BioShock - All News
Saturday - September 17, 2016
BioShock - Collection Review @ Nerdist
Nerdist has reviewed the remastered Bioshock collection:
Is BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION Worth the Sweat of Your Brow? (Review)
I will be the first to admit that remastered games have become an incredibly boring way for publishers to cash in on previous successes. However, BioShock: The Collection is a bit different, especially once you consider that the original masterpiece that is BioShock launched almost 10 years ago. Even then, this collection has to be done correctly and provided enough content to justify the lofty $60 price tag. So how does it fare?
As far as remasters go, BioShock: The Collection is great. Despite some minor glitches, the inclusion of all the downloadable content, gorgeous graphics, and the new Director’s Commentary make this a must own for any BioShock fan. And let’s not forget that the BioShock series is still one of the best collections of games ever made, and should be played by every gamer. If you have yet to play these stellar games, this is the best way to experience the set, even if the price is a bit steep at $60. If you’ve played it, but missed out on the DLC, this is also for you, my friend. Heck, it’s still worth replaying BioShock just to check out the graphical upgrades.
Friday - September 16, 2016
BioShock - Remastered Editions released
- Museum of Orphaned Concepts
- Challenge Rooms
- Director’s Commentary: Imagining BioShock, featuring Ken Levine and Shawn Robertson
- Full Controller Support
- High Resolution Textures, Models and Interface
- 4K Resolution Support
- High Resolution Textures, Models and Interface Art
- 4K Resolution Support
- The Protector Trials
Friday - July 01, 2016
BioShock - Remastered Edition announced
Farflame spotted a video for the Bioshock Remastered Edition - a remake of all three parts:
Relive the depths of Rapture and sail through Columbia in BioShock: The Collection! Remastered for current-gen, this edition includes all three BioShock games, complete with all single-player DLC and a never-before-seen video series with commentary from Ken Levine.
Working with Blind Squirrel Games, we’ve remastered BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite making them look better than ever*. BioShock: The Collection brings the three titles together for the first time, complete with all single-player DLC** and a never-before-seen video series, “Director’s Commentary: Imagining BioShock,” which includes insights from Ken Levine – over $100 of content – for only $59.99. It’s a circus of values! And if you already own BioShock, BioShock 2, and/or Minerva’s Den on Steam, you will be able to upgrade to the remastered version of the respective title(s) for free after release. It’s a circus of values!
Monday - August 04, 2014
BioShock - Coming to Ipad and Iphone
The touch-screen adaption of the controls, surprisingly, works well for navigating the game's underwater world and switching between weapons and powers. But, at least after the short play session I spent with this build, it's not quite fine-tuned enough for combat on the harder difficulties. Movement on the left side of the screen works fine -- wherever you place your thumb, a virtual analgo stick appears, which ensures that you won't unexpectedly stop moving just because your hand placement adjusted. But having both shooting and aiming tied to the right side of the screen requires you to trade-off between aiming and firing while you strafe arond enemies. It's manageable with a single enemy on screen, but it feels a little frustrating when your juggling multiple foes.
Saturday - May 22, 2010
BioShock - Pitch Documents
Irrational has released the first eight pages of their original Bioshock pitch document - the rest will be released over time. The "re-defining the genre" stuff is annoying (though bear in mind, this is designed to sell the concept to publishers) but it's interesting to look at the origins and think about the changes.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Sunday - May 17, 2009
BioShock 2 - Nine Minutes of Play @ Kotaku
We haven't really been following BioShock 2, since the original's gameplay arguably shifted a step away from RPG elements, but Lucky Day writes in to point out Kotaku's Nine Minutes of BioShock Gameplay video preview that is worth a look.
Thursday - October 16, 2008
BioShock - Sequel Tidbits Revealed
IGN has a piece up announcing that the sequel/?prequel to Bioshock appears to be titled Bioshock2: Sea of Dreams as revealed in a teaser in the PS3 version of the original game:
Developer 2K Games has revealed BioShock 2, subtitled Sea of Dreams, through a hidden cutscene contained within the PlayStation 3 version of BioShock. The trailer was revealed by N4G.com and the setting is said to take place along the "Atlantic Coast."
The cinematic features a woman looking out at an oceanic coast as she holds a small, big daddy figurine. As the camera pans out, pillar-like structures start to form what appears to be a city in the foreground. Finally, a BioShock 2 logo emerges and is quickly followed up by the subtitle "Sea of Dreams."
Blue's News offers a similar newsbit here.
Friday - June 20, 2008
BioShock - DRM Removed (kinda)
2K Elizabeth announces Bioshock's DRM has been removed.
Good news! As promised, all activation restrictions, including install limits, have been removed from BioShock PC as of today. You don’t have to patch or install anything for this to go into effect for your copy of BioShock – it’s already done!
Enjoy your time in Rapture, and thank you for supporting BioShock and the 2K teams
Source: Blues News
Monday - May 12, 2008
BioShock - Movie Details Released
The latest Bioshock development is 2K Games' announcement that the world of Rapture is moving to the screen, and it appears to have attracted some talent for the project.
Here's a snip from the offical press release:
2K Games announced today that it has reached an agreement for BioShock®, the universally acclaimed smash-hit video game, to be developed as a feature film by Universal Pictures...
The prospect of bringing this blockbuster game to life has attracted not only a major studio, but top Hollywood talent. Gore Verbinski, director of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, is slated to direct and produce the BioShock movie. John Logan, Academy Award-nominated writer of Gladiator, The Aviator and Sweeney Todd, is in talks to do the screenplay.
Wednesday - April 30, 2008
BioShock - Behind the Games with Ken Levine
Gamespots Behind the games video features Ken Levine.
We speak to 2K Boston studio head Ken Levine about being a tester, a playwright, and a possessor of a speech impediment.
Saturday - April 26, 2008
BioShock - Interview @ Gamasutra
Ken Levine interview at Gamasutra discusing narative, and it's construction, in a games development process.
CN: I guess the analogy I see is that it's like contrasting a film where the director works with the actors and says, "Ad-lib a little bit, work on your lines a little bit. We'll film extra. We'll film more takes." As compared to the film where they stick to the shooting script.
KL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Every film has an editing pass. Every film has multiple takes to choose from. We don't have any of that. We have to do all those takes separately. Generally, if you rehearse a play, you're constantly fixing things in the rehearsal process.In general, the position of the [game] writer is, "Give us a script. Thank you very much." No rehearsal, no chance the work with the actors, and no chance to rewrite based on the performance. If you want a great story, guess what? You have to think along these lines. It's just not the normal industry approach.
Wednesday - March 12, 2008
Bioshock - Take Two Confirms Sequel
In "tell us something we didn't know" news, Take Two has confirmed Bioshock 2 is underway at their newly-formed 2K Marin studio. We probably won't cover this one unless there are significantly more RPG elements but I thought we'd toss this up as closure.
Tuesday - January 08, 2008
Bioshock - Sequel a Prequel?
According to a rumour at Next Gen, 2K Marin is working on a Bioshock prequel:
According to internet murmurings, a BioShock follow-up is currently in pre-production and set for a 2009 release, backing up Take-Two’s previous comments that the title could develop into a franchise that sees a new release every two years.
Graphic design and plot are reportedly 2K’s primary focuses at the moment, and the story will likely be set before the events that took place in the original game, telling of how Rapture, a 1940s underwater utopian society, fell prey to greed and vice.
Thursday - December 06, 2007
Bioshock - A Defense @ Eurogamer
Now that the media adulation for Ken Levine's sci-fi FPS,
Bioshock has subsided, the vultures have gathered to nitpick it to death, according to Keiron Gillan in a retrospective at Eurogamer. Normally outside of our rpg coverage, we did follow this game due to its System Shock 2 heritage, and there's a lot of points about video game success in general in this article, so hopefully it may be of interest:
A backlash was inevitable.
BioShock is amongst the most critically acclaimed games of the year. In terms of Metacritic average, its only peers are Super Mario Galaxy and Halo 3. You'll note, bar minor sniping, their status hasn't been questioned anywhere near as much as the adventures of a man with a wrench in Rapture's. This, also, is inevitable. They're known qualities. Everyone, to a lesser or greater degree, has made up their minds already.... There's much to hate in both games, but their fans simply don't care and those who aren't fans will never throw away forty quid for something that isn't to their taste.
In other words, a BioShock backlash was inevitable as it's new. People bought it on the strength of the reviews (and the hype - always, the hype) and then, when this random selection of gamers played it and compared their response to the...reviews, a larger proportion went "I don't think so" and pointed at the flaws...
He then goes into some of the common arguments against the game:
"DUMBED DOWN SYSTEM SHOCK."
... people who throw the "dumbing down" complaints seem to have two genuine issues.
1) It's easier to play.
2) A load of interesting options have been removed so it's a much simpler game.
The first one's true. BioShock is both a more accessible and easier game than System Shock 2. But "easier" doesn't have anything to with it being "dumber", and hating "more accessible" is just petty elitism from people who'd actually like videogames to be a ghetto consisting of them - especially when some of the things to make the game more accessible can be turned off. As long as point two's not true, then the former really doesn't matter.
And the second's not true. Mechanistically, you can do just about everything you can in System Shock. What was removed was either irrelevant, actual flaws or replaced with alternative methods to allow similar expression. For example, pre-patch PC fans were angry there was no option to walk on the PC. But - y'know - walking is about allowing you to move quietly. You can move quietly through the crouch, signifying creeping. In terms of the tactics allowed by your player, you can do the same...
"IT'S JUST SYSTEM SHOCK 2.5."
This, funnily enough, is a much better argument. The plot is similar. The structure is similar. What you actually do is virtually identical - you move around, you look at logs, you explore, you try and collect bits and pieces, you follow orders of some mysterious voice in you head.
It even shares the primary fault of System Shock 2 - despite some merits I'll argue later, the final third is less compelling than it should be. Once you leave the Von Braun in Shock 2, the game loses a lot of its sense of place, and leaving you in levels far more linear than anything BioShock throws at you that late in the game. Except the escort mission, obv.
So, yeah, it's a lot like System Shock 2.
Fair enough. Shock 2 was one of the greatest games of its period. If only all games were crippled with that problem...
There's a whole lot more in the same vein, but here's a cut to the conclusion:
"IT'S JUST MEDIOCRE WITH NOTHING TO REDEEM ITSELF."
...With BioShock, the more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you have to think about. The more you think about, the more you understand the bloody thing. It's created, by far, the most novel setting for a mainstream videogame this year. Most importantly, while its narrative is of enormous importance to it, it never once betrays the medium. It doesn't - say - present Rapture in cut-scenes. It puts you in a room and puts things in a room and, by induction, you come to understand the place. This is what's most novel about games in relation to narrative - i.e. setting as narrative - and BioShock does it as well as anything ever has.
People who are - say - against BioShock and in favour of Super Mario Galaxy (For the record, I love both), argue Mario is a purer game. It's not true. Mario, by dumping you in cut-scene after cut-scene you have to click tediously through, features an element which is a complete sidestepping of what games can and perhaps should be. I'd accept someone making an argument that Mario's a better game - but a "purer" one stinks of some kind of misplaced fascism. BioShock is nothing but game.
BioShock believes in videogames and what videogames can be, and - if you go along with it - it'll take you to places we've never really been before.
Tuesday - December 04, 2007
Bioshock - V1.1 Patch Released
Thanks to Dark Savant for pointing out the promised Bioshock patch has been released:
Upgrade BioShock to v1.1 with this patch.*
*If you purchased a digital distribution copy of BioShock (i.e. from Direct2Drive, Steam, or other), do NOT install this patch. Please go to the site you downloaded BioShock from to receive a version of this patch modified to work with your version.
- Added compatibility with Matrox TripleHead2Go - Allows Bioshock users to play in Surround Gaming Mode across 3 screens simultaneously
- Added rendering support for TripleHead2Go
- Added the following plasmids and gene tonics: Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom 2, Eve Saver, Machine Buster, Machine Buster 2, Vending Expert, Vending Expert 2
- Added an Option to disable the Vita-Chambers for added difficulty.
- Changed behavior of subtitles so that inappropriate queuing is improved
- Added support for a walk toggle keybind
- Added Horizontal FOV Lock option
- Atlas VO volume increased for German releases
- Re-added the Human Inferno tonic which was missing from the retail release.
- Fixed mouse acceleration issues
- Fixed issue of subtitles not clearing correctly on occasion
- Fix for a potential situation in Fort Frolic where taking a picture of Cobb is impossible if his body gets stuck behind a fallen pillar
- Fixed subtitle timings to more accurately match the on screen audio
- Fixed issue causing stuttering audio when using Windows Vista
- Fixed issue with characters squirming and wiggling after death
- Fixed blood decals and other projectors not showing up on ATI hardware
- The "Use Creative EAX Audio" option is now greyed out when EAX-capable hardware is not present
- Fixed audio issues stemming from having a Speaker Setting in Windows that was invalid for the current sound card
- Fixed reserved keys not functioning properly when keys are unbound
- Fixed multiple cases of keys not allowing a rebind
- Removed erroneous "Reload" binding in a no-weapons context
- Fixed incorrect Training Message concerning bots who are friendly to enemy AIs
- Fixed incorrect Training Message when shooting a Mimic
- Fixed refresh rate being locked at 60hz in DX10 mode
- Fixed VSync disabling in DX10 mode
Friday - November 30, 2007
Bioshock - Patch & DLC Plans
We've stepped back from Bioshock coverage but this news is worth sharing. From Cult of the Rapture:
Many of you have been asking me about the status of the BioShock PC Patch and Xbox 360 Title Update, and I have some good news for you.
