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Ken Levine On The Background of Bioshock 23

Posted by Zonk
from the please-keep-ayn-rand-in-non-zombie-format dept.
GameSpy has up an interview with Ken Levine of Irrational Games. While Levine has spoken previously about Bioshock's ideology, this piece discusses a number of the elements that went into creating the game. He touches again on objectivism, but expands on the title's connection to its spiritual predecessor System Shock 2 and the process of actual developing the game. "Sterling: Segueing away from storyline a little, what sorts of hardware limits did the team encounter from pre-production leading up to this point of near-completion? Ken Levine: As a credit to my programming team, honestly, I didn't hear much about them. There was some hesitation on the part of some of programming team in pushing a level of physical simulation in the world, in part because they knew how much work that was. To their credit, I'll say, not only did they do it, they knocked it out of the park, because I've never seen this level of simulation ever in a shooter."
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Ken Levine On The Background of Bioshock

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  • Bioshock vs. Halo 3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:16PM (#19651875)
    Despite the years of Halo 3 hype, is anyone else more excited about the (hopefully soon) release of Bioshock? The gameplay footage so far has looked amazing, especially the clips demonstrating the use of telekinesis.
    • Bioshock looks great, but very different from Halo. In my brain even though they are both FPS they are really too different to compare. That said I have pre-ordered both.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I've always found that I didn't get much of an idea of how good a game was from watching gameplay footage. When comparing one FPS to the other, or one RTS to another, just looking at the graphics won't tell you a whole lot about how good the game is. I find I actually have to play it if I want to get a feel for whether or not I like it.
    • Yeah, after Halo 2 I lost interest in the franchise. I want something more original... also killing replicant children.
    • by Jonah Hex (651948)
      I found that several of the gameplay segments released actually gave me the chills, and I can't wait for this to be released. I cannot recall the last time a 5 minute piece of gameplay footage drew me into the same atmosphere as a complete cinematic experience. While watching, my 9 year old son (veteran of FPS's and horror movies) got so scared he asked me to turn it off.

      Jonah HEX
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      I enjoyed Halo 1 until about the halfway point, where they stopped giving you AIs to fight along-side.

      Halo 2 was boring.

      Prey was a good game because it had plot.

      So yeah, I'm much more excited about BioShock than Halo 3. They've spent a -lot- of time talking about how the game will play, instead of how you will play the game. That is, they put a lot of detail into the environment and story, instead of giving Halo 2 a new UI and some extra guns, and some random new enemy to face in boring square corridors.
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      I'm not sure if it's fair to compare the two, given that most of Halo's lore and hype seems to be bundled up in the associated ARGs, rather than the Halo games themselves, and the broad differences between Halos and Shocks within the larger first-person shooter genre.

      But yeah, I'm much more interested in Bioshock. Deco art style? Weird, quasi-Gernsbackian setting? Character customization? Spiritual relative to the System Shock games? Yes. Please. Oh god, please.

    • by necro2607 (771790)
      Yes, I am pretty damn stoked! I played System Shock 2 and LOVED it. I haven't been this excited for a game since Myth: The Fallen Lords [wikipedia.org] came out (that was in 1997)! Here's hoping it's every bit as great as I'm anticipating, and then some! ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Puff of Logic (895805)

        Yes, I am pretty damn stoked! I played System Shock 2 and LOVED it. I haven't been this excited for a game since Myth: The Fallen Lords [wikipedia.org] came out (that was in 1997)! Here's hoping it's every bit as great as I'm anticipating, and then some! ;)

        Concur, although I have to say that I'm absolutely terrified that having a console version will screw up the UI/control scheme. I know, I know, consoles are great and I'm a PC fanboi, but the travesty that was Oblivion (in terms of the UI) has really made me headshy. Hope springs eternal, however, so with luck the PC version of Bioshock will have an appropriately tight control scheme and solid UI.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wicko (977078)
      Definitely Bioshock. All this marketing for Halo 3 is making me NOT want to get it. They aren't doing a very good job of grabbing my attention with their viral marketing attempt. They did a MUCH better job with the Nine Inch Nails album that just came out. Perhaps that's because they actually have something good to work with, unlike this Halo 3 "storyline". They market it too openly for all ages that it just turns me off. Bioshock is giving me exactly what I want: a mature themed game with unique environmen
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        They aren't doing a very good job of grabbing my attention with their viral marketing attempt. They did a MUCH better job with the Nine Inch Nails album that just came out.

        Nine Inch Nails has a new album?
  • How far from a storyline can you get on a segway?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:52PM (#19652479)
    I'm encouraged by Ken Levine's response to the "indictment of objectivist ideology" question. It's good for a game to invoke matters of belief and opinion, but in a complex way. It's far better to be provocative and open-ended at the same time than to just come down on one side in some simple, idealistic way.

    That kind of complexity is one of the things I really loved about Thief: The Dark Project. [Spoilers follow.] In Thief TDP, the Hammerites are a bunch of oppressive fundamentalist assholes. The main character hates them, and rightfully so. But, as the plot progresses, it turns out that at least one of the Hammers' wackier beliefs is in fact quite real, and that they are quite essential in protecting the people of the City from a rather nasty fate.

    Deus Ex was also, of course, quite good with this stuff. You've got layer upon layer of conspiracies, whether true or false, deliberate hoaxes, elaborate cover-ups, etc., leading up to opposing ideals of world government vs. anarchy; humanism vs. trans-humanism; open society vs. secret rule; none of which is presented in a wholly good light.

    I liked System Shock 2, but not for those reasons. It's pretty hard to sympathize with Shodan or The Many... or those freaky monkeys, for that matter. What was great about System Shock 2 was the off-balancing level design and the set-piece hallucination. There were some real classic moments there, like the apparition in the Bon Chance lounge (should've been "Bonne Chance", but that's Tri-Optimum for you...) and the tunnels in the Garden. I hope that Bioshock is able to provide some of those elements... but even if it doesn't, I'm still definitely going to get it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Levine sez:

      I like that sort of opaqueness in storytelling, because I don't think there are black and whites.

      And then the parent admires his new clothes:

      I'm encouraged by Ken Levine's response to the "indictment of objectivist ideology" question. It's good for a game to invoke matters of belief and opinion, but in a complex way. It's far better to be provocative and open-ended at the same time than to just come down on one side in some simple, idealistic way.

      That only works if you still have something to say
      • So ultimately, the storyline behind Bioshock is just like that of most FPS games; substanceless.

        How the hell do you know, you haven't played it. You are just throwing a tantrum over the fact that someone might have said something bad about saint Rand.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LarsWestergren (9033)
      What was great about System Shock 2 was the off-balancing level design and the set-piece hallucination. There were some real classic moments there, like the apparition in the Bon Chance lounge (should've been "Bonne Chance", but that's Tri-Optimum for you...) and the tunnels in the Garden.

      I LOVED the storytelling aspect of System Shock 2, that intead of lazily cutting to a cinematic whenever something needed explaining as in other games, you had to figure stuff out for yourself from clues in the environmen
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "You might witness some strange phenomena. Your R-grade cyber rig has an experimental perception enhancement that can theoretically detect residual psychic emanations. These emanations traditionally come from the recently dead. Literature might call them ghosts. I call them self-hypnotic defects in the R-grade unit. Don't let it distract you from the job at hand."

        The genetic stuff might be based on old school concept of memory RNA [wikipedia.org] which made its way into science fiction of the 1960s era.

  • More than any other game recently, Bioshock has preloaded me with all the talking points to convince my friends to buy the game. Now all that remains to be seen is if I end up gushing over this stuff or complaining about it when I actually get to play it.

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