suggests they try the process again. The real challenge came with combining Courtnee's vocal performance with Heather Gordon's motion capture performance. Heather recalled her theatre background as being especially useful: "I had to physical have it exude through me as it happened to Courtnee. So I had to emotionally get myself to the place that she got to at the same time. It had to be timed perfectly." The attendees at the panel were shown some rough footage of Heather in the full mo-cap suit performing a range of scenes with plenty of gusto. "After getting into it, I really just started to connect deeply with what Courtnee did and she became a person."
Becoming BioShock's Liz photo
BioShock Infinite actress Courtnee Draper recalls how she dug deep to find the voice
One of the main things that Irrational Games has really pushed in its marketing for BioShock Infinite is the relationship between the player-controlled character Booker DeWitt and the young woman Elizabeth that he's tasked wi...

BioShock Infinite photo
BioShock Infinite

PAX: Ken Levine: Players can be psychopathic alcoholics


Irrational Games creative lead on the challenges of player freedom
Mar 23
// Alasdair Duncan
At the Irrational Games panel at PAX East today, the team behind BioShock Infinite talked about the challenges of player agency in the game specifically when interacting with Elizabeth, the player's constant companion. "The p...
 photo

Ken Levine denies $200 million BioShock Infinite budget


"Did someone send checks to the wrong address?"
Mar 22
// Jim Sterling
Yesterday, it was suggested BioShock Infinite was among the most expensive videogame projects of all time, costing a rumored $200 million to produce. According to director Ken Levine, such a catastrophic amount certainly wasn...

Ken Levine talks multiplayer in BioShock Infinite

Mar 20 // Tara Long
"I was the first guy who said, 'Look, let's try [multiplayer]' ... but it was tough, because it had to be something unique to us," said Levine. "The first game we made that didn't have multiplayer was BioShock, and it was by far our most successful game. And so, I think the last thing we wanna do is throw this thing in the box just so we can put a bullet point." The mode was eventually nixed due to a lack of proper time and resources, but that didn't stop vitriol from spewing out of every corner of the internet. Comments like "Good riddance" and "nothing of value was lost" were littered in the comments section of every article, and Levine - a lifelong gamer himself - seems to bear an understanding of where it all came from. "People, especially I think with the BioShock games, they have this sort of emotional connection to things," he said. "I think that's where you see some of the various scandals and outrages... because people feel an attachment to it. And if you don't respect that attachment, you reap the whirlwind." I wouldn't be the first person to denounce the recent trend of tacked-on multiplayer modes (BioShock 2 and Tomb Raider both come to mind), but when developers begin to feel as though they have to include one, for no other sake than simply adding something new, it doesn't instill a whole lot of confidence in their game. Thankfully, based on what I've seen of Infinite so far, I think it'll manage just fine without. Look for our review next Monday.
BioShock Infinite video photo
Warning: Raw sexual energy approaching maximum capacity
With BioShock Infinite mere days away from release, I sat down with Irrational Games' Ken Levine this week to discuss exactly how the game has changed over the past five years of development, and what he envisions for t...

BioShock film photo
BioShock film

Ken Levine killed BioShock film due to Watchmen's failure


Universal decreased budgeting altered project
Mar 12
// Allistair Pinsof
Ken Levine has come out about the BioShock film, first announced in 2008 with Pirates of Caribbean director Gore Verbinski attached, admitting to personally cancelling the film. After the poor box office reception to The Watc...
BioShock Soundtrack photo
BioShock Soundtrack

BioShock Infinite characters perform duet on soundtrack


Rest of soundtrack detailed as well
Mar 06
// Brett Zeidler
Who among you is picking up the "Ultimate Songbird Edition" or "Premium Edition" of BioShock Infinite? If you're in either one of those camps, I'm sure you know that there's a shiny (digital) copy of the soundtrack waiting f...
BioShock Vita photo
BioShock Vita

BioShock on Vita hasn't begun development


Deal is out of Levine's hands
Feb 26
// Patrick Hancock
Despite championing the device back in 2011, Ken Levine and the folks at Irrational Games have made seemingly no progress towards a handheld BioShock game. Apparently all the talk about what the game is was conjectu...
System Shock photo
System Shock

Is System Shock being revived on Steam and GOG.com?


Brave SHODAN once more...
Feb 11
// Alasdair Duncan
While it should be taken with a grain of salt, a website is reporting that the System Shock franchise will be available on Steam and GOG.com in the very near future. Flesheatingzipper.com is reporting that Night Dive Studios ...
 photo

Here's what you get for pre-ordering Bioshock Infinite


The Industrial Revolution pack
Jan 24
// Chris Carter
If you're a fan of pre-orders, you can gain access to the "Industrial Revolution Pack" through pre-ordering at select retailers (basically everyone). You'll get access to three in-game items, 500 bonus currency, five lock pi...
 photo

BioShock Infinite PC won't have SecuROM or GFWL


Levine says game will feel "right at home" on computers
Dec 21
// Jim Sterling
During his Reddit AMA, Irrational Games saucepot Ken Levine promised concerned PC gamers that BioShock Infinite would not repeat the mistakes of the past, claiming it'll be "right at home" on computers. Most crucially, Infini...
 photo
Toga! Toga! Toga!
Ken Levine is is one of the most honest guys in the games industry, which is what makes his explanation of BioShock Infinite's box cover so fascinating. In the video above (taken from Sunday's interview), Levine addresses fa...

 photo

Don't like BioShock Infinite's cover? Download another!