Both the BioShock PC Patch and the 360 Title Update will be available next week. In additon to these fixes, we will be releasing downloadable content free on both Xbox Live and for the PC, with the DLC bundled into the PC Patch. A full list of bug fixes and everything included in the DLC will be put up on the Cult of Rapture when the downloads become available.
Saturday - October 13, 2007
Bioshock - Activation Revoke Tool
2k Games is now offering a Bioshock Activation Revoke Tool:
For those of you who would like to revoke one of your activation credits before uninstalling BioShock from your PC, the BioShock Revoke Tool is now available and will help you do just that!
Below is a quick FAQ to help you decide if you need the revoke tool, and how to use it. You can also download the full instruction set included in the ReadMe for instructions on how to properly use the BioShock Revoke Tool.
Tuesday - September 25, 2007
Bioshock - Review @ GameBanshee
We've been avoiding Bioshock reviews for a while but this one at Gamebanshee was written by NMA's Brother None, so I thought it worth a mention. The score is 8.2/10 and here's a snip:
Then there’s the fact that this game is simply too easy. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a game being easy and BioShock does offer various difficulty options at the start of a new game. It’s just not enough. The problem with BioShock is that every level is absolutely strewn about with upgrades, medicinal, and ammo. Worse, the free-to-use Vita-Chambers mean that you’ll resurrect at no cost, so you can return time and again to any fight, often with the opponent’s hostility suddenly disappearing. This means that there’s actually no conceivable way to lose this game and, unlike System Shock, no point where you can make it too difficult for yourself to finish (short of not picking up any Adam or shooting all your EVE and ammo into a wall). If there’s any textbook definition of a game being too easy, BioShock is it.
Friday - August 31, 2007
Bioshock - 10 Things I Hate About Bioshock at GameSanityBlog
From the new GamerDad venture GameSanityBlog:
You might not believe this based on reviews and the general hype in the media, but Bioshock is *not* perfect. “Game of the Year” material to be sure, but not perfect. While I do not expect that Bioshock will become like Oblivion and be oft-quoted in articles using it as a whipping-boy for the latest and greatest features of upcoming games (for example, the game has level-scaling, but it isn’t idiotic like it was in Oblivion), I do envision some form of ‘backlash’. It is almost inevitable due to how high the scores are that people will begin to get overly negative about the game. Indeed, while I love the game the more I think about it the more little things bug me. I have seen articles about this sort of thing starting to crop up, but I’m going to give it a bit of a twist - rather than just bitching about things, I’m going to highlight a few things I love and give you the drop on a couple of extra special treats for Bioshock lovers. Needless to say this is chock full of the biggest sorts of spoilers. Avoid clicking until you’ve finished the game.
As the quote indicates the article has plenty of full-on spoilers.
Wednesday - August 29, 2007
Bioshock - Why Bioshock isn't a 10/10 game
Kieron Gillen and Co's nice new PC gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a piece written by John Walker titled Why Bioshock isn't a 10/10 game. This warning is appropriate before you continue:
So obviously spoilers. All the spoilers ever, completely ruining every aspect of the game. There’s not a sentence of this you should read before finishing what is a very good game. Spoilers. Spoilers. Have I mentioned, stuff here will spoil surprises? And ruin the game.
This isn’t a list of reasons why BioShock is a bad game. It isn’t. It’s an excellent game. This is a list of reasons why I think it doesn’t merit the highest score possible.
Readers should be aware that any discussion of this article will probably involve spoilers, so enter at your own risk!
While we're here, let's throw in some reviews (thanks Blue's):
And some other stuff...
- Tweakguides has help improving the performance of Bioshock (thanks Actiontrip)
- Bioshock is the #1 selling PC and Xbox360 (and the X360 is the leading game on any format) game according to Next-Gen
- GameSpot has an interview with Ken on the post-release highs and lows
Tuesday - August 28, 2007
Bioshock - Rootkit rumours routed
Ars Technica took on the challenge to uncover Bioshock's rootkit, confirming that there isn't one:
The fiasco stemmed ultimately from a misunderstanding of what Microsoft's RootkitRevealer is. In short, it is a diagnostic tool that offers avenues for further investigation. Microsoft puts it this way: RootkitRevealer "lists Registry and file system API discrepancies that may indicate the presence of a user-mode or kernel-mode rootkit" (emphasis added). It does not scan a system and then say "Hey, you've got a rootkit!" Rather, it looks for a number of signs that indicate that a service or application is attempting to hide itself and manipulate the system, or one of several other potential signs of a problem.
Let's throw in a review for good measure, with Elite Bastards awarding 9/10:
So, BioShock is here, and the hype is turning into actual experience with the game itself. Can it possibly live up to the pre-release hysteria? The answer is, of course, no - No game will ever turn out as good as you envision it in your mind's eye.
But does that make it a disappointment? Absolutely not. BioShock may still be a humble first-person shooter, but boy does it do it well. It has a story that captivates, an atmosphere that is largely second to none, and the whole gameplay experience oozes polish from the graphics and audio down to the control scheme whether you're using keyboard and mouse or an Xbox 360 controller.
Monday - August 27, 2007
Bioshock - Review @ Gamers With Jobs
Another review of Bioshock, this one manages to be extremely positive and in-depth without being totally blind to a few flaws:
Bioshock is good, maybe great, maybe eventually an all-time classic. It's far too soon to crown those latter qualities simply as a matter of principle, but the words dance at my fingertips aching to be let loose in a flood of feel-good hyperbole. Bioshock is worth its sixty dollar price tag within the first few levels, and the rest of the game is the icing on the cake if you eat cakes with nineteen layers of icing. Relax, I'm not going to spoil any plot points for you, but in the interest of objectivity I am going to offer a few points of criticism to be considered along with the carnival parade of deserved and endless praise being doled out apparently by the entire internet. But throughout the entire exercise it is important to keep in mind that this game is a sublimely fun work of seemingly unlimited creativity.
Source: Shack News
Saturday - August 25, 2007
Bioshock - Levine: We screwed up
Two interviews and a music release headline today's Bioshock rollercoaster.
Joystiq has an intriguing and frank interview with Ken Levine, with hints of Bioshock 2. On copy-protection:
Now the other big issue has been the copy protection, what can you tell us about that?
Basically the copy protection, everything about how it works is exactly what you'll see in other titles like Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Command & Conquer 3, Harry Potter. The only thing we have is online activation now. But that just does a check with a server and validates the installation. Right now we have a set number of installs and, frankly, it's too low. We screwed up. We analyzed where we were and we'll up the number of installs. We've also had a bunch of screw-ups along the way, I won't mince words -- these are real screw-ups. We had the activation server crash and we didn't have a proper procedure to be notified by it to fix it. So we've had meetings all week on how to fix these screw-ups. And we're fixing them. People can't activate their key, I dig that people are pissed off, and I understand it. Here we are day one of the European launch and day four of the American and we're working every single day working on these issues. I believe people deserve to play the game.
...Next Gen also has an interview:
Which naturally leads to questions of franchise. Regarding the potential for there to be more games in BioShock’s future, Levine states that in thinking about the question there are three other questions that must be asked.
“Am I interested in continuing to work in the world?” is the first question, to which Levine answers “Yes, I am.” The second question, if there is a popular demand for such work, is also answered in the positive by Levine—though in truth he need not answer at all, the game’s high review scores and server-breaking sales alone telling that tale. But the third question is whether or not the story is complete, whether or not BioShock has told all there is to tell.
“I think that’s the question we have to ask now,” Levine states. Hopefully he’ll take the weekend off first.
...and Cult of Rapture has the release of the music score:
Composer Garry Schyman created the orchestral masterpiece that serenades you through your journey into the heart of Rapture. Today, we are releasing the 12 tracks that create the eerie string compilation in Rapture so that you can take the world of BioShock wherever you go. We have archived these 12 mp3s into a zip file for you for easy download. Grab it and take a listen -- and remember the first moment setting eyes upon the sunken city, your first battle with a Splicer, when you first battled a Big Daddy, or the time you decided to save (perhaps harvest?) a Little Sister.
Friday - August 24, 2007
Bioshock - Issues Addressed
2K has been fast to react to various Bioshock issues and criticisms, although the solutions still won't satisfy everyone. Here is the word from Cult of Rapture:
We have been reading and listening to your frustrations over SecuROM, PC activation problems, and technical support issues since BioShock launched on Tuesday, and we've devised a plan to help.
Starting immediately, we will be upping the activation count to a 5 by 5 plan. We will be raising the maximum amount of computers a user can have BioShock installed on simultaneously from 2 to 5, and allowing a user to reinstall BioShock on each of those computers from 3 times to 5 times. Also, we have in the works a revoke tool which you will be able to run on your machine if you want to free up that key and move it to to another computer (this works very much like Steam or iTunes system). We are also working with SecuROM and 2K customer service, so that when you do need to call in support problems, you get answers to your questions faster, without much waiting or being bounced around. SecuROM has been given much more autonomy to help fix your problems quickly and effectively. I am personally sorry for anyone who got bounced around in the past couple days (I even think I contributed to this problem) and we're going to make sure that does not happen in the future.
As for other technical issues, we are bringing on a team of tech support that will be on the 2K forums 24/7 to help people resolve their technical issues. Our QA guys are in the offices and on the forums, too, reproducing issues and looking for workarounds and compiling information that they can put towards making you a patch and updating the knowledge base.
Also, we are aware that our activation server went down last night, stopping some of you from finishing your installs. The server is up and running now and we have corrected the problem that caused that crash.
Finally, we have released a FAQ, which you can view in full below (and will also be posted on the 2K Forums in the Technical Support area) that will help clear up a lot of questions and misinformation that has been floating around about SecuROM and PC activation.
And as for widescreen, we also want to say we completely understand a user's desire to augment their FOV. BioShock is a harrowing experience, but we don't want anyone to feel limited (or motion sick!). So we are in the process of working on an official PC patch to give widescreen PC users a choice to expand their horizontal FOV, and are investigating creating a similar update for the 360.
And finally, I want to personally congratulate Racer_S from the Widescreen Gaming Forums, and his awesome user patch to expand the widescreen FOV in BioShock. I'm currently tracking him down via email, but hopefully, he'll accept my gratitude, and maybe an Nvidia 8800 to boot.
In other news...
Wednesday - August 22, 2007
Bioshock - Widescreen and Securom Woes
A couple of issues have exploded for Bioshock. We mentioned the widescreen problem yesterday and Cult of the Rapture has responded:
We understand there has been some concern about the implementation of widescreen mode in BioShock. Hopefully, we can clarify how we’ve chosen to do this.
The first thing we want to make clear is the mode we developed the game on and the optimal mode for playing the game is the widescreen mode. 90% of our development stations were widescreen displays: artists, programmers and designers.
- BioShock was primarily developed and tuned for widescreen mode. Artists and designers worked with widescreen displays and chose a field of view (FOV) that best reflected their intentions with respect to the way the world is perceived, the perceived speed of movement of the player relative to the world and the amount of the world they wanted to be viewed for the best game-play experience. We went through dozens of iterations and finally settled upon a widescreen aspect ratio that best suited the gameplay experience.
- When playing in widescreen modes the game makes use of the full screen resolution, and does not crop or stretch a lower resolution image into a wide screen one. For example, at 720p the game renders natively to the full 1280x720 resolution.
- Once this FOV was established, we chose to keep exactly the same horizontal FOV for standard def displays, so as not to in any way alter the gameplay experience.
- Instead of cropping the FOV for 4:3 displays and making all 4:3 owners mad in doing so, we slightly extended the vertical FOV for standard def mode: we never wanted to have black bars on people’s displays. (This way, everybody is happy…) This does mean that people playing on a standard def display see slightly more vertical space, but, this does not significantly affect the game-play experience and, we felt that it best served our goal of keeping the game experience as close as possible to the original design and art vision on both types of displays. Reports of the widescreen FOV being a crop of the 4:3 FOV are completely false.
One thing we can assure you that all these decisions were made with the best interests of the game in mind. We didn’t save any money or development time by choosing this set of parameters. We did what we thought was the best thing for the game: developing and optimizing it for widescreen displays, and making the decision not to do the usual crop for 4:3 displays. As a consumer, you certainly have the right to disagree.
We understand that not all users might not be happy with these choices and we will be looking into options for allowing users to adjust FOV settings manually. But as we mentioned earlier, changes to video game code do not happen in minutes or hours. We appreciate your understanding.
A community work-in-progress workaround for PC players can be found on the 2K forums.
Meanwhile, community liason Elizabeth has posted on the Securom issue, with confirmation that the copy-protection scheme only allows two installs if you don't uninstall first:
first, let me say this. you DO NOT NEED TO USE THE INTERNET EVERY TIME YOU PLAY THIS GAME. it is only the first time.
second, you can uninstall and reinstall this game, and if, by chance, you have 2 computers you want to simultaneously play this game on, you also can do that.
if by some chance you are reinstalling this game without uninstalling it first, a lot, there is a chance you may have to call securom and get a key, or deactivate some older installations.
but if you upgrade your hardware next week, you'll still be able to play the game. if you revamp your system and need to reinstall bioshock, just uninstall it before you go through the overhaul, and then do your reinstall.
calling it "hardware fingerprinting" is a bit alarmist. we do not transmit any of your data to any companies.
really, the only people who will be concerned about any of these security measures are those who are rapidly putting bioshock on many pcs... if you use the game as you normally do, you won't notice this at all.
