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Thread: IGN Interview Jon Chey

  1. #1
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Black Squadron

    IGN Interview Jon Chey

    IGN Linkage

    IGN AU: Looking at the scope of the game and, dare we say it, sandbox environment, we're guessing AI must be a huge priority for you guys. How have you approached this area of the game? What difficulties have you encountered? What cool things are you trying to get your AI personalities to do? How did you make the Big Daddy so lovable… and yet so damn freaky?

    Jon Chey: Yeah, AI is one of our core tech and design focuses. When we started this game, we wanted to focus on the idea of an ecology - a world that isn't just about running into a room and gunning down everyone in it. Can you have a game in which there are lots of hostile forces but there are also relationships between the AIs that you can exploit and work with? So the Little Sister and the Big Daddy are obviously core to that concept. I mean, these are a pair of entities in the world that have a complex relationship with each other. How often do you hear that word mentioned in connection with a shooter?

    You have to fight in BioShock, but you also have to know when to fight and who. If you don't mess around with a Little Sister, the Big Daddy is going to leave you alone. And sometimes, that's the right thing to do - just walk softly around them, take heed of his warnings and leave them alone… until you've found a new stash of ammo and then it might be time to go back and take him on. Or maybe you've got a plasmid that allows you to dupe the Big Daddy into protecting you! And then you get some unfortunate splicers (people driven mad by abuse of genetic manipulation) to attack you…and trigger the wrath of the duped Daddy. Or maybe you tag him with a pheromone that alerts the security system and turns it on him - leaving the Little Sister alone…

    So, yeah, you could say AI has been a huge priority for us.
    Must find time to actually read this one a bit later...

  2. #2
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: The Doldrums

    Why are the exact same questions being asked over and over again? Are they not allowed to ask about anything other than what every single interview before has already? Not that Jon doesn't squeeze some interesting new info in
    Last edited by Vraptor7; 30th Apr 2007 at 11:39.

  3. #3
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Finland, Earth
    I'm more than a little put out that the answer to any question seems to be telling the interviewer what you can do with the big daddies.

  4. #4
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: The Netherlands
    'So can you tell us a little bit of the design process behind Bioshock?'

    Last edited by Mr.WaeseL; 1st May 2007 at 00:41.

  5. #5
    Registered: Jun 2003
    "Like with the Big Daddy - Little Sister relationship, we used to have this as a purely functional relationship and then we realised that it was going to be much more readable if we could convey an emotional link between them too, which is why they now talk to each other and physically interact."

    How do the Big Daddies talk through their suit?

  6. #6
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    you don't wanna see the tools he got under his suit.....

  7. #7
    Irrational Games
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Boston, MA
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.WaeseL View Post
    That's what's printed on the uniforms they make us wear in the office.

    -Chris Kline, Irrational Games

  8. #8
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    you see, that's why i voted AGAINST a MakingOfDVD for the Bioshock LE.
    you are bound to get those uninteresting interviews where all the same
    things are repeated over and over again. and you will get all the
    podcasts collected I assume. And the typical "ZOMG LOLZ high five" marketing
    promo documentaries. Not the insightful, multilayered, social and artistic
    relevant essay that game and exceptional design warrants.
    I want drama and insight, not "pat-pat-on-my-own-shoulder"

    -> i love the reply from Ckline, don't loose your humor

  9. #9
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    yeah! keep it tied up, or it could destroy everything

  10. #10
    haha....too perfect.

  11. #11
    Registered: Jun 2005
    For the record regarding the 3rd question, Ken Levine *did* say BioShock was an RPG in an early interview video.

    "Well, what people think about when you say "corridor shooter" is a game where you go into a room, shoot some monsters, then go down a corridor to another room where you shoot some more monsters and so on. It's an idea that came from the earliest days of FPS: Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. In single player shooters, the way this idea has been developed is principally in the rethinking of what a corridor or room can be. For example, a room might now be a big outdoor space and the corridor might be a street that connects this space to another. But, fundamentally, the game is still a linear series of encounters that are restricted to the space in which they have been set up."

    This is a totally false myth that has become so popular to repeat over and over again that hardcore shooter fans - and apparently even developers - have started to believe it! The earliest shooters were non-linear, and had far more open and out-door areas than modern shooters do now. They had secret areas, multiple paths, paths that led back to the start, mazes, even alternative exits in Doom and Quake. The "corridor shooter" is a relatively (though still old) modern invention, almost entirely due to the success of Half Life, but also due to 3D acceleration's limits and other hardware restrictions that make large rooms with tens of hundreds of enemies impossible; as well as the difficulty of designing complex architecture as 3D spaces got more and more complex. To say that 'the shooter has not evolved since half-life' is true but highly misleading - half-Life set the FPS back, and almost every FPS since then has had the properties described in that quote. When people say that "Doom 3 was a reversion to the old-school FPS" they are also falsely supporting this myth; in fact, Doom 3 is the perfect example of the modern FPS "corridor shooter" and not really any different in core gameplay from Half-Life.

