Creator of the esteemed BioShock series, Ken Levine, shares some new information about his untitled, unofficially announced new game while claiming that his costly linear narratives are a thing of the past.
Speaking to Tom Ashbrook in his On Point podcast, Ken Levine stressed that gamers will see fewer short, linear narrative experiences:
“The AAA, single-player narrative game is starting to disappear. Kind of games like BioShock. There’s fewer of them being made. The real reason is they’re very expensive to make and I think gamers are saying pretty loud and clear that if they’re going to spend $40, $50, $60, they want an experience that lasts more than 10-12 hours. That’s a lot to ask somebody to spend.”
BioShock Infinite was Levine’s final endeavor in creating a game driven by linear storytelling. He closed Irrational Games shortly after finishing the final DLC for the game, and announced that he would be focusing his efforts on creating a game with a smaller team of developers.
“We started this experiment after we finished BioShock Infinite, which was, ‘How do you make a narrative game feel like the kind of games we’ve made before but make it replayable and make it extend and make it react to the players?’ Make it replayable by giving players different ways to approach the problems and really letting them dictate the experience.”
He hopes to solve this issue that linearity presents by opting for a more open-world environment in his next game, one that retains the narrative quality of his previous games:
“The thing we’re working on is sort of a small-scale open-world game. And the reason ours is an open world game is because if you want to give the player the agency to drive the experience, that really fights against the linear nature of the games we made before like BioShock and BioShock Infinite. What it really means though is, ‘How do you make your content so it feels like the quality of the content you’ve made in games before but reacts to the players’ agency and then allows the player to do something in one playthrough and something very different in another playthrough?'”
It remains to be seen whether or not Ken Levine’s ideas will be fully realized in his untitled game. He certainly makes some bold statements about his games and the industry as whole, so it will be interesting to see how it all unravels once he and his team provide concrete details on the game.