Finally, Ken Levine commented on the 2K forums about these issues:
Sorry about all the conflict. IG development people (specifically Chris and Rowan who are both on vacation) were trying to take a day off today (we've been working about six months 6-7 days a week). I'm trying to see what everybody's concerns are and consult with the staff.
I know people are frustrated, but we are dealing with internet time here. It wasn't until 7 pm EST that I was able to even talk to anybody in our Australian studio, which is open today (9 AM their time).
I hear you that not everybody was thrilled with the PC launch. And I'm trying to collect information and see what the facts are. PC game development does not function in a matter of seconds or hours, especially when most of the team is on vacation. But I hear you, and we're looking into the issue. I'll only ask you have a bit of understanding as to the time scale that software development issues must occur in.
Who are IG? It's 2K Australia, Ken. ;)
In general Bioshock news, Shack is the latest site with an interview:
Shack: How does it feel to have the game hit such a critical mass of hype? It seems like suddenly the buzz shot through the roof.
Ken Levine: There's a book called The Tipping Point, which is not about gradual change, but a point where things radically change. It talks about prime rates, where things go off a cliff, up or down, and the reasons why. BioShock, and I think video games in general, I think we in the industry misunderstand how gamers think. We think most gamers are like us--journalists and developers--where we scour every page for information, but in reality, most gamers think about games like we think about Diet Coke or Oreos.
Thanks Lucky Day for some of the links.
Bioshock - News Roundup
Anyone who hasn't noticed Bioshock has been released in some territories can check out the official press release - or read just about any gaming site, of course.
Next, Blue's is pointing out a furore on the official forums about a widescreen issue with the game, where apparently the field of view is exactly the same - meaning widescreen users actually see less on both the PC and Xbox360.
Acleacius writes about a work in progress via the official forums to get Bioshock to work with SM2.0 cards.
On to some reviews:
Tuesday - August 21, 2007
Bioshock - Daily Wrapup
Respected journalist Keiron Gillen has an interview with Ken Levine - apparently initiated by Ken, which is rather unusual - on his site Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
RPS: The other thing about the Spiritual Sequel line is that I think it confuses people. I see lots of Shock 2 in there, sure… but I think it’s closer to Shock 1, in many ways. Being based on the equipment rather than actual statistics - that it’s more of a shooter with a lot of things piled on top…
KL: Absolutely. It’s funny, as when we were making Shock 2, any time there was any deviation from Shock 1 there was a lot of very angry people. And now people are forgetting that Shock 2 really added all those RPG elements and character growth stuff that wasn’t in Shock 1, which was more of a clean FPS. There may be some more similarities, in that regard. And hey! I’m cool with that.
On that note, they also have a short feature on the original System Shock.
...and Worthplaying has a review with a score of 9.2/10:
If Bioshock has one notable flaw, it lies in the game's difficulty level, or lack thereof. On the normal difficulty level, it's just a bit too easy. It is still fun, but once you start getting a solid number of plasmids, you can tear through every Splicer in your way as if they were nothing. By the end of the game, I was using the default wrench on every enemy, not because I needed to save ammo, but because my plasmids made the Wrench so ridiculously powerful that it would have taken me longer to kill Splicers with a gun. I was rarely using many of the plasmids or alternate weapon types available to me — only the wrench, Electro Bolt and the occasional grenade and armor-piercing bullets for the Big Daddies. A game being easy isn't a tremendous flaw, but considering the wide variety of options available to you in defeat foes, it's rather wearisome that the straightforward smash-and-grab technique is the most effective. The game does offer a hard mode, however, for those gamers eager to up the ante a bit, but the differences between the modes are not quite enough to give experienced players a much harder time, although it does encourage the use of some of the lesser-used plasmids.
...while GameSpot says 9/10:
While on the surface it might look like little more than a very pretty first-person shooter, BioShock is much, much more than that. Sure, the action is fine, but its primary focus is its story, a sci-fi mystery that manages to feel retro and futuristic at the same time, and its characters, who convey most of the story via radio transmissions and audio logs that you're constantly stumbling upon as you wander around. All of it blends together to form a rich, interesting world that sucks you in right away and won't let go until you've figured out what, exactly, is going on in the undersea city of Rapture.
...and Tom Chick says 5/5 at Yahoo!:
Roll over, Half-Life. BioShock is the best single-player shooter out there. It's one of those rare games that comes along every five or ten years, sucks you in, knocks your socks off, and haunts you for years after you've played it.
Monday - August 20, 2007
Bioshock - Today's Wrapup
I'll collect the Bioshock newsbits together so the site doesn't become BioWatch, especially since it will probably be quiet before we hit the GC storm in a few days.
ActionTrip has a review, with a score of 92%:
Plasmids as such add great variety to the nitty-gritty of the gameplay. Taking a somewhat old-school approach (similar to what we saw in games like System Shock *wink, wink*, and Deus Ex), players can decide which type of fighter they want to be. Whether they want to be good at hacking the security systems (hacking handled through mini-games), and generally using plasmids which utilize the environment or the enemies themselves as tools, or if they want to take a more straightforward shooter approach, mod their weapons and go into every fight all-guns-blazing.
The truth is most players will likely take a mixed approach, thus keeping the action as diverse as it can be in BioShock. Even so, diversity is something that BioShock lacks in certain aspects. Going back to my little overture about high profile releases in this day and age, it is important to realize that for all that is good about BioShock, this is not a perfect game, nor is this the best first-person shooter I have ever played. It ranks high up there, but once the media frenzy has settled, people will begin to approach this title in a more objective manner. During their stay in Rapture, players will spend 99% of their time indoors, often in pretty tight spaces in Rapture. This inevitably makes the game feel claustrophobic at times. Concept-wise, one could argue that this is perfectly justifiable; nonetheless, shooters like Half-Life 2 have another dimension to them, simply by being able to take the players out of confined and gloomy spaces and into the sprawling outdoor environments.
...and a site called Game Talk scores 5/5:
And that's where the real draw of Bioshock lies. The combat is endlessly customizable. You get the standard assortment of first-person shooter weapons, and you will certainly use them, but here they're more of a backup than your first line of attack. Why shoot someone when you can freeze them and shatter them into a thousand pieces? When you can light them on fire and when they run to water to put themselves out, you shoot them with electricity? Throwing someone into the air with a whirlwind may not be the most efficient way to kill someone, but the satisfaction level is much, much higher. A creative player with a full assortment of plasmids at his disposal can come up with literally hundreds of different ways to maim, kill, and obliterate enemies as the game progresses.
From Cult of the Rapture comes news that the demo is/was held over for new drivers:
While there are versions of the BioShock demo available now on the web for download, I recommend you waiting until 7 PM tonight to download yours. The official release is timed so that you can optimize your system with the latest drivers that will make the game run as smoothly as possible. Running BioShock with outdated drivers may impact your performance, so if you do happen to play the demo before the 7 PM launch time, please be sure to check your system again after grabbing the latest and greatest drivers as a true measure of performance and quality.
...Ken recommends you avoid spoilers:
If you're going to buy the game this week, I highly recommend you stay away from any forums that might have spoilers until you play the game through. Our goal in making the game was to thrill and, often, surprise you.
Please don't ruin other people's experience by revealing secrets in unmarked threads, and if you want to enjoy the game to its fullest, stay away from any threads that might ruin the fun for you. With a game like BioShock, it will really make a difference.
...and finally, there is a note for those who get damaged figurines ion their Limited Editions.
Bioshock - PC Demo Now Available
The PC Demo for Bioshock is now available for download from Fileplanet. You must be registered there to avail yourself of their services. Registration is Free.
Thanks for the notification Acleacius
Update: Acleacius just messaged me that the download links appear to have been pulled. Stay tuned for further developments.
Check out this Forum link for the latest.
Sunday - August 19, 2007
Bioshock - More Reviews
Destructoid and AtomicGamer weigh into Bioshock with reviews scoring 10/10 and 96% respectively. Here's Destructoid on story and pacing:
From the moment you start the game to just moments before the ending, BioShock never tears you out of first-person view. No cutscenes, no camera zooms, nothing -- everything from behind the eyes of the protagonist. Similar to Half-Life, this choice serves well to amplify the atmosphere and immersion you'll feel as you make your way through Rapture -- a notion absolutely key to the BioShock experience. Most of the "action" has happened long before your arrival, which puts quite a bit of weight upon the environment and audio logs to convey the story, which it does phenomenally well. Through the audio logs, radio transmissions from a very limited cast of NPCs and the set pieces scattered throughout the city, the history of this once magnificent monument to excess is pieced together by the player, resulting in one of the most organic and effortless narratives since the game's spiritual predecessor, System Shock 2. Moreover, BioShock features one of the most compelling plots I've ever seen in a game -- a brilliantly measured story delivered at the perfect pace.
...and AtomicGamer's take on linearity:
Some will complain that it's not open enough, that you can't travel anywhere in Rapture at once and "do anything you like". But that phrase, to "do anything you like" in the context of a video game, is always a letdown to some extent or another. This is one place where I've got to take a stand and say that if BioShock were more like that, the game would have been entirely different, not nearly as engrossing as it is, and wouldn't have had the kind of unique narrative that we are getting. You do often retrace your steps throughout any given level, but I never found that the backtracking done was in any way boring or tedious.
Saturday - August 18, 2007
Bioshock - PC Review @ IGN
IGN has released their PC review of Bioshock - one of the first, since most of the others are based on the X360 version. The article appears to be a slight reworking of their X360 one, with just a couple of extra paragraphs (9.7/10):
The visuals too will constantly amaze, from finely detailed industrial structures to the weapon models, the choices of which areas to light and which to leave in the dark, and plasmid effects. And then there's the water. It's so gorgeous, rippling and gurgling through every one of Rapture's hallways, tumbling from ceilings and, of course, encasing the city itself. You get lots of little details to enjoy as well, like the welts on your hand when you boot up the insect swarm plasmid, the steam jets that hiss from Big Daddies after they've taken damage, fish in tanks and in the ocean that dart away as you approach, and the flickering billboards and tattered posters that remain from Rapture's glory days. The PC version definitely outclasses the Xbox 360, mostly because of the ability to crank the resolution to 1920 x 1200. If you've got a Vista rig with a DX10 card, you can expect some heightened particle effects, crisper real-time shadows, and more dynamic water, but the game looks gorgeous regardless. On our gaming PC running a Core 2 Quad processor with a GeForce 8800 GTX, and 4 GB of RAM, it ran very well, with only a few occasions of seemingly random framerate hitches. We also couldn't find an option to switch between DX10 and DX9 modes, the game just seems to default to what's in your system, unlike Lost Planet.
Friday - August 17, 2007
Bioshock - Review Roundup
Let's get straight into this bunch of Bioshock reviews, mostly based on the Xbox 360 version.
GameSpy scored Bioshock at 5/5 and here's their intro:
There is a definite reason that BioShock has earned GameSpy's Game of the Show for the last two years at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. While some have called developer Irrational's magnum opus "the spiritual successor to System Shock 2" (the PC title widely hailed as one of, if not the, greatest games ever realized), we are more inclined to label it as the spiritual superior. That's not a statement that we take lightly, mind you, but when confronted by a masterpiece of this magnitude -- a game that is almost more of a quest of self-discovery than a mere plaything -- it's impossible to not recognize the brilliance flooding your senses.
...IGN awarded 9.7/10:
As you continue through Rapture, you'll discover it speaks to the nature of what a single-player game is--why do we choose to play a game that isn't online, where you can't interact with others? Like reading a novel, it's to form your own impressions, to see the same events, hear the same words, and come away with a unique viewpoint. The thematic blending and twining of BioShock's personalities is so powerful, it acts like any good book or movie, assaulting you with its ideas, popping into your thoughts when you least expect it, and broadening your understanding of what a game can achieve. Instead of painting Good and Evil across the foreheads of Rapture's denizens with a neon brush, Irrational gave everyone murky motives, much like the shadowed, soaking environments you're constantly plodding through, or the blurred vision you get after walking under one of Rapture's ubiquitous waterfalls.
1Up says 10/10:
Sure, weapons and magic are nothing new. But it's the combat scenarios that extract the real beauty of this two-pronged approach: the enemies you fight and the environments in which you fight them. The most common foe in BioShock is the "splicer," the street name given to the city's residents who overindulged in genetic self-modification and subsequently lost their minds. They come in several variations, and even the weaker ones pose a considerable threat to the unprepared. Battling splicers, especially when they're in a group, has this air of chaotic unpredictability -- they have no noticeable "routines," actively track you down or run for cover depending on the tide of the fight, and can use the environment as much as you can (set a splicer on fire and he'll run to the nearest pool of water for relief). Factor in a camera/turret security system whose only allegiance is to the one who hacked it last, and you'll absolutely need to either be comfortable with the plasmid/weapon combination you've chosen or be prepared to use everything at your disposal to make it out alive.
So as a first-person shooter, BioShock is mechanically solid. The control over your abilities is complex without being complicated, and the interaction between the player, the environment, and the threats contained within is seamless. You begin to feel powerful.
...and TeamXbox goes for 9.5/10 but let's take a snip of minor criticism:
I can’t stop raving about BioShock, but I will be honest that it’s not the perfect video game either. First off, it’s an extremely linear game that much of the time channels you from spot to spot along the path you need to follow. While there’s immense variety in the gameplay, as described, at some points it seems too well spelled out, which might irritate those who like more sleuthing in their adventure.
Bioshock - Reviews and Steam
Bioshock's run of perfect scores has been broken but I don't think 2K will be too disappointed with CVG's 9.5/10. Actually, it turns out to be exactly the same review as the Games Radar one we linked yesterday, both coming from PC Gamer UK - but the score is different. Same review. Different score (thanks, Prime Junta).
