How Infinite Fixes BioShock’s Key Problem

By Alec Meer on June 22nd, 2011 at 12:13 pm.

Plus, underwater would totally mess up her 'do

The upcoming third BioShock game intends to fix an oft-made criticism of the Rapture-set original games, according to Timothy Gerritsen, Director of Development at Irrational Games.

The Executive Producer on Bioshock Infinite admitted to RPS in an interview published today that, in the first Bioshock, “we failed in giving you a sense of that city underwater.”

Unlike the oceanic ghost town that was Rapture, Infinite’s Columbia is a populated place, with two factions struggling for control of the floating city. “It was a conscious choice to create a sense of this city and push it as far as I can,” claimed Gerritsen. “To see what’s going on, to see the society at work, and, again Bioshock was very claustrophobic, whereas this makes you go ‘wow, this is really a city’.”

He felt Columbia being populated, as demonstrated in last year’s demo, where you walked into a bar and everyone stopped to stare at you, would make all the difference:

“Bioshock was a very lonely experience, that was intentional. This time the experience you get by seeing these human beings who are living their lives, that’s something that’s also intentional.”

Irrational decided not to pursue more games in Rapture both because of this and because “it would have been disappointing to us as a team, it would have been disappointing to just have had the same type of experience. We felt like we had done what we wanted to do… The publisher could have made us carry on; but to their benefit and ours they allowed us to experiment.”

Gerritsen also claimed that the game likely contains too much to see in a single playthrough, which the combat-centric demos so far don’t fully reflect. “We have a theory we have in the studio called “Player RAM”; it’s the amount of material you can absorb visually before you blow Player RAM. With all our demos, we ride the line so closely, we blow Player RAM. There’s certain things we showed in the last demo, you didn’t see in this one; that doesn’t mean they’re gone; we just didn’t want to completely blow Player RAM. You might want to go back and play it a few times there is so much.

“Keep in mind, when you play it, you play it the way you want to; if you want to stand in the street, lovingly looking, so that Elizabeth says “time’s a ticking, let’s get going”; you can do that. In a 15-minute demo we can only show you so much, and we had to focus on the idea of fluidity in the skyline combat.”

For the full interview with Gerritsen, which also discusses the inter-NPC conflict in Columbia and Irrational’s cultural and philosophical influences when creating Infinite, please click here.

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94 Comments »

  1. McDan says:

    Mhm, I salivate whenever I hear more about this game. I think the interactions with other denizens will be fun.

  2. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Can someone find out how old that girl in the picture is, so I don’t have to feel so guilty all the time when i’m looking at her chest?

  3. syntax says:

    Can’t wait for this one :)

  4. Red_Avatar says:

    When I read “key problem” I was like “don’t you mean ‘key problemS’?”. And, they picked one of the smallest “problems” of Bioshock to boot.

    How about fixing:

    - the combat
    - terrible respawning
    - linearity
    - imbalances

    The respawning coupled with the unbalanced (and frankly rather dull and repetitive) combat made me just not enjoy Bioshock which went like this every few minutes:

    - Oh look there, another splicer. Now, do I want to use this or that plasmid, a gun or do I conserve my resources and freeze him use this wrench? Wrench it is! *WHACK*

    See, this is what made it so pointless: the game never really invited you to make proper use of your plasmids because you didn’t have to! A wrench would take them down easily and is quite satisfying too. The guns were crappy anyway. But with your opponents consisting of rather boring splicers, it just felt like being given 10654 weapons to kill an ant … and a boot. And guess which you’d use? The boot.

    • d32 says:

      Weeell, System Shock (2) had the “terrible respawning” too, with weapon low durability added to it – that was quite tense. Actually, global consensus seems to be, it was too tense and so it got dropped from the design.

    • theleif says:

      @Red Avatar
      How about fixing:
      - the combat

      Well, I had fun, but that’s just a matter of taste.

      - terrible respawning
      Didn’t even notice that. Or, are you talking about BS2? Because I haven’t played that.

      - linearity
      As long as a game convinces me that I want to go the way the game directs me (like Half life), I have no problem with that.

