Interview with Ken Levine

By: Saam Tariverdi
June 24th, 1999

I recently had a post on TTLG in which the readers can send in their questions regarding System Shock 2 and have them answered by Irrational Games' very own Ken Levine, Lead Designer of System Shock 2. Without further adieu, here are the goods:

1) Will there be a difference in release dates, in the UK, as opposed to the US?

This is an EA thing, so I wouldn't know.

2) How big is the city tutorial?

The city isn't particularily big, because its not really the focus of the game. We wanted to give people a taste of earth in the time of Shock 2. However, the tutorial is quite complete and comes in 4 parts (basic, weapons, psi and tech). It also takes place in cyberspace!

3) Do we have to create one multiplayer character for each new started coop campaign, or can we use an already experienced character within a new coop game?

All Multiplayer issues are "To Be Determined".

4) Will dromed be available for SS2? Will it be available in a similar manner like dromed for Thief, including download opportunities for all game levels?

All level-editor issues are up to Looking Glass.

5) In order to get the most out of the visual representation, how will I know how to set my Screen Properties (brightness, contrast, gamma)? Could you please include an example screenshot on or in the manual and the original screenshot on the CD (640x480/800x600/1024x768) for comparison purposes?

That's really up to taste. Including a picture doesn't really make sense because 4 color printing is SO different from onscreen RGB. And density, gain, etc. differ from print run to print run. My best advice is the game should feel dark and gloomy, because that's how we intended it to be played!

6) If the US and the UK retail package differ in design or size, could you please publish a photo on your or your distributors homepage, so that I know which version I'm buying?

This is up to EA Europe, I have no idea.

7) Are you guys planning on releasing a demo of System Shock 2?

We are currently planning a demo, but there's nothing confirmed.

8) How are multiplayer communications handled? Will there be:
- a set of user-definable set messages (hit a key, send a pre-set, user-defined, text message; useful to have 4 - 6 of these).
- text messaging system (using all characters? message persistent for at least 10 seconds? small noise alert for incoming message?)
- Voice comms?

This is all "To Be Determined".

I want to thank Ken for taking the time away from making SS2 to answer these questions. Also, thanks to all you readers for submitting these questions, they are definitely informative! If you have any more questions you want answered by Ken, please send them my way!

For further information on System Shock 2, please visit our daughter-site,

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