Levine: BioShock Infinite Cover Made to Appeal to "Some Frat Guy"

Frathouses like 'boring', apparently.

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Levine: BioShock Infinite Cover Made to Appeal to "Some Frat Guy"
A lot of people care about the BioShock Infinite cover art. We don't, particularly, but we understand why many gamers do - it's boring and bland as all hell. What isn't boring though, is watching Irrational boss Ken Levine try to explain why they chose to make the cover look like that in the first place.

Speaking with Wired, Levine suggested that the thinking behind the box art was to make the game appealing to gamers who weren't so clued up on the BioShock franchise. People who don't read gaming magazines and websites, for example.

"We went and did a tourÖ around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that," he said. "People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And [we] said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock? Not a single one of them had heard of it."

Fair enough, but that doesn't really explain why the cover art looks as bland as it does.

"I looked at the cover art for BioShock 1, which I was heavily involved with and love, I adored," he added. "And I tried to step back and say, if Iím just some guy, some frat guy, I love games but donít pay attention to themÖ if I saw the cover of that box, what would I think? And I would think, this is a game about a robot and a little girl. Thatís what I would think."

BioShock Infinite's cover art is equally nondescript, featuring a man with a shotgun... although Levine suggests that this base visual approach is the whole point.

"I wanted the uninformed, the person who doesnít read IGNÖ to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it."

Will people pick it up and turn it over, though, when there are an equal number of boxes featuring cover art with pretty much the exact same "guy with gun" design? That's a gamble that Levine is willing to take, it seems - and should make for one hell of a marketing case study.

Levine also gets a little weird in the interview: "Our gaming world, we sometimes forget, is so important to us, butÖ there are plenty of products that I buy that I donít spend a lot of time thinking about. My salad dressing. If thereís a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I donít read Salad Dressing Weekly. I donít care who makes it, I donít know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business."

There's a small part of us that thinks that Ken's squirming over the BioShock Infinite cover is because Ken Levine IS on the BioShock Infinite cover. Don't pretend you haven't been working out recently now, Ken.


Ergo 11 Dec 2012 19:22
Ken Levine: way too erudite for his audience.

(Yes, that's caustic sarcasm--nothing like a hyper-pretentious game developer. Maybe he and David Cage could get together and make a game: Battle of the Rampant Egos.)
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