In other news, you can now preload Bioshock on Steam ready to activate on the 21st.
Thursday - August 16, 2007
Bioshock - Reviews @ Eurogamer, Games Radar
"Staggeringly beautiful", "the work of true visionaries", "a living painting", "a game that's landed fully formed from a couple of years in the future". 10/10.
That's Eurogamer's take on Bioshock in their 3-page review:
So to have any shred of doubt surrounding BioShock comprehensively swept away within the first ten minutes, well, you feel like dancing. You want to tell people about this game who you know won't even care, just because it makes you so giddy inside. Before we get into the nitty gritty, here's the deal: Bioshock doesn't just meet your expectations, but completely redefines them forever in ways you never even expected - in ways that games used to in the past, routinely. The hours spent playing this masterpiece were the perfect encapsulation of why videogaming is such a favourite waste of time for so many of us. Thrilling, terrifying, moving, confusing, amusing, compelling, and very very dark. BioShock isn't simply the sign of gaming realising its true cinematic potential, but one where a game straddles so many entertainment art forms so expertly that it's the best demonstration yet how flexible this medium can be. It's no longer just another shooter wrapped up in a pretty game engine, but a story that exists and unfolds inside the most convincing and elaborate and artistic game world ever conceived. It just so happens to require you to move the narrative along with your own carefully and personally defined actions. Active entertainment versus passive: I know which I prefer.
...and Games Radar says it masters "narrative, emergence, a sense of place" and that any one of these would qualify for classic status. 10/10:
Your skirmishes take place in an environment bristling with manipulable elements. Drones, turrets and security cameras are the most obvious, but there are also fuel puddles that can catch fire, and water that any burning Splicer can be counted on to run towards - which can then be electrified. Detritus, grenades, missiles and even fireballs can be sucked up and flung, and your enemies themselves can be subverted to do your work - directly or otherwise.
Only a handful of the standard weapons are really interesting or satisfying when used alone, but mix them with a generous menu of Plasmids in an environment like this and they become spectacular. Even with an element as familiar as the grenade launcher’s proximity charge, the scope for impishly inventive violence is overwhelming. Clump five on a barrel and propel the resulting super-bomb at a crowd of victims with Telekinesis. Chuck one in the nearest pool of water then set your prey alight. Stick one on the ceiling directly above a Cyclone Trap - an invisible springboard that catapults unsuspecting enemies hilariously into the air. The AI for a befriended drone even has some ideas of its own: bolt a proximity charge to the little guy and he’ll divebomb the next enemy he sees.
Bioshock - Review @ Game Informer Online
Game Informer Online has a short online review of Bioshock. It really doesn't offer good insight into the actual gameplay but the score is 10/10, as is the "second opinion" at the end:
BioShock also may seem like a game driven by its setting and the atmosphere it creates. While delivering a level of intrigue you rarely see in games, its most captivating element is its gameplay – which I can easily say delivers the most rewarding and adrenaline-filled experience I have ever had with an FPS.
Tuesday - August 14, 2007
Bioshock - Preview & Art Book
Bioshock almost seems the only game in town at the moment. IGN has some hands-on play description from the Xbox 360 demo:
Gamers have been holding their collective breath for a chance to play BioShock. Ironically, that's what is required of the protagonist at the demo's start--grabbing a lungful of air and struggling to the surface. A hunk of wreckage is shown plummeting down into the oceanic depths, and is also used as a rather slick method of orienting the player's point of view: if the debris is falling one way, the surface must be in the opposite direction. Upon breaking through the watery ceiling, players are greeted by the sight of the sea, blackened and glittering from stars twinkling down from the nighttime sky--on fire. Control over the hero's fate was placed into my hopefully-capable hands at this point, and I quickly looked around for some sign of relative safely.
...and Cult of the Rapture has a .pdf art book called Breaking the Mold you can download.
Monday - August 13, 2007
Bioshock - PC Demo News
From Cult of the Rapture:
After the appearance of the BioShock Demo on Xbox 360™ last night, I’m sure many of you PC fans wondered, “What about us?”
Here’s the deal.
A BioShock PC Demo IS coming. We tried as hard as humanly possible to get it out to you guys simultaneously with the 360 demo, but we needed to make sure that it was perfect -- that all drivers were ready, and that the game looked great on a huge variety of computers.
Currently, the PC demo in its final stages of testing and approval. We are pushing to get it out to you as soon as possible. It will be out during the month of August, and everyone is working at full capacity to deliver it to you before the game hits store shelves on August 21st. I will also let you know as soon as I have an exact date for the demo's release, so please stay tuned.
I cannot express enough how sorry I am for the wait. Thank you for understanding and your patience. Just remember -- only eight days left till you get your hands on the full game.
I’ll let you know where to get the demo as soon as it becomes available.
In other Bioshock news, CVG has a preview of an upcoming interview with senior designer Joe Donagh with some interesting insight into the fight to find a publisher:
Speaking to CVG about his role in its conception and development, McDonagh said, "Bioshock was a long time in the making. Ever since System Shock II the team had talked about everything they wished they'd done differently.
"Ken (Levine) spent years pitching the game to publishers but no one was interested, incredible as that seems now. I joined Irrational in December 2004 and my first job was to get a publishing deal for the game (I worked as the Business Development Director for the first six months). I remember pitching the game to one publisher who later told a friend of mine that it was 'just another fucking PC FPS that's going to sell 250,000 units.'
"This sort of attitude really pissed me off. System Shock II, for all its critical success, didn't sell very well which turned buyers off. Something I realised very quickly was that as much as your boss won't ever know that you turned down a future game of the year, he will know that you signed up a turkey. You don't get fired for not taking risks. That kind of mentality is driving the industry into a creative cul de sac."
Kind of ironic, given the current "Bioshock is an FPS" PR push.
You can also grab a new trailer from Worthplaying.
Bioshock - Xbox Demo Live
Word on the street (via Qt3) is that the Xbox 360 Bioshock demo is now available through Live. Rumour is that a PC demo is planned for the end of the month but I haven't seen anything official. From respected gaming journalist Tom Chick:
Don't play the demo! Steer clear. For serious. Go log into WoW instead, or start a game of Civ IV, or take a cold shower. But whatever you do, do not play the Bioshock demo. It will just make the next week sheer torture!
You have been warned...
Actually, I haven't seen the demo, so I don't know what's in it. But I have played the first bit of the game, and I regret it. My life has been slightly miserable ever since.
Friday - August 10, 2007
Bioshock - Preview @ Next Gen
Next Gen has a preview of Bioshock as it hurtles toward release:
To say the game is atmospheric understates the superbly detailed and evocative art direction. Character oozes out of every corner of the environments, allowing them to steadily detail what life was like in Rapture before its fall as you move through them. Its once-opulent Art Deco decor – reds, golds and greens, filigreed metalwork, illustrated posters – is now rotting and destroyed. Even the first hour of play, which spans entrance halls, medical and dental facilities and a tennis practice area, displays a wide variety of styles.
Thursday - August 09, 2007
Bioshock - Gold!
Blue's has news of a interview with Ken Levine at Newsweek that includes the revelation that Bioshock has already gone Gold:
BioShock has already gone gold. How have you celebrated this milestone in the past, and how did you celebrate this milestone for BioShock?
We just had a team party in Boston, and then we have a event on the launch night on August 20th, which we’re inviting lots of people to, including members of the BioShock fan community. I'm actually looking forward to that, because launches are usually such abstract things. You wake up launch morning and it’s like, "Hey, our game has, umm, shipped to retail!" It’s not exactly like headlining at Madison Square Garden.
Bioshock - Podcast @ Cult of the Rapture
Cult of the Rapture's 11th Bioshock podcast is up:
In this podcast we dive deeper into Plasmids in BioShock. How did the team at Irrational dream up these body modifying weapons, and what can you do with them?
Wednesday - August 08, 2007
Bioshock - New Trailer
From Cult of the Rapture:
Gametrailers.com has a new exclusive BioShock video called "EcoShock" up featuring ways that you can manipulate the ecology of Rapture to help you survive in the other-worldy city.
Monday - August 06, 2007
Bioshock - Interview @ SPOnG
SPOnG combines a Bioshock preview over the first page or so with a Ken Levine interview following:
SPOnG: Can you talk us through some of the stuff that differentiates it from other first-person shooters?
Ken Levine: I understand why you’re going: 'What is it? Is it a first-person shooter?' I hope we’re looked at (with BioShock) in the same way as games like Gran Turismo. Before Gran Turismo came along, racing games didn’t have car tuning – you’d just race around a track. But once you had car tuning, you expected that from racing games. Half-Life introduced narrative elements; Grand Theft Auto introduced an open world. And with BioShock, what we want to say is that it’s not a linear corridor with monsters waiting to jump out at you - it’s a world that breathes a little bit. You can walk around it and everything in the world is a weapon – everything can be turned to your advantage. Every enemy can be turned into a friend; every friend can be turned into an enemy. It’s about improvisation, and that’s something which has been woefully missing from shooters.
That word "innovation" is kicked around a couple of times, and while on that subject NewsPail.com has an editorial titled Understanding the Innovation in Bioshock:
What Irrational has done, is apply that model to the A.I. in the first person shooter, BioShock. Though the scripting in Half-Life 2, or Halo 2, or Halo 3, is very sophisticated, it is still scripting - the A.I. follows paths or patterns albeit sufficiently complex to be difficult to predict (with maybe even some object-oriented properties appended). In BioShock, much of the scripting has been done away with. Irrational basically created three classes: gatherers (the Little Sisters), protectors (the Big Daddies), and hunters (the Splicers). Each of these classes have very specific properties defining their behavior. The Little Sisters are always looking for corpses to plunder. So, in effect, the Little Sister Objects are continuously shouting out "I need a dead body that still has Adam". Corpses will be shouting out "I am dead and have Adam". So, when a Little Sister comes across a corpse, wherever it is, she will stop and plunder it. Similarly, the Big Daddy is constantly asking the Little Sister "Are you O.K.?" and the Little Sister is saying "I am safe". When she changes her tune, or when someone attacks the Big Daddy outright, the Big Daddy rushes to protect her. Of course, it is much more complex than that, but that is the basics of it.
Thursday - August 02, 2007
Bioshock - Video Diary @ Gamer's Hell
A video diary for Bioshock featuring Ken Levine, Melissa Miller and Nate Wells can be found at Gamer's Hell, "showcasing" the game (278Mb, 4:37 footage).
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
Bioshock - Interview @ Gameplayer
Australian site Gamplayer.com.au has an interview with Irrational's Joe McDonagh, mostly concentrating on the Canberra studio and their work:
How exactly has the Canberra wing of Irrational Games influenced the BioShock experience?
Bioshock was jointly co-developed by the Boston and Canberra studios. We made the PC version here. The core technology was also created in Canberra.
What’s it like working on a game where half the team is asleep (being that they are overseas) when you are awake? Or is it actually true that coders don’t sleep?
Sleep is for wimps. It works incredibly well, which it shouldn’t. When we get in at 8AM they’re all finishing their working days there. It means we get to work on the game 24 – 7.
Saturday - July 28, 2007
Bioshock - Demo on the Way?
An interesting pickup at Worthplaying where they noted a listing on Germany's USK ratings board (the ESRB equivalent) that a "Bioshock Demo" for the Xbox 360 is currently undergoing qualification...
Wednesday - July 25, 2007
Bioshock - International Collector's Editions
Apparently international Bioshock fans are asking what countries will get a Collector's Edition - and here's the answer from Cult of the Rapture:
I have been getting messages asking about an update on the BioShock Collector's Edition for countries other than the US and Canada, and I finally have an update for you.
The Collector's Edition will be available at selected retailers in Australia and New Zealand as well as most European countries including:
The BioShock Collector's Edition is available for PC and Xbox 360 and contains the game in a limited edition embossed steel case, a Making Of DVD, Soundtrack CD, hand finished resin figurine (14cm height).
I do not have a list of all the specific retailers as of now, but will update you with more details (including a finalized picture of the packaging) when I have more news!
Saturday - July 21, 2007
Bioshock - Level Concept Art
Some level design sketches for Bioshock have been upped at Cult of the Rapture.
Thursday - July 19, 2007
Bioshock - Previews @ Bit-tech, IGN
Here is a very positive E3 Bioshock previews from Bit-tech:
I’m sitting down to write this and it’s just gone 2:30 PM GMT. I’ve been back from my hands-on preview of Bioshock for about two and a half hours and I’ve still not been able to go for three minutes without somebody asking me a question about the game. Can you hurt the little girls? How similar is it to System Shock 2? How long is the game?
Questions begat questions and this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down since getting back to the bit-tech offices without being hounded to tell everyone about my experience just one more time.
It’s not a problem though, because after playing both the Xbox 360 and the PC version of the spiritual successor to System Shock 2 for a number of hours and after talking about the game for a fair amount of time too, I’m still itching to tell the world about what is possibly one of the most anticipated PC games of the last few years. I’m also still shaking in reaction to what is almost definitely one of the most intense gaming experiences I’ve ever had .
...and IGN has an article that focuses on the PC version with lots of interface screens. This is mostly a rehash of the recent info from Cult of the Rapture.
