Ken Levine has packed so much interaction between BioShock infinite’s characters that just one level in the new game contains more than three times the writing to be found the whole first game.
Don’t worry though – all that exposition isn’t going to get in the way of the gameplay.
"When I first came up with these characters; Booker and Elizabeth talking to each other and interacting with their world, I didn’t consider how much writing that was going to be," Levine admitted to Eurogamer. "Just one level of BioShock Infinite writing and the amount of character interaction we have is probably three or four times as much writing as in all of BioShock 1.
"I’m doing the vast bulk of it and it really is… it can get overwhelming," he added. "But on the other hand it’s a world that I absolutely love to write. Mostly because it’s a new challenge. Thinking how these scenes are going to play out, how we keep them interactive and how you communicate the ideas."
Levine’s always been quite vocal about story never getting in the way of gameplay – so you don;t have to worry about BioShock turning in to Metal Gear Solid.
"It would be so much easier just to write tonnes of cut scenes – I could tell the story much more easily. But my gut feeling, which probably comes from being forever changed by playing System Shock 1, is to keep the experience going.
"That makes it more challenging, as you keep on ramping up the audience’s expectations of the kind of stories you’re going to tell. So you come up with certain rules, like, if there’s ever a moment where the player is locked to the ground, there must be some context. We don’t just lock a player’s feet to the ground. There has to be a reason why they can’t move – they’re using a machine or something.
"You fight against the suspension of disbelief as soon as you lock a player in place or start moving him along without the player controlling it," he continued.
"But it’s challenging because these two elements often struggle with each other. And in that struggle you often say either I need to take a lot of control away from the player, or I need to simplify things. And generally anything encouraging you to simplify things is a good impulse. If a scene isn’t working it’s generally because you’ve made it too complex."
BioShock Infinite is headed to the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Vita in October – and probably won’t have a crap ending.
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I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend