Bioshock creator opens up about new release

19 Feb 13

Fans of Bioshock will be hanging out to hear any news of upcoming Infinite title, so creator Ken Levine has done an interview discussing violence, racism, and Bioshock also.

Having played through the first few hours of Bioshock Infinite, it’s clear to see some interesting themes.

In particular, early on gamers are faced with racial themes which, considering the 1912 setting, is fairly expected.

Religion is also a strong theme, with a baptism occurring fairly early in the game and the fact that the protagonist is tattooed with the ‘sign of the false shepherd’.

However, speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ken Levine said although Bioshock Infinite will deal with serious subjects, topics like racism and religious servitude were more by-products than intentional depth.

“It’s not like we say: ‘Let’s open the deeper themes closet.’ It’s more like we have a story we want to tell and that story takes us to wherever it takes us.

"We started with the time period and then we started with characters and their motivations and their views on the world. With racism, it was very hard to tell a story in this time period that didn’t deal with that issue.”

And deal with it they did; in the first hour or so of play, the protagonist is entered into a raffle and offered the moral choice to throw their ‘lucky’ ball either at an interracial couple or the announcer condoning the racism.

Naturally most people would pick to hurl it at the announcer, and Levine says he is yet to see anyone do otherwise.

“I’ve seen nobody do it. What’s interesting is people say to me, what is the moral effect of that, and there is a small effect, meaning that, you probably met the couple later on but that’s very small to me. To me the interesting part is how it makes you feel in all of it.”

Coming off heavy issues of race and religion, as a first-person shooter Bioshock also has to deal with critics of video game violence, however Levine says new media will always be the scapegoat for such issues.

“Independent of any science or reality of anything, any new form of media is going to be not understood, generally by people who are older...without video games, without gaming in general, I don’t know where I would end up.

"I don’t know what I would be. And I’m not talking about like would I be a big success. I don’t know how I would have gotten through high school.

"Games saved me over and over again...and I think the lack of understanding people have about how most people play games, and how they think about games, is really lacking, and important it is to kids who don’t have strong social skills.”

It’s nice to see developers passionate about the industry, and even nicer to think that Bioshock Infinite is now just over a month away from release on March 26.

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