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BioShock Creator's Next Game is About "Fluid Relationships"

Ken Levine touts complex system for managing character relationships with "hundreds of thousands" of potential outcomes.

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Ken Levine, a man famous for his role in creating the System Shock and BioShock games, hinted at the some of his ideas for his next project in an interview with Game Informer.

Last year Irrational Games closed its doors. Levine and a small team of others left to work on a "smaller, more entrepreneurial" game. Now, he says that he's looking to change how he addresses character relationships. "When you look at BioShock and BioShock Infinite, you had some tiny bits [of agency] with the Little Sisters when you harvested, but it led to one of two monolithic endings,"he said.

"In the new game, you have very fluid relationships with the characters. They have a spectrum of feeling about you based upon what you do and if you help them or go against them. That changes dynamically, and you can end the game with a character absolutely despising you or somewhere in the middle. The path to getting there doesn't have seven or eight stops like your traditional branching tree structure. It has potentially thousands of stops with hundreds of thousands of potential states you can be in with all your relationships to all the characters and wants."

Levine says that's the biggest thing his team is developing--a system to make an interesting character. To manage this, he says his characters are driven by their passions, wants, and needs. "The player now has the ability to facilitate those wants or needs or go against those wants or needs or ignore those wants or needs. The reason I think the system is going to work is because it's a very organic way to look at a character."

So far, Levine's been pretty quiet on details about his new project, but earlier this week he confirmed that he's using Unreal Engine 4. We also know that the game will be rooted in science fiction and targeting a PC audience. You can check out this post for everything else we know so far.

In the mean time, the BioShock series has also been passed off to another studio, 2K Games in California. The next entry hasn't been announced just yet, but 2K has said that the franchise still has plenty of potential for growth.

To read the full Game Informer interview with Levine, you check here for part one, and here for part two.

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