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Here's some holiday news to raise gamers' spirits: BioShock 2 will finally be released on the Mac OS X in January of 2012.

The port has been handled by Feral Interactive, the same studio that was responsible for the Mac port of the first BioShock. Mac gamers can pre-order a boxed version of the game from the Feral Interactive store for $35.00. Other online stores (including Gamersgate, and Direct2Drive) will offer BioShock with BioShock 2 as a bundle deal.


Gamers Notes

In a deep interview with Gamers Notes, Ken Levine talked about his life growing up as a geek and what led him to the games industry.

Now Gamer

Now Gamer quizzed Levine about the kinds of choices that would be available in BioShock Infinite:

I prefer to call them digital choice. Binary choice suggests that there are only two. The digital elements are those the designer knows are going to happen, or where there are multiple digital elements, where you choose A or B and this specific thing happens.

You have a limited number of them and it’s always designer-driven. But even if you have only two or three digital choices I don’t think it has to be black and white – black and white is not that interesting.
The interesting thing about this is watching these unintended consequences pan out. I think a mistake in this game would be to have Elizabeth say, ‘Booker, I want you to do the right thing. I’m the voice of the angel,’ with Booker being the voice of the devil, because I don’t think that’s interesting.

I think people will very quickly come to realize that there’s no clear good and evil choice. The best intentions can lead to terrible results. You have these utopian ideals and have to ask ‘What could possibly go wrong?

—Ken Levine, source

Access TV

Access TV also interviewed Levine. In the interview, Levine gave a nod to Bethesda, the developers of Skyrim, who took inspiration from BioShock's Plasmid system when designing the magic in their game. Levine noted that in the game industry inspiration goes both ways, and that Irrational probably gets as much inspiration from Bethesda as Bethesda gets from them.

He also had a few interesting things to say about Booker DeWitt's back story.

Booker is a very strong character, and there's going to really interesting things--which I'm not going to tell you about--you're going to find out about him. He's got a very dark past... He was a Pinkerton agent busting up strikes, he was an Indian fighter, you know, he was at the battle of Wounded Knee. There's a lot of interesting, dark things in his past that you're going to find out about him, and that's going to have an effect on his story and what happens in Columbia.

—Ken Levine

Fink Manufacturing

In another interview, Ken Levine talked a bit about the Fink Manufacturing area revealed in the Spike TV VGA trailer.

It's our responsibility to show an image and [make sure] that image has some resonance. When you look at that statue of Fink and you look at that giant clock, hopefully, people will take away some things about him, his world, and what's important to him without me having to explain it. I'd much rather open the curtain slowly, in the visual sense, on him. You see his town. You see the people and what their lives are like. You see what some of his ideals are through that opening shot of his statue and his clock. There's a lot of detail in there. If you look at that trailer, there are a lot of things that will tell you what's going on at a high level and give you a taste of this aspect of the world.

—Ken Levine, "BioShock Infinite VGA 2011 trailer"

Handymen and the "Alphas"

Nate Wells talked a bit about the Handyman enemies in BioShock Infinite during an interview with X-Play's Adam Sessler.

[The Handyman]'s part of a class of AIs we're calling the Alphas. And we're being a little close lipped on what exactly their functions are and what they do, but there is a class of AI that has unique set of behaviors, maybe a more difficult AI that may require separate strategies to deal with effectively. They come up, not at specific fights, but at specific points in the game to change the tactics, to change the player's approach to combat.

—Nate Wells, source

Music in the VGA Trailer and Reactions

Having fun watching some folk music trolls have conniptions.


As noted by Ken Levine in his tweets, there was a miniature uproar over the supposed fact that Ken Levine had removed the word "Lord" from the old-timey gospel tune used in the BioShock Infinite VGA trailer.

However, Ars Technica did a thorough job of debunking that claim. It turns out that Levine did his homework well when choosing period appropriate music, because the word "Lord" was never in the original version of the song that was penned in 1907. You can read more about that here: "Oh, Lord: Ken Levine didn't remove religious lyrics from Bioshock Infinite trailer"

Ken Levine talked to GameSpot about the music he chose and how the recording was made:

I talked to Courtnee (Courtnee Draper) who does the voice of Elizabeth in the game and I asked, "Hey Courtnee, do you sing?" She said, "Oh yeah--I kind of sing." It's interesting because she did all of the work in the movie Tangled, playing the part in the whole preproduction process, before they put Mandy Moore in. I heard her sing and thought we have to find a way to integrate this. So, what I really wanted to do first was a test of how it would feel or how it would feel if Elizabeth were singing. We were in the recording session and it turns out that Troy (Troy Baker)--who plays Booker--was there and he said, "Oh, by the way, I'm a musician. I play guitar." I thought maybe he could just play a few chords, but he ended up in the recording session for a few hours trying out different versions [of the song] and in different keys. He is this amazing musician and she has this incredible voice and I thought, "Wow. I lucked out here."

—Ken Levine, "How Half-Life Influenced BioShock Infinite"

And lastly, a festive holiday photo to tide you through the season:

Irrational christmas

The Irrational Games studio's collected donations for Toys for Tots.

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