Posts Tagged ‘Irrational’

Card Hunter: Irrational Co-Founder Goes Solo

The danger of a phrase like ‘Irrational Co-Founder’ is a bunch of people will probably presume you’re talking about Ken Levine. So let’s get that clear up-front: this is not a post about Ken Levine. This is a post about another founder member of System Shock 2/BioShock developers Irrational. Jon Chey has been with the studio since the very start, and prior to that did a stint at god-factory Looking Glass – so he’s someone you should take an interest in. Lately, he’s been heading up the former Aussie wing of Irrational, rebranded as 2K Australia and which did a bunch of the work on BioShock 2 and the upcoming XCOM (I know, I know) – but now he’s going it alone as an indie dev named Blu Manchu. The first project puts board games, card games, browser games, RPGs and strategy games into a blender, so he’s not exactly starting off small.
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How Infinite Fixes BioShock’s Key Problem

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.”
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Freedom On Rails: Bioshock Infinite Interview


Agent Dan stalked the halls of E3 until he caught up with Timothy Gerritsen, Director of Development at Irrational Games and Executive Producer on Bioshock Infinite. They then talked Heisenberg, Bader-Meinhoff, pulp fiction, psychoses… and sometimes even Bioshock.
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Who’s Fighting Who (& When) In Bioshock 3

She'll send your horse to another dimension

Well, obviously pretty much everyone’s fighting you – it is a first-person shooter, after all. But there’s also inter-factional conflict in 2012’s Skyoshock, as one Mr K. Levine reveals below. What on earth could make the denizens of a rebel, militaristic, ultranationalist city in the sky turn against each other? Oh, riiiiiight. Also: time travel.
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Look, Sky-walker: BioShock Infinite In Motion

You look a lot less little, sister

Only a shortie for Ken & chums’ latest, but it’s pretty confident proof that we’re not in Rapture anymore, Andrew. Rocket-spewing zeppelins, anti-gravity powers, gruesome splatting via sky-crates and, at the end, a hint of how large the environments may be. Also, it really plays up the fact that this is a buddy game – but not exactly a buddy comedy. Read the rest of this entry »

Sky Walker: Be In BioShock Infinite

If your name is Saltonstall, you probably shouldn't bother entering

I’m changing my name to Brian Nothing. This, I feel, is my best hope of being selected to be the gamer whose name is given to a character or location in Bioshock Infinite. Think about it: a sort of home-spun domesticity, coupled with a statement of nihilism. It’s perfect for a game about a conflict-torn community in the sky. Maybe, though, I shouldn’t have changed my name to Alec Meer from Alec Zeppelin-Lord al those years ago. Honestly, I kind of regret that now.
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Lost & Found: The Lost Artwork

No legs, shame about the face.

While it was never going to be a PC game, there’s historical interest in Irrational’s first attempt to make a game before the console. The Lost was a third-person horror game for the PS2 which was trying to put in a mass of the sort of System-Shock-2 RPG-elements into a Dante-esque world. Irrational have been rooting through their files generally, and released some of the concept art and design notes, which are fine to stare at/read. As picked out by Chris Remo, I especially like the contrast between really specific guidelines (like the door hole being precisely 216 x 128 units) to the gloriously foggy (I quote: “Any other cool shit you can dream up”).

Finite: Incy-Bit Of Bioshock Infinite Gameplay

Just a quickie here. The full Bioshock Infinite gameplay footage video which I saw in August on the game’s unveiling is going live on 21st. However, they gave Gametrailer TV a few short snippets in their latest show. So you can watch that, or just go to the cut-for-youtube snippet Phill found below…
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Only Anarchists Are Pretty: BS Infinite “Stuff”

Loose Anarchists are the best kind.

Following on from their splendid covers, Game Informer have put a selection of information from their Bioshock Infinite coverage online. Everyone’s picking over the full set of propaganda posters and nosing at the screens, but the real interesting new information is actually about the factions who are tearing Columbia apart. The nationalistic, conservative Powers That Be versus the Vox Populi anarchist front, who apparently draw from 1970s German terrorists like the Red Army Faction (i.e. Baader Meinhof).

So – Bioshock Infinite features the Powers That Be. And what do you have to do to the powers that be, Chuck?
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Bioshock Infinite Game Informer Covers

Game Informer are actually having a worryingly impressive run of covers. Following the stark Batman: Arkham City ones last month, this time they’ve got three fantastic period-styled Bioshock Infinite ones – two above, and one highlighting the be-hatted “Handyman”. Go over to Joystiq to have a nose at both the final versions and various work-in-progresses.

A Couple More BioShock Infinite Screens

More! We need more!

A couple of new BioShock Infinite screenshots have appeared out of GamesCom. There’s not much more to say than that, but you can see them below, and continue wondering what on Earth the game is going to be like. You can read our coverage of the game so far by clicking here.

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Shock! Irrational’s New Game Looms Close

That’s the studio formerly known as 2K Boston formerly known as Irrational to you. As in Ken Levine’s original-name-reclaiming bunch: the developers who made System Shock 2, SWAT 4, Tribes Vengeance, Freedom Force – and, of course, Bioshock the first.