Wednesday - July 18, 2007
Bioshock - PC Blowout and Music Interview
The Cult of the Rapture covers the PC version of Bioshock specifically in a feature called PC Blowout. Apparently Irrational's Australian studio (presumably under the excellent Jonathon Chey) is responsible for the PC version and they have screens of the interface changes, a podcast, detailed specs and a Q&A on DX9 vs DX10, dual core vs single core and so on:
You've heard a lot about BioShock in the past few months, and seen a ton of footage and screenshots from the Xbox 360™ version of the game. And while both PC and 360 look alike, Irrational has spent a ton of time (and used most of their Australia office staff) creating an amazing and unique experience for the PC gamer. Rethinking the HUD from the ground up and retooling the controls to work perfectly with a keyboard and mouse, the PC version of BioShock deserves its own moment to shine. Which I am now giving you.
In other Bioshock news, Music 4 Games has an interview with composer Garry Schyman.
Bioshock - Previews @ WarCry, Crave
Bioshock's turn for another pair of previews. From WarCry:
As stories go, it's not especially spectacular. It's how they use it that really makes this game both frightening and hilarious simultaneously. The wrecked innards of Rapture have the potential to scare you, like when the broke hull of the airplane crashes through a glass tube hallway just as the player enters, sending him on a made dash against for safety. But equally, they can delight you with advertisements for ADAM (the super-power enabling goo), recorded lectures from the colony's founder or even the names of areas, built right into the architecture. BioShock oozes style. Whoever put the story together has a top-notch screenwriter's ability to intermingle comedy, drama and horror in such a way that none overwhelm or grate at the nerves, but instead provide welcome relief or chills.
...and a short synopsis at Crave:
Naturally, all is not well in the city of Rapture, which was founded as a utopian experiment for scientists and artists. Genetic manipulation led to the citizens developing super powers, and a civil war ensued, leaving a handful of psychotically deranged survivors, most of whom are not exactly rolling out the red carpet for you. Traveling through the city in a somewhat linear fashion, you must use wits, guns and some of Rapture's patented genetic power-ups to survive long enough to find a way back to the surface. Much violence ensues, but we liked that you can choose to attack head-on, set traps or even use you newfound powers to pit enemies against each other.
Thursday - July 12, 2007
Bioshock - E3 Preview @ ActionTrip
ActionTrip is next with an E3 preview of Bioshock:
Now, what's important to note right off the bat is that the amount of content that was shown at the previous E3 and the GC in Leipzig is nowhere near the extent of the game that was shown to me today.
One of my primary concerns in regards to Bioshock was whether the Art Deco style of the environment, coupled with the tough moral choices presented in the game and a more refined storyline would be simply too sophisticated to appeal to the average gamer. However, after actually seeing Bioshock in action, for the first time, I'm absolutely convinced this one will be a sure shot hit with the hardcore gamer crowds.
I'm not sure "average" and "hardcore" are the same thing.
Bioshock - E3 Previews @ IGN, GameSpot
IGN has an E3 preview of Bioshock, with Ken Levine revealing the game is basically done:
Irrational told us the game is pretty much finished at this point on Xbox 360, and they're still doing some tweaking for the PC. With increased media attention since E3 2006, Irrational is particularly excited about BioShock's release, specifically for what it means for games in the future. "All I want to do is be able to create more games like this," says Ken Levine. "That's all I care about in my career is just make more cool games, be able to break down some barriers, things that aren't World War II shooters. That's what I want for the industry, it's the games I want to play and the games I want to make. If BioShock's successful, that to me is a ticket for making more games like this. We're not going to mention any of the story elements in the game, because honestly, they'd be better to find out for yourself when the game releases later this August.
...next stop GameSpot:
Luckily you'll have plenty of methods for taking down foes. The first is proximity mines, which are handy in that you can set them wherever you like (on the floor, wall, or ceiling). When an enemy gets too close, boom goes the proximity grenade. The most basic use of the grenade is to set one on the floor and let it do its work. With a little creativity, however, the proximity can be much more interesting. You can attach it to a barrel, for example, then use your telekinesis to pick up the armed barrel and toss it at an opponent, effectively creating a superbomb. You can also use the proximity mine in conjunction with other accessories like the cyclone traps, which create miniature cyclones on the floor; when an enemy steps on it, he or she will be tossed to the ceiling, where your planted mines can be waiting for them to turn them into mincemeat.
Wednesday - July 11, 2007
Bioshock - System Specs Released
I forgot to post this one yesterday...the system reqs for Bioshock have been released:
- Windows XP (with Service Pack 2) or Windows Vista
Minimum System Requirements:
- CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz Single Core processor
- System RAM: 1GB
- Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 128MB RAM (NVIDIA 6600 or better/ATI X1300 or better, excluding ATI X1550).
- Sound Card: 100% direct X 9.0c compatible sound card
- Hard disc space: 8GB free space
Recommended System Requirements:
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- System RAM: 2GB
- Video card: DX9: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT or better). DX10: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 or better
- Sound Card: Sound Blaster¿ X-Fi™ series (Optimized for use with Creative Labs EAX ADVANCED HD 4.0 or EAX ADVANCED HD 5.0 compatible sound cards)
Important Note: Game requires Internet connection for activation.
Saturday - July 07, 2007
Bioshock - Video @ Gamer's Hell
Gamer's Hell has a new trailer for Bioshock called the "Fisheries Demo", narrated by Ken Levine.
Tuesday - July 03, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast @ Cult of the Rapture
Cult of the Rapture has a new Bioshock podcast:
Ken Levine joins me today to talk about Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture and the mastermind who made the city under the sea. Ken gives insight into the creative process behind dreaming up such a character, and also fills in a little backstory behind such the infamous man.
Sunday - July 01, 2007
Bioshock - Preview @ 1Up
Subtitled "What it is, what it isn't", 1Up looks at Bioshock from a hands-on demo by Ken Levine:
My own preconceptions, coupled with the Metroid comparison, probably explain why I'm confused when Levine refers to this as "the first level" -- a term usually reserved for those damn linear games, which BioShock isn't, or so I've heard. But that's for lack of a better term: "Level" here stands for "thematic area," and players are indeed free to move back and forth between sections of Rapture at will -- mostly to revisit previously inaccessible nooks and crannies for more gene tonics and plasmids (BioShock parlance for passive traits and active powers). This world appears to have ended right on New Year's Eve. Early on, I'm accosted by a posthuman partygoer dressed for a masquerade ball, only with murder on the mind instead of merriment. "Visual storytelling is very important to us," says Levine. "That you can sense what happened in the city, you can really follow a lot of what happened just by looking around you.... I'm not a fan of cutscenes; I'm not a fan of making people read. If you have to basically go to a text file to tell backstory, you've lost already."
In other news, The Cult of Rapture has a stack of scalable icons to use for IM clients or whatever.
Wednesday - June 27, 2007
Bioshock - Rationalising Rapture @ GameSpy
The fancy title Rationalising Rapture is really just a Bioshock interview with Ken Levine, but it covers some interesting territory:
Patrick: In the old System Shock games, we saw a really early version of this idea of story that doesn't take away from the shooting. We heard this from the team working on Blacksite: Area 51, and we're hearing it from other games in which the story aspects flow into the shooting aspects. Do you think that's pulling from System Shock 2, or do you think that's just a progression of next-gen game development?
Ken Levine: We were fortunate in that we used the message system in System Shock, like e-mails, in order to frame the story. Because of our budget, we had a certain idea of mise en scene, in which you can look around the world and visually tell the story. We spent a great deal of time on BioShock working on those details and telling the story, because look, while I'm not against it, people are going to get ten percent of the story because they're skipping the in-game messages. I want them to understand what's happened here. I want them to at least be able to piece together the basic story of what happened in Rapture. Granted, if they listen to the audio diaries, they'll really get a better idea of what happened, but it has to work on multiple levels.
Bioshock - Interview @ CVG
The Bioshock PR assault continues with another interview with lead designer Joe McDonagh, this time at CVG:
One of the most staggering elements of Bioshock is the city, Rapture itself...
McDonagh: Yeah. I remember one of the key moments for Ken and the creative team; the game went through lots of different stylistic iterations and started out very different from how it is now.
There was a key moment where we realised that when you put something in a dark, sinister environment, bizarrely and counter-intuitively it loses some of its power. Because if you're in a cellar, you're expecting it to be a little bit scary and immediately you've got your guard up.
What we found is, if you put something horrifying next to something beautiful, it's very powerful. There's something very unsettling about it. I remember one of the great inspirations was when one the creative team watched The Shining again, which I think is one of the scariest films I've ever seen.
There's the brilliant bit where Jack Nicholson goes down into the ballroom and he meets the ghost of this bartender, and there's all these ghost of people dancing. It's all art deco, this beautiful luminous green environment and it's absolutely terrifying, sinister and unsettling.
Tuesday - June 26, 2007
Bioshock - More Articles
Three Bioshock articles to point out today, with two Australian entries. First, Internode Games Network has a preview in the guise of an "official" government warning:
This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It includes new information under Summary and Safety and Security. The overall level of the advice has been upgraded to Do Not Travel to Rapture.
Rapture Overall Travel Rating
Do Not Travel To Rapture
* We strongly advise that if you currently have plans to travel to Rapture that you revise those plans immediately. There is extremely high risk of terrorist attack in Rapture possibly targeted at tourists and there is the potential for civil war to break out any day. There is a strong possibility of high level serious crime being committed.
* If you are currently located in Rapture we recommend that you consider leaving. If you decide to remain in Rapture then you do so at your own risk.
* Currently there will be no further government assisted removal of citizens from Rapture due to the increased security risk.
* It is a possibility that while travelling to Rapture you could encounter genetically modified humans. They are to be avoided and to be considered extremely dangerous. It may be difficult to identify such people from external appearances. The creators of this city have attempted to make "super human" people through genetic modifications. [more]
Game Informer writes about Five Things You Should Know About Bioshock:
3. Options galore
When Irrational Games said you can play the game as you see fit, they really meant it. The amount of options available to the player is almost overwhelming—in the best way possible. After being exposed to Adam and Plasmids, which give our main character superhuman abilities, combat moves away from simply bashing things with a wrench or shooting them with guns to a free-form exercise in creatively making the most of your surroundings. When we met up with that Dr. Steinman fellow, our encounter included setting him alight with our pyrokinetic powers, then zapping a pool of water to electrocute him when he tried to extinguish the flames. We hacked a health station to poison him and then finished him off with a shotgun. We could have done any number of other things, too, including using our telekinetic abilities to hurl exploding barrels at him or setting pools of oil (and him) on fire. When you encounter roving security droids, you can destroy them with your firearms or hack into them and have them do your dirty work for you.
While it lacks the traditional inventory structure that most RPGs share, BioShock definitely has a lot of other RPG elements. Character customization is deceptively deep, with players gaining new abilities and passive powers. If you’re not good at the hacking sections, which center around a Pipe Dream-like minigame—you can upgrade your skills and make it easier. Weapons can be upgraded, reducing reload times or increasing ammo capacity. There’s even an invention system, allowing players to develop their own ammunition. Most importantly, these character variations are all valid choices; there aren’t any gimmicky, one-time-use powers.
...and an interview at IGN AU with lead designer Joe McDonagh:
IGN: how much controversy was there in the office over the idea of being able to kill off Little Sisters. Do you expect a public outcry?
Joe McDonagh: We don't expect a public outcry - we don't want one and we're not looking for one. How did we feel about making it? Amazingly challenged, because that's exactly what we want people to feel. It was quite interesting because originally, the Little Sister was just a little bug. Nobody cared, because you can't relate to an insect. You can't understand or appreciate or feel anything for an insect.
Sunday - June 24, 2007
Bioshock - Interview #2 @ TeamXbox
TeamXbox has posted the second part of the Ken Levine Bioshock interview mentioned in yesterday's roundup. Once again, Ken is running away from the FPS/RPG label as fast as he can:
This is kind of a hybrid. How do you think this will play out—do you see certain audiences maybe shying away from it?
Ken Levine: I don’t really view it as a hybrid, and here’s my thinking on it: A lot of people when they first saw it said, “Oh, it’s an RPG.” To me it’s a shooter, and it had to work as a shooter to do that. And we’ve done a lot of work to make sure this is just a great shooter—and things blow up great and the weapons are fun and the powers are great. I think you can talk about shooters and the s*** that can go on and the amount of chaos that can happen in a shooter, and I don’t think there’s anything out there like it.
Before you even get into the underlying system, I think when you try to do too many things, you can get in trouble. This was going to be a shooter, first and foremost, and it’s going to be a shooter with more that you haven’t seen in other games. I think that people are very comfortable when they see a crappy shooter—like if you go play a shooter that doesn’t have good AI and doesn’t have good weapons, you still call it a shooter even though it has less than other shooters, but when people see a shooter that has a lot more, people don’t know what to make of it.
I view it as a shooter. It’s just that it’s a shooter that has things that, hopefully, people will now expect…like environmental simulation in a shooter. And non-scriptiness in a shooter. And AIs that have relationships with each other in a shooter. And things working with each other, interacting with each other in a shooter. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Saturday - June 23, 2007
Bioshock - Yet More Previews
A couple of new Bioshock previews and an interview are on offer today. First, let's hit GameSpot with their "exclusive hands-on" covering latter game missions, character development and underwater battles:
You'll also be able to pick up various Adam-based powers, either by looting them from fallen foes or hidden nooks and by purchasing them from various vending machines scattered throughout the area. However, as an audio log that you pick up early in the game suggests, injecting your body with Adam from fallen foes also injects part of their consciousness and memories into your character's mind. This is why you'll occasionally see ghostly figures reenacting their last moments when you enter a new area for the first time. In the work-in-progress version of the game we played, we began our updated adventure equipped with these weapons and several different plasmid powers; even so, we were hard-pressed to survive the latest leg of our quest.
While we spent a little time familiarizing ourselves with the controls in these earlier levels, we spent most of our time in the lush section of the underwater city of Rapture dedicated to all things plants known as Arcadia. And yes, we did this in the PC version of BioShock, a version that's not simply a mere port for all of its interface changes and slight mechanical differences. Be forewarned that this preview presents minor story spoilers in the sections about Arcadia so if you'd rather keep the surprise of visiting Rapture on your own schedule, go ahead and skip past the "Welcome to Arcadia" section for more info on some different plasmids, the crafting system, weapons upgrades, and PC specific info.
In one swift movement, the player ran straight up to a doorway and cut down the first incoming enemy with a gory shotgun blast to the temple. I was immediately taken aback. This felt more like a scene from Monolith's visceral Condemned: Criminal Origins (X360, PC) than a moment from a tactical shooter. Levine was quick to note that there are, of course, more intelligent ways of going about your business in the hostile world of Rapture. On queue, the player fired a trip-wire trap into a wall, and with another shot attached the second end of the wire to the opposing wall. The wire wasn't positioned effectively enough, so the player then switched to the Telekenesis plasmid. Plasmids are essentially magic powers, through which the player can cycle through as he would a physical weapon. Using Telekenesis, one end of the trip wire was snatched up into the player's hand and quickly replanted across a doorway. "We found out in testing that this worked," Levine remarked, alluding to the game's unpredictable nature. An enemy soon came barreling through the passage, the wire sending out an electric current and dropping him like a sack of potatoes.
..and finally, TeamXbox chats to Ken:
It’s actually good you brought that up, because that was what I was going to ask next: Over the course of a project, a lot of times things change—“Hey, this would be cool to put in” or “We don’t have space for this” or whatever. If you don’t mind saying, how did BioShock, from start to finish, how did the original idea compare to what your final product is?
Ken Levine: The major changes were obvious story and setting—and I pulled that stuff out of my ass at the beginning. I didn’t really know what we were going to do. But the core mechanics…the thing that was always there was sort of the notion of player-powered gaming and a player-driven experience that’s different for everybody. And these three different types of AIs—the aggressor type of splicers, the protector notion and the protected notion…the resource protected notion. You know, the character who has the resources. We always had to make a psychology of AI—where there was an AI that has an interest in each other, as well as you—was always in the beginning. It wasn’t the Big Daddys and Little Sisters, and genetically altered 1940s people at the beginning, but those general notions were there.
The notion of environmental interaction, where the environment was going to be an important thing…that changed a little bit. We had a lot of ideas about changing the pressure and stuff like that in the beginning, which we couldn’t just get people to get. And then when we went like, oh, electrocute water, I get it…okay, light people on fire. We just sort of made things more like, “What would the player expect to happen?” and then building up on those things and all the simulational elements.
In terms of a believable simulation, I think we’re in a totally different place from what any other game is, and we really put our focus there. It’s a lot of work, but that’s one of the advantages of having what we required…you know, it’s not a cheap game. And it’s all on the screen…that’s our hope.
Wednesday - June 20, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast & Videos @ Cult of the Rapture
Two updates at The Cult of the Rapture site today. The first is a podcast titled The Physics Behind Bioshock:
Josh Downer and Ian Bond talk about the physics that make BioShock run. They detail some of the most daunting tasks of the game and give an inside look at what makes the creatures in Rapture look so alive.
...and the second is several plasmid videos:
Plasmid advertisements from Ryan Industries have been uploaded in our downloads section. Check out Winter Blast, Insect Swarm, Telekinesis, Cyclone Trap, and Security Beacon Plasmids.
Bioshock - Interviews @ FiringSquad, GwJ
FiringSquad has spoken with Ken Levine in an article-format interview from a Bioshock press event back in April:
We first asked Levine about the massive amount of content that we encountered in just the first two levels. The amount of weapons, the special powers (called plasmids in the game) and other factors made BioShock feel like a full game. Levine assured us that we haven't seen anything yet. "There's like 12 or 14 active plasmids in the game," he told us, "There are eight weapons. You haven't even seen the weapon mods or the crafting and invention system. You haven't touched the storyline. You are just getting started, man".
There's also a podcast interview with Ken at Gamers with Jobs.
Bioshock - Developer Movie
VoodooExtreme is pointing out a Bioshock movie from Take 2 Germany that features Irrational's Ken Levine, Melissa Miller, and Nate Wells:
Here's a great BioShock video from my buddies over at Take 2 Germany that features new footage, plus comments on AI, design, characters, and more from several of the lead developers.
Tuesday - June 19, 2007
Bioshock - Plasmids @ IGN Blog
A new update to Irrational's Bioshock blog at IGN sees info on plasmids in the game:
BioShock is not your average shooter. While you can blast away your enemies with a shotgun, or splatter them against walls with a grenade launcher, you can also set them on fire by snapping your fingers, or electrocute them where they stand in a puddle of water by a flick of your wrist.
Ryan Industries, a company created by the mastermind Andrew Ryan who founded our beloved Rapture, developed many Plasmids to enhance your body and make you bigger, faster, stronger. In these short videos, you can catch a glimpse at some of the technologies that Ryan Industries has to offer, and the power that you can wield once you purchase the Plasmid of your choosing in BioShock.
Friday - June 15, 2007
Bioshock - Site Updates
According to Irrational's Bioshock blog at IGN, the official site has received a bunch of updates:
A few minutes ago, www.BioShockGame.com received a infusion of new information about the city of Rapture.
Have an interest in what Plasmids you can use to fight the splicers that roam the city halls? Want to know more about Gene Tonics? Have a craving to learn about Engineering, or Combat Tonics?
Straight from Ryan Industries laboratories, these new powers are ready for you to explore.
There are also two new areas for fledging Rapturians to explore. Take a peak around the corners of Neptune's Bounty, or wander the corridors of Fort Frolic.
The world is yours to conquer. Let nothing hold you back.
Welcome to Rapture.
Wednesday - June 13, 2007
Bioshock - Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has spoken with Irrational's technical art director Nate Wells about Bioshock. It's interesting watching him say that Bioshock is as deep a roleplaying system as System Shock 2 without crossing the "this is an FPS" marketing line:
GB: BioShock has been labeled as the "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2. Obviously the storyline will be completely different, but what similarities should SS2 fans expect to find in BioShock?
Nate: SS2 and BioShock are two very different games. But I think what they really share is a focus on player-choice and emergent gameplay. System Shock 2 was the first game we ever made as a company and of course we are all still very fond of it. But, like all first-efforts the greatest value we got from System Shock 2 was a learning experience. Much of what defined SS2 was a great deal of depth that was often hidden from the player. With BioShock we had the resources and the time to bring all that depth out from “under-the-hood” and give the player a deep experience that plays-out right in front of their eyes. The sheer number of powers and weapons and environmental interactions is staggering. BioShock is without a doubt the most ambitious game I have ever been involved with.
Bioshock - Previews, Video, Screens Update
The Cult of the Rapture has a list of Bioshock previews from the recent press event that's simply too big to sort through, so here's a complete rip (including previously published links):
Shacknews Hands-On Preview
Eurogamer First Impressions
Computer and Video Game Preview
IGN's BioShock Hands-On
Team Xbox BioShock Preview
1Up's BioShock Preview
Game Arena's BioShock Event Report
Eurogamer Interview: Big Daddy Speaks
Game Arena: Ten Questions with BioShock's Ken Levine
MPC Atomic's BioShock Preview
Gametrailers On Location Video Preview at BioShock Press Event
Gametrailers Water Effects and Enemies Video Interview
Gamespy’s BioShock Preview
Hands-On Gamepro Preview
Worthplaying’s Preview of BioShock
Gamesradar: A Nightmare You Don’t Want To End
Firingsquad’s BioShock Preview
Under Ground Online’s Hands-On
Gamespy debriefing podcast, including some talk about BioShock
...and they are also pointing out a new video at GameSpot:
Gamespot has the third official BioShock video with new exclusive gameplay. Clocking in at 4:22 minutes, the movie also features insights from Ken Levine, Creative Director, Nate Wells, Technical Art Director, and Melissa Miller, Content Producer.
...and VoodooExtreme has some new screens.
Saturday - June 09, 2007
Bioshock - Updates Galore
I've lost track of the new Bioshock videos floating around, so here's ripped list of stuff from Cult of the Rapture:
1Up has a treasure trove of new BioShock footage for you, including an exclusive interview with Ken, and a look at some new Plasmids.
In addition to the media, Eurogamer has an interview-cum-preview:
"How can you do this to a child?!"
How could I? Oh God. But... But wasn't all this caused by her own hand? And how else can I save his family? And myself? "You're the only hope of me seeing my wife again," he says. That's not much of a choice is it? Besides, how can that thing still be called a child?
I've just harvested my first Little Sister. And it's one of the most arresting gaming moments I've experienced in a long time. Earlier this evening, Bioshock creator Ken Levine, facing the same choice, saved her.
Veterans of System Shock 2 will feel surprisingly at home when they take the controls of BioShock. That's because the controls, and more importantly your interface with the world of Rapture, are largely identical to those of Irrational's classic. You can pick up a bevy of helpful (and occasionally harmful) objects in the environment. You can also search every corpse, as well as many of the containers, safes, or drawers you find, for more items and currency. There's even a hacking minigame that slashes the prices on many vending machines or wins automated defenses to your side. (Only this time, it's a hydromechanical setup that requires you to fit pieces of piping together to route water from points A to B.) And of course, you'll quickly find yourself in possession of more genetic powers than the electrobolt: We picked up flamethrowing and telekinetic abilities just in the first few areas of the game. You'll only get to carry a couple of abilities at a time, so choosing your best powers at a machine called the gene bank will become a large part of strategizing for future encounters.
...and adding 1Up (with a spoiler warning):
So while there's been a lot of talk about whether BioShock is more of a shooter or more of an RPG, it seems -- in the first few hours, at least -- to be a first-person action game that involves a lot of shooting, but involves a lot of other stuff as well.
Thursday - June 07, 2007
Bioshock - Preview @ Hooked Gamers
This previewer of Bioshock at Hooked Gamers admits to some misgivings, which occasionally shows through in the text:
The imagery of the creatures roaming the corridors of Rapture reminds one of Silent Hill, which was populated with creatures that aimed to disgust and disturb more than horrify. Clearly, the first lesson to be learned is that using stem cells to heal one's injuries can lead to nothing but disfiguration and inhumanity. Thus, it comes as a complete surprise that the player will actually want to join this society and start playing with this Adam stuff as well – using it as a currency and improving his own body. Thus far, no one has explained this discrepancy to my satisfaction, but I'm sure it will come.
In other Bioshock news, the final box art has been revealed.
Wednesday - June 06, 2007
Bioshock - Interview @ Joerg Spielt
German site Joerg Spielt has an interview with Joe McDonagh from Irrational Australia on Bioshock. Here's a taste:
Jörg: 70 percent of the Bioshock team have been part of the System Shock 2 team. Of course, they plan to make Bioshock even better, but doesn’t this also limit them in some way?
Joe McDonagh: I guess that many in the team just wanted to make System Shock 2 again. And we really have to challenge that, that’s not enough. System Shock 2 is nine years old, we needed to do something new. What we really concentrated on was what scared the team the most: To create an environment that was essentially living and breathing, which you can interact with in any number of interesting ways. From a sort of basic interaction like setting fire to an oil slick or melting a lump of ice, to the more sophisticated interactions. Say, you hide behind a Big Daddy, and a sentry gun shoots at you and hits the Big Daddy, and Big Daddy attacks it. That sort of interactions is where we really set a distance to System Shock 2. And that’s the single hardest thing for the team. And, personally, having played it through just last week, I think it’s by far the most interesting thing about the game, what sets Bioshock apart from all the other games.
Bioshock - Podcasts
I hate Podcasts. Anyway, for those that don't share my Luddite views you can check out the EGM Live podcast with editors discussing Bioshock and Cult of the Rapture's Inside the Animations conversation with two Irrational animators.
Bioshock - Preview @ Gamers with Jobs
GwJ has an excellent first-hand preview of Bioshock from an earlier visit to Irrational's offices:
Sitting next to the artists and designers, there's little question that every corner of BioShock has been lovingly crafted. Irrational licensed the Unreal 3 engine from Epic, the visual supercharger behind the hit Xbox 360 title Gears of War. Like most developers, Irrational has taken this engine and tortured it until it bleeds a gritty reality full of fire, water, and dust. From the few hours I spent touring the game's architecture (alas, over the shoulder, as my day at Irrational was before the game went "hands on" to the press) they've succeeded on at least a few levels. Everything in the game feels both organic and polished at the same time. And the environment is extremely interactive. "Everything is searchable," explains Levine. His goal was to make the world of BioShock work correctly, like a simulation. "If the user expects to be able to do something, they can do it in this world. So you can freeze something and then shatter it, fire spreads correctly, and so on."
Thursday - May 31, 2007
Bioshock - New Video
Wednesday - May 30, 2007
Bioshock - Gameplay Montage Video @ Kotaku
Thanks to Sir Markus for pointing out a new Bioshock montage trailer at Kotaku:
Think of this as a collage, of sorts. Of death. Of women on fire being shot in the head. And jedi-like force powers. And water effects. And underwater explosions. And some "WHERE IS MY FACE", a line which straddles the boundary between terror and hilarity perfectly.
Thursday - May 24, 2007
Bioshock - Little Sisters @ IGN Blog
Irrational's Bioshock blog at IGN has been updated with a podcast featuring Ken Levine on the Little Sisters of Rapture - there's also some concept art on offer:
Little Sisters are perhaps the most important citizens of Rapture, but little is known about them. Who are they? Where did they come from? And most importantly, how can the player interact with the Little Sister during his time in this underwater city?
