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BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer

Kotaku has a follow-up to yesterday's announcement about a couple of departures from the BioShock Infinite team, clarifying their comment at the time they have "heard that development on BioShock Infinite has hit choppy waters" (thanks nin). They say they've received reports that two different multiplayer modes have been cut from the upcoming shooter, and that it's now unclear whether the game will include multiplayer, noting this was a priority to prevent the game being and instant trade-in upcoming completion like the original BioShock. They also say the team has struggled to achieve gameplay that lives up to the game's impressive E3 demonstration: "All the same, the Infinite demo made a stunning debut despite the fact that the team was wrestling with the most basic elements of the game, from the story to the level design to the AI programming to how to design the sidekick character of Elizabeth, who can magically conjure weapons and in other ways affect the environment." Finally, they report that Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson is taking over from departing Tim Gerritsen, though they have been unable to get either Epic or Ken Levine to comment on this, in spite of getting Levine on the phone to discuss these matters. Here's his reply to their question about whether fans should worry about the state of the game:

"It's always challenging when you're trying to make a game that does a lot of different things," Levine said, noting that designers can be drawn back toward what is safe and familiar. "Trust me, there are plenty of things in this game—either it was the Skyline [a roller-coaster-like apparatus that players can use to zoom about the levels] or Elizabeth—where there were movements in the team to get rid of them. Because they are the most challenging things." He said that these challenges have been much of the reason the game has been in development for such a long time.

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17. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 11, 2012, 00:32 Jerykk
 
Dades wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 20:21:
Ratty wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 19:08:
I've posted this thought here before but I'll do it again. From everything I've heard they're trying to do some REALLY challenging things that nobody has ever done before. They way they describe what Elizabeth can do and how she reacts in different situations is far advanced of any AI companion in any game so far. The other thing Ken mentions, the skylines, I've never seen anything like that either.

I've been skeptical of the trailers. They seemed so much like cut scenes to me which is a real step back for sandbox games. But I'm thinking - hoping - it's simply because they were showing things that had never been done and I was unused to.

It all looked scripted to me. Have you seen any versions of those trailers where the gameplay is any different? I haven't and I've been trying. Companies normally show off and tout that sort of stuff, they don't hide it.

Agreed. The E3 demos looked incredibly scripted. From what Levine has said, it seems like Irrational is trying to make a game that has the pacing, spectacle and story-driven focus of a scripted game while maintaining open-ended gameplay and player agency. Considering that those things are opposites, I don't really see how they can accomplish this. The more they focus on telling a specific story and giving the player a specific experience, the less choice the player will have.
 
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16. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 20:21 Dades
 
Ratty wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 19:08:
I've posted this thought here before but I'll do it again. From everything I've heard they're trying to do some REALLY challenging things that nobody has ever done before. They way they describe what Elizabeth can do and how she reacts in different situations is far advanced of any AI companion in any game so far. The other thing Ken mentions, the skylines, I've never seen anything like that either.

I've been skeptical of the trailers. They seemed so much like cut scenes to me which is a real step back for sandbox games. But I'm thinking - hoping - it's simply because they were showing things that had never been done and I was unused to.

It all looked scripted to me. Have you seen any versions of those trailers where the gameplay is any different? I haven't and I've been trying. Companies normally show off and tout that sort of stuff, they don't hide it.
 
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15. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 19:36 Cutter
 
So what we have here is just one more in a long list of examples of why most games should have their SP and MP games seperate and cheaper. I'm not paying 60 bones for something with MP I have no interest in, but I will pay $20 for the SP game. Anyway you slice it, this game is really sounding like a mess at this point. This is a definite sale item now.
 
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14. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 19:29 HorrorScope
 
Well all they can hope is that not too many people learn about this. Millions in marketing can't fix a game with turmoil leaking out from it. I won't say it's scrap, but this isn't a good sign historically.  
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13. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 19:08 Ratty
 
I've posted this thought here before but I'll do it again. From everything I've heard they're trying to do some REALLY challenging things that nobody has ever done before. They way they describe what Elizabeth can do and how she reacts in different situations is far advanced of any AI companion in any game so far. The other thing Ken mentions, the skylines, I've never seen anything like that either.

I've been skeptical of the trailers. They seemed so much like cut scenes to me which is a real step back for sandbox games. But I'm thinking - hoping - it's simply because they were showing things that had never been done and I was unused to.

I give Irrational the benefit of the doubt here. If they needed to take another year to make it what they want I'd be fine with that.
 
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12. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 18:49 Hump
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 18:30:
Hump wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 17:09:
I don't know about Gerritsen but Nate Wells (art director) seems nearly irreplaceable. The design and art style of Bioshock and what I've seen of infinite are so well realized that I can't think of many other games that can approach that level of depth.

Yeah, but Nate Wells wasn't the art director of Bioshock, he was a level designer and concept artist. Scott Sinclair was the art director of BioShock, and he's replaced Nate Wells on this. So, if anything, this will make this more BioShockey.


Weird, though, for Rod Fergusson. GoW sells more than BioShock, and was pretty much all him, working with CliffyB but, from what I gather, doing more day to day stuff. Now he's working with Ken Levine as the same role. You'd think, if anything, he'd want to be the big idea guy.

ah ok. thanks for the heads up. The styles were so similar i assumed it was Wells.
 
