When Ken Levine talks, it’s a good idea to hear what he has to say – the respected industry veteran has headed the development of the BioShock series and had a large role in cult-hit games like System Shock, crafting plenty of engaging narratives, plot twists, and interesting characters. Recently, Levine talked about the main focus in his upcoming game, and it sounds like he’s tackling an issue could make or break his entire project.
Almost a year after BioShock: Infite wrapped up, Levine announced that he was drastically winding down the Irrational Games studio. Laying off all but fifteen employees, he began working on a smaller-scale project which he revealed a little more about months ago.
The crux of his development efforts have been going into building ‘fluid relationships’, which are supposed to get rid of the linear narrative concept entirely, and be a large step-up from the types of relationships players have experienced in Levine’s previous games:
“When you look at BioShock and BioShock Infinite, you had some tiny bits [of association] with the Little Sisters when you harvested, but it led to one of two monolithic endings.”
Instead of this mostly black-and-white relationship structure, Levine wants to create a fluid relationship spectrum where non-playable characters have more realistic opinions on the player which can weave from one natural state to another based on a variety of inputs, rather than predetermined choices.
“In the new game, you have very fluid relationships with the characters. They have a spectrum of feeling about you based upon what you do and if you help them or go against them. That changes dynamically, and you can end the game with a character absolutely despising you or somewhere in the middle. The path to getting there doesn’t have seven or eight stops like your traditional branching tree structure. It has potentially thousands of stops with hundreds of thousands of potential states you can be in with all your relationships to all the characters and wants.”
Hearing his vision elaborated upon, his earlier words regarding Shadow of Mordor’s inspiration make a lot of sense. The concept of dynamic character relationships is undoubtedly a gigantic issue to tackle in development, but Levine has a winning streak when it comes to creating a unique and enjoyable world – hopefully, he and Irrational Games can create yet another smash hit for gamers to enjoy.
We wish Ken the best of luck on his latest project. Do you like what you’ve heard about the project so far, Ranters?
Source: Game Informer