Q&A: Diving deeper into BioShock's story

2K Boston creative director Ken Levine explains the meaning behind the madness of Rapture in a spoiler-ridden interview about his underwater first-person shooter.

Shortly after 2K Boston's first-person shooter BioShock launched on the Xbox 360 and PC in August, GameSpot spoke to studio head Ken Levine about the myriad launch headaches associated with the game, from downed servers that kept gamers from playing the PC edition of the game to broken collector's edition bonuses.

2K Boston's Ken Levine.

That discussion was primarily centered around Levine's responsibilities as 2K Boston's president, but this week, GameSpot was more interested in his role as the studio's creative director. BioShock certainly attempts to tell a more elaborate, thoughtful tale than most mass-market titles, and Levine was game to help get beneath the surface of the story. The chief storyteller behind BioShock elaborated on the game's intended themes, dispelled an erroneous interpretation or two, addressed the game's unusual endings, and talked about how they don't represent his original vision.

Gamers who haven't played through BioShock yet are advised to stop reading here, however. Beyond assuming a certain level of familiarity with the game, the discussion that follows contains plenty of spoilers.

GameSpot: Andrew Ryan is a tremendous hypocrite. He's a complete free-market capitalist, but the first thing he does is dictate that citizens of Rapture cannot bring their religion to his world. Then he closes the theater "because there's a war on" and assumes control of Fontaine's business. He's all about individual determination but eventually embraces mind control. What is it about his character that makes him seem so idealistic and adamant on the surface, but allows him to embrace such brazen hypocrisy?

Ken Levine: It's less interesting whether he's a parasite, or whether he's a hypocrite or not. In a general sense, the more affirmative we are with our statements, and the more unyielding we are with our philosophy, the more hypocritical we're all bound to become. In any ideological argument, the closer it gets to your backyard, the tougher it gets to stay in the argument. My discomfort with extreme ideology tends to focus around [the fact] that often when the ideology meets reality, people don't turn out as well as they might hope. And that tells you a lot about ideologies. I'm certainly not defending any of those actions that he took because I think they're all pretty reprehensible from an objective standard. But I think a lot of actions all of us take aren't up to what we ideally might want to do. And it's interesting to have a character who is so clear in the abstract about what he believes. Then when it's tested, it becomes a lot trickier.

No gods or kings. Only Andrew Ryan's massive golden head.

GS: For a utopia free from religion, there are a lot of Christian religious overtones to the game (Adam, Eve, Rapture, smuggled crucifixes and bibles), but only one non-Christian thing I spotted: the Epstein the Swami machines. Were you intending to make any commentary specific to Christianity, or was that just what you thought would be most recognizable to your audience?

KL: The game is full of examples of people who have strong ideologies, whether it's Ryan or Cohen or Steinman. They all have their own religions in a way, right? Steinman's got his church of the beautiful and he said he talks to a goddess. Cohen's got his church of the aesthetic. And Ryan's got his own set of precepts that are pretty unyielding. I think that the first thing any strong ideology does, by necessity, is to crush all other ideologies and remove them because they tend to be incompatible. That is one of the reasons that religion was pushed out of Rapture.

But I think conversely, if you look at the history of a lot of religion, you see a similar approach taken there. One religion tends to take hold in a nonpluralistic society. They tend to try to push out other religions. You see that the different belief systems having incompatibilities, and if you really adhere 100 percent to any belief system without question, it's very difficult for you to accept incompatibilities of that belief system.

GS: Are people inevitably drawn to strong ideologies? Is there something about having a black and a white, a right and wrong, and one way to do things, that is just naturally comforting?

KL: I think it's pretty clear from any viewing of history or current events that people find truisms very comforting. And especially in times of strife, I think that people are drawn to things that they can hold on to. When you looked at our country after 9/11, you saw the dialogue. There was a real interest in having the dialogue becoming a little simpler and a little more straightforward. And that was really comforting to a lot of people. That's why you have things. Religion is a form of that, ideologies are a form of that, nationalism is a form of that. Anything that answers a bunch of questions for you, that removes the gray area, especially in times of strife, is very comforting for people.

GS: Rapture was founded on November 5, 1946. Was there any particular significance to the date of its founding?

