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The Shock That Almost Wasn't 57

According to a senior designer on the 2K Boston (formerly Irrational) game Bioshock a number of publishers turned them down when the company brought the title to their doorstep. "Ken (Levine) spent years pitching the game to publishers but no one was interested, incredible as that seems now. I joined Irrational in December 2004 and my first job was to get a publishing deal for the game (I worked as the Business Development Director for the first six months). I remember pitching the game to one publisher who later told a friend of mine that it was 'just another f-ing PC FPS that's going to sell 250,000 units." Just in case you didn't catch it over the weekend, there's a demo for the game up on Xbox Live. PC owners hold tight: a PC demo is coming, and hopefully before the game launches on the 21st.
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The Shock That Almost Wasn't

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  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday August 13, 2007 @06:05PM (#20217565) Homepage Journal
    It seems a little early to be counting your chickens given that they are all still eggs. It's not like there have never been highly anticipated games that were a complete letdown before.
    • by Loke the Dog ( 1054294 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @06:13PM (#20217641)
      But those games tend to sell pretty good too. The hype around this game will make sure it sells more than 250k copies, even if the buyers found that their boxes were empty, heh.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Exactly, it's not so much that Bioshock is the "BEST GAME EVAR!!!", but rather that it's already doing quite well in preorders and looks to be one of the heavy hitters of 2007. Will it beat out Halo 3? Probably not. Will it sell a lot more than 250K copies? Yes.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Really? I've never heard of Bioshock before.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by scumdamn ( 82357 )
      I just ran through the demo a couple of times and I can tell you that the game will only sell less than 250k copies if the marketing plan is utter trash, because the game itself is excellent. It has this weird atmosphere that's an amalgum of the '50s and Blade Runner, almost. It's totally weird. And there are these people with bunny ears chasing you around and stuff. I mean, c'mon! How can you not love that? It doesn't even matter how good the graphics are because what really counts in this game is the tigh
      • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @03:12AM (#20221979) Homepage
        The demo convinced me. I had been intending to avoid the game as "another hyped FPS," but the game shows both a strong edge of story telling, and a shockingly strong artistic vision. It almost feels like a cross between myst, and Half Life 2, but adding in elements of a hellish children's book. Also, since it isn't intended to be a multiplayer game or a multiplayer platform, they can get away with weapons and scripting that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

        Truly an experience.
        • Well, it's by Irrational. Of course it's going to be an awesome game. Those of us who played System Shock and System Shock 2 knew this the day it was announced.
        • by gknoy ( 899301 )

          [T]he game shows a strong edge of story telling, and a shockingly strong artistic vision.... [with] elements of a hellish children's book.

          This is I think what's interesting me the most. I really enjoyed games like American McGee's Alice, Deus Ex, and other games with a story which diverges from current normalcy in ways which permeate the entire game experience.

          When I first heard about Bioshock, I wasn't all that impressed. Underwater world, looks all 1940's styled, and ... what the heck is with that "Big

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bvimo ( 780026 )
        ... people with bunny ears chasing you around and stuff. How about ponies? If it has ponies, I'll buy it.
  • So which guy from the dev team is going to make us his bitch this time?
  • I like it so far (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grapeape ( 137008 ) < minus author> on Monday August 13, 2007 @06:50PM (#20218129) Homepage
    Wonder how many of the mediocre comments are ps3 fanboys?? I just finished the demo, the atmosphere is awesome, good lighting effects, fantastic water effects, yep its a FPS but it looks to have a decent enough story and different enough setting to make it well worth while. Its really creepy, kind of like when I played F.E.A.R. the first time, the setting's 1950's look with the radio playing constantly gives it a weird haunting feel even when nothing is happening. Irrational has never let me down before (loved Freedom Force)so im looking forward to the full game.
    • by nuzak ( 959558 )
      > Irrational has never let me down before

      Well, there's Tribes:Vengeance. And as a nifty tie-in to another article, SWAT 4 was one of the first games with in-game advertisement. Won a few dubious "honors" from reviewing magazines for that.

      But overall, yeah, their stuff is good. In fact, 2K in general is nurturing their acquisitions well, in stark contrast to That Other Big Game Publisher.
    • Unless you take the term literally, Bioshock doesn't really qualify as an FPS. Half-Life 2 is an FPS. System Shock, Deus Ex, VTM: Bloodlines, Bioshock, even Oblivion may *look* like FPSes, but they're something else entirely. They represent different degrees of RPG/shooter hybrids. People aren't looking forward to Bioshock because of the pretty graphics.
      • Thats true but detractors will say its a FPS regardless. I'm a story driven gamer, give me a good story and I dont care if its 3rd person twice removed I'll play it. The story for this one seems different enough to get me into it, but then I was one a handful that absolutely loved Prey for the same reason, it was just twistedly different.
      • by SirSlud ( 67381 )
        I'm with you in general (and having just finished the demo) Bioshock seems to been deeper than your average FPS, but it struck me as being far more shallow than system shock, deus ex. It looks and felt like an FPS that has fairly flexible AI in the sense that you can turn enemies against each other in a myriad of ways. I was particularly disappointed in the 'hacking' minigame: its PipeDream! Kinda takes you out of the immersion when you go and hack a security bot and it feels like you accidentally logged in
      • How about, FPRPG? First person role-playing game?
  • I keep seeing posts about this game on slashdot, usually pointing to articles stating what a great achievement this game is, regardless of the fact that it has yet to be released or reviewed. On top of that, there doesn't seem to be anything about it that's all that new or interesting. It sounds just like the the description, 'another f-ing FPS'.

    So please tell me, why does this game get so much attention?
  • Does anyone have a link to a site with reviews/opinions about the demo? Even though I'm more interested in the PC version I'd still like to know how people felt regarding the content.
    • Ben Kuchera over at ARS Technica gave a very positive review here []

      • ... and I don't want to give anything away, but Ars is pretty much on the money. The atmosphere the game creates is just outstanding, within five minutes I was getting rather nervous and contemplating turning the lights back on.

        There's a tonne of great touches, fantastic audio work and really slick visual effects. So it's another first person shooter, but it really does stand head and shoulders above any other single player game I've got my hands on since Half Life 2.

        Can't wait for the PC demo to see how my
  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @08:10PM (#20219097) Journal
    I was just skimming Kotaku [], and it looks like the developers just released a free 60-page art book today. There's plenty of horrifically beautiful goodness inside, although (as one might expect) also some spoilers: []

    Way back when I was creating the BioShock Limited Edition, I took a poll for what you guys wanted to see in the box. And while we managed to put your top 3 choices in - the Making of DVD, Sountrack CD, and Big Daddy Figurine, we just couldn't manage a BioShock artbook.

    But with a game as beautiful as BioShock, that just didn't sit right with me. Because everyone should be able to experience the beauty of BioShock, see the concept art and visualize the evolution of building such a revolutionary game.

    So, with the help of the BioShock team and an amazing art designer, I put together a BioShock artbook for everyone to download. Here it is, in all its glory, in two PDF versions: a smaller, ebook download, and a more hi-resolution version that you can take to your local printshop and bind.

    The one thing I'd recommend is skipping over Ken's foreword until after you've played the game, as it holds some spoilers you might want to keep secret your first playthrough is complete.

    Other than that, and without further ado, I present to you BioShock: Breaking the Mold.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"