I sat down with Ken Levine, Creative Director at Irrational Games, and asked him the tough questions many in the media, and on the forums, have been posing about the Little Sisters in BioShock. In this exclusive podcast, Ken and I talk about what the Little Sister is, and why Irrational chose to use the form of a child in this upcoming shooter. We also discuss what Harvesting and Rescuing really means, the moral ramifications of having the Little Sister in the game, and even if Irrational changed the Little Sister, and your interactions with her, due to public (or publisher) pressure.
Monday - May 21, 2007
Bioshock - Concept Art @ Cult of Rapture
2K Games' Cult of the Rapture site for Bioshock has some concept art of "splicers".
Saturday - May 12, 2007
Bioshock - Fansite kit @ Cult of the Rapture
A fansite kit for Bioshock can be found at The Cult of the Rapture:
Some have asked for a BioShock fankit to make their own blogs and websites about BioShock. While I know we already have a lot of artwork, screenshots, and the like out on the web for you to use, we decided to make a couple more goodies for you to represent the Cult of Rapture and BioShock in your own creative ways. Download the fankit, and be sure to email me with the address of your site when it goes up. I'll make sure to post it here.
Thursday - May 03, 2007
Bioshock - Yet More Water @ IGN Blog
A second Bioshock feature is focusing on water with an update to the official blog at IGN hosting an interview with Irrational's Stephan Alexander, FX Artist – and Jesse Johnson, Graphics Programmer, on the subject:
How much of the DX10 technology will you be using for water effects?
JJ: All the water effects in the game were developed to work on both DX9 and DX10 technology. Where applicable DX10 is used to accelerate the performance of some of the effects, and this may allow more detailed water in some areas.
What did you do to get the water effects this realistic? Have you got your own water lab at Irrational Games, where you played with water? Did you go outside and watch spots with a lot of water?
JJ: A lot of the programming comes down to just doing the right research. Many of the algorithms we use in video games today, as well as in real-time rendering in general, have already been around in non-real-time forms for quite a while. So one of the biggest challenges we face is finding the algorithms that are suitable to real time rendering and then adapting them to our needs, adapting them to modern graphics hardware, and making them run at 30+ fps.
Of course, there are a lot of times when research just comes up completely dry, especially working with next-gen hardware. Whenever this happens, Stephen and I will think through the problem, drawing on real life examples when necessary, then sit down together and draft up a sort of a baseline approach we are going to try and take to solve it. If the approach works, Stephen will take the technology and try to push it to its limits. As he encounters technological restrictions, I’ll go back and address them with additional code. If the approach doesn’t work altogether, then it’s back to the drawing board.
Monday - April 30, 2007
Bioshock - Water @ Cult of the Rapture
The Cult of the Rapture has a feature on the water in Bioshock:
The water in BioShock is one of the most fascinating aspects, technically and visually, of the game. I would argue it's the most realistic water I've ever seen in game. And, as Rapture is an underwater city, and is drowning as your character enters it, water is, of course, an integral part of the story.
Today we're going to focus on water, first with a video that highlights some water in Rapture, and then with a Q&A I had two water gurus at Irrational: Stephan Alexander, FX Artist, and Jesse Johnson, Graphics Programmer. They were very excited to talk about all aspects of building the water in BioShock, so I hope you enjoy.
And a quick DX10 update:
Many of you have been asking if BioShock would utilize DX10 feature set. The official answer is that yes, BioShock will be utilizing DX10. However, for those of you who won't be upgrading by August, don't worry. BioShock will also run with DX9.
Bioshock - Interview @ IGN AU
In what is shaping up to be a quiet day the biggest news looks to be IGN AU's interview with Jonathon Chey, Bioshock's Project Leader. Jon Chey often gets overlooked for Ken Levine whenever anyone discusses Irrational so it's nice to hear his input:
IGN AU: Looking at the scope of the game and, dare we say it, sandbox environment, we're guessing AI must be a huge priority for you guys. How have you approached this area of the game? What difficulties have you encountered? What cool things are you trying to get your AI personalities to do? How did you make the Big Daddy so lovable… and yet so damn freaky?
Jon Chey: Yeah, AI is one of our core tech and design focuses. When we started this game, we wanted to focus on the idea of an ecology - a world that isn't just about running into a room and gunning down everyone in it. Can you have a game in which there are lots of hostile forces but there are also relationships between the AIs that you can exploit and work with? So the Little Sister and the Big Daddy are obviously core to that concept. I mean, these are a pair of entities in the world that have a complex relationship with each other. How often do you hear that word mentioned in connection with a shooter?
You have to fight in BioShock, but you also have to know when to fight and who. If you don't mess around with a Little Sister, the Big Daddy is going to leave you alone. And sometimes, that's the right thing to do - just walk softly around them, take heed of his warnings and leave them alone… until you've found a new stash of ammo and then it might be time to go back and take him on. Or maybe you've got a plasmid that allows you to dupe the Big Daddy into protecting you! And then you get some unfortunate splicers (people driven mad by abuse of genetic manipulation) to attack you…and trigger the wrath of the duped Daddy. Or maybe you tag him with a pheromone that alerts the security system and turns it on him - leaving the Little Sister alone…
So, yeah, you could say AI has been a huge priority for us.
Tuesday - April 24, 2007
Bioshock - Limted Edition Details
The Cult of Rapture has the word on the Limited Edition for Bioshock:
We have tallied up the votes, read your comments, and are happy to announce the details of the BioShock Limited Edition. Available on August 21st (the same day as the regular BioShock edition), the LE will include a Big Daddy figurine, a “Making Of” DVD, and a soundtrack CD. The LE packaging will also be an embossed graphic designed by the winner of the Cover Art Contest going on now at www.cultofrapture.com.
The BioShock Limited Edition will be available to US and Canada exclusively at GameStop and EB for US$59.99 (PC LE) and US$69.99 (Xbox 360™ LE). The Limited Edition will also be available in Europe and details about ordering a copy will be coming soon.
I’d like to personally thank everyone who participated in signing the petition for the BioShock Limited Edition and those who voted about what should go inside the box. We had over 26,000 responses to our poll, and those votes were the deciding factor in what we choose to put in the Limited Edition. We wanted to make the package affordable, but valuable and special for everyone purchasing it, and I think we did just that.
I’ll be sure to post pictures of the packaging and goodies inside as they become available!
Friday - April 20, 2007
Bioshock - LE Box Design Contest
2K Games' clever marketing of Bioshock continues with a contest to design the box art for the Limited Edition they were forced to make by a fan petition:
Yes, you read that correctly. It started with an online petition from a fan on the 2K forums, imploring us to make a BioShock limited edition. 19,692 signatures later, I opened up a poll on the Cult of Rapture asking BioShock devotees what they would like to see in the box.
Now I ask you, what would you like ON the box?
To give you some backstory, this idea began because of a fan in the 2K forums, Rapture_Tourist gave us an awesome idea with his very detailed fan art of a possible BioShock Limited Edition. We loved the feeling of his etched metal casing, and want to run with it. (See his design here.)
So now, for the next two weeks, I’ll be collecting submissions for designs that could go on the front of the BioShock Limited Edition box.
Wednesday - April 11, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast #5 @ Cult of the Rapture
Kevine Levine talks about the evolution of Bioshock in the latest podcast at Cult of the Rapture:
Ken is back with Eric and me to talk about the evolution of BioShock over the years, from when it was but a gleam in his eye. He talks about the different iterations of the game, and the hurdles he encountered while developing the game.
Friday - April 06, 2007
Bioshock - Walkthrough Videos
The official Bioshock blog at IGN has two "walkthrough" videos on offer - here's their description:
Rapture is a huge underwater city, and we have seen only brief glimpses at a few corridors and hallways so far, in screenshots and trailers. Currently, we know that Rapture includes seven “decks,” with multiple levels and many different environments spanning each deck.
Fans have been clamoring for a more in-depth look inside Rapture, rather than single screenshots or gameplay videos that often center around only one or two rooms. And while we don’t want to spoil the fun of exploring the city during the game, Irrational has come up with walkthrough videos of two of the first areas in BioShock.
Wednesday - April 04, 2007
Bioshock - Advertisments of Rapture
The Cult of the Rapture has a feature called Advertisements of Rapture, showing off several art assets of the stylistic art deco advertisments adorning the gameworld.
Saturday - March 31, 2007
Bioshock - Collector's Edition Announced & Movie
2K Games' little viral marketing PR trick seems to have worked nicely with 18,000+ people rushing to sign the Bioshock Collector's Edition petition. Apparently the suits have been suitably impressed and a CE will be released (Surpise!)...head over to Cult of the Rapture if you'd like to vote on the contents of said package.
In other Bioshock news, 3D Gamers has a new trailer with a minute of cinematics and in-game combat.
Thursday - March 29, 2007
Bioshock - Collector's Edition Petition
This seems an obvious PR stunt but news is news. 2K's official The Cult of the Rapture Bioshock fansite has a request on a Collector's Edition petition:
I've had quite a few people ask me if there will be a BioShock collector's edition. Then, today, an enterprising fan made a petition asking 2K to make one. So I talked with some people who were older and wiser than me, and pled the case of the fans. And if we get 5000 signatures on this petition, I have gotten word that they'll make a limited edition of BioShock.
So what do you say? Think we can do it? Think we can get 5000 signatures?
I think we can.
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Bioshock - Community Q&A @ Cult of the Rapture
The third Bioshock Community Q&A at The Cult of the Rapture is online with Ken Levine answering questions from the forums. Here's a bit on the PC vs 'Box:
Many people are worrying about the differences in controls and interface between the PC and 360 version of this game. How are you adapting the PC version to help make a gamer who enjoys shooters on PC feel at home with this game?
We have two separate teams working to make each set of gamers feel at home in BioShock no matter what sku they play. Remember our last game was a PC shooter. We’re customizing the controls and HUD for each version.
Monday - March 26, 2007
Bioshock - Scenario Contest #1 Winner @ Cult of the Rapture
Cult of the Rapture's first Screenshot Scenario Contest has a winner - head over to read the answer and watch an in-game video taken of the unfolding scenario as described.
Saturday - March 24, 2007
Bioshock - Vignette Chat @ IGN
IGN has a Vignette Chat with Ken Levine, which offers a video clip (scroll to the bottom) and a short interview discussing the scene:
IGN: The subject matter here is pretty concrete, since one can clearly see medical personnel doing something very wrong to another human on a surgeon's table. Is that Doctor Steinman? Is he the equivalent to a plastic surgeon for in Rapture? Or is he some thing more insidious? What has happened to him?
Ken Levine: That is Steinman indeed, and he starts out his career as a regular plastic surgeon. Once he gets his hands on the incredible genetic technology that Rapture provides, his ability to shape people is accelerated a thousand times. But the genetic plasmids also have an effect on his mind…
Friday - March 23, 2007
Bioshock - Trailer @ Eurogamer
To accompany Eurogamer's Ken Levine interview yesterday they now have an exclusive Bioshock trailer on offer.
Thursday - March 22, 2007
Bioshock - Ken Levine Interview @ Eurogamer
A nifty, if short, interview with Irrational's Ken Levine is up at Eurogamer. Here's a snip:
Eurogamer: With the implied moral structure of BioShock's world, we've been given the impression that we'll need to make tough decisions while playing. What purpose do moral challenges have in gaming? To what end have you made use of them here?
Ken Levine: I don't believe moral choices in games have a huge amount of meaning if they don't go hand in hand with gameplay choices. BioShock ties the two together. The game asks the player: "How are you going to deal with the Little Sisters who've been enslaved by the city of Rapture? Are you going to help them? Or exploit them?" And the choices the player makes will directly tie into not just elements of the plot, but with how the player's character's abilities grow and develop over time.
Friday - March 16, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast @ Cult of the Rapture
Cult of the Rapture has a podcast with a couple of Bioshock devs talking about their backgrounds:
Today we are joined by Dean Tate, Designer, and Chris Kline, Lead Programmer, to talk about their experiences working at Irrational and on BioShock, as well as how they got into the gaming industry, and where some of their inspiration comes from.
Sunday - March 11, 2007
Bioshock - Art Progression @ Cult of the Rapture
2K Games' Cult of the Rapture Bioshock site has their second "Art Progression", looking at how the art style has developed for the gene bank:
Mo Tejerina is back with his art progression of the gene bank, a machine in Rapture that you will find yourself using quite frequently. Originally called a "plasmi-quik", this progression shows how the decor of Rapture went from industrial to art deco.
Wednesday - March 07, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast @ GwJ
Gamers with Jobs' latest Conference Call podcast includes Bioshock in some capacity, although as with all of these podcast things, I have no idea exactly what new information might be included.
Saturday - March 03, 2007
Bioshock - Movie @ GameSpot
r3dshift writes about a new Bioshock movie at GameSpot, which he describes as "awesome". There are some possible minor spoilers but it's certainly worth a look for anyone following Bioshock with nearly seven minutes of footage.
Friday - March 02, 2007
Bioshock - Euro Date & Other Updates
2K Games' Cult of the Rapture site has announced an official Bioshock street date for Europe of August 24th. In addition, they have a T-shirt design contest and new wallpapers on offer.
