Interviews// BioShock's Ken Levine

Posted 3 Aug 2007 17:26 by
Games: Bioshock
SPOnG: BioShock is single-player only ? was it just too complex for multiplayer?

Ken Levine: It?s interesting: when you saw the Fisheries area; after we built that demo, I started thinking about the game down the road, with all the multiplayer opportunities, and all that stuff going on, but in a competitive space. It never occurred to me until we built that demo that BioShock would actually make a really cool multiplayer experience. But for a game of this depth and complexity, we wanted to focus everything on an awesome single-player experience.

If we had built a multiplayer experience into it at that time, the game would never have been what it was to make me realise how cool it could be as a multiplayer experience. But that?s one for the future.

SPOnG: What were your influences? Something I saw at the beginning made me think of Clockwork Orange.

Ken Levine: There?s Kubrick with The Shining ? you know, with the dead hotels and the dead structures. Fight Club, from a narrative perspective. A million videogames, of course, from Half-Life to our own games, to Ratchet & Clank ? I?m a bit of a slut when it comes to games, movies and stuff ? I?ll borrow from anywhere. I?m a fan at root.

SPOnG: What happened to the PS3 version?

Ken Levine: If I talk about anything outside of the Xbox 360 version, my corporate overlords will spank me. We love the 360, we love working on it and we?re not talking about any other versions right now.

SPOnG: Was it the case that Microsoft splashed the cash then?

Ken Levine: My friend, I can say nothing more ? except that we?ve had great support from Microsoft.

SPOnG: Can you talk me through the more exotic and off-the-wall weapons and plasmids?, and their combinations?

Ken Levine: You can catch grenades with telekinesis; every weapon is fully modifiable in multiple stages ? we have three different ammo types. The grenade-launcher has heat-seeking missiles you can fire. There?s a chemical thrower that can freeze people with liquid nitrogen, or light people up with napalm. The shotgun has an electric bolt that gives an electric shock.

Then there are all the plasmids: you saw the security beacon that turns enemies into targets for the security system. There?s the electro-bolt that can zap people -- you can incinerate people and they?ll run to a body of water, and then you can zap the water, and take out several people with that.

SPOnG: There are some neat real-world physics touches ? everyone knows, for example, that water conducts electricity.

Ken Levine: That?s what we tried to do ? we tried to make it intuitive. It?s not like a D&D game, where you say: ?If somebody is hit with electricity, they sustain two units of damage;? we wanted stuff that was visual, and a world that everyone got right away. You know, if you light up an oil-slick, it?s going to spread fire around. All the physics really helped us do that ? just to make believable situations. If you do that right, you don?t have to tell them what to do.

SPOnG: Thanks for your time, Ken.

" What are Plasmids? Small, circular, extrachromosomal DNA molecules. They can replicate independently of the genome?. Molecular Biology Cyberlab.
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Games: Bioshock

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king skins 7 Aug 2007 13:46
can't wait :)
Joji 20 Aug 2007 21:31
Really want this game. Its strange, because Assasins Creed I wanted more. Bioshock, I'm glad its out before Halo 3 and Mass Effect, so we can all appreciate it like it deserves to be.

Thanks a lot, Irrational and Take 2.
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