Irrational Games will compile internal and fan-made alternative covers
Dec 09
// Allistair Pinsof
Despite novel, arresting box art being a rarity these days, the internet lashed out against BioShock Infinite's decidedly safe and macho cover. Creative director Ken Levine heard the cries and decided to do something about it...

Q&A with Ken Levine: Head in the clouds

Dec 09 // Allistair Pinsof
Could you finish this sentence: BioShock Infinite is a game about … Ken Levine: BioShock is game about putting you in an amazing world that couldn’t exist in any other form of media because you get to explore and interact with it, with an AI we believe does things that haven’t been done before. Ideally, you will build a relationship with her, within this context of giant explosions, vigors, skyline, and all that great stuff. Yeah, that’s a pretty long-winded answer to that question. We try to make the elevator pitch on the box because that’s all you have but to the Destructoid audience that pitch won’t likely resonate so I give that long winded one. There’s a lot of stuff in the game that I can see being misconstrued by the media and public. There are a lot of bold choices. Did these make things difficult when it came to promoting the game? Let’s be honest: in BioShock 1, infanticide was a theme in the game. That was very, very dark but also very -- can you imagine BioShock without the little sisters? It’s necessary to the story, but we didn’t go beyond. The sequence of harvesting a little sister was done with just enough information so that you know what is happening, but we didn’t glorify it with gore or anything. It is only used for telling this story. We struggled for a long time trying to figure out what the exact right approach for that was. In this game, it’s the exact same thing. There is a story we have to tell and I don’t think games should be different than any other media, in the sense that, “Why are we limited to certain topics?” As a storyteller, I feel a responsibility to treat topics that are painful to people thoughtfully and tell a story that isn’t exploitative of those topics, but I don’t think we should feel restricted because we make games. It’s an M-rated game and people who buy the game should have their intelligence respected, just like any other media. You recently released the box cover of the game and some BioShock fans felt strongly against it, even though it may or may not be indicative of the game. How did you take the reaction? There was no new information available because we felt we had shown the game at E3 and didn’t have anything new to let loose. We could have gone into a bunch of stories of “Well, here are the new type of gear you can have,” but we felt that would be much better after people have played the game and journalists had some context. We had a lot of people questioning, “Oh, what’s going on? Is it falling apart?” Is it a disaster?” because they didn’t have any other news. I knew that was going to happen and it was more painful for the team than it was for me, because I’ve been through enough of these. But, that’s just part of life. There is a whole part of being a game fan that involves speculating about games, not just playing them. I love to think about games ahead of time and imagine what they are going to be like and worry about them. I get it, but I knew the only thing to do was to hand those people the controller and say: “You tell me how it is. Why should you believe me?” That’s why I’m so happy to now give the controllers to people. After reading the recent interview you did with Wired, it came across to me that you really want to reach a wider audience with this one -- It’s not that we want to. We HAVE to. With that intention, I have to wonder: with an intro so long and with very little shooting dudes in the face, how do you approach that? What I won’t do is compromise the product. People say the cover seem to be – there is an article that says “Look it’s important because it must say something about the game. The game is dumbed down!” [Kotaku] I’ll count on you guys to report on the validity of that. It’s a fairly calculated marketing decision that is based on making these games continue to get made. I can understand the reception from fans. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. You always want to please everybody. The price that I think I’m asking those people to pay is that that the cover that you pick up off the shelf may not be your favorite cover in the universe, but hopefully that cover will help make this game successful, so we can keep making more of them and not compromise in anyway; right now, no one asks us to compromise. They are like “Yep, big complicated directed sequence with no Taliban shooting you in the head. Yup go make that game” and Take-Two has done that so far. There are two things we want to do with the fans. We are definitely doing one of them. We want to communicate with the community and generate a whole pile of alternate covers for the game that we can put on the website so people can print out. And key art, traditional concept art and weird doodles and sketches. You know, so we can really get them arranged. There is another thing I’d like to do but I’m not sure we can for production reasons, so I guess I won’t talk about it yet. But, in the very least, we’ll do that. I found a lot of pop culture references in the game, from film to music such as an acapella group singing The Beach Boy’s “God Only Knows.”  Are these connections intentional? Part of the BioShock guidebook -- there is no guidebook but in my head -- there are no references to pop culture that are outside what the experience is presenting. That song that people are hearing in the world is an anachronism. It’s not that we didn’t just know the date. It’s part of the story and generally we are highly influenced by pop culture. I’m sure there are many moments where you’ll see the influence that films and other games have on us, but we don’t shout out to them in a way that would take you out of the experience. So many scenes in the beginning are so detailed and have a specific vision. How much of that is you, the writers, and art team? I’m the creative director and lead writer on the project. I came up with an idea and go, “Hey, I would like this.” What happens at the beginning: there is a specific notion – avoiding spoilers here – I described to the artists. It’s one thing to describe it to an artist, but it’s another thing for a level artist like Mike Snight to build that and for the optimizers to make it run properly on all the platforms because