With the first Bioshock game, developer Irrational Games looked to the Xbox 360 as the main development console before 2K Games ported the title out to the PS3 under the banner of another developer a year later.
Luckily, Bioshock: Infinite, Irrational’s true follow-up to their wildly successful shooter will not force PS3 gamers to suffer - they'll be developing the game as a multi-platform simultaneous release on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC (much like 2K Marin did with BioShock 2).
Developing a game for a single platform has its pros and its cons. By selecting a singular console for which to develop, a company can maximize the strengths of the hardware - while at the same time understanding their limitations. Unfortunately, by segregating themselves to only one console they are also thereby cutting themselves off from more than half of the video game market.
Irrational’s decision to develop Bioshock: Infinite as a multi-platform title seems to be reaping a steady stream of benefits - without suffering any of the cons (aside from the extra work). Technical director Chris Kline reveals that the team is actually looking to the PS3 as the major source of developmental inspiration:
"So instead of declaring a 'lead platform' and porting the game to the others, we've instead changed the game engine so that all platforms look (to a programmer) more like a PS3. Writing code this way is more difficult for us, but has a key advantage: it's both optimal for the PS3 and gives speed improvements on other platforms."
By selecting the PS3 as the development benchmark, Irrational will hopefully be able to deliver a game that runs just as silky smooth or even smoother than the first game.
In the long run, developing for several platforms can only help a developer with a strong series under their wing like Bioshock. Other, lesser-known titles might struggle with such an ambitious development schedule but Irrational is clear in their plan and, as of right now, it looks to be paying off - especially considering the title isn't even scheduled for release until 2012.
Bioshock: Infinite currently has no release date but will be available for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.