      - imbalances
      How can a single player game be imbalanced?
      No one was forcing you to freeze and wrench all the time.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      Really, you didn’t think a splicer respawning right behind you in a closed room is bad? They spawned out of the fucking ground! There’s such a thing as killing immersion and this did exactly that.

      About the wrench: that’s a misguided defense. A game should encourage you to use your entire arsenal. The wrench was the most effective, fast and as satisfying as any other method. I didn’t see any reason to use the other weapons and that is the fault of the developers: it’s their job to make you WANT to use the whole range of weapons and powers at your disposal by throwing all sorts of varying obstacles in your way. They didn’t.

    • Tomm says:

      While some may complain Bioshock is a linear series, it’s not something I’ve ever dwelt on, there’s enough exploring you can do to take your mind off what you describe as ‘running from objective to objective’. Adding to that, the fact you can choose to fight the big daddies et al whenever you want.

      Also, I don’t know about you, but I actually found the shotgun much more satisfying and used it the most. In terms of plasmids, just because you made the game dull for yourself, doesn’t mean others did, I had tonnes of fun with some of the more unusual plasmids.

    • matty_gibbon says:

      @d32
      Frickin’ loved the respawning in System Shock 2. A lot of people moaned about that, but the feeling of being constantly scared and worried that you didn’t have enough ammo for what was around the (previously explored) corner was pretty awesome.

    • Bhazor says:

      If you didn’t have fun with the combat then it was entirely your own fault.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAcbNyTbMwo

      If you were seriously able to kill a Spider with a wrench then you were definitely playing on too easy a setting and spamming the eve hypos.

    • Walsh says:

      Linear? The 1st game had more backtracking and exploring than most FPS’s. Some levels were like hubs.

      How well did that freeze wrench work on a room full of enemies or a big daddy?

      I remember setting up elaborate wire traps to sucker big daddies and slicers through.

    • gulag says:

      @Red_Avatar

      Damn, it’s really hard to come up with replies to this perennial complaint that don’t derail into snideness. Please take the following as an observation, not a criticism.

      I hear you. There was a way to play the game efficiently that dealt with enemies quickly, and allowed you to save valuable resources. However, you didn’t find it particularly fun. That’s fair. You were hoping to be more engaged by the game, challanged to use your wits and ingenuity to combat the opponents presented to you. But instead the most efficient way to deal with the threat was the old freeze/wrench combo. And it wasn’t fun. That’s a pity.

      There is just one problem with this line of reasoning. Efficiency is not equivalent to Fun. It can be, but rarely is, at least not in the context of this sort of game. BioShock was a game with a large collection of toys for the player to experiment with. If you made a decision to find the most efficient means of killing splicers, and then discovered it wasn’t also the most fun way to kill splicers, is that really a fault of the game? If you decided not to explore other options, or explored them, yet deemed them unworthy on the grounds of efficiency, then that’s your decision.

      You quite rightly point out many of the faults the game did have, to a greater or lesser degree, but finding the path of least resistance through it’s challanges and then complaining about lack of variety is not really an issue with the game. There is very little a game designer can do to counter that sort of decision, short of unfairly taking away a tool for some arbitary reason.

      The other symptom of this excercise in efficiency is the conservation of resources. What were you saving them for? There is no high score. He who finishes the game with the most unused toys in his inventory still finishes, but does so having denied himself the spectacle of destruction those resources represent. As with everything else in life, you only get the best out of something once you take it out of the box.

      Keep this in mind next time you hit upon an optimal strategy in a game, or any other pursuit of leisure. The best storys don’t come from doing it right, they come from scraping by, winning by an inch rather than a mile, and never knowing what might happen next.

      Best of luck with the next BioShock.

    • Defiant Badger says:

      @Walsh
      I’d say there’s a substantial difference between being given some room to explore a bit and actual non-linearity.

    • Tarqon says:

      In my opinion a big problem with Bioshock was the way the characters only existed outside of the game world. The audio diaries are a terrible way to deliver a story, and this leads the the often heard “If only you could talk to the splicers” argument.

      And the plot twist only works if you were actually playing along with the story. Personally II thought the quest to kill Ryan was retarded, so I tried every alternate route and closed door I could find, making the plot twist feel rather nonsensical.

    • Dervish says:

      @gulag
      finding the path of least resistance through it’s challanges and then complaining about lack of variety is not really an issue with the game. There is very little a game designer can do to counter that sort of decision

      Absurd. You are saying the designer bears no responsibility for including a game-breaking tool that removes all challenge? That it’s impossible to consider such combinations in advance? We’re not talking about super-secret items or glitches found via a FAQ. I give good money to professionals in hopes that they tested and tuned their mechanics, not because I want to sit down and think about how much I have to handicap myself so the game isn’t a cakewalk. “Just pretend the problem isn’t there” is a poor defense that could be used to excuse any flaw if taken seriously.

      The best storys … come from scraping by, winning by an inch rather than a mile, and never knowing what might happen next.

      I fully agree, but that drama only exists when protagonists are doing everything they can to survive (i.e. “finding the path of least resistance”) because the situation is genuinely tough, not because they decided to handicap themselves for increased adventure quotient.

    • Muzman says:

      The argument that “You shoulda made your own fun with Bioshock’s cornucopia of weapon combinations!”, which some reviewers made as well, is spectacularly boneheaded.
      It’s not Grand Theft Auto or Red Faction Guerrilla or something. It’s a friggin dark dystopian nightmare verging on survival horror with a complex philosophical bendt .
      The splicers are impersonal loonies. The Big Daddies are sorrowful creatures of duty who mean you no harm. There’s nothing fun to kill and violence isn’t supposed to be fun in this anyway!

      Forget the other stuff. I just hope they actually know what game they are making this time.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      I thikn all of the original’s problems were rooted in the combat. As a shooter it just wasn’t very good. respawning, repetative enemies were the order of the day. I seem to recall that you’d walk into a room and two splicers would spawn behind you and four would spawn in front of you. And it was always splicers. There was no variety at all. Compared with the rich lore of the world it was a glaring failing.

    • Bhazor says:

      No. Enemies don’t respawn behind you a la Doom 3 they appear in groups at the entry of the level and then patrolled. Did they respawn? Yes. Did they respawn in dead ends or previously searched rooms? No.
      Also repetitive enemies? A quick list of the enemies you’ll find in the first Bioshock.
      Thugs – Groups of melee based bastards
      Leadhead – Splicer (often accompanying thugs) with pistols or tommy guns
      Spider- Splicer who crawl along cielings hitting you from a distance before dropping directly on top of you.
      Houdini- Splicers who hit with fireballs from range then teleport away and appear on the other side of the room.
      Nitros- Grenade crazy basts who need to be chased down as they’ll run if you attack them
      Two kinds of turrets (three if you count the flame turret)
      Flying security bots
      Bouncer – A big daddy who throws his considerable weight around like a bus that hates you
      Rosey – A big daddy who uses a pneumatic rivet gun kill you at a huge distance and proximity mines to keep you at a distance.

      So that’s 10 widely varied enemy types each with a unique combat style and requiring different tactics to defeat. Each with a couple variations like the leadheads having either pistols or machine gun, electrically charged thugs, spiders with mind controlled security bots and houdinis who freeze you.Theres also the souped up version of both types of Daddy and each precinct of Rapture had multiple unique versions of each splicer type. Exactly how many other shooters have that level of variety? Where the most common enemy types are guy with a shotgun or a guy with a machine-gun.

    • Mr. Icarus says:

      @Gulag

      Well, everyone else might be bitching, but i totally get you here. I upgraded the bees all the way – and used them all the time – even though electro-bolt was much more effective, simply because I loved hurling a swarm of bees at my enemies and hearing them yell.

      It was a brilliant idea to include them even though they weren’t the optimal solution and the game didn’t “require the player to use them” because it brought variation and general enjoyment to my encounters. If you guys enjoy a game forcing you to always have to pick the right weapon to beat some weakness of the enemy (which happened a bit in end game) then go play Pokemon. But I don’t think Bioshock needs that kind of forced limitation to be a beautifully constructed game, with wonderfully inventive battles.

    • Fumarole says:

      I’m with you gulag. It strikes me that some people play games to best them, rather than to have fun with the tools available. One gets out of a game what one is willing to put into it.

  5. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    Elizabeth is looking more and more stylised (in my opinion). Her gigantic eyes and even bigger bosom look out of place in a game where the men are more normally proportioned. Without wanting to whine too much, why is one of the more mature (in a good way) games studios creating a woman that wouldn’t look out of place in a mid-nineties Tomb Raider game? (Yes, there’s hyperbole there, but not much).

    • woodsey says:

      Her eyes seem to have gotten smaller since the last demo. And considering she’s somewhat of a “princess at the top of the castle”, the design makes sense. I don’t think dialing it down a tad would hurt though.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      The lowest common denominator need to feel they have to save her.

      Sadly an ugly twisted thing would not fit that role, no matter how bold a decision it would be.

      Just to be clear, the original Elizabeth was not “an ugly twisted thing” but I hope you see my point.

    • dudekiller says:

      “Why is one of the more mature (in a good way) games studios creating a woman that wouldn’t look out of place in a mid-nineties Tomb Raider game?”

      It’s a good question, and (perhaps optimistically) I expect to see it answered at some point in the game. Irrational are smart – too smart by half to design a character like that with no other thought in their head but “boobies are cool”. I’m guessing there’s something else going on here.

    • Jake says:

      I don’t understand why they’ve made her look like this, but I thought Bioshock had similar problems with strangely cartoony looking NPCs that didn’t seem to fit the environments. I suppose it is to make things look uncanny but for me it is a distraction and it was the main thing that put me off Bioshock.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      She’s obviously an anime character.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Jake

      Yeah, it was almost as if they were monsters. As if they had been hacking their own bodies to pieces as they lost the last of their humanity. Which is what they were doing.

      The whole game was stylised and they fitted in perfectly. Almost. Those bloody singing fishermen were bloody annoying mind.

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      stahlwerk says:

      She’s very much an embodiment of the era’s beauty ideal, slender yet round face with high cheeks, small mouth, large eyes, “ample bosom” and thus her looks fit the narrative pretty (ha) well, IMO.

      For reference: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/beauty-and-hygiene-ads-1900s/2#adql36qg3xjd3ffi

    • Bhazor says:

      @Stahlwerk

      Agreed, just like in Bioshock the characters are probably based around contemporary caricatures.
      Tenebaum is the noir femme fatale complete with cigarette holder and hip bones you could shave with.
      Dr Stienman is the b-movie mad scientist
      Cohen was the music hall flamboyant homosexual (not sure if he was written as gay but certainly referred to as gay by other characters)
      Andrew Ryan was equal parts Senator McCarthy and Walt Disney.
      The little sisters themselves could be taken from any idealised tv family.

      Still get a smack of fan service from Elizabeth though. Still I have faith Irrational is going somewhere with it. My guess is you’ll see alternate time lines and find that in every single one shes seduced you and then stabbed you in the back at which point you’ll run away from her as the main villain.

    • Jake says:

      @Bhazor that is how I wish I could have seen them, but they looked like plastic mannequins or something. The Little Sisters especially look like Disney cartoons or puppets. I know it’s was a conscious choice to stylize the characters this way but I personally would have found it more evocative if the NPCs looked realistic, same with Elizabeth.

  6. Rii says:

    Umm, my problem with Bioshock was less that it failed to deliver on the ‘city’ part of ‘underwater city’ and more that it failed to deliver on the ‘underwater’ part. Fortunately, Bioshock 2 largely addressed the issue. As well as, y’know, all the others.

    P.S. It’s called ‘working memory’, Gerritsen.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It seems a bizzarely revisionist statement since Bioshock’s haunting sense of decaying underwater place was (I think quite reasonably) trumped up as one of its strengths.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I don’t think “working memory” is quite right. He’s talking about the amount of shit you can shove on a screen before overwhelming the viewer. There’s probably a term for it in film.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      ^^^It’s called the Lucas Threshold.

    • Gvaz says:

      Bioshock 2 fixed the combat but the story was worse.

      It doesnt matter because bioshock sucks compared to system shock 2 anyways.

  7. Kaira- says:

    Those are some staring eyes.

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    It sounds as if their key problem is that the consoles are their key market. It simply isn’t possible to create the detail they want on such old hardware.

    Come to us.

  9. Eraysor says:

    My key problem with Bioshock was the rubbish plot twist. Everything else was great.