Bioshock - Preview @ Games Radar
A very short preview of Irrational's Bioshock is online at Games Radar but it still manages to give a nice perspective. Here's an interesting clip:
BioShock, though, revolutionizes the relationships between you and your foes. Enemies mourn one another, go into a sulk when their partner dies - or, worst case scenario, go on a killing spree. One of the eeriest parts of BioShock is hearing the voice of a far-off splicer talking soothingly to their off-spring - and then turning the corner and realizing that her child has long since left the land of the living.
When your enemies are actually able to evoke emotions other than anger - of pity, disgust, sadness, empathy - then you begin to realize what the developers at Irrational mean when they say they’re creating an “AI ecosystem.” With around 30 to 40 inhabitants per area, you get the impression that anything could happen in this warped and warping Davy Jones’ Locker.
Thursday - March 01, 2007
Bioshock - Dated
2K Games' Cult of Rapture site has an announcement on the release date for Bioshock, pushing it out two months from previous estimates:
The headline says it all: BioShock's street date is August 21st. That's a Tuesday, for all you who might be planning your "sick" days in advance.
Let the countdown begin!
Wednesday - February 28, 2007
Bioshock - Screenshot Scenario Contest #1
The first Screenshot Scenario Contest is up at The Cult of Rapture, offering prizes for those interested in writing a scenario and some new Bioshock screens for the rest of us.
Friday - February 23, 2007
Bioshock - Official Forums Launched
The official Bioshock forums are now open:
The official 2K forums are now open! The official meeting place for the Cult of Rapture, the BioShock forums will be your place to communicate with me, the team at Irrational, and of course, other devoted citizens of Rapture.
Thursday - February 15, 2007
Bioshock - Podcasts
Ken Levine, co-founder of Irrational Games and lead designer of BioShock, joins us to discuss his latest venture. Other things covered in the interview include Ken’s feelings on some anticipated 2007 titles, the potential for a new Thief game (and whether he even likes stealth games to begin with), his feelings on a hypothetical System Shock 3, the deal with Irrational’s Australian studio and how it affects BioShock, his personal design philosophies, what sets BioShock apart from the FPS flock, and much more!
Join us for an hour long chat with one of the industry’s most unique game designers.
For our third BioShock podcast, Eric and I talk with Ken Levine again, but this time take a closer look at the world behind the game. We explore the city of Rapture, and get a little bit more backstory about this secret underwater utopia that went horribly wrong.
Friday - February 09, 2007
Bioshock - Concept Art @ Cult of the Rapture
2k Games' Cult of the Rapture fansite has some Big Daddy "art progression" sketches:
Irrational Games Technical Art Director Nate Wells shows us his early sketches of the Big Daddy, one of the most recognized characters from BioShock.
Wednesday - February 07, 2007
Bioshock - Wallpapers @ Official Site
2K Games has kicked up some wallpapers for Irrational's Bioshock.
Thursday - February 01, 2007
Bioshock - Ken Levine Interview @ MTV
MTV's website has an article-style conversation with Irrational's Ken Levine discussing Bioshock. Here's a snip:
Levine says he thought shooter games needed a similar kick. The genre had progressed surely but slowly, and he wanted "BioShock" to lurch things forward. Conventional shorts had linear layouts. A player could map them, he said, by "unrolling a ball of string." He wanted to build Rapture as a city to explore in any direction, to wander in and crisscross. Typical shooters locked players in a room for shootouts with level-ending boss characters. The "BioShock" Big Daddies will roam, and the player hunts the bosses and picks the fight. "You decide where [the fight] happens," he said. "You set up the ambush. It's a tough fight. ... These are bosses that just live in the world. You determine the rules of engagement." He says there's more.
Wednesday - January 31, 2007
Bioshock - Screens @ Worthplaying
Worthplaying has eight screens from Irrational's Bioshock, including one showing a hacking interface.
Tuesday - January 30, 2007
Bioshock - Irrational Visit @ Cult of Rapture
2K Games' Cult of Rapture site has a bunch of photos of Irrational's (Boston) offices from a recent visit:
Last week, I went to Irrational Games up in Boston to do some work and meet with the team. The weather was colder, the town quieter, but Irrational’s offices were just as busy as when I was up while they were about to finish Alpha. Now, a few days before Beta, the halls were filled with sounds of screaming children, water lapping, gurgling and gasping voices, and the echo of shooting. It was delightful. I think I’m still having nightmares.
Monday - January 29, 2007
Bioshock - Screenshot Scenario Contest
2K Games' The Cult of Rapture site for Bioshock has an interesting idea today. Kicking off a series is the first Screenshot Scenario contest, with new several screens illustrating a situation in-game and a handful of different solutions. Contestants can write in with different solution ideas to win a Bioshock tee-shirt (and the rest of us can can just check out the screens and situations). Here's part of this week's scenario:
While in the Kashmir Restaurant, you encounter an enemy wielding a pipe. As he comes to attack, you shoot him, but only hit him in the leg.
Wounded, but not fatally, he comes to attack you. You only have one bullet left in your pistol, but, as you can see from the first screen, you have the Electro Bolt plasmid (which is why the veins in your hand are glowing blue.) How do you stop this guy before he bludgeons you to smithereens?
If you are a good shot, you can blow him to bits with a headshot using your one remaining bullet. This is effective, and probably the fastest possible option, but dicey, as you never know if you may need that last bullet for another enemy waiting around the bend. And you can’t count on finding more in a timely fashion.
Thursday - January 25, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast @ Next Gen
Next Generation has a 55 minute podcast featuring Ken Levine and Bioshock:
This week’s guest is Irrational Games boss Ken Levine, who tells us all about much fancied shooter Bioshock as well as sharing his views on the business of pitching games, originality, the hardware wars, outsourcing, story-telling, online gaming and why some great games never quite attain the commercial success they deserve.
Tuesday - January 23, 2007
Bioshock - Podcast @ Cult of Rapture
2K Games' new The Cult of Rapture Bioshock community site has added a podcast - here's their description:
Today I interview Melissa Miller, a 2K producer working on BioShock. She's spent several weeks up in Boston, logging hundreds of hours playing BioShock in its various stages of development, and could be called the resident guru of the game. At times, I think she'd be more comfortable if her hands were glowing blue from plasmids, rather than their normal, pinkish hue.
She gives us a close up and personal view on what it BioShock to her, and some of the awesome ways you can utilize the different weapons and environments in the world of Rapture.
Monday - January 22, 2007
Bioshock - Preview @ CVG
Bioshock has been previewed at CVG with extensive input from Irrational's Ken Levine. Here's a snip:
Bioshock could be Levine's greatest game yet - a frightening shooter set in a submerged art deco utopia called Rapture, once populated by the world's great minds, but now perverted into a diseased, deadly ecosystem where genetic mutation has spun wildly out of control.
"We wanted to build a place that said 'There's no easy escape'," begins Levine. "That's what always bothered me about a lot of shooters - the artificiality of it all. You think, 'Why can't I just run that way and get out of here? Because that car is in the way?' The sad truth is that games are a bit of a fib. I want to make games that minimise the fib."
Sunday - January 21, 2007
Bioshock - New Community Site, Q&A
2K Games has launched a new community site for Bioshock at The Cult of Rapture. One of the first features there is a short Q&A, although the answer to this question may not be what many are wanting to hear:
Are there any lessons from Deus Ex 2 that the team has learned and is using when making BioShock?
Many development teams have learned important lessons from previous attempts to bring PC games to the console, though Deus Ex 2 is an infamous example. One of the main things we are doing differently is that we are leading our development efforts with the 360. Therefore all decisions on HUD and gameplay situations are made on the 360 and brought over to the PC to avoid the situations you are thinking about.
Wednesday - January 10, 2007
Bioshock - Screens @ Voodoo Extreme
Grab a pair of new Bioshock screens from Voodoo Extreme, which show some very nice atmospheric lighting.
Friday - January 05, 2007
Bioshock - To Debut in June @ 1Up
1Up received confirmation from 2K Games that Bioshock will make its appearance in June 2007.
2K Games confirmed to 1UP that the long-awaited, much-anticipated Irrational Games first person shooter Bioshock will release for the Xbox 360 and PC in June of this year. A two-week-old post at the Bioshock Through the Looking Glass Forums from a user named "2K Kimberly" who sports a "2K Games" tag below her name first mentioned the June release.I'll let you in on the official word on the release date: June 2007.
Heard it here first. ;-)
Summer lovin' had me a blast.
Summer lovin' happened so fast...
Saturday - December 16, 2006
Bioshock - Official Trailer #2 @ Gamespot
Gamespot has the second official trailer today. Get a look at it at Gamespot.
Friday - December 15, 2006
Bioshock - New Site Launched
2K Games has kicked up a new official site for Bioshock. There's the choice of a Flash-y version or a standard HTML one (thank you!) with the usual screens and game info with a section on Plasmids coming soon.
Tuesday - December 05, 2006
Bioshock - Ken Levine Interview @ Evil Avatar
Evil Avatar has posted a great two-part interview with Irrational's Ken Levine. The first covers a little of his background and wanders into some interesting territory:
Jonathan: I've always wanted to ask: Is Thief suppose to be an allegory for capitalism?
Ken: Why do you say that?
Jonathan: Well, the acquisitive nature of the thief, his ability to take what's not his and make it his own (from which all great fortunes are amassed), and his invisibility whilst taking it.
Ken: Well, what's interesting about thief is that Garrett is more moral than the powers that be. Because at very least, he's honest about who he is. Everybody else hides behind a moral proposition or an ideology to cover up their greed and cruelty. Garret just puts it out there.
I like to think that we were creating of one of gaming's first anti-heroes.
Jonathan: As in a modern hero with a high degree of negative capability?
Ken: Most heroes in games just take on the tasks given to them because, they're, well, the heroes. I wanted Garret to be motivated by things that every day people could understand: money, women, and a sense of ownership of his own body.
Jonathan: Right, really the only different between the hero and villain in most games is that the hero is better at violence than the villain.
Ken: Whenever I write a scene and it's terrible, it's usually for one of two reasons. 1) I suck or 2) the characters’ aren't motivated. What makes Lord of the Rings great is not the heroism of the characters, it's their doubts.
Jonathan: Of course, humanism.
Ken: When 10 zillion game writers copy Tolkien, they only remember the orcs and the dragons, they forget about the most compelling elements of the story: the seductive aspects of power – something we can all relate to.
...while the second gets more specificially to Bioshock:
Jonathan: But we've had non-linear shooter going 6-7 years now, what makes BioShock so accessible to the mainstream, like the other titles you mentioned?
Ken: Yes, Shock 2 was a non-linear shooter. Deus Ex was a non-linear shooter. We learned a lot from making/playing those games. There are certain expectations the modern gamer has that those games didn't fulfill.
From the Shock 2 perspective, a) it was too hard to get into b) it didn't make the choices clear to the average player and c) it, frankly, wasn't visually competitive.
The key is giving the player a huge amount of expression, but giving him access to understanding that expression and those choices. If the player doesn't understand he has a choice, why bother giving it to him?
Friday - September 29, 2006
Bioshock: Previews @ GameSpot, GameSpy & IGN
Taking down one of those big daddies is the focus of the second BioShock demo. The demo takes place in the first level of the game. The main character is dropped into the city of Rapture with no way out. The city is entirely submerged beneath the sea, but it's fully contained, so you can explore it at your leisure. The city is perfectly preserved in many areas, to the extent that you can even still hear the local radio station and see the signs for movie theaters and casinos. It's a strange look at a once-vibrant world that has been left to slowly decay at the bottom of the ocean....moving on to GameSpy:
When the demo began, Levine told us that the game sports an amazingly deep invention and research system, allowing the player to modify everything from his weapons to his own body. This, in turn, encourages experimentation, as there are dozens (if not hundreds) of ways to approach any given situation. The team really wanted to give players a lot of choice as to how they deal with the problems and puzzles that the game forces upon them. To emphasize this, our demoer took on Big Daddy, one of the toughest enemies we've seen in the game.and finally, IGN:
The Big Daddy proceeds to pound us to near-extinction, and Joe decides to try for the Little Sister in another way. Reaching for Splicer Irritant, a genetic enhancement that gives you the power to produce a foul-smelling chemical that seriously annoys enemy splicers so much that they will try and attack it. So Joe throws it on a Little Sister, and the splicer starts to attack.
Thursday - September 28, 2006
Bioshock Screens & Trailer @ Voodoo Extreme
Source: Voodoo Extreme
Monday - September 25, 2006
Bioshock: Preview @ The Armchair Empire
Bioshock has been described by Irrational Games as the "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2, and the few screenshots give a stark and exciting example of how far apart the two games are, evolutions in graphics technology notwithstanding. Whereas System Shock 2 took place in the far future aboard a starship, Bioshock puts you back in the '50s, starting you off in fine dramatic fashion as the only survivor of an oceanic plane crash. Bobbing in the ocean, your character spies a lighthouse, sitting in the middle of the water. From there, you make your way down to the underwater city of Rapture, and that's where the adventure really begins. What was supposed to be an undersea paradise for the genetic elite of humanity has turned into a watery hell. The corridors of Rapture are filled with twisted and mutated creatures which may once have been human beings, and the only way to beat them may be to join them.
Thursday - September 21, 2006
Bioshock Video & Dev Commentary @ IGN
Bioshock Clarification on "Dumbing Down" for Consoles
When I say accessible an interview, here are some things some of you might think I mean:Read and respond on the official forums.
This is, of course, a filthy, filthy lie.
- No ammo types.
- No character growth.
- No hacking.
- No logs.
- No open-ended level layouts.
- No difficulty.
- No weapon mods.
- No research system.
- No limited resources.
- No ghosts.
- No dozens and dozens of plasmids.
- No radically different play styles.
Source: Tom Ohle