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BioShock Infinite interviews

Gardimuer August 29, 2011 User blog:Gardimuer

As announced on the Irrational Games blog, members of the team creating BioShock Infinite (including the voice actors of Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth) attended PAX 2011 and took part in several panels. Ken Levine also revealed some interesting information in interviews. Below are some highlights.

Footage from PAX 2011 Panels

For a link to a full recording of the panel, look here.

Ken Levine explains some changes to the final scene of the E3 demo during development: "The Evolution of a BioShock Infinite Scene, in Two Minutes"

Some footage of the voice-acting process: "BioShock Infinite’s Actors Berated Each Other To The Point Of Tears"

Interviews with Ken Levine

Ken Levine discusses the emergent AI of BioShock Infinite:

As your improvisation partner, Elizabeth is constantly looking for opportunities to do cool stuff. As an AI, not as a person. So she's constantly looking around. That Lincoln Head [she puts on in the E3 demo] for instance; what if you're not there? Well, we put several of those throughout the level. So she's constantly looking for things to do, but as an AI, she has a lot of questions to ask: Is he looking? Is he shooting? Is he paying attention?

And this is not just Elizabeth, this is all the AIs. So we make bespoke content, but in the demo, when one guy runs up and beats the other one up—that's two AIs saying, 'Hey, you wanna do something cool? Why don't I run over there and beat the shit out of you!' Cool, dude!'

I don't think Infinite's innovations in AI are about, you know, 'They're flanking better,' or something like that. It's about finding content for AIs where they interact with each other and with the environment where we don't control the experience.

Of course, that's not taking the player into account. The problem is, good improv actors want to help each other. The player doesn't always want to help the improvisation, so we have to account for them not being the best citizen of the improvisation. That's the player's right, and we have to respect that. It would be great if they were like, 'Yes, I want to make this exactly what Ken Levine intended!' But that's not what they're going to do, that's not their job. Their job is to have fun."

"If the player wants to kneel down and shoot Elizabeth in the butt for ten minutes, we're going to do things where she can do something like say, 'Hey, what are you doing?' There are ways people will be able to break the game, but I find that generally, people want to be good citizens. But that's by far the most complicated thing we're doing in the game, making the thing you saw in the E3 demo a dynamic experience.

—Ken Levine , "Go Ahead And Shoot Elizabeth In Bioshock Infinite. Ken Levine’s Way Ahead Of You"

In an interview with 1Up, Levine also discusses his experience working with the voice actors of BioShock and BioShock Infinite, among other things:

With BioShock, as much as I loved those actors and working with them, I never met them -- I worked with them entirely over the phone. It's been really exciting have them come out. They've been out for two sessions so far, and we're going to do another soon. I spent time with them at E3, and I'm spending time with them today. Because I have to. If we don't, well... we have these characters who are front-and-center, and we're trying to get more emotional dynamism out of their performances than we have before.

—Ken Levine , "PAX: Ken Levine on Making BioShock Infinitely Believable"

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