KL: I think there is a significance to the period of the founding, that Andrew Ryan, built the city as a response to the Depression and the New Deal, and World War II, and very recently before that, the detonation of the nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

GS: Between early audio files, dated decorations in Rapture and the fact that so many splicers walk around wearing festive masks, it appears the disintegration of Rapture's utopian society hit a tipping point on New Year's Eve of 1959. Why draw the line at the turn of that decade in particular? Are you suggesting the repressive '50s were preferable to the amoral '60s?

Most of the game's splicers come equipped with masks from the New Year's masquerade ball.

KL: Oh, man. No, I think it was strictly a matter of narrative and backstory. Rapture needed time to come into its own before it fell apart. I wanted to give the society a reasonable amount of time to start spreading its wings a little bit before the cracks appeared. And knowing where I wanted to start, knowing where I wanted Ryan to come from, post-WWII was the right time for him to build the city. And I wanted to give it 10 or 15 years to work. It gives it some time for that experiment to sort of percolate.

GS: Rapture is supposed to be populated with the best and the brightest, but even that selected subset is apparently highly susceptible to the ham-handed advertising that saturates Rapture. Is that a comment on the power of advertising, or the shortcomings of people regardless of intelligence or achievement?

KL: I have a friend of a friend who's a media critic named Doug Rushkoff. And he had written something about The Simpsons 15 years ago, saying that the show was a signal that we have all moved beyond the ability to be affected by media because of this postmodern thing that constantly made fun of media, constantly made fun of how people were duped by advertising and duped by the news and everything.

Obey?

And Doug's a really smart guy, but I had a bit of a different take on it, that The Simpsons were just the next brilliant evolution of that [influence]. Because look, you're still watching the TV. You're still viewing the advertisements. It's just that now they're telling you, "It's OK. You know you're smart. You 'get it.' Now drink that Coke." And I think that's a natural evolution. We look back on advertisements in the '50s of cigarettes hitting your T-zone and [think] people must have been stupid, or people must have been naïve. But it was just a new medium and the medium has had to be wily and very smart to stay ahead of us.

When I was a kid and I watched Logan's Run in the theater, and I was blown away by the special effects. Now those same special effects [don't cut it]. I've become more sophisticated as a viewer. But that doesn't mean when I see great effects now I think they exist any more than they actually do. I've just become more sophisticated so it takes more to sort of fool me and then lull me into my suspension of disbelief.

And I think the same with advertising. It was just sort of a crude time. I'm sure you bought something today and I bought something today, some partially based on advertisements we saw for it. And those advertisements are just more sophisticated. Hopefully we're some of the best and the brightest, but we get taken in by it. And it's the same way those people were taken in by the advertising of their time.

GS: BioShock has antagonists, but the horror that Rapture became seems to lack a clear villainous architect. Ryan enables Rapture to happen, but he would have been perfectly happy without the mind control, plasmid research, and Little Sisters. Fontaine was evil, but he just took advantage of the worst aspects of Rapture that were already under way. Suchong is irredeemably evil, but he was entirely dependent on other people to approve and fund his research. With the bad ending, the player is potentially the biggest villain of all. Ryan himself even says that it's not his hands alone pulling the chain of endeavor. So who's to blame for what happens in Rapture?

Who's responsible for this?

KL: I don't know that's a question I can answer. It's a collection of all the above. Look at Tenenbaum. What is she? Is she a hero or a villain? She creates the Little Sisters then she has a change of heart. Where does that put her on the map, morally? She obviously did some pretty atrocious things. So I don't know if there is a singular villain of the piece or a singular hero of the piece. Like life, there are a lot of people, some of whom try to do their best, some of them not trying to do their best.

There are some people who sort of stand out as a little above the others, like McDonagh who is Ryan's conscience in a way, who at least is very true to what his beliefs are. But on the other hand, staying true to your beliefs may not necessarily be a good thing. So I don't know. I don't have the answer to that question.

Just when did the main character get that ink done, anyway?

GS: About the chain tattoo on the main character's wrist... Other than cluing the player in that the protagonist is already related to Rapture somehow, given Ryan's recurring rhetoric about the "chain of endeavor," is there any special significance to it?

