Posts Tagged ‘Irrational’

I Ain’t Afraid Of No God: BioShock Infinite’s Liz Unbound

Grr!

As we all know full well and is entirely obvious, BioShock: Elizabeth is a straightforward damsel in distress with a pretty face and a nice dress, and there’s nothing more to her than that. There definitely isn’t anything surprising or sinister about her: she will be rescued by the big man with the big gun, the mean nasty boss will fall to his doom and everyone will live happily ever after.

Or maybe there’s some massive twist at the heart of the game and she’s not what she seems to be at all? Nah.
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Warble Face: Bioshock Infinite’s Songbird

The investigative documentary style of Bioshock: Infinite’s Modern Day Icarus videos tickles my pleasure-nodes. The earlier reveals of the clockwork catastrophes and mechanical malignancies that roam Columbia are failures of imagination in contrast, and anyone fortunate enough to have instigated some form of media blackout regarding the game last year would be well-advised to continue that policy, with a glimmering exception for these informative and menacing reels. The first covers the vanishing of the city and the second, below, contains dark children’s rhymes and the sinister Songbird.

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Bioshock’s Ken Levine Talks Stories, Systems & Science


As if we hadn’t already heard enough from the man who steers the Irrational Zeppelin through developmental waters, Jim also had a long chat with Ken Levine, the creator of Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. Read on for thoughts that span the sadness of cholera, the mystery of condiments, the joy of turn-based historical war, and some stuff about a game set in a flying city.

I’ve marked out some mild spoilers towards the end of the piece. These are non-specific discussions of the plot themes, but you can decide whether to skip.
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Patriotic: Bioshock Infinite’s City In The Sky (Trailer)


Trailers are like dreams. You can’t really touch them or play with them in a way that is actually of any use, but they happen anyway, and when they’re over you’re left with a lingering feeling that they were trying to tell you something. I don’t know why I dreamed about eating marshmallows that morning when my pillows had disappeared, but I do know that Irrational want us to take note of what they’re trying to build with their setting for Bioshock Infinite: Columbia, a miraculous flying city at the turn of the 19th century. Here be philosophy and politics, there mechanical monsters and stuff on fire. There’s really no precarious uncertainty here, what they are trying to tell is that the expectations for this game should be sky high, and when giant metal ravens come for you, it’s time to find ammunition for the rocket launcher. Facts, you see, are super-true.

Bioshock Infinite will fall to Earth on March 26th.
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Today’s Best Video: Bioshock – Infinite’s Documentary

I’ve seen enough of Bioshock: Infinite for now. The next time I see Columbia, I want to be playing the game rather than watching somebody else falling out of the sky or presenting fast-cuts of footage. The latest video doesn’t show the game at all and, remarkably, that isn’t a problem. Presented as a fragment of documentary footage, a teaser for a fictional element of Infinite’s universe as well as for Infinite itself, the Truth From Legend video is as effective a piece of marketing as I’ve seen for a good while. Creepy, convincingly dated and mysterious, it’s an invitation to another world. More of this and less of that and that please, thank you.

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Ken Levine: The Conversation, Part Two

“This is like your nightmare interview here, huh?”

Nah. This might not be going too well, but I’ve had worse. Much worse. (The most terrible was probably with an executive at one of the industry’s biggest PC game developers a couple of years back, where I had the distinct impression I was interviewing a robot who’d much rather murder me than talk to me).

This half hour with the lead designer of BioShock: Infinite would definitely win a place in my Top 40 Botched Interviews, but it’s not up there in shotgun-to-the-head territory yet. The mutual acknowledgement that it’s been a misfire does wonders too. Eventually.
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Ken Levine: The Conversation, Part One

Some interviews with prominent figures, as in Polygon’s widely-circulated one with BioShock: Infinite lead designer Ken Levine, are held on top of skyscraping Californian hotels. While it’s not something I’ve experienced myself, I can entirely appreciate why this often leads their eventual write-ups to be somewhat defined by awe, be it overt or subtle: a famous figure is encountered in a dramatic setting, the trappings of aspirational luxury around them. Thus, they are inevitably presupposed to be superhumans of a sort, with achievements and a lifestyle far beyond those of mere mortals such as the humble interviewer. This is the tale. Notoriously, this week also saw the outermost extreme of this, in Esquire’s absurd interview with/clearly lovelorn ode to the attractive but otherwise apparently unexceptional actor Megan Fox.

