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Author Topic: Bioshock team at 2K breaks, up, Ken Levine not on Bioshock 2?  (Read 1536 times)
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Turtle
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« on: November 30, 2007, 06:47:19 AM »

http://www.destructoid.com/surfer-girl-promises-bioshock-2-new-team-to-work-on-it-people-sick-of-levine-56577.phtml

Take this with a grain of salt, as there's no confirmation.  However, not that I have anything personal against Levine, but I recall he was one of the reasons why there wasn't any direct, friendly or neutral character interaction in Bioshock.  So, as much as he helped establish the game, I'm glad he's moved on to a different game so that the next game can put some more interesting character interactions.

I wonder how bad it was working with him, or if it was at all.
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 07:22:16 AM »

I don't understand this at all either-Levine always seemed like a decent enough guy and you would think we would have heard a long time ago if he was that wildly unpopular with the team he worked on to create one of the year's biggest hits. It just strikes me as a tiny bit odd.
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 12:40:52 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on November 30, 2007, 06:47:19 AM

http://www.destructoid.com/surfer-girl-promises-bioshock-2-new-team-to-work-on-it-people-sick-of-levine-56577.phtml

I recall he was one of the reasons why there wasn't any direct, friendly or neutral character interaction in Bioshock.  So, as much as he helped establish the game, I'm glad he's moved on to a different game so that the next game can put some more interesting character interactions.

That's an odd gripe Turtle.  There wasn't any direct, friendly or neutral character interaction in either System Shock 1 or 2 either.  Both games were very much "you are alone in this fucked-up environment with an evil protagonist trying to thwart your progress."

I'm still waiting for Irrational to release The Lost.   icon_biggrin
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 01:42:42 PM »

Where is the patch?
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 01:52:13 PM »

Quote from: warning on November 30, 2007, 12:40:52 PM

Quote from: Turtle on November 30, 2007, 06:47:19 AM

http://www.destructoid.com/surfer-girl-promises-bioshock-2-new-team-to-work-on-it-people-sick-of-levine-56577.phtml

I recall he was one of the reasons why there wasn't any direct, friendly or neutral character interaction in Bioshock.  So, as much as he helped establish the game, I'm glad he's moved on to a different game so that the next game can put some more interesting character interactions.

That's an odd gripe Turtle.  There wasn't any direct, friendly or neutral character interaction in either System Shock 1 or 2 either.  Both games were very much "you are alone in this fucked-up environment with an evil protagonist trying to thwart your progress."

I'm still waiting for Irrational to release The Lost.   icon_biggrin

I've got a similar gripe as Turtle.  For me it's a man behind the curtain moment- Levine has mentioned in interviews in the past that he is against character interaction since he doesn't know how to do it well.  That's fine and good but it completely removes the suspense from (Bioshock spoilers):

Spoiler for Hiden:
- Meeting with crazy guy in the pier area.  He has to become an enemy because Levine won't allow "allied" interaction.

- Meeting with Atlas and his family- again can't happen due to Ken's design philosophy so you know 100% something is going to go wrong.

- Tree scientist lady- something will happen to her right before you get to meet her

- Tanenbaum- she's behind glass

- Levine breaks this (very memorably) with the Ryan encounter but only because he has an iron-clad story justification for why you are helpless.

So now I know that in a Shock game there is absolutely zero possibility I will ever personally meet or interact with a non-enemy character yet the games continually set you up for that scenario.  The end resut makes the games too predictable and it did hurt Bioshock for me.


Quote from: Beer Goggles on November 30, 2007, 01:42:42 PM

Where is the patch?

I"ve been thinking something was up over there since the team went into complete radio silence after Bioshock launched.  In the first week or two after Bioshock hit there was a lot of interviews happening with Ken and the team, he was interacting on messageboards, there were promises of a patch and DLC, etc.  Then all of a sudden there wasn't a peep from anyone on the team. 
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 03:14:04 PM »

so just shooting everything you meet isn't considered character interaction?  icon_wink
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 04:11:50 PM »

I have to ask, who is Surfer Girl and why is it that the interwebs have recently taken to her? Her information strikes me as third-hand rumors albeit game-related instead of celeb-related like WWTDD but with the same amount of clout. I had to snicker at a few of her posts claiming that DNF is, for sure, coming out next fall. If it does, then I stand corrected. But until then, phfff.
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 04:20:12 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on November 30, 2007, 04:11:50 PM

I have to ask, who is Surfer Girl and why is it that the interwebs have recently taken to her? Her information strikes me as third-hand rumors albeit game-related instead of celeb-related like WWTDD but with the same amount of clout. I had to snicker at a few of her posts claiming that DNF is, for sure, coming out next fall. If it does, then I stand corrected. But until then, phfff.

He/She posts a lot of rumors, most of which haven't been confirmed or denied either way, but some have come about as well.  Though some point out that there is usually some kind of prior evidence that existed before she posted her rumor so it's not confirmation that she's legit.

For example, the Gamasutra ad mentioning the new 2K team composed of Bioshock staffers existed before her rumor.  However, no one else picked up on that little tidbit of news until she posted her rumor.

Personally, based on cryptic comments from various insiders, I tend to believe there is some truth to a lot of what she says. 

One easy way to confirm her stuff relatively soon-ish:  She posted what seems to be the entire level by level breakdown of Resistance 2.  Once it gets announced (probably in the next three months) it should be pretty apparent if that list was accurate. 
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Turtle
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 05:59:21 PM »

There wasn't any direct character interaction in SS1 or 2 because the technology and hardware wasn't there for convincing interactions.  Nowadays, having such interactions is one really "next gen" features.
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 06:07:18 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on November 30, 2007, 05:59:21 PM

There wasn't any direct character interaction in SS1 or 2 because the technology and hardware wasn't there for convincing interactions.  Nowadays, having such interactions is one really "next gen" features.

It wasn't there in SS2 because Levine doesn't agree with current character interaction systems (ie he doesn't like dialogue trees, cutscenes that take control away from your character, and evidently silent protagonists like Gordon Freeman).  If a designer isn't t willing to use those or can't come up with an alternative then that necessitates that your player character cannot have any direct interaction with other characters.  That's why you spent all of SS2 chasing after various people but by the time you caught up to them they were either dead or had escaped. 

I don't think that any of that stuff is technology limited.  No doubt that technology has made such interactions far better (see Mass Effect and HL2 for examples) but it's just a refinement of techniques that are at least a decade old.  Levine seems to reject such techniques outright.  Now perhaps "next gen" technology could create an alternative to those three types of interaction but, if so, we haven't seen it. 
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 06:11:59 PM »

I just find it peculiar that in many places (not just here), perhaps the best-reviewed game (probably only Halo 3 got better reviews) of 2007 suddenly has so many nit-pickers crawling out of the cracks. I really can't believe anyone thinks a Bioshock followup without Levine's involvement would be for the best. To me it sounds like a publisher-mentality that designers and dev teams are interchangeable, and you can get the same results by just plucking someone from the dev team and pasting "from the creators of blah blah" on it. We might as well say the Civ games would be a lot better if they'd just get that pesky, picky Sid Meier off the series.  saywhat

Ms. Gossipmonger's rumors may well be true, but I'm a longtime (now former) newspaperman and I've learned to not always trust people who slander other people (Levine in this case) from behind an anonymous identity (if she said this kind of bilge about Levine in a newspaper, he could probably sue her for libel), something the Internet and blogs have basically given everyone the power to do now without worrying about facts or attribution.

As far as Irrational goes, my understanding was Levine worked more with the Canberra, Australia team (which did most of the work on the Freedom Force games). The 2K Boston team worked on SWAT 4 and its expansion. If there was any friction, it might well have been geographical, or simply that 2K Boston and 2K Canberra/Aus. don't work or think the same way, or maybe 2K Boston wanted a straightforward shooter and Levine wanted something more ambitious. Well here I go contributing to Internet conjecture. smile
« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 06:13:41 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 06:20:52 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on November 30, 2007, 06:11:59 PM

I just find it peculiar that in many places (not just here), perhaps the best-reviewed game (probably only Halo 3 got better reviews) of 2007 suddenly has so many nit-pickers crawling out of the cracks. I really can't believe anyone thinks a Bioshock followup without Levine's involvement would be for the best. To me it sounds like a publisher-mentality that designers and dev teams are interchangeable, and you can get the same results by just plucking someone from the dev team and pasting "from the creators of blah blah" on it. We might as well say the Civ games would be a lot better if they'd just get that pesky, picky Sid Meier off the series.  saywhat

Ms. Gossipmonger's rumors may well be true, but I'm a longtime (now former) newspaperman and I've learned to not always trust people who slander other people (Levine in this case) from behind an anonymous identity (if she said this kind of bilge about Levine in a newspaper, he could probably sue her for libel), something the Internet and blogs have basically given everyone the power to do now without worrying about facts or attribution.

