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Posts tagged “Ken Levine”

Feature: Canonically Jewish

B.J. Blazkowicz and the need for more diverse Jewish characters

For a series built around the deconstruction of Aryan bodies, it’s taken a long time for players to take the hint that Wolfenstein’s ubermensch William Blazkowicz is Jewish. That hesitation betrays our definitions of Jewish identity as old-fashioned, and also reflects that the few prominent Jewish characters in games play into and reinforce stereotypes. While Blazkowicz is the most high profile character to break the…

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Ken Levineless Bioshock in development at secret 2K studio

After Irrational Games was dismantled in 2014, the future of the Bioshock IP was left twisting in the wind. It certainly wasn't going to fall on former studio head Ken Levine, as he departed to run a smaller studio called Ghost Story Games which would have nothing near the production scale required to take on a new time-period magic-potion exercise in the violence of political…

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Ken Levine heads up Ghost Story Games

Given Alice is not interested in any ghost stories which aren't terrifying movies she can freak herself out with while alone in the house, it falls to me to tell you about Ken Levine and other senior Irrational folk's new studio, Ghost Story Games [official site]. I'm not sure whether to call it a new studio or a rebrand, actually, as the site seems to…

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Feature: Biff! Pow!

Doing Comics Justice: Freedom Force Vs The Third Reich

Superheroes are, my dear mole cave people recently thawed following a decades-long slumber, very much in vogue right now. Films about whiny teenagers with the least interesting powers of an arachnid are ten a penny, but video games of this kind have been oddly lacking. The superhero games we do have - for example, the Arkham series - are mainly about specific superheroes, not about…

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Looking Glass / Irrational Does System Shock 2 Live

Even a few years ago, the idea of getting to watch assorted Looking Glass and Irrational alumni play and talk through revered sci-fi immersive sim System Shock 2 sounded like an absurd fantasy. Twitch and Twitter, whatever else they might be throwing at the world, have broken down so many barriers. For instance: two of hours of System Shock 2, with live commentary provided by…

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Shock: Levine’s New Game Is Open Worldish Sci-Fiish RPG

Sometime BioShock boss Ken Levine has opened the first tears to his new development dimension. He effectively closed his long-time studio Irrational last year in favour of working on smaller-scale projects, but still within the protective fortress of 2K. At the time he talked about making narrative-led games with more replayability, and while last night's sudden flurry of updates is nothing like a reveal, he…

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Feature: The Irrational Need For Closure

Bioshock Through The Looking Glass

The contemporary big-budget FPS has a few different strains: blood-n-guts military settings a la Call of Duty, open-world environments like Far Cry, and high-concept dystopias. Outside of open-world most of these styles were first codified in the 1990s, and FPS games then and now share an enormous amount: primarily a core mechanic of shooting many hundreds of enemies in the face over and over again,…

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Ken Levine “Winding Down Irrational Games”, Lays Off Staff

In a post on the Irrational Games website titled "A Message From Ken Levine", the BioShock creator announced that he's "winding down" Irrational Games. What does that mean? All but a core team of fifteen developers are being laid off, so that the remaining few can focus on new ideas, "a long period of design", and the idea of "replayable narrative". This is a surprise.

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Feature: The Unreliable Narrator

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.…

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Feature: And Relax

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…

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Feature: BioShock: Infinite, changing dresses, awkwardness and Jaws

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…

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28 Days Later: BioShock Infinite Delayed

There's a lot you can do in a month. You can write a novel, you can fill in one 12th of your calendar, you can take ride around the Earth once while on the moon. It depends on the month, though. For example, from February 25th to March 25th 2013 you'll be unable to play BioShock Infinite. It was due out on the 26th of…

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No BioShock Infinite This Year, Not For You

Let's do this, okay: When a new game first announces a release date, let's just go ahead and ignore it. Wasn't it Einstein who said the very definition of insanity was filling a balloon with kittens and then severing off your own leg? So it is that BioShock: Infinite has declared it won't be with us this year at all. They're now looking at February…

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Feature: "Maybe I have a weird fetish for tennis I never thought about…"

Levine On… Bias, Trust, SWAT & Tennis

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…

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Feature: Why BioShock: Infinite is for you

You’re Going To Suffer: Levine On 1999 Mode

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…

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Hardcore: BioShock Infinite Has ‘1999 Mode’

Irrational Games have just announced a new play mode that will be appearing in BioShock Infinite. Called 1999 Mode, it's aimed at appealing to those who think games have become too easy. Ken Levine explains, "We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots," adding that 1999 Mode means that you'll face more permanent consequences from…

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Rational Discourse: Levine And Del Toro

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…

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World In Progress: Bioshock Infinite

When a Bioshock Infinite video arrives in my lap, which is how I demand delivery of all gaming news, I do not expect it to feature actual human beings speaking at me. Ziplines and plummeting are gravely missing from this video. Although it does contain game footage, it's mainly Ken Levine talking about the world he's creating, which he sees as but one of the…

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