KL: In general, I don't like to talk about things that we don't address in the story, because I think the right place to answer questions like that is within the gameworld. If we don't answer them, that means we didn't intend to answer it. That's one of those things that I want to leave blank for now, because I just want people to put their own meaning on it. We haven't expressed any meaning on that and I don't think I'm going to right now.

GS: For a game built on a moral choice about harvesting or rescuing the Little Sisters, there's very little consequence to the player's actions. The moral decision about harvesting or saving Little Sisters winds up being relatively inconsequential since if you save them all, then in the end you do wind up with enough ADAM to purchase all the plasmids and upgrades you could need, and you get some free ones on top of that from their gifts. Do you think it's important that all moral choices have clear rewards? Aren't there things that we should do simply because it's right?

KL: I guess the question is sort of along two lines: How consequential is it from a gameplay standpoint, and how consequential is it from a story standpoint? A third level is how consequential it is from the actual gamer's experience standpoint.

Harvest, rescue... Does it even matter?

My favorite story about people saving and harvesting is when a journalist that told me he started harvesting and his fiancé saw him do it, and he slept on the couch for two days. She found it awful. Certainly I think that people who encounter the game think about it not just a [minimum and maximum benefit], Diablo-skill-tree kind of way, but they think about it in terms of what am I as a character or a person, a saver or a harvester. And I think you see a fair amount of consistency.

I heard a lot on threads about this, and I think that there are definitely some legitimate complaints that this story doesn't reflect those choices enough. And I think it's something that was pretty experimental for us in this game, and something we definitely want to explore further, and take to a deeper level. But my favorite notion--the thing I'm most happy about--is that people think about it generally outside of [minimum and maximum benefit], and from the actual moral choice aspect of it.

GS: How many Little Sisters can the player kill and still get the good ending?

KL: We went back and forth on that a lot, but we want to leave that up for people to do themselves. I'm sure it's out there somewhere, but we're sort of uncomfortable about revealing that number because we don't want people to game the system that way.

GS: Considering that the plot inhabits the gray areas of morality and you've included general condemnation of taking things to extremes, why give the player two endings that are on ridiculously opposite ends of the spectrum?

KL: I think that's a fair question and honestly, it was never my intention to do two endings for the game. It sort of came very late and it was something that was requested by somebody up the food chain from me. It was a reasonable request because I think people want to just have a sense of the different consequences from doing that path.

But you notice, whenever I do my interviews about the game, I never want to talk about the good and the evil choice. When we were developing the game, originally the icons about harvest and save had a neat little angel and a little devil, and I cut that out because I didn't want that to be clear to the player when he did it in the sequence where Atlas and Tenenbaum are telling the player very different but equally compelling things. And it wasn't clear what the morally right thing to do was.

I wanted to leave it more ambiguous. But I'm not sure if that would have been the right thing. At the end of the day, there are [aspects of games] that you collaborate on and agree upon.

One of the reasons I was opposed to multiple endings is I never want to do things that have multiple digital outcomes, versus analog outcomes. I want to do it like the weapons system in the combat in BioShock. There are a million different things you can do in every combat; you can play it a million different ways. Looking into the future for the franchise, that's something I want to [figure out], that by the time you get to the ending of that choice path, you have a sense of your impact on the world through lots of little permutations rather than like a giant ending piece, if you follow my meaning.

And I think we did a reasonably good job with [the endings], but there are just two of them. And this is not a game about A and B. This is a game about one through 1 million, and all those permutations of choice. And as I think about the future of the franchise, that's where I want to take that.

GS: BioShock creates a wonderful atmosphere for Rapture, but it seems to unravel when one stops to wonder why an underwater utopia would need ammunition vending machines and resurrection chambers every few yards apart, weapon upgrading stations forever inoperable after one free use, a handful of toilets for an entire society, no apparent place to sleep. It seems like there were a lot of choices made for the sake of a better game, rather than like a more convincing, fully realized and fleshed-out world. Can a cohesive universe in a good game be made right now, or are the two things mutually exclusive?

Because every utopia needs readily available ammunition.

KL: So, we clearly make a lot of concessions to actually being a game. Now I'll put some defense into some of those things, like the ammo machines. Of course there would be a lot of other vending machines around the world but in a society like Rapture, they might very well sell weapon ammunition, especially if there's a civil war going on. It is a completely deregulated society, so why wouldn't you be able to buy ammunition from vending machines? Now certainly you'd have vending machines that sell other items, but that would be a hot commodity in the same way that we see people come out selling umbrellas in New York when the rain comes down. When the war is on, people would be making a killing selling ammunition.

But yeah, there's certainly concessions, like with how many toilets there are. We had this discussion when we did System Shock 2 because we were making the whole starship. Should there be a bed for everybody? How many bathrooms should there be? And frankly, I don't give a ****. Because even in the most realistic television show you've ever seen... You see Battlestar Galactica taking sci-fi to a much more realistic place, but you never see characters take a dump. And frankly, do you want to see them take a dump? I don't, because it's not about dragging over the coals of realism in every aspect. It's enough to make you feel that I buy into this, that suspension of disbelief I talked about.

And our goal with Rapture is not to re-create a city in its reality, but to re-create a city in the expectation where you can suspend your disbelief. Now clearly you hit some speed bumps along the way with those elements. And maybe we didn't calibrate 100 percent for the audience, or for you obviously in this case. But I think that's a fine line to walk.

GS: Is it possible for a game completely addressing all these issues to get made in the current market, or do we first need more titles like BioShock to take steps toward that in order to show publishers that more thoughtful game experiences can still sell millions of copies?

KL: If the sales success of BioShock means anything, it means that we can trust our audience a little more. With the themes--both from a gameplay standpoint and especially from a theme standpoint, a story standpoint--if you told anybody including myself that BioShock was going to be the kind of commercial success it's been, they would have done a double take. I knew there'd be an audience that got into it, and fortunately, it wasn't my money going into making it. So, I didn't really have to care; I got to make what I wanted to make. But the fact that such a large audience responded to it the way it has, especially on the 360 [indiscernible] when people say console gamers are mouth breathers who don't care about story, deep gameplay, and stuff like that, I think that puts a lie to that. And I think it's told the publishers to some degree, I hope, that maybe the audience is ready for a little more. Maybe you should trust them a little more.

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Discussion

214 comments
Eudaimon
Eudaimon

@vandal_galm It's unfortunate that you seriously misunderstood my post, because mostly we agree. Given your response, it looks like we both agree the game was amazing. I loved it and convinced three of my friends who were cold to it to play it (they all have and loved it too). Second, we both agree the story has something to say about human darkness. Apparently, we also agree that it's message is not, humans have a nature. That said, I never claimed Levine was ripping off Lewis' point, nor did I suggest that that would have made it better. In context, I had a disappointed hope that it illustrated Lewis' point. Which, of course was a disappointment tied to my original interpretation of Bioshock. Moving along, I agree that there are new ideas, many which are just as rational, powerful, etc.--if not more so--than Lewis'. Unfortunately, the message of Bioshock per Mr. Levine is not unique or new. "'Strong ideologies' are bad" is a message that is patently not new, and considering it was already mainstream amongst the youth of the 1960s, and is still ubiquitous today, I can't grant that Levine's message is bold either. Finally, I still prefer my interpretation of BioShock, and (here comes a relatively new idea) since I think that the meaning of a text is neither reader-relative, nor purely up to the author, but an interplay of both (with some depth-psychological qualifications) the story of BioShock just may very well end up meaning what I originally hoped it meant (despite the author's conscious intention). At any rate, if you'd like to discuss more about any of the above, I'd enjoy it. You seem like a smart guy and I'd love to pick up the discussion in PM or email. Cheers. Eudaimon.

Swooft
Swooft

This is a great game with a great story and great moral implications, but its is way over the top with gore. I mean I saw at least ten people who had been drilled into a wall by a big daddy. While the gore does contribute to the overall feel of the game (tone I guess one could say) I started to get sick of playing it. Also, Why would the developers spend time developing sleeping quarters and bathrooms? I know I wouldnt waste my time exploring those places and I'm sure if you were stuck in an underwater city with splicers running around the last thing on your mind would be, "Hey where do all these people go the bathroom?"

Pandaar
Pandaar

What Levine said about the little sisters is so true! I played the game with my friend and his girlfriend. I knew in advance that you had to make a choice with the little sisters, because I had been watching footage from Gamespot, so I planned to let my friends handle the decision and see what happened. They were EXTREME opposites. My friend was all for killing her, his girlfriend was all for rescuing her. It was an extremely hard decision. And that's what really matters. The fact that the game could create such polar opposites in moral is something incredibly special.

SkankinForFalco
SkankinForFalco

Jack can't have kids, he's only 2 when the story(game) starts. But aside from that I don't think they'll continue in Rapture.. Just like BioShock and System Shock take places in two completly different places so will BioShock and -Insert Game Here- will probably take place in two different places, Underground maybe? Who knows, 3 years is a long time but im more then willing to wait. Plus... Big Daddies are sweet.

III_unknown
III_unknown

good thing i choose bioshock ; a great game . we make our choices...but in the end our choices ... makes us!

nobeaner
nobeaner

Well given the line of questioning I can see why the game recieved a 9.0 from Gamespot. Those issue about sleeping quarters, bathrooms and vending machines are why I gave it a 9.5 instead of a perfect 10.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

this is one heck of a great game ... i love it!

FadeVermont
FadeVermont

I'd really like to see more games done like this. Storyline rife with philisophy.

dragonwarlock77
dragonwarlock77

BioShock is a fantastic achievment in the advancement of video games. A masterpiece. Great interview!

musicaz70
musicaz70

Ah man... I still haven't bought this yet! (Buying Star Wars PSP 2000). But from what i can tell, this looks great. I love when i see developers like this, it reminds me that everything is still good...

lsny
lsny

I enjoyed the 'bad' ending I got, however it really does bring to light the b.s. dichotomy of morality (whether you, as the designer, intend to imply such matters or do so unintentionally is irrelevant)...but one does have to pay some price for harvesting all that ADAM and screwing about with gene-altering Plasmids and Tonics. I thought the experience was slightly cheapened when only an alternate ending seemed to be the consequence of chosen actions (not to mention that the ending concludes so abruptly without purpose). All that said, BioShock is certainly the best single player FPS I've played since Half-Life, and I'm sure glad I bought an Xbox rather than spending more than double its price on a good PC.

papochini
papochini

Bioshock it's a great story placed in a interactive fiction videogame and for the benefits pf gameplay some things must be adjusted to make the game works, but wouldn't you like to see something more deep about bioshock like a movie?????

vandal_galm
vandal_galm

Eudaimon "I'm curious if anyone else interpreted BioShock as a criticism of existentialism (that existence precedes essence)? Put differently, that there are real bounds within which it is human to act, when you ignore those boundaries, you get undesirable, less-than-fully-human results; you're a bad one of your (human)kind? Until I read the above interview, I was excited at the possibility that BioShock was an interactive story that illustrates Lewis' point, that to reject the Tao is to abolish man. Unfortunately, it looks like their intentions were a little less bold." I find it sad that you used this forum to advertise your recent inspiration of someone else's philosophy by bashing a well-executed video game. First of all, it IS a video game, so the audience isn't your freshman philosophy class. The philosophy behind the game may even be based on your Lewis', but to appreciate something doesn't necessarily mean to regurgitate it (despite your previous example). Perhaps the philosophy you so eagerly referred to was an inspiration, or maybe even someone has their own personal philosophy that WAS NOT STOLEN FROM SOMEONE ELSE...Either way, congratulations, you read a book, or an excerpt, and you summarized it in a few short phrases, then you stated that this game's inspiration was not as bold as the textbook you skimmed over. I'm certain that Lewis himself was moved by your ability to paraphrase three incomplete sentences. Perhaps if you were as open-minded as those you worshiped, you might realize that there are still intelligent people today who are capable of forming ideals and beliefs as powerful, intriguing, rational, and innovative as dead-ass philosophers of the past. Original thoughts still exist; not everyone needs to read someone else's work to have an opinion, and I think that for a freaking video game, it is a very impressive example of allegory and a dark expression of human nature.

sanctuary13
sanctuary13

Ken Levine should be allowed to build his own city underwater. where he can make video games for us mouthbreathers ^_^

Terminatort850
Terminatort850

Finished the game AGAIN. What a GAME man what a GAME. I want to play more and more and more. Rapture is a genius, not of Andrew Ryan but of 2K Boston & 2K Australia. Waiting for another game set in Rapture. The idea of the sequel would be to set the game in present day, where Jack's son or daughter would go to Rapture to explore the present day situation of Rapture.

anon525
anon525

Humorguy_basic you completely missunderstand my post. PC gaming is moving forwards and it is good. If you want to have a system that can run any game that comes out then buy a console (360 btw if you want to play this game). Upgrades come with the territory and if you want to play the latest games you have to at some point upgrade. My old rig was getting outdated about 4 months ago and I spent a little upgrading it to what will hopefully last for another year before I have to do it again. Complaining that a game is rubbish because it doesn't offer value for money is a silly thing to do. What are you going to say next? Crysis will bad value for money? Dirt is bad value for money? Fallout 3 will be bad value for money? The Witcher will be bad value for money? Crysis wont be playable on ultra settings until hardware is realeased to handle it a year or two down the line according to Crytek. Does that mean it's a bad game? Of course not. Games pushing graphical boundaries is a good thing, it's progress. We all strive to play more realistic games with more realistic characters and environments and I am sorry but this just isn't possible without hardware upgrades. No ammount of whinging is going to make that so. You say if it were up to people like me the world would be a sad place? If it were up to people like you we'd all still be playing pacman because of developers being constrained to developing for the 'majority' (if your statistics about gamers are actually true and not just random figures pulled out of your backside, didn't see you quote a source in your post). (Btw I got the good ending yey)

maximbobin
maximbobin

I would be very thankfull if anyone tells me what was the savior ending (to e-mail in order to avoid spoilers - mbobin@mbobin.com). I was disappointed when I got 'bad' ending, but then I understood that it was somewhat fair - after all you have to be liable for what you've done (I harvested a bit less than 1/3 of all sisters). BUT it is not the most important point - I haven't read much yet about the game - may be it was mentioned somewhere, but I was astonished when I understood that the authors definitely meant to make to sequel to Ayn Rand's trilogy "Atlas Unshrugged". Ayn Rand = Andrew Rayan. And Atlas is Atlas. It does ring a bell, doesn't it? The idea is even more deep and philosophical than it seems to be at first. I was expecting something of that kind since 2000 - since DEUS EX. GREAT GAME!!! (Played on Xbox360.)

candybars2005
candybars2005

Well, I got the "sister savior" ending and couldn't have been more satisfied. Honestly, that ending was one of the most moving things I've ever encountered in a game. Shed a hint of a tear as a matter of fact.

Al3xki
Al3xki

Just Finished the game. The ending was soo disapointing!!! after such a gr8 game. I only harvested 3 little sisters from the whole lot and I still got the bad one. It finished really sudden not even any credits just a short video clip. A real shame

bennae66
bennae66

rapture has borderline become another real for me. after all my big daddy currently stares at me and everyone in the loungeroom from the stand next to my plasma. no gods or kings. only man

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

anon525 - you scare me! 'upgrade and play the game or don't comment' What are you? A Nazi This game has sold 16 to 1 360 versus PC. The PC version is already out of the charts, and does anybody REALLY think the publisher would consent to an article like this if he was still shifting product at the same rate? I am sorry, but around 25%-40% of PC gamers can run this game, up to 60% can't.. If you really think all those 60% are going to spend $100''s if not $1,000's to play this game your mistaken. The demo told a story 5 hours to download is like the total number of gamers, 10 minutes of playing time is the number of hardcore gamers. Hardcore gamers used to be the majority, not any more. There is a reason System Shock 2 didn't sell and Bioshock is only going to be an average seller despite it's review scores and adulation here, and that is hardware demands. You can love this game, fine. You can blast games like STALKER for its 'dated' graphics. But STALKER is matching Bioshock's PC sales because of it's value for money (80+ hours of gameplay versus 20) and the fact it will run on average PC's, y'know, the one's most gamers have and the one's you laugh at because they don't have your uber PC's. Which brings us back to anon's point. Just because I cannot afford to upgrade and just because I decide not to does not stop me being able to have an opinion. If you want all dissent stopped, I feel sorry for your kids, because if the rest of society goes your way, it will be a sad world!

Kh1ndjal
Kh1ndjal

a very good game, to be subtle i rescued the little sisters because the visual and sound effects were kind of comforting in the dark world of rapture

motownboy
motownboy

yeah Kid_disaster's comment is pointless in every sense of the word and reeks of one who needs to bring the 360 down to make him feel better about wasting money on a PS3. ne one who actually played the games would know that they were very well made and engaging. Grow up and don't be stupid.

genoc1ded
genoc1ded

Kid_disaster, go and play 'Resistance' with your 7 year old friends and wow at the 'amazing' graphics and 'amazing' gameplay. Even better, why don't you just go wait in Game for the PS3 version of bioshock to come out, apparently it's gonna have way better graphics as opposed to the PC and 360 because their graphics are 'crap'. I hope you enjoy your fanboy filled life full of fail, and why don't you actually play the game before coming and giving it a fanboy response, which you are clearly doing because you have the cranial capacity of a woodpecker, and don't know how to express emotion so you take it out on a game you so clearly haven't played. Anyway, yes, Bioshock was the finest game i've ever played. It was far better than Half Life 2. Roll on Crysis.

uklegendkiller
uklegendkiller

One of the finest game's on the 360 to date, fantastic graphics compelling and a griping storyline full of twists. A must own for any serious gamer

zech01
zech01

I think it's great that games today have evolved from the run-of-the-mill shoot 'n kill pure entertainment type to Bioshock that delves deeper into morality, human nature and consciousness and other societal issues.

Kid_disaster
Kid_disaster

And then, I couldn't find any toilet paper, so I used my halo 3 disk.

Kid_disaster
Kid_disaster

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

hayk
hayk

this game is amazing.. but they couldve worked thae grfics alittle more. though its still good(grafics)

Dreadfall
Dreadfall

I only partially liked the game, has a very arcadey feel to it, and the only really good graphics were where there was water and ice. I played through the game and it's really more bizzare than anything else. The animations weren't really that great, graphics mediocre, length of game very short, and on top of trhat the game is a total memory hog. The interfeace is very clean and easy to navigate, but that's about the only redeeming gameplay quality I could see. It is nice to actually be able to save wherever you want to, I hate games that don't let you save wherever, or you'll save somewhere but it means nothing because of checkpoints. Story is weak, not scary, and to top it all off you have securom to disable stuff, joy.

HellsKing
HellsKing

I've gotta tell ya, the first 10 minutes of me playing this game was awsome, but then...for some reason the game decides to keep crashing on me when i get to a save spot. Darn my Vista!!! Why must I have upgraded so soon! It works just fine on my XP computer. *Spoiler* Don't be a good guy and save the girls, it's the gayest ending I've ever seen. Just take the adam!

KentTalbert
KentTalbert

I agree w/chaingun in one respect...that it was completely ridiculous for Gamespot to rate Halo 2 higher than HL 2. But I honestly don't give a crap what reviewers think, or what other people think. My opinion is what matters in game selection and I will never think Halo is the best FPS ever. I'm more into variety in FPSs, surprises, and the Halo franchise has never been big on surprises. Even the story is derived from other Sci-Fi such as "Ringworld" and the whole "THE UNIVERSE IS AT STAKE EVERYBODY'S GONNA DIE SO GO SAVE EM" is not exactly new. Anyway, this isn't about Halo, it's about Bioshock, and I have to say it was refreshing to an old System Shock fan. Storytelling in shooters has gotten so redundant, and this dystopia was a blast to explore.

w4rgasm
w4rgasm

This game is just fantastic. It should be required in schools to play (joking but not at the same time). It brings so much to the table - it reminds me of 1984 in a sense.

fbazar
fbazar

I am very curious to know what they might do for a BioShock 2 as well.. I've seen the Bad Ending so far -- like the previous reviewer, when I saw the bad ending, I though Oh Cool how terrifying and powerful would these Splicers be out in the real world! Going top-side with the battle against them would be a great idea.. (I'm Praying for a sequel! This game was so darn good)

anon525
anon525

I think Humorguy_basic's discussion of sale economics hides the reality that he lacks the hardware to run a truly excellent game. Bashing a game that you haven't played because it uses next generation technology to further it's story and gameplay is a ridiculous thing to do. Most likely offensive to the developers and those that have completed it. At the end of the day Levine has visioned a deep and submersive universe into existance and gives us the oportunity to explore and follow morally demanding choices to it's eventual demise. Discussions of it's sales versus system compatibility are irrelevent compared with the gaming experience it provides. If you don't have a system capable of running it either upgrade or don't comment. Likewise the picking apart of it's story and delving into aspects which clearly simply haven't been thought of is unnecessary and in my opinion are extremely similar to the Trek conventions that blaze11987 suggested. Enjoy the game for what it is; a masterpiece.