As far as Irrational goes, my understanding was Levine worked more with the Canberra, Australia team (which did most of the work on the Freedom Force games). The 2K Boston team worked on SWAT 4 and its expansion. If there was any friction, it might well have been geographical, or simply that 2K Boston and 2K Canberra/Aus. don't work or think the same way, or maybe 2K Boston wanted a straightforward shooter and Levine wanted something more ambitious. Well here I go contributing to Internet conjecture. smile


I put most of my Bioshock comments in the spoiler thread but, for me, it was a disappointment.   I liked it but didn't love it.  That was my feeling immediately upon finishing the game the week following it's release so this isn't something that I feel like joining some kind of bandwagon for down the road.  However, the the game gets worse to me the more I think about it, especially the  final third where the game betrays it's own foundations.   That said, I would love for Levine to be involved in the sequel.  With a major success under their belt it is my hope that Bioshock 2 can actually fulfill the ambitions that the first game posits but fails to reach. 

Re: 2K Boston/Australia.  It was my understanding that 2K Boston (where Levine works) was the lead dev house for the game.  2K Australia was working on a so-far unannounced project (long rumored to be X-Com) but that project was put on hold when the Boston team needed someone to handle the PC port as well as additional manpower in general to finish by the deadline. 
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 07:13:02 PM »

I thought Bioshock really should have had SOME kind of character interaction, rather than this amazing coincidence where everyone you interact with is either dead... or dies right in front of you.

IMO, it didn't hurt the game overall, but just like the "crash your space ship and miraculously land, alive, right in front of your the ship, again.  And again, and again..." in KotOR 2, it kind of detracts from the believability of the game's events.  Just like it makes it convenient to allow the game to start the level in front of a crashed ship, it also makes it easy to make a game without interaction with other characters.  However... just because it's easier to do doesn't mean it should be done that way.

For example, in KotOR 2, they could have just as easily have said you crash landed the ship and walked away from it.  It would have been a million times more believable than having EVERYONE in the ship land unconsious in front of the wreck (and survive unscratched, no less!).

But with Bioshock, I really wish there would have been a bit more character interaction.  The most you really got in the entire game was with that crazy artist guy.
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 07:18:59 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 30, 2007, 06:20:52 PM

However, the the game gets worse to me the more I think about it, especially the  final third where the game betrays it's own foundations. 

That's kind of strange, because, to me, the last third seemed pretty strong in terms of the game story.  You got to see how, where, and why the Big Daddy/Little Sister dynamic came about, and (assuming you were a good guy) you actually get to help some people who were very much victimized.  Also, I found the "good" ending to be very moving: I rank it among one of my favorite video game endings.  (I've heard the bad ending is unsatisfying, but haven't seen it.  That's karma for you!)
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 07:33:20 PM »

Major, major Bioshock endgame spoilers.  If you haven't played the game, don't look in the tags!

Spoiler for Hiden:
  I'm referring specifically to the mind control revelation.  The revelation itself and it's presentation are brilliant.  It works wonderfully within the game fiction as well as a meta comment on our tendency to just blindly follow objectives that games give us.  However, in pointing this out, Bioshock throws down the gauntlet because, with the mind control removed in the final third, I should no longer be forced to carry out the objectives laid out by the talking heads like I did for the first 2/3.

Initially they kind of cheat with the whole, slowing down your heart, you'll die if you don't do what Tennenbaum says bit.  But it's a clever cheat so I'll give it some credit but it set off a warning flag for me.  Then they change it up with the revolving power mechanic- okay still cheating and it started to annoy me.  Then they completely dispense with the gimmicks and, at that point, the player should be in complete control of their destiny for the rest of the game.  But the game just waves it hand like nothing happened and you are forced to confront Fontaine as if Tennanbaum had said "Would You Kindly". 

Why couldn't I just try to escape from Rapture instead?  Or maybe I played an evil guy and I want to go after Tennenbaum.  Or maybe I come around to Fontaine's side and want to propose an aliance with him.  With the mind control removed all of those should be options but they aren't.  The game still forces you on a linear path to a confrontation with Fontaine only now the game has completely given up on providing any sort of clever gimmick or justification for why you have to fight him.

In the end Bioshock is as guilty as removing choice as every other game out there.  Except other games aren't pretentous about it the way that Bioshock is.  If Levine wants to critique gaming as a whole by pointing out how blindly obedient players are, then I expect him to show me a different way.  After all, he's a developer not a critic. 

I've got a host of other issues with the end levels too (repetitive gameplay, awful escort mission that betrays the idea of Little Sisters as precious resources, over reliance on fetch quests, "bad" path not properly though out, etc). But, yeah, really the only highlight was the Big Daddy creation facility which was rather clever.

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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 08:25:58 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 30, 2007, 07:33:20 PM

Major, major Bioshock endgame spoilers.  If you haven't played the game, don't look in the tags!

Spoiler for Hiden:
  I'm referring specifically to the mind control revelation.  The revelation itself and it's presentation are brilliant.  It works wonderfully within the game fiction as well as a meta comment on our tendency to just blindly follow objectives that games give us.  However, in pointing this out, Bioshock throws down the gauntlet because, with the mind control removed in the final third, I should no longer be forced to carry out the objectives laid out by the talking heads like I did for the first 2/3.

Initially they kind of cheat with the whole, slowing down your heart, you'll die if you don't do what Tennenbaum says bit.  But it's a clever cheat so I'll give it some credit but it set off a warning flag for me.  Then they change it up with the revolving power mechanic- okay still cheating and it started to annoy me.  Then they completely dispense with the gimmicks and, at that point, the player should be in complete control of their destiny for the rest of the game.  But the game just waves it hand like nothing happened and you are forced to confront Fontaine as if Tennanbaum had said "Would You Kindly". 

Why couldn't I just try to escape from Rapture instead?  Or maybe I played an evil guy and I want to go after Tennenbaum.  Or maybe I come around to Fontaine's side and want to propose an aliance with him.  With the mind control removed all of those should be options but they aren't.  The game still forces you on a linear path to a confrontation with Fontaine only now the game has completely given up on providing any sort of clever gimmick or justification for why you have to fight him.

In the end Bioshock is as guilty as removing choice as every other game out there.  Except other games aren't pretentous about it the way that Bioshock is.  If Levine wants to critique gaming as a whole by pointing out how blindly obedient players are, then I expect him to show me a different way.  After all, he's a developer not a critic. 

I've got a host of other issues with the end levels too (repetitive gameplay, awful escort mission that betrays the idea of Little Sisters as precious resources, over reliance on fetch quests, "bad" path not properly though out, etc). But, yeah, really the only highlight was the Big Daddy creation facility which was rather clever.



I just wanted to say that I agree pretty much completely with the points KMG is making here-almost exactly in fact. I found most of these problems in my first playthrough, and I went from being in love with the first third of the game to being ready for it to end 10 hours later. One thing Kevin didn't mention is the combat-I thought it was at best not bad, and at worst just awful. Bad aiming mechanics, boring weapons that could miss from 2 feet, and for the most part completely underused plasmids.
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2007, 08:32:03 PM »

Simply viewed as a game dynamic, I thought the revolving powers thing was great.  I got to use a whole bunch of powers I probably never would have tried out otherwise.

As far as that goes, I think the only "problem" with it was not putting it in sooner.  If you had a chance to try everything out, it could have really altered the strategies you used going through the game (I had pretty much gone with shock/bash the whole time).
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2007, 10:59:37 PM »

ditto on kmg's comments above.  when put that way, it really shows you how limited the ending sequences were.  even the big daddy quest is basically a glorified fetch quest.  the key is unique, and i liked the presentation, but really, that was the only way to get to where you needed to go?  how about alternate options, like a sub or a side tunnel through dangerous machinery? 

i liked the game despite it's flaws, but i did see the man behind the curtain and that ended my suspension of disbelief. 

i hope they give us a better use of the environment next time.  once you know that even the big explosions can't damage the structural integrity of the level, you realize that you're really just in a very detailed tunnel and the water is nothing but a visual effect behind the window.
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2007, 11:36:43 PM »

The patch is out next week:

Quote
Many of you have been asking me about the status of the BioShock PC Patch and Xbox 360 Title Update, and I have some good news for you.

Both the BioShock PC Patch and the 360 Title Update will be available next week. In additon to these fixes, we will be releasing downloadable content free on both Xbox Live and for the PC, with the DLC bundled into the PC Patch. A full list of bug fixes and everything included in the DLC will be put up on the Cult of Rapture when the downloads become available.


http://www.2kgames.com/cultofrapture/home.html
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2007, 01:13:56 AM »

I wonder what will be in the DLC.....
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« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2007, 03:12:35 AM »

Quote from: CeeKay on December 01, 2007, 01:13:56 AM

I wonder what will be in the DLC.....

a very brief news bit over at IGN suggests that we'll be seeing a number of new plasmids, an improvement to the widescreen field of view, and a number of other unrevealed changes.  i played the game on my 360 and am curious what kind of patching they'll be doing in addition to new content.  i really can't remember encountering any significant bugs...has been a while since i played though...
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2007, 02:47:22 AM »

New plasmids would be pretty fun, especially since I'm about to do a 2nd playthrough, and intend to kill the sisters.

Or maybe I'll save a few of them to get the HBG plasmid, and then kill the rest.
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