Bioshock Infinite has been through the ringer as of late, with several delays and some small controversy, but at the end of the day, it certainly does look a premium R600 game. It’s a single-player affair though, and after all the extra time spent on it, you’d expect a game loaded with content. And you’d be right, because right now, there’s around two entire games worth of content there…that has been cut.
Speaking to AusGamers, creative director Ken Levine cleared the air first about the new delay, which sets the game back a month, from a February release to March now, saying that it was unfortunately necessary.
“At the end of the day, it has to be great. So if it’s another 30 days, it’s another 30 days” Levine said.
I think the fans, at the end of the day, they want to play a game that is what the designers intended, and the developers intended. And the people who really sort of pay the price for it are the developers, because they have to keep working that much harder. But I think that we’re a team that’s happy to do that, because we’re so passionate about the game.
We have this sort of motto that — and Rod [Fergusson] (formerly Epic Games) sort of mentioned this when he came on — you just need to leave it all on the field. Especially if you’re a first-time game developer, and you look back at a game, you always think about the things you could have done in it.
But as for the rest of the development, Levine says that production began to drift a little too close to the original Bioshock, especially with the design of Songbird, the captor of Elizabeth that Booker is sent to liberate from the floating city of Columbia;
Songbird looked much like a Big Daddy, specifically very much like a Big Daddy, with wings, and we realised we were staying in our comfort zone.
So as we evolved it, it’s sort of a little bit of this [makes a layer-by-layer hand gesture], where we do a little bit of work on the world, and that gives the storytellers ideas, then those story ideas give the world-builders ideas, and you go back and forth, and frankly, there were ideas that didn’t work a lot of times; so back to the drawing board.
I can’t tell you how much of this game… we probably cut two games worth of stuff out of the game, and I say that just in terms of content. Finishing and polishing is a whole other matter, but this is just the raw amount of content, we cut tonnes and tonnes of stuff, because it’s not an easy… we didn’t wake up one day and say ‘Oh, yes. Booker knows a bit, and this is who they are, and this is their path; and it’s going to start this way, and there’s going to be this lighthouse’.
Those things aren’t always apparent at the beginning.
Makes sense then, but how about saving that extra content for a quick buck in the form of DLC then? According to Levine, don’t expect to see any extra content in that form, as Bioshock Infinite has a very clear beginning, middle and ending in store;
Oh, there’s definitely a definitive end to the narrative in this game. Any of the content that I talked about, there’s nothing that we could pack together and ship. A, it’s cut for a reason: we didn’t think it fit, and B, it’s left in a state that is completely… there’s a term that we have called “rot”, in the games industry.
If you leave a level, or if you leave some code for a long time, and you don’t tend to it, other code evolves around it, and that code gets broken, effectively.
“It’s very much like rot. Everything would be so deeply rotted, you wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. So I think to… there’s nothing in that, that we’re ready to go with, even remotely, that we’d really be able to release — there’s no day-one DLC on this thing [laughs], in terms of a content package.
I think that we didn’t have, certainly Irrational, as a studio, didn’t have the bandwidth to be even thinking about that. We just were really focused on making this game ready.
I’m not too shaken up by Bioshock Infinite being delayed by a month. Hell, I’d wait an extra year if I have to, because playing a game that needs patching from day one is never a good sign.