This past weekend I was in Boston, but not entirely for PAX East, as you might expect. Instead, I took the opportunity to take a mini-vacation with my family. So I wasn’t there to work, dodging appointment and meeting requests leading up to the event.
But when Irrational Games reached out and asked if I’d like to attend an intimate dinner with the studio’s founder and creative director Ken Levine, I had to respond the only way I knew how: “Oh f*ck yes.” The writers invited were told up front Levine wouldn’t be talking about Irrational’s upcoming game, so no one really bothered bringing it up. (We’ll hear more soon enough, I’m told.) Instead, it was a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of PAX East, and a better chance to get to know the man behind games like BioShock and System Shock 2.
For example, when faced with the question of “RoboCop vs. Die Hard,” Levine sided with the 1988 classic Bruce Willis action flick. (My “But RoboCop eats baby food” argument did not sway him.) He loves World of Warcraft, as evinced by his heated Cataclysm discussion with UGO’s Tracey John. He’s currently obsessed with the Farmville-like We Rule for the iPhone, is giddy over the potential for board gaming on the iPad, and can’t wait to see Kick Ass.
But the most important thing I came away with was the fact that Levine is both down-to-Earth and extremely passionate about what he does. He’s one of “us,” as they say. And I’m not just saying this because he treated me to a nice dinner and then, as a gift from the studio, gave me one of 200 Limited Edition Andrew Ryan figurines.
It’s just a shame Levine is so very wrong about the “RoboCop vs. Die Hard” thing.