And there’s that Pandora’s box opened. The important news, though, is that Irrational are finally taking the lid of whatever their new project is next week. Several years in the making, massively mysterious: whatever it is, whatever it’s like, it’s bound to be a big old chat-magnet.
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Hard To Explain: Bioshock Pitch Document

Irrational’s blog takes great joys in pulling out various bits and bobs from the cupboards and doing a show-and-tell. Latest is the original early-00s Bioshock Pitch. They’re serializing it across several entries but you can follow the first eight pages here. And it’s nifty stuff, in noting what remained (a lot, conceptually) and what changed (almost everything, in terms of specific execution). This stuff is always fascinating. And while we’re on the topic, you’ve read Planescape’s Vision Statement, yes? More developers should totally release this stuff. It’s absolute treasure.

ir/rational: Are You Human?

Alternate post title: Conumdra. For this is a short semi-text adventure from Tom Jubert, who’s best known for writing the Penumbra series of heavily bephysicsed action-puzzlers. Apparently ir/rational began life as minigame for inclusion in one of the Penumbras, but now find itself standalone.

It is a free videogame.
Therefore you will play it.
It tests your logic and deductive reasoning.
Therefore you may be too lazy to play it.

But you should.
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Irrational Exuberance: Replaying SWAT 4


A couple of weekends ago Alec and I got together with some journalist chums and dragged computers and a folding table into our friend’s lounge. It was the JournoLAN: a tea-and-biscuits PC hookup in an editor’s comfortable home. In there we mucked about installing patches and discussed the error messages being displayed by a desyncing instance of Supreme Commander. We also played SWAT4. It was incredible.

I’d previously enjoyed SWAT4 when I played it at review, but the attention paid to the multiplayer section was reduced to a couple of distracted lunchtimes in a noisy magazine office. To my disappointment, we never really got to grips with it. This time, however, we were determined to get stuck in, and the co-op takedowns were absolutely riveting.
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Making of: System Shock 2

Yeah, see what we did here.
[Since it’s Space Week, it’s a good time to pull my Edge-commissioned Making Of System Shock 2 feature out of Stasis. The material for this was drawn from the lengthy conversation I had with Ken Levine last year. So, yes, before Bioshock. I’m quite fond of this piece, if only as it reveals the secret origin of the Psychic Monkeys…]

The lights are low. Everyone’s panickedly fighting against a seemingly impossible, oppressive deadline. At every turn there’s a crippling lack of resources. Viewed by any objective criteria, the small inexperienced team doesn’t have the skills to achieve their aims. They’re all crammed into a single room – in fact, half of one, since it’s one room bisected with screens. When you look at where and how Irrational worked on their first game, it’s easy to think of the claustrophobic horror of RPG/Shooter System Shock 2 as a pure product of its environment.
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X-Complimentary

The latest Australian soap opera

Ask me what my favourite game of all time is, and I’ll probably say Planescape if I want to seem arch, TF2 if I want to seem contemporary, Peggle if I want to seem kooky, maybe Dungeon Keeper or AvP if I want to succumb to nostalgia. If I’m feeling balanced and honest though, there’s a very strong chance I’d say UFO: Enemy Unknown, the first X-COM game.

It’s a game that’s been endlessly… let’s be generous and say ‘homaged’, both commercially and by dedicated fans. Nothing quite seems to recapture it, sadly – either it’s too different, or too similar, or, most often, it pulls off the underlying structure but doesn’t bother with the gentle surface charm and humour of the old DOS dear. UFO: Alien Invasion, though, is one of the more impassioned and direct clones – a community effort that’s entirely free, and built upon the Quake II engine. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Of: Freedom Force

MAN BOT!

[Considering Mr Levine’s turned up in the rumour mill today, I thought turning an eye back at one of Irrational’s other games would be a worthy endeavour. This interview with Ken was done in the run up to the second Freedom Force game.]

“We had a lot of internal arguments at the time. Some people wanted it more dark and gritty, and others preferred it in a lighter style,” recalls Irrational head-honcho Ken Levine, “I remember waking up in the middle of the night, before we shipped and going “What did I do? Why did I go and make it so it was retro? What was I thinking?””. Read the rest of this entry »

Change your Irrationality

Shock 2 veterans of the world unite! They can take our lean function! They can take our ability to walk! They can take our skill system which means that a highly trained solider can’t work out how to pull a trigger on a grenade launcher for most of the game, guns which break down within seconds of acquiring them and a basically linear final third ending in a single risible cheap-gag cut-scene undercutting the whole thing!

But they can’t take our Irrational Logo. ANYMORE.

Sniff.

Strangebedfellows.de have posted a tiny mod which replaces the logo at the start of Bioshock with Irrational’s old one. As they put it…

“We acknowledge that their new publisher 2K has played a big part in making Bioshock come true. But many of us were truly disappointed that they renamed Irrational Games just days before the release of Bioshock, deleting a valuable corporate and personal identity. In other words, this is a protest.”

Shodan would be proud. Well, she wouldn’t be, she’s never proud of a p-p-p-athetic hacker, but that’s hardly the point.