it’s a complex scene full of things that engines don’t like to do. Then there’s the guys that do the character models, the people that lit the space, and our music director that lead the recording. Yeah, that initial portion comes from me but I’m just a small part in a large team that makes it work. I’ve never seen so much original art in the first hour of a game before. How large is your art team and how do you all work? The team, compared to other modern big games, is relatively small. It is led by a  group of guys that have worked together for a very long period of time. I worked with our animation director Shawn Robertson and our art director Scott Sinclair since the Looking Glass days. I met them both in probably 1996, maybe. That’s a long time to know each other, so we know each other's cues really well. Then we have new guys like Mike Snight that came on board. I don’t know how old he was in 1996 but probably not too old. We hired a little kid but he understood the aesthetic we were trying to do and very quickly became a part of that group. People oversee that process like Jamie McNulty, who was part of BioShock 1, Stephen Alexander who makes the narrative sequences happen. It takes a lot of people but it’s pretty small compared to something like Assassin’s Creed or something like that. The biggest change to combat is the mobility you get from the skylines that you can latch onto. Was a greater sense of speed and mobility a goal from the start? We made the decision to put the game in the sky and there are a lot of reasons we did that. I thought it would play off that vertical element -- Bioshock 1 didn’t ever play off the water element in a gameplay way. We used puddles of water but you don’t need to be under the ocean to have puddles of water. It was really just a thematic setting and visual. We really wanted to play off the verticality of its space but we struggled with that, like what would that be? Jetpacks, para-sailing, flying – none of that stuff worked because it had all been done before and it wasn’t unique to Columbia. So, we struggled with it for a long time. I have always been a fan of roller coasters and I always found the theme of them, being controlled and not controlled --  why do people scream on a rollercoaster? The odds of you actually being hurt is so infinitesimally small that any rational thinking of it would mean you just sit there and be unmoved by it but there is a thrill that is indescribable. I thought, what if we got into these fights on these roller coasters that can you detach from and reattach to. It’s something that is very easy for me to pitch and describe, but people actually have to go and make that work. Make that feel right and run smoothly and figure out all those crazy edge cases. We spent so much time figuring out if you can dismount from it and how you land in the world. What If you land some place but we don’t want you to be there yet? It took us a million conversations to get it right, but hopefully we solved all those problems. BioShock changed the way a lot of players play games, as it demanded players to pay attention to the audio and environment for story details. Infinite seems to take this even further, expecting players to pay attention to what’s going on around them. That seems like a lot to ask of players. I think people underestimate gamers of all stripes. Like it or not Inception is a film that is not about a bunch of meatheads punching people and it was hugely, broadly popular. The Dark Knight is not just the lowest common denominator superhero story. It was about a man that believed in order and a man that believed in chaos and the struggle between them. It was a thoughtful film and it was also a blockbuster. I don’t believe the two aren’t compatible. The Matrix is also a film that is not just about people shooting each other. It’s quite an existential piece and an interesting science-fiction piece that had amazing visuals that drew in a mass audience and kept their minds engaged, as well. I don’t believe the two aren’t compatible. I think a lot of the public does and probably the publishing community. I like all sorts of games: I like smart games, I like dumb games, I like blowing things up -- and BioShock lets me have it all as a developer. There are a lots of big explosions there but I also get to have my cake and eat it too. What’s going on with the Vita and Move? The Move: We have it and will have it at an event at some point. How do I talk about the Move version? Once it’s ready, I hand it over and say, “Here’s the Move version. Go play it!” It’s ready. we just need to plan a place for an event where It can be there. As for the Vita, the honest answer is that we still have the same idea and we still really like it, but it’s in the hands of the business people so Take-Two and Sony are discussing that. I’m happy to do it and hopefully they’ll find a way to let me do it. Any news on the Wii U front? We never had any news on the Wii U. I bought one and I like it. I play games on it! But in terms of development, nothing is brewing right now. What happened with the multiplayer that you recently announced was cancelled? I’m uncomfortable with saying, “it’s cancelled.” You have to first announce things before they can be cancelled. There are a million things with that game that I loved but left on the cutting room floor. You’ll see the art book and think, “Oh my god! I can’t believe how much was left on the cutting room floor!” The experiments we did with multiplayer is just one of those things that wasn’t what we thought it could be. With the time period we had, we decided to focus our resources elsewhere. Right now, is this where you thought you’d be back in the Looking Glass days? Dude, I don’t even know where I’m going to be in the morning. I just barrel ahead. If I thought about how much writing this game is going to be and how much work it's going to be, I never would have made it. If I knew about building a company for ten years only to then sell it, I don’t think I would have done it. There is always more work than you think there is going to be and things are always harder than you think they are going to be. I don’t know what's going to happen but I just sort of work instinctually.
BioShock interview photo
More than meets the eye
There are a handful of game designers I admire but none of them are as handsome as Ken Levine. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Until my interview, I always looked on at him with a layer of skepticism. Surely, he ...


  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -