Irrational Games explain Bioshock Infinite cover 'We needed to attract fratboys'

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#1 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18477 posts) -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bL4HshArMa0

Kevin Levine, founder of Irrational Games, makers of Bioshock, took note of the wave of criticism which hit the Bioshock Infinite cover art. He had this to say to fans:

"I know what you are thinking, that it looks like every other game and I get that, I totally get that... but Bioshock is an expensive game to make and in order to make more of these games it has to sell. We've been to a bunch of frathouses after Bioshock 1 came out and asked them if they ever heard of Bioshock and we generally didn't find a single one who had even heard of it. I look at Bioshock 1's cover (and I love it) and I look at it from the point of view of someone who sees it on the shelf and they think 'This is a game about a robot and a little girl, next!'
People are drawn to the familiar, so the price I ask you fans to pay is to pick it up despite the cover, so we can keep making more games and continue not to compromise."

So yeah, the good news is the box and trailers are only generic in order to attract fratboys, meaning the game will probably still be the Bioshock that people with undamaged brains appreciate so much.

#2 Posted by Bigboi500 (29899 posts) -

lol I knew it when I first saw it.

#3 Posted by Allicrombie (25197 posts) -
You know what they say, "you'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator."
#4 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18477 posts) -
You know what they say, "you'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator."Allicrombie
I said that
#5 Posted by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

You know what they say, "you'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator."Allicrombie

You can in an ultracompetitive genre filled with big names. Bioshock is far from a bog standard shooter, but a box which invites people to believe that it is probably won't help sell many copies because you can't turn around without tripping over half a dozen such games.

All that being said, I am really excited about Bioshock Infinite and given how revered its sequel is, I expect it will put up good numbers.

#6 Posted by The__Kraken (851 posts) -

People do, in fact, judge a book [game] by its cover. If one wants money to pay the bills and fund future endeavors, then guess what, you attempt to appeal to the greatest number of people. So we consumers end up getting the generic "badass person" on our game covers. You see this with movie posters, and book covers as well. Hell, you see similar lines of thinking every time you watch a television/movie preview or trailer.

It is the nature of the society in which we live, and it appears that some people have yet to come to terms with it.

Anyway, if I wanted good cover art, I'd go to Neogaf's minimalistic Custom Cover Art Thread.

#7 Posted by UpInFlames (13279 posts) -

As if BioShock had any semblance of depth. It's one of the most overrated and disappointing games of all time. I doubt Infinite will be any different. They catered to the "fratboys" back then and they're doing it now.

As for the cover, however lame, it's certainly not worse than BioShock's.

#9 Posted by rastotm (1370 posts) -

Counting the amount of people in a frathouse that are familiar with your product, is a perfectly acceptable method for predicting the amount of sales in the near future. After all, it's not like a frathouse tends to be composed of a group of people that shares the same interests. Which, if it would be, create a huge margin or error in statistical measurements due to the likelihood of coincidentally visiting a few frathouses that aren't interested in gaming in general.

#10 Posted by Canvas_Of_Flesh (4052 posts) -
That seems kind of odd to me. I can understand why they did it, I'm just not sure how they went about their research. I've been to a few frat-houses and I know quite a few of the dudebros that inhabit them. From my experience, I can say that there are almost always two stacks of games next to their Xbox 360s. One is comprised of nothing but Madden's yearly iterations and the other is usually Call of Duty's iterations. I really wish I were exaggerating, but a lot of these fellas really do only play 1 or 2 games a year, all year. So, I'm not really sure why appealing to them is supposed to be really beneficial.
#11 Posted by Archangel3371 (15642 posts) -
Sounds good enough to me. I think the cover looks just fine anyway. I loved the first two games and from what I've seen on this one it looks to be excellent as well. Day one purchase.
#12 Posted by S0lidSnake (29001 posts) -

What's the big deal here?

Box covers are designed for people who decide on whether or not to buy the game at the shelves. Not for us who spend hours everyday on message boards and follow the game's development from start to finish. So why is this an issue? What's so wrong with what he's saying? Has anyone here not bought their favorite game of the year because the box art was sh*t?

Sadly, this is another case of gamers reading 'fratboys' or 'casuals' and getting overly emotional over something that should be common sense. There is nothing wrong with what Kevin Levine is saying here. Not one thing. Complaining about box arts is hilarious to me. They have nothing to do with the actual game itself. Imagine people skipping Schindler's List because they didn't like the posters. It's asinine.

#13 Posted by Archangel3371 (15642 posts) -

What's the big deal here?

Box covers are designed for people who decide on whether or not to buy the game at the shelves. Not for us who spend hours everyday on message boards and follow the game's development from start to finish. So why is this an issue? What's so wrong with what he's saying? Has anyone here not bought their favorite game of the year because the box art was sh*t?

Sadly, this is another case of gamers reading 'fratboys' or 'casuals' and getting overly emotional over something that should be common sense. There is nothing wrong with what Kevin Levine is saying here. Not one thing. Complaining about box arts is hilarious to me. They have nothing to do with the actual game itself. Imagine people skipping Schindler's List because they didn't like the posters. It's asinine.

S0lidSnake
Stay away from our precious you filthy hobbitses! :P
#14 Posted by TrainerCeleste (1774 posts) -
I think this has become my favorite company ever because they admit things like this :P Fvck off Bethesda You've been replaced :o
#15 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18477 posts) -

What's the big deal here?

Box covers are designed for people who decide on whether or not to buy the game at the shelves. Not for us who spend hours everyday on message boards and follow the game's development from start to finish. So why is this an issue? What's so wrong with what he's saying? Has anyone here not bought their favorite game of the year because the box art was sh*t?

Sadly, this is another case of gamers reading 'fratboys' or 'casuals' and getting overly emotional over something that should be common sense. There is nothing wrong with what Kevin Levine is saying here. Not one thing. Complaining about box arts is hilarious to me. They have nothing to do with the actual game itself. Imagine people skipping Schindler's List because they didn't like the posters. It's asinine.

S0lidSnake
I agree, complaining about the box art is stupid, but you have to admit the fact the game designer responding to the whiners and literally saying "The box art looks generic because we wanted to attract fratboys" (direct quote) is pretty funny.
#16 Posted by S0lidSnake (29001 posts) -

[QUOTE="S0lidSnake"]

What's the big deal here?

Box covers are designed for people who decide on whether or not to buy the game at the shelves. Not for us who spend hours everyday on message boards and follow the game's development from start to finish. So why is this an issue? What's so wrong with what he's saying? Has anyone here not bought their favorite game of the year because the box art was sh*t?

Sadly, this is another case of gamers reading 'fratboys' or 'casuals' and getting overly emotional over something that should be common sense. There is nothing wrong with what Kevin Levine is saying here. Not one thing. Complaining about box arts is hilarious to me. They have nothing to do with the actual game itself. Imagine people skipping Schindler's List because they didn't like the posters. It's asinine.

Black_Knight_00

I agree, complaining about the box art is stupid, but you have to admit the fact the game designer responding to the whiners and literally saying "The box art looks generic because we wanted to attract fratboys" (direct quote) is pretty funny.

I will give you that. the fratboys reference was ridiculous.

#17 Posted by Justforvisit (5047 posts) -

Ok, next step in marketing to do for Kevin Levine is to explain me what Fratboys or Frathouses are at all? o.O

#18 Posted by juradai (2783 posts) -

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

#19 Posted by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

juradai
Crisis averted.
#20 Posted by Shinobishyguy (22466 posts) -
If getting fratboys onboard was their mission why did they reduce Elizabeth's boob size?
#21 Posted by TrainerCeleste (1774 posts) -

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

juradai
I love the Design four. It's really cool and feel old school and perfect for bioshock :)
#22 Posted by juradai (2783 posts) -
[QUOTE="juradai"]

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

TrainerCeleste
I love the Design four. It's really cool and feel old school and perfect for bioshock :)

Well, at this time it seems to be the most popular design based off the current results.
#23 Posted by TrainerCeleste (1774 posts) -
[QUOTE="TrainerCeleste"][QUOTE="juradai"]

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

juradai
I love the Design four. It's really cool and feel old school and perfect for bioshock :)

Well, at this time it seems to be the most popular design based off the current results.

All the better for me then ^^ I just love how they are like flat out said this is to attract people who are into games based on their cover art xD
#24 Posted by Allicrombie (25197 posts) -
its no surprise that design 4 is winning, all the other covers are relatively bland and uninteresting.
#25 Posted by SaudiFury (8707 posts) -

I don't hear the complaining about box covert art in video games alone though. i've heard people complain about it in movies as well. and usually from people who really love and care about the mediums.

and i do 'get it'.

it is silly, at the same time it's a bit like imagine a story like Lord of the Rings and it's cover art is a picture of Frodo or Aragorn in some bad @ss pose. When that story, that world, is so much more enthralling then that. or to give another movie example, movie posters from the 1970's - 1980's, to in the last decade. so many amazing movie posters that presented something of an enchanting or thrilling world. same type of movies are now distilled into bad@ss pose #1,842,502.

It is a lamentable just how low the common denominator is.

It reminds me of Idioacracy when they're at the movie theater, and what that worlds posters would be like.

I just hope that as the game audience gets older, and that more players - who keep playing - mature more, we will see people ask for some games - those that want to be more creative and/or more serious - will want to see more creativity even in this small detail.

#26 Posted by SaudiFury (8707 posts) -
its no surprise that design 4 is winning, all the other covers are relatively bland and uninteresting.Allicrombie
yeah that's the one i gravitated towards the most as well. stands out the best.
#27 Posted by Vari3ty (11111 posts) -

[QUOTE="Allicrombie"]its no surprise that design 4 is winning, all the other covers are relatively bland and uninteresting.SaudiFury
yeah that's the one i gravitated towards the most as well. stands out the best.

Voted for it as well. Reminds me of some of the old children's books I read as a kid.

#28 Posted by Legolas_Katarn (15592 posts) -
Nice to see them making a reversible cover, I like 4 and 6.
#29 Posted by GodModeEnabled (15314 posts) -
Id rather them sellout and go all mass market on something meaningless like the boxart or trailers or whatever. So long as the gameplay is what it is supposed to be then I can deal. But anyways the biggest thing here guys is at least the fratboys are appeased. WE CAN ALL SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT NOW.ds;jk;ew DUE BRO DIS GAAAAAME DISS GAAAMMME IT SICK TRIPLE DAWG DOUBLE D YO!! *drinks beer from keg*
#30 Posted by taiwwa (251 posts) -

I would say that cover art is irrelevant, but it is also how we view many works of art and acts as a reference point.

Whatever.

I don't get why they're so afraid though. Bioshock shipped 4 million copies. Are they worried it'll be a flop? I mean, cmon.

#31 Posted by IndianaPwns39 (5037 posts) -

When this was first announced I said that it was clearly made to appeal to a certain crowd, and it's nice to see a developer admit that.

Has anyone seen this?

Naughty Dog on The Last of Us box art featuring Ellie.

They sing a different tune... kind of interesting that box art became a hot button issue all of a sudden.

#32 Posted by dvader654 (44752 posts) -
In the long history of idiotic pointless video game arguments on message boards this whole Bioshock box thing is at the top of the list. WHO CARES.
#33 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18477 posts) -

When this was first announced I said that it was clearly made to appeal to a certain crowd, and it's nice to see a developer admit that.

Has anyone seen this?

Naughty Dog on The Last of Us box art featuring Ellie.

They sing a different tune... kind of interesting that box art became a hot button issue all of a sudden.

IndianaPwns39
Which is interesting, since it encourages a feeling that I have about this game, that Ellie will be more central to the story than Jake.
#34 Posted by Bigboi500 (29899 posts) -

It looks like it will be a reversible cover.

http://irrationalgames.com/insider/poll/

"Im happy to announce that the game will come with a reversible cover.

But thats not all. We want to hear your voice on what that cover should be. To that end, weve arranged a poll below that lets you choose from several potential reversible covers. Ive got my favorite, but Im not telling which. Weve got to do this quickly to meet our print deadlines, so vote soon. Like, NOW!"

juradai

Being the game-collecting nerd I am, I love those things.

#35 Posted by IndianaPwns39 (5037 posts) -

[QUOTE="IndianaPwns39"]

When this was first announced I said that it was clearly made to appeal to a certain crowd, and it's nice to see a developer admit that.

Has anyone seen this?

Naughty Dog on The Last of Us box art featuring Ellie.

They sing a different tune... kind of interesting that box art became a hot button issue all of a sudden.

Black_Knight_00

Which is interesting, since it encourages a feeling that I have about this game, that Ellie will be more central to the story than Jake.

Ellie is already an interesting character from the little bit we've seen of the game so far. She's just, idk, different than what we're used to in gaming.

Kudos to Naughty Dog for refusing to remove her from the cover, when she already seems so pinnacle to the game. I remember there being a lot of speculation if she was a playable character when the original trailer was released. Then ND revealed it was only Joel. But you can tell the two have some sort of relationship that'll be present throughout the entire game, so to remove her from the cover entirely seems like an odd choice.

It's like not having Tripp on the cover of Enslaved.

#36 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18477 posts) -

[QUOTE="Black_Knight_00"][QUOTE="IndianaPwns39"]

When this was first announced I said that it was clearly made to appeal to a certain crowd, and it's nice to see a developer admit that.

Has anyone seen this?

Naughty Dog on The Last of Us box art featuring Ellie.

They sing a different tune... kind of interesting that box art became a hot button issue all of a sudden.

IndianaPwns39

Which is interesting, since it encourages a feeling that I have about this game, that Ellie will be more central to the story than Jake.

Ellie is already an interesting character from the little bit we've seen of the game so far. She's just, idk, different than what we're used to in gaming.

Kudos to Naughty Dog for refusing to remove her from the cover, when she already seems so pinnacle to the game. I remember there being a lot of speculation if she was a playable character when the original trailer was released. Then ND revealed it was only Joel. But you can tell the two have some sort of relationship that'll be present throughout the entire game, so to remove her from the cover entirely seems like an odd choice.

It's like not having Tripp on the cover of Enslaved.

My thought is this: Jake won't last through the whole game. He'll probably die and we'll then be controlling a grown up Ellie.
#37 Posted by blueboxdoctor (2397 posts) -

Honestly, if we're going to argue about the cover art of all things then I'd say they've done a good job with the game, since if anything with the game looked really bad we'd be complaing about that.

Let them try to market it towards a larger audience. I don't know if it'll work since there are bound to be TV ads during sport games that show more of the game and show it's not even close to a military shooter, but still, I see why they did it, and since the game itself is what matters to me and likely anyone who played the last 2 games, I don't think the cover should be an issue.