CaliCruz84
CaliCruz84

the funny thing Levine says about BSG that you dont see anybody taking a dump, there is actually one scene i can think of where it takes place with Baltar hiding in the toilet as he talks to Gaeta as he is taking a dump. stupid side note

Vile83
Vile83

The game is one that is of a kind which people dream of but can never really picture so heres a picture of a dream during a distress with better graphics.

Nawras
Nawras

It was an awesome game and a great story. I haven't enjoyed a story in an FPS like this before, not even The Darkness.

drdavewatford
drdavewatford

Bioshock is magnificent - one of only a few games I have ever bothered to finish, and a masterpiece. It's up there with Half Life 2 and Resident Evil 4 as one of my all-time favourites. Amazing attention to detail, gorgeous graphics and a great story. Not sure where the "franchise" goes from here, however, although the suggestion of a prequel which tells the story of the building of Rapture is an interesting idea.

blaze11987
blaze11987

at the end of the day, its a game. i would'nt want to play a game where i had to walk in to a mens room every five minutes. just enjoy the game for what it is. the debates on this game are getting to be like a star trek convention Q and A where 30 something year old geeks say 'in episode 276F Captain Kirk had a crease in his pants and in the next scene it was'nt there, explain!' Bioshock is a unique experience with a great story and gameplay. lets not dwell on the things that don't matter :)

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

This article just shows how Gamespot and Take 2 already know PC game sales for Bioshock are over. That's because there is so few gamers with PC's that can run Bioshock, and they are owned by the few hardcore who rush out to upgrade and rush out to buy games like this that show off their uber PC. What this does is cause a rush to buy, but a dying of sales very quickly. Hence, here we are a few weeks after release and already we have a dissection of the game and an article full of spoilers. But the latter doesn't matter, because everybody who's likely to buy Bioshock on PC has already got it, and at just 20 odd hours of gameplay, have finished it. Meanwhile, games like Medieval Total War II, MTW II Kingdoms, STALKER and even Supreme Commander and Command and Conquer 3 still sell, and funnily enough all these run on average PC's. There seems to be a lesson to learn here.....! :)

Fallschirm1
Fallschirm1

Nice nice, i want to complete the game over again by reading this...first on hard then on pc with direct x 10 :-D keep more of this coming!!!

etsmellsme
etsmellsme

Interesting article. I especially like the bit about concessions to gameplay. It's a question that needs to be asked, if only so people can hear Levine's answer. I feel bad that he had to feel personally attacked there, but I think it's an extremely important thing to understand about storytelling, that if you don't get that it's not about realism but about suspension of disbelief, well, you won't be able to tell an effective story. There are a few things in here that will provide some food for thought. I almost wish I were still brave enough to find some web forum to go argue about this in. It seems like a rich subject.

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

i gotta say chaingun that i dont agree with anything u say halo is 1 of the best fps games FACT and the fact millions of people buy each one shows this WOW has millions of players a day because it it the best mmo of all time with the best support associating popularity with quality isnt always correct as games such as shadow of the collosus have proved this but in many cases it is a very good reason to buy a game if your a fan of the genre have u ever thought that if millions of people like a game and you dont maybe the problems with you and not the game and im not saying its just u that dislike the game there are many more people but the vast majority of xbox owners love it and its them who count

rocktimusprime
rocktimusprime

quite simply the best game of the year single player wise.

sk8rjr
sk8rjr

Ah yes, Bioshock. If only it could have lasted longer. And Chaingun, I don't believe this is an interview about Bioshock as a game, its more about Bioshock as a storyline, so yes, he is going to ask stupid questions like, why is there ammo vending machines. Also, I think the Halo series is awesome, and I'm a PC and Console gamer.

BMAN0201
BMAN0201

You are absolutely right. Plus Microsoft and Bungie will make a pretty penny off us too. This is an absolute crap game obviously meant for lower lifeforms. But you know what? Playing this S*** game with my friends is going to be a blast.