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11. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 18:33 Wowbagger_TIP
 

Bioshock 2 was so underwhelming gameplay-wise that I didn't have any desire to play it, even for free. I guess that's one solution to piracy problems.
 
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10. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 18:30 Beamer
 
Hump wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 17:09:
I don't know about Gerritsen but Nate Wells (art director) seems nearly irreplaceable. The design and art style of Bioshock and what I've seen of infinite are so well realized that I can't think of many other games that can approach that level of depth.

Yeah, but Nate Wells wasn't the art director of Bioshock, he was a level designer and concept artist. Scott Sinclair was the art director of BioShock, and he's replaced Nate Wells on this. So, if anything, this will make this more BioShockey.


Weird, though, for Rod Fergusson. GoW sells more than BioShock, and was pretty much all him, working with CliffyB but, from what I gather, doing more day to day stuff. Now he's working with Ken Levine as the same role. You'd think, if anything, he'd want to be the big idea guy.
 
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9. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 17:57 Ruffiana
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 16:02:
I wonder what evidence they have that tacked-on shitty multiplayer really prevents used sales. As a singleplayer gamer that multiplayer mode couldn't matter less to me, and I would guess people who like multiplayer would rather play a game with multiplayer that was a focus for the game developers.

I mean, they must think it works, I just wonder what they see that convinces them of that.

When Bioshock 1 came out, I really wanted it to have multiplayer. I thought it could have been fresh, interesting mechanics.

By the time 2 came out, I no longer cared. Played through the single-player campaign and had my fill of underwater steampunk weapons and flashy super powers.

It's not that I feel the game suffered for having multiplayer, or that what it had was lackluster...just that it missed its window.
 
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8. Re: NPD 2011 Sales Estimates Aug 9, 2012, 17:57 Dades
 
Metasparks wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 16:34:
Great question, StingingVelvet. They probably look at how often users access the multiplayer feature and deduct from those stats. But I'm just guessing.

They can see sales trends easily enough by how many games are reordered after the initial sales period for one. Forgetting actual data, they are also just playing on the human psyche a bit. People want to own the whole product, they don't want to think they only got a piece of it. By locking the multiplayer from used copies you're creating a false sense of increasing ownership. It also plays on most players design to socialize and play games with friends. People who might otherwise never play multiplayer will avoid a trade in because their friends might want to play it.

I'm kinda interested in this games multiplayer. I couldn't care less about Bioshock 2's multiplayer, but the environments for this one could lead to some interesting gameplay. Like the zip lines.

This is probably just me but if a game series starts out as singleplayer I rarely ever want to see multiplayer in it, no matter how well designed. It never seems to work well unless both modes are fully fleshed out in the initial design and sequels bring too much baggage for that to work well.
 
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7. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 17:09 Hump
 
I don't know about Gerritsen but Nate Wells (art director) seems nearly irreplaceable. The design and art style of Bioshock and what I've seen of infinite are so well realized that I can't think of many other games that can approach that level of depth.  
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6. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 17:09 MajorD
 

NegaDeath wrote on Aug 9, 2012, 16:34:
I'm kinda interested in this games multiplayer. I couldn't care less about Bioshock 1&2's multiplayer, but the environments for this one could lead to some interesting gameplay. Like the zip lines.

Good point. My first thought was why waste the time & money on the MP aspect of the game, but you're right, the 'Infinite' enviroment could potentially provide some good MP. I didn't give two turds, or ever play, BioShock 2 MP, but Infinite may be a different animal.

 
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5. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 17:00 Jackplug
 
sp 1st and if mp can be done, then it comes later.  
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4. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 16:49 bozu
 
A used copy of BioShock goes for more than a used copy of BioShock 2. BioShock 2 had multiplayer, but BioShock was a better game (metacritic 96, vs metacritic 88).

So, I think they're just wrong about that. Honestly, I think they should be doing those evil "free DLC with [original] purchase" deals -- seems much more effective, and I'd rather most games focus their effort on making a kick-ass single player experience.

That said, the "tacked-on" co-op mode for System Shock 2 was totally worth the wait.
 
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3. Re: NPD 2011 Sales Estimates Aug 9, 2012, 16:34 Metasparks
 
Great question, StingingVelvet. They probably look at how often users access the multiplayer feature and deduct from those stats. But I'm just guessing.  
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2. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 16:34 NegaDeath
 
I'm kinda interested in this games multiplayer. I couldn't care less about Bioshock 2's multiplayer, but the environments for this one could lead to some interesting gameplay. Like the zip lines.

This comment was edited on Aug 9, 2012, 17:12.
 
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1. Re: BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer Aug 9, 2012, 16:02 StingingVelvet
 
I wonder what evidence they have that tacked-on shitty multiplayer really prevents used sales. As a singleplayer gamer that multiplayer mode couldn't matter less to me, and I would guess people who like multiplayer would rather play a game with multiplayer that was a focus for the game developers.

I mean, they must think it works, I just wonder what they see that convinces them of that.
 
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