Setting aside time to talk with Ken Levine about Bioshock Infinite is certainly something not to be taken lightly. It is, however, a fascinating journey of discovery around the expansive opportunities of the Bioshock world.
Levine is an interesting individual who manages to court both core gamer and broader audience at the same time. Bioshock offers a mature experience with well developed themes. All without dumbing down the shooting.
Talking to Levine, its clear that Irrational Games have taken their time over a follow up, even making the hard decision to leave Bioshock 2 to another studio. The result of all this hard work and heart ache is Bioshock Infinite. While you have no doubt heard about Columbia, Booker and Elizabeth, what you may not be aware of is how unusual the social, political and religious themes are for the video game.
Levine discussed the process of making, not only the political and social elements of Columbia feel real, but also creating a (spin-off) Christian leading and ecosystem to drive that world. Many would shirk away from such controversial topics, preferring not to mix real world religion with a shooting game. However, so far it seems that Levine and the team at Irrational are managing to pull this off.
As we continued our conversation, it was good to hear him in pragmatic tone, talking about the problematic ending of the first game and the efforts to do better with the pace and storytelling in Bioshock Infinite in that regard. Throughout all of this was a clear desire to offer something expansive and varied for not only core gamers, but those people “who only buy a couple of games a year”.
It’s not long until Bioshock Infinite will be in for review and we’ll be able to tell you first hand how it stacks up to these grand claims.
Andy Robertson runs Family Gamer TV and writes about games and families.