    I think this whole marketing business of selling BioShock as a Shooter 2.0 instead of the FPS/RPG hybrid that it really is is somewhat dishonest. If thats what is needed to be successful in today's market fine (lord knows we need more quality games like BioShock and quality developers need to succeed with them) but don't rewrite the history of the genre your trying to revolutionize.
    Last edited by Silkworm; 2nd May 2007 at 11:02.

  12. #12
    Registered: Sep 2003
    A false myth means that the myth is true doesn't it?

  13. #13
    Registered: Jun 2005
    Actually, this is pretty simple: BioShock is a shooter.
    Huh. Three possibilities that I can see here:

    1) This is just a marketing thing. It's going to be a similar sort of game to the System Shock series, and not particularly dumbed-down.

    2) By their definition, SS1 and SS2 were also "shooters" and this doesn't necessarily mean anything bad for anyone.

    3) This game is a lot different from SS1 and SS2, focusing more on typical "shooter" elements than those. Pretty unlikely, but would be pretty unfortunate. Possibly true to SOME extent.

    I'm guessing that 3) might be true to SOME extent (since it seems to be the trend these days to make things appeal to the casual gamer more), but it's probably more a case of someone using simplified semantics with the press in order to make for good PR.

  14. #14
    I'm pretty sure that Ken posted here specifically that referring to the game as a shooter is mostly a marketing thing. The average gamer wouldn't know what to think of terms like "RPG/Shooter Hybrid", and since more people play shooters than RPG's, it makes more sense to market it as a shooter.

  15. #15
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Silkworm View Post
    The "corridor shooter" is a relatively (though still old) modern invention, almost entirely due to the success of Half Life, but also due to 3D acceleration's limits and other hardware restrictions that make large rooms with tens of hundreds of enemies impossible; as well as the difficulty of designing complex architecture as 3D spaces got more and more complex.
    I would say that the evolution of the corridor shooter is not due to any hardware limitations but due to design and playtest limitations. A 'modern' fps will generally have a more developed story than an earlier, less linear one, and one consequence of that is that it is far more difficult to spoonfeed the player the story in a 'correct' order if you have any significant non-linearity. This is also true for gameplay, compare the progression of enemies in FEAR or even SS2 (grunts->midwives->rumblers; and SS2 is hardly a corridor shooter) with what you would expect in Oblivion if it didn't use level scaling. And the linearity also makes play testing far more easy- effectively you can drop the player into any situation when testing and get a close approximation of the experience a 'normal' player would get.

    In other words, a corridor shooter lets a developer give an (apparently) good story with easier level development and easier playtesting while a non-linear one makes all those factors more difficult.

    Hopefully any discussion of corridor shooters with respect to Bioshock is totally spurious...

  16. #16
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    Amusingly, comments threads in game sites after one of these interviews is reported/posted are, in just about every case, littered with people going "A shooter!? Well, I've lost interest in this one. I was hoping for something like Deus Ex".
    I suppose the hope in all this was the Madden crowd would read 'shooter' and not read much further. Dunno if they expected the core audience to do the same thing.

  17. #17
    They probably expected that the core audience would be excited for a new shock game, no matter what they decided to call it.

  18. #18
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: The Doldrums

    I wonder how much of an RPG it is at all really, it's something that fans have assumed based on either the fact that Ken called it that in its early stages or a belief that Irrational wouldn't do anything else. We know that the game has evolved over its development, not just the setting but the gameplay too, for example the AIs were originally non-human creatures. Why is it so hard to accept that they shifted the core design from an RPG with action elements to a shooter with RPG elements? Every time the mention of Shooter 2.0 comes up we go "hah, still calling it shooter eh, wink wink, we know better". I have a feeling people are going to be very disappointed when the game comes out because they thought it'd have all the staples of RPGs.
    It really is a matter of expectation not only for the general public but the fans themselves; I like the idea that Irrational do seem to be bringing aspects of other genres to the shooter to show people how to move FPS' forward, rather than creating a game in one genre and claiming it belongs to another.

  19. #19
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Vraptor7 View Post
    I wonder how much of an RPG it is at all really...
    How much of an RPG was SS, SS2, DX, or DX:IW? Which elements of RPG'ness are in issue for you? We know we're getting character upgrades (and, for that matter, weapon upgrades). I'm pretty sure I recall hearing a linear plot. We don't know for sure how complex the system is; I'm honestly guessing from what I've seen that it's not as complex as SS2 but more complex than DX:IW. Nor are we likely to see the level of NPC interaction that was in the DX games, if there's even really any at all (beyond the SS2 level of listening to set sound-pieces).

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