Irrational on Infinite: ‘We feel this is a new IP’

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I was surprised to find out that Irrational Games is making another BioShock game, since I — like, perhaps, many of you — figured they’d be doing something completely different. So when I sat down last night to speak with Tim Gerritsen, Irrational’s director of product development, I challenged him to silence the folks who are asking at this moment, “Why go back to BioShock?” Here’s what he fired back with:

…we were like, “You know what? We haven’t finished with BioShock yet. We haven’t said everything we want to say about BioShock. Let’s throw out all the rules; let’s redefine what BioShock is. […] BioShock is so much more than just a location. It’s so many concepts and so many ideas that, you know what, we’re not going to just keep coming back to Rapture. We said what we wanted to say about Rapture.

Gerritsen’s emphasis on “we” seems to imply that Irrational is fine with the existence of BioShock 2, since the studio had finished with Rapture. But if you’re cynical, you might be thinking that BioShock Infinite is merely BioShock in a new city — “Flyoshock,” if you will. According to Gerritsen, that idea has some merit, but there’s much more to it than that:

I can totally see why the cynic may look at it as, “Eh, they’re just doing the same thing.” [But] really, for us, we feel this is a new IP. That, because we are just sort of saying, “You know what? You’re going to have to discover once again, as you play this game, what BioShock really is and what it’s all about,” that — to us — this really is a new IP, and it really is something completely new. It’s that same sense of “what the f*ck is going on here” that we tried to create in BioShock 1.

He then went on to praise 2K Games and its parent company, Take-Two, for giving Irrational the creative freedom to explore themes and gameplay similar to BioShock, but in a place designed to evoke the feeling of discovery and wonderment that we all felt when we first descended into Rapture. BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter with powers, but that looks to be the only connection it has to its predecessors. Well, that and a steampunk aesthetic, anyway.

BioShock Infinite is due out in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. I’ll have more from my interview with Gerritsen soon, but in the meantime, check out my preview of the game.


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