    This game is looking amazing.

    • Optimaximal says:

      The plot twist was the best thing to happen in the game…

      What happened *after* it was terrible!

    • MuscleHorse says:

      It was predictable to say the least. The same sort of thing happened in SS2 too.

    • Thants says:

      You mean the rubbish twist that’s widely regarded as one of the best twists in gaming? That one? Christ, some people are impossible to please.

  10. John P says:

    ‘Player RAM’ has gotta be the weakest excuse I’ve ever heard. I’d love them to be honest just once and admit they want the IGN crowd to pre-order so they only showed off the guns and the tits.

  11. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I totally felt like I was in an underwater city in Bioshock. I don’t think it was a problem at all — its atmosphere was swell.

    • Rii says:

      The problem is that atmosphere is all it was. There were two moments in Bioshock in which Rapture’s nature as a decaying city at the bottom of the ocean actively impinged upon the player’s experience of the game, and both of them occurred in the demo: the bulging bulkhead and debris from the airliner impacting the tunnel.

  12. Metonymy says:

    Really? They think that’s the key problem?

    -Multiple, unecessary ammo types that add nothing to the gameplay. Total weapon types, counting plasmids and ammo, is around 40. Ie, there are about TEN TIMES as many weapon types as enemy types.
    -Somewhere between 10 and 30 times as much ammo as you need. Tragically, this doesn’t prevent tedious resource management, because the max-totals for all ammo categories are small.
    -Spiky difficulty, ranging from consecutive hours of effortless lawnmowing, then suddenly you accidentally clip a Big Daddy, or mis-space a telekinesis explosive, and die in one hit.

    And they’re saying the problem is that I wasn’t convinced I was underwater? Oh no, I was totally, and absolutely convinced that I was playing a rubbish underwater game.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      Spot on there. As I said above, it felt like they just threw a bunch of weapons at you, then only a few (dull) opponents that could be downed with just a simple wrench and said “here, have fun with these weapons, off you go”. I’m sorry, but a game is more than a sandbox of weapons and targets.

  13. Spire says:

    Bioshock’s biggest problem was that it was a terrible FPS. Great atmosphere and ideas, awful gameplay.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      Yep, stupid mana system and confusing melee hit box plus anemic weapons.

    • Thants says:

      I disagree. Bioshock, especially 2, is a very well designed shooter. Really, I don’t think there’s been a single FPS game released that didn’t have someone saying that the shooting mechanics were terrible.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    It’s odd, that despite enjoying System Shock 2 and Deus Ex and their like, Bioshock should have been right up my street, and yet it never really managed to get its hooks into me. I kept trying but gave up with it around about Neptunes Garden. I found it strangly dull and souless, and every time I put the game down there was nothing that really made me want to pick it back up again. I didn’t dislike it, it just didn’t do anything for me. All the right ingredients were there, it just seemed to be missing that x-factor that would make me want to play it.

    Oddly I can’t seem to bring myself to feel any sense of excitment when I look trailers for this new one either.

    • John P says:

      I feel the same way about it, and the reason is hard to pin down. I wonder if it’s partly because it felt like the developers were at the reins all the time. It seemed like a setting where we should have been left to our own devices a little more, but .. there just wasn’t anything to do besides follow this quest, follow that quest marker, kill the next enemy that jumps out at you, get the next quest, repeat.

      If Infinite is all about a believable city it might address this problem in part. But it might depend on how much we’re pulled by the nose through the content.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      For me, the X-factor it was missing was … a challenge. I love having different tools and being forced to use them all but still being given some room for creativity. Using grenades, explosions, stealth, etc. but needing to pick one and usually one being a little easier or more convenient than the other.

      In Bioshock, I didn’t get any of this. The scripted sequences just threw splicers at you without there being much room for strategy then and changing to the right plasmid felt too slow to make combos really fun. I just felt like they threw all the weapons and plasmids at me and said “oh, here’s some dull encounters, have fun!”. In fact, it made the same mistake that Far Cry 2 did in doing this: respawning & a lack of achievement from killing.

    • Robin says:

      The point is that Bioshock has not so much to do with SS1/2 or Deus Ex, I think it falls more in the corridor shooter genre than in the “immersive simulator” (as RPS calls them) genre.

      Except for its visual design, the game felt to me really “unaccomplished” to me. Yes there were the powers, but the shooting action was raw; the scenario “presence” (interactivity and dangerousness) was reduced to blatant set pieces; the lack of inventory screamed; and the bad arcade section “escort and defend the girl” just clashed with what I thought the setting was trying to build. Even some aspect of the setting did not convince me (the little girls thing).

      Overall I thought that the game was overrated at the time.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Bioshock is a lot more corridor, yes. Both SysShocks, and DE within level scope to some degree, were environments; the SysShocks in particular really did work hard on being space vessels. You can cynically call it an excuse for backtracking and asset re-use, but the need to work back and forth within this area is very different from Bioshock’s procession and very deliberate prevention of backtracking through either scripted events (e.g. falling unconcious and waking up somewhere else) or simply collapsing paths.

      I did—as my first and only playthrough—a no-deaths approach; same as the SysShocks in fact, although they required you to actually activate their resurrection machines, and SysShock2 charged a token fee for their use. It still doesn’t really add that much challenge, and the weapons kind of feel underused when the toughest enemies tend to be “splicers, but more of them”. But, that said, getting a half-decent rank in Standard Weapons and the right ammo for you assault rifle in SysShock 2 will also see you taking down a hulking rambler in about three rapid-fire shots. It’s nice to feel powerful, but the game soars higher in the early stages where you’re frantically unloading single shells from the wreck shotguns dropped by mutants to feed ammo into your own last working one and hoping that cluster of Many you hear around the corner won’t interrupt you.

    • metalangel says:

      The only part of System Shock 2 that felt like a spaceship was the cargo deck, because it followed the layout and shape of the ship. Every other deck was a maze of randomly arranged hallways zigzagging all over the place, precisely what you DON’T do when you’re trying to maximise the efficiency and use of the limited space on a vessel like that.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s cyberpunk, not NASApunk. It had artificial gravity and a “down is perpenticular to thrust” design too.

    • WJonathan says:

      I agree, too. Bioshock intrigued me with its art and sound design, but nearly every aspect of the gameplay was a letdown. The shooting was clumsy and mismatched to the small, cluttered corridors. Enemies were redundant and uninspired. The attempts at shocking me (Blood Spatters! Human Cruelty!) just underscored the lack of creative inspiration. The few fun bits were just watered down mechanics from older Looking Glass/Ion Storm games. Worst of all, what appeared to be a very philosophical conflict at the beginning was slowly revealed as a tacked-on facade to give the game an illusion of depth. You could have placed any number of backstories into those tape recorders and it wouldn’t have had any more or less effect on the gameplay.

  15. Coins says:

    This was my biggest flaw with both Rapture-set games. You couldn’t talk to anybody. It was just all killing with much too few (not hostile) NPC’s. I’m looking forward to this a great deal.

    • Giaddon says:

      Wait wait wait: is there any sign you can talk to people, though? I will be very surprised (happy surprised) if there are any sort of conversations or gameplay based on NOT shooting guys in the face — but there’s no evidence that exists (watching some dudes picnic on another floating building while you are blowing away dudes on THIS floating building doesn’t count).

  16. noobnob says:

    I did not play the Bioshock games (did watch a bunch of gameplay videos though). Even so, I can’t help but be bothered that by populating the “sky-rapture” city of Columbia, they’re going for a completely different direction of the desolated, atmospheric, terror and mutant-ridden settings inspired by the System Shock games.

    It’s not a spiritual sequel anymore at this point, I guess.

  17. misterk says:

    Being a bit meta for a second, this is a funny kind of article, as it effectively repeats precisely what the interview says, but in a more condensed form. I can see the point of it, to hook readers in, but it feels like something new for rps (not that thats a bad thing)

    I’d be very happy to actually chat to the inhabitants. I actually felt quite annoyed that I kept getting interrupted by splicers while I was looking around Rapture.

  18. Alistair says:

    Why are there two posts of the same interview chaps?

    • Premium User Badge

      Gnarl says:

      Indeed, if people couldn’t be bothered to even scan the interview, I doubt they care. Making this a tad redundant.

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    Jackablade says:

    So the greatest problem wasn’t the tying of a smart, intriguing setting to fundamentally dumb gameplay? Good gameplay, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but feel that they could have made a far more compelling game if there’d be less emphasis on combat and more on exploring the world and meeting its denizens without immediately clubbing them with a pipe wrench.

    A Bioshock RPG would, I think, be something to behold, if only because no body does adventure games any more.

  20. squareking says:

    Looks like they’re fixing it with boobs.

  21. hosndosn says:

    >“we failed in giving you a sense of that city underwater.”

    Really? That was the “key problem”? lol.

    The only complaints I ever heard about Bioshock were that a) it was a spiritual successor to an RPG and turned into a pure FPS and b) the ending sucked.

    Never have I heard that someone didn’t feel like exploring a city underwater.

  22. hello_mr.Trout says:

    hi everyone (1st post) – re: bioshock 1; i always thought that the ‘shooter’ elements of the game felt kinda out of place – it was supposed to be this amazing art-deco underground city that was slowly crumbling physically/socially but it always felt really static to me – all this great atmosphere, and the crazy ryan guy, jazz music etc. & then it was a bit point click kill next enemy – i think they would be great at doing just an adventure no weapons walking around exploring game? maybe that would have less appeal than guns gore and tits tho…

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    shoptroll says:

    Article lacks “staring eyes” and “heaving bosoms” tag ;)

  24. Yosharian says:

    TITS

  25. Urthman says:

    err, maybe this comment belongs here instead:

    if you want to stand in the street, lovingly looking, so that Elizabeth says “time’s a ticking, let’s get going”; you can do that.

    Didn’t anyone pay attention when Valve’s extensive research showed that players almost universally hate characters who nag the players like this. Is it too late for Irrational to fix this?

  26. Pointless Puppies says:

    Yeah, I’ll have to agree with my fellow RPSers in that the lest of BioShock’s problems was the sense of immersion in an underwater city. Clunky, detached combat (all the weapons felt hollow, and the recoil on the machine gun is the most laughable thing in the entire game), a completely shit ending, a poor and unnecessary implementation of a “morality” system, a terrible final boss (hell, let’s just call the last hour of the game terrible. It’ll make my complaint list much shorter), bad concept of difficulty (the game was far too easy on normal and all but unplayable in “hard”), and the terrible decision of making in-game deaths meaningless.

    Not to mention that horrible physics system that locks all physics-enabled objects at 30 FPS while the rest of the game runs in 60 (for the PC version at least). That, and coupled with the fact that the physics were far too jittery and floaty made for an incredibly weird experience.

  27. alsoran says:

    I would have liked to have participated in the ending of the story instead of being the audience. Put me off the second one and may well put me off the next one. Gorgeous graphics tho’ and a few heart stopping moments. Ever so console-ly Ho hum

  28. eclipse mattaru says:

    Oh dear God, it’s master of sounds Tim Gerritsen! Hey, Tim, would you consider BioShock: Infinite to be a thinking person’s action adventure or what?

    • Urthman says:

      I love you so much for noticing that, eclipse mattaru.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      Hey Urthman, how’s that going?

      We really should get that Old Man Murray postmortem fanclub going :D

    • Urthman says:

      I try to console myself by reading the TF2 blog, but it needs more love notes to John Romero.

  29. Burning Man says:

    Why is an excerpt of an interview, done on this site, published as a separate article?

  30. bill says:

    Er… Bioshock gave you an awesome sense of place and of a city underwater.

    Whatever the criticisms were of bioshock, i don’t think that was one of them. Mine would be:
    1 – Too many plasmids tools and upgrades and not enough enemies or needs to use them.
    2 – After meeting ryan it didn’t open up into a free-roaming structure.
    3 – After meeting ryan you didn’t lose the ability to use the vitachambers
    4 – Pipe game was great at the beginning but got repetitive.
    6 – Boring and out of place boss fight ending.

    But none of that stopped it being a great game – because it had a great sense of place.

  31. bill says:

    I liked the minigames… they added variation. AT THE BEGINNING. The problem was that there was ONE minigame. They needed much more variation. 4 or 5 different minigames which involved different mechanics and styles.