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The Shock That Almost Wasn't

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-proves-the-dumbness dept.


According to a senior designer on the 2K Boston (formerly Irrational) game Bioshock a number of publishers turned them down when the company brought the title to their doorstep. "Ken (Levine) spent years pitching the game to publishers but no one was interested, incredible as that seems now. I joined Irrational in December 2004 and my first job was to get a publishing deal for the game (I worked as the Business Development Director for the first six months). I remember pitching the game to one publisher who later told a friend of mine that it was 'just another f-ing PC FPS that's going to sell 250,000 units." Just in case you didn't catch it over the weekend, there's a demo for the game up on Xbox Live. PC owners hold tight: a PC demo is coming, and hopefully before the game launches on the 21st.

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Vindicated already? (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20217565)

It seems a little early to be counting your chickens given that they are all still eggs. It's not like there have never been highly anticipated games that were a complete letdown before.

Re:Vindicated already? (4, Funny)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 7 years ago | (#20217641)

But those games tend to sell pretty good too. The hype around this game will make sure it sells more than 250k copies, even if the buyers found that their boxes were empty, heh.

Re:Vindicated already? (3, Interesting)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 7 years ago | (#20217695)

Exactly, it's not so much that Bioshock is the "BEST GAME EVAR!!!", but rather that it's already doing quite well in preorders and looks to be one of the heavy hitters of 2007. Will it beat out Halo 3? Probably not. Will it sell a lot more than 250K copies? Yes.

Re:Vindicated already? (2, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20224445)

Really? I've never heard of Bioshock before.

Re:Vindicated already? (2, Interesting)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218689)

I just ran through the demo a couple of times and I can tell you that the game will only sell less than 250k copies if the marketing plan is utter trash, because the game itself is excellent. It has this weird atmosphere that's an amalgum of the '50s and Blade Runner, almost. It's totally weird. And there are these people with bunny ears chasing you around and stuff. I mean, c'mon! How can you not love that? It doesn't even matter how good the graphics are because what really counts in this game is the tight controls and the weird-ass underwater city you're running around in. You'll see what I'm talking about if you play it. It's well worth it. I'll be buying it for sure.

Re:Vindicated already? (3, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221979)

The demo convinced me. I had been intending to avoid the game as "another hyped FPS," but the game shows both a strong edge of story telling, and a shockingly strong artistic vision. It almost feels like a cross between myst, and Half Life 2, but adding in elements of a hellish children's book. Also, since it isn't intended to be a multiplayer game or a multiplayer platform, they can get away with weapons and scripting that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Truly an experience.

Re:Vindicated already? (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20226949)

Well, it's by Irrational. Of course it's going to be an awesome game. Those of us who played System Shock and System Shock 2 knew this the day it was announced.

Re:Vindicated already? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295437)

[T]he game shows a strong edge of story telling, and a shockingly strong artistic vision.... [with] elements of a hellish children's book.

This is I think what's interesting me the most. I really enjoyed games like American McGee's Alice, Deus Ex, and other games with a story which diverges from current normalcy in ways which permeate the entire game experience.

When I first heard about Bioshock, I wasn't all that impressed. Underwater world, looks all 1940's styled, and ... what the heck is with that "Big Brother" that looks like a cross between a diving suit and a tired plumber?? I still see similar artistic quirks, and I worry that the crazy nurses will become like the staple enemy spawns (like the card guards in Alice ;)) or the ubiquitous MJ12 enemies in Deus Ex.

However, now that I've seen lots of developer videos and previews, that doesn't bother me as much. The moral choices (harvesting little sisters, or setting them free, etc), and the interesting "magic" (plasmids) that are available looks like it will be really cool. Ultimately, I think I may be playing on a rail, or at least a wide path (as opposed to DX's more free-form levels), but I could very well be wrong. I am expecting to geek out on the interplay of plasmids vs weapons, and getting their interactions right. (-:

So ... yeah. Fractured fairy tales are some of my favourite things, as they take something familiar, and then give it a twist of the unexpected.

Re:Vindicated already? (2, Funny)

bvimo (780026) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222411)

... people with bunny ears chasing you around and stuff. How about ponies? If it has ponies, I'll buy it.

Reminds me of another game.. (4, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#20217687)

So which guy from the dev team is going to make us his bitch this time?

Re:Reminds me of another game.. (3, Informative)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20217957)

I AM!!!

it's just another f**king FPS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20217725)

Thats gonna sell 250,000 units. It might drop to 200k units, because they were stupid enough to release a demo reminding everyone that it's /yawn worthy. However, their other forms of marketing seem okay, the style fits the "trying-to-be-cool" FPS genre, and might push them back up to 250.

It's not me that's flamebait, it's the game! I Shwear!

Re:it's just another f**king FPS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20217961)

I'm not sure why anyone would want to play the game on the weak 360 hardware and the crappy controller. The only place to play the game is of course on a pc. And most people will just warez the game.

They have done a good job of generating hype for an otherwise average fps.

Re:it's just another f**king FPS (5, Funny)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218075)

okay, who had 7? who bet on 7? 7 posts before someone attempted to turn this topic into a PC vs. Xbox360 fanboy flame ware. If you had seven, come on down and claim your prize.

Re:it's just another f**king FPS (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218319)

Don't make fun of the people who conflate their self-worth with how they play their little video-games. It's mean.

Re:it's just another f**king FPS (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221207)

Dude, my mod points apparently JUST expired! But, yeah... Here's an honorary *+1 Funny* or maybe *+1 Insightful* for ya.

Mediocre Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20217907)

Perhaps the demo isn't a good indication of the final game but so far the game is very average. I think there are people who are really trying to hard to pretend like this game is something special.

You usually get these types of overreactions when a game is exclusive to just one platform as fans of that system want to spread as much hype as possible, but BioShock is coming to the 360, PC, and the PS3. Perhaps there are still people who think it is exclusive to just the 360?

Re:Mediocre Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218333)

It's not coming out for the PS3. Where'd you get that misinformation?

Re:Mediocre Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218377)


Don't cry fanboy, the game is coming to the PS3, PC, and 360. No Wii version, of course.

Although PS3 owners won't get it until after Christmas.

It's 360 and PC exclusive. (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223857)


Last I heard, it was exclusive to 360 and