I can’t ever imagine going as far as Esquire, and I’d hope someone would throw me into the nearest sea if I did, but I do understand why it can happen. The scene is set in such a way that the interviewer is encountering, if not a god, then at least royalty. Even on a more moderate level, I have never conducted an interview in a Californian luxury hotel’s roofgarden, and my own interview with Ken Levine last month was no different, but I am nonetheless left thinking about the narrative created in that half hour. What tale could I now tell from just a talk with a guy in a room? Initially, I thought it impossible, or at least redundant, to spin a story out of a short, slightly awkward conversation in a dark little room somewhere in London: this is why Q&As are the standard interview format here. Let’s try, though. I want to tell you about what happened in that interview, and how it felt to me, as well as sharing Ken Levine’s comments about BioShock: Infinite’s characters, pacing and mysteries with you.
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4 Hours With BioShock Infinite, Part 2: War In Heaven

I’ve talked a lot about the setting of BioShock: Infinite, but let’s not lose sight of what the game really exists for. To (Booker De)whit, shooting people in the face and magicking them to death. (Actually I’m also going to talk a whole lot more about the setting too, because I can).

The combat aspect of the game is broadly in keeping with BioShocks 1 and 2, though amped up noticeably, while the environments feel significantly more open and the bulk of your enemies are straight-up police and soldiers rather than the creepy, scuttling Splicers. It does perhaps feel a less distinct combat experience than its predecessors despite the dramatic, often open-air backdrops, which is partly because shooting soldiers is such a familiar 21st century videogaming experience and partly because the weapons available in those fourish hours I had generally cleaved a little closer to a traditional videogame arsenal, even though they were in theory from an alt-universe 1912.
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The First Five Minutes Of BioShock Infinite, If You Want

Do you want to see the first five minutes of BioShock: Infinite? I don’t. I want to play them at the time! However, should you be of a more curious mind, or simply incapable of waiting now you know it exists, desperately trying to, but horribly aware that like the beginnings of a sneeze it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to press play eventually, you can watch them in the video below.

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4 Hours With BioShock Infinite, Part 1: Columbia

Earlier this week, I played around four hours of BioShock: Infinite, which is due for release next March. While this was at a publisher-held event (disclaimer – I ate some free salt and vinegar flavoured Hula Hoops and a small bowl of Moroccan tagine. Alas, I hate aubergine) and I was part of a gaggle of journalists, I was not guided or observed during my playthrough, so I approached it at my own leisure and pack-rat pace.

It has given me much to think upon, a few examples of which I shall share with you below. I will avoid all spoilers as regards to the events of the plot, but please be advised that I do talk in detail about the setting, its population and its backstory as presented by these initial hours of the game.
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To 3 Mins 29 Secs And Beyond: Bioshock: Infinite In Action

No I'm not going to say anything about the professional cosplayer either
We’ve seen sad news that the next Bioshock will NO LONGER BE RELEASED ON MY BIRTHDAY GODDAMNIT WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WORLD AM I BEING PUNISHED FOR SOMETHING I AM NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE ANYTHING NICE IT’S SO UNFAIR I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU and we’ve seen Uncle Ken chatting about the game, but what we haven’t seen for a while is a big chunk of in-Infinite footage. I’m off to play the game tomorrow and will report back with findings shortly thereafter, but in the meantime the noisy death of popular culture that was the VGAs brought some new stuff for us all to look at with our human eyeballs.

The VGAs being the VGAs, it’s primarily shooting-men-in-the-face centric, but it does afford a good look at enemies, weapons and powers, as well as just what Elizabeth gets up to while the player’s busy attacking people will bullets, rockets and crows.
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Cognition: Bioshock Infinite’s Industrial Revolution

The Dishonored pre-order ‘incentives’ incited my blood to boil by appearing to chop parts of the game off and deliver them piecemeal, but when I played the game I was so content that my blood remained at a comfortable, non-volatile temperature throughout. I don’t think any of the preposterous packages can have done very much at all. Bioshock: Infinite is now offering a means to earn in-game rewards before its February release and I expect and hope that they will turn out to be similarly unnecessary. While it’s essential to pre-order to begin the process of unlocking bonuses for a game that isn’t out for almost half a year, there is a nifty puzzle game tied to the promotion. Industrial Revolution is available now to anyone with a pre-order.

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Bioshock Infinite And The Beast of America


Bioshock Infinite has seen a few high-profile members of the team leave of late, but that doesn’t seem to have caused it to waver from its February 26th release date. The latest trailer shows off happenings of light and fury, with lots of combat. The skyline, Elizabeth, and the Handyman baddy feature heavily. If the original Bioshock was a colourful and visually offbeat shooter, then we’ll need to dust off rarely used 19th-century adjectives for this one. Go take a look.
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Logic Problems? Logic Solutions: ir/iational

It tastes like oxygen?

A good understanding of the logic of logic seems like something that should be taught in schools. Along with tax returns, how to fight a bear, and English punctuation. As discovered by Eurogamer’s Ellie Gibson this week, ir/rational is a game that broaches the thought through topic of logic in a – strange way.

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Techno-Logic: ir/rational Redux

From the writer of Penumbra

A man is trapped in a room with a machine playing a browser game about a man trapped in a room with a machine. The first man, the one who actually exists, then notices that another man wrote about the same game, ir/rational, nearly three years ago. He continues to write about it anyway because it contains nifty logic puzzles, darkly amusing writing from Penumbra scribe Tom Jubert and has been reduxed so hard it looks and sounds brand new. Go try it.

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BioShock Infinite Out Oct 16th US, 19th Internationally

October 19th! October 19th! October 19th!
In the RPS “When is BioShock Infinite Out?” sweepstakes, Jim Chose Oct 17th, John Oct 18th, Alec Oct 20th, Adam Oct 21st, and I swung in with September 19th 7019. It turns out none of us have particularly well-defined psychic powers, and I was WAY off: mark October 19th down on your calendar as “National BioShock Infinite release day”. That sweet trailer from December is below, to soothe your beating hearts.
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Levine On… Bias, Trust, SWAT & Tennis

Elizabeth is very sad because she won't get to play any tennis today

Yesterday, we brought you Ken Levine’s explanation of BioShock: Infinite’s 1999 mode. The response was, perhaps inevitably, divided. Here’s the second part of my chat with him, in which he anticipates that, as well as addressing the fact he can only offer a biased opinion of his game, the problem with out of context headlines, tennis in BioShock, why SWAT 4 would have been a very different game under his stewardship and, yes, why “if you’re a reader on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, you are sophisticated enough to not listen to what Ken Levine says.”

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You’re Going To Suffer: Levine On 1999 Mode

Not Ken Levine. At least, I don't believe so. Haven't seen him in person since Freedom Force days.

Late last week, Irrational announced 1999 mode for BioShock: Infinite – an attempt to recapture the sense of binding decisions, permanent consequences and hard-as-nails challenge that we perhaps associate with a lost era of gaming. In this first of a two-part interview, I nattered to avuncular Irrational bossman Ken Levine about why they came up with 1999 Mode, what it entails, why it’s a very different prospect to simply a ‘hard’ difficulty setting, why he doesn’t want non-hardcore gamers playing that mode, and whether or not it’s a reaction to disappointment about BioShock from System Shock fans.
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BioShock: Infinite – I Find It Kind Of Sad

Press X to end starvation

Straight from the Gears of War / Mad World school of ironic juxtaposition-based maudlin marketing, this new vidotrail for BioShock: Infinite features EXPLOSIVE ACTION set against someone singing unhappily. It’s quite affecting, I’ll give it that, but I think we’ll need someone to do the excruciatingly dedicated frame-by-frame analysis thing to identify exactly what new stuff we’re seeing.
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Rational Discourse: Levine And Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro: "videogames are the bridge to the future of genre narrative"

Do you enjoy conversation between passionate individuals? If so, the recent Irrational Interview featuring Ken Levine and Guillermo Del Toro is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour of your day. The Mexican author/director is working on a horror game and the first part of this audio was posted on Halloween so I expected a focus on spooky happenings but the conversation is much more wide-ranging. There is some discussion of monsters but mostly it’s two men discussing the joy of the creative process, as well as the frustrations that can arise in the film and game industries.

Del Toro is frank as ever, at one point describing working on projects with no personal interest as like trying to “fuck without a boner”. He does swear a lot. Ken slowly warms to the idea of this navvy-like behavior and by the end they’re both at it. Two parts. Downloads here and here.

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