Irrational Games explains the ‘essences’ of BioShock

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Irrational Games is working on BioShock Infinite because they haven’t yet said everything they wanted to say about BioShock, according to the studio’s director of product development, Tim Gerritsen. But they are done with Rapture, even though many folks seem to think that Rapture is at the heart of BioShock. Gerritsen disagrees, although he does believe that the effectiveness of the original BioShock was very much tied to its now-iconic underwater setting.

Having said that, the focus of Infinite is to keep the ethos of BioShock and bring it to a new,undiscovered location. Gerritsen explained:

We sat down and said, “What are the core elements? What are the essences that made BioShock, BioShock? And let’s explore that, and then throw out all the rules. Let’s not just make a game where we check off feature lists. Let’s come up with the essences that make a BioShock game, and then explore those themes and take them in totally new directions.”

If Rapture doesn’t make BioShock, BioShock, then what does? What is the essence of a BioShock game?

What BioShock is really all about is: the mystery, the discovery, the “oh sh*t” moment, the — you know, it’s the tourist’s-first-time-to-New-York-City kind of experience. You’re just wandering around, going, “What the hell is this? This is amazing.” We wanted to capture that moment and that sense of exploration. And that’s why we felt, “We can’t just go back to Rapture again. We can’t just keep playing that,” because it’s not going to make that experience — you can’t create that sense of wonder and mystery. And then with BioShock Infinite, it’s about creating this sort of open-air, larger-than-life, floating-above-the-world experience that is every bit as expansive as Rapture was claustrophobic.

Notice that he didn’t mention “Ayn Rand” or “objectivism” anywhere in there.

BioShock Infinite is set for release sometime in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Check back tomorrow for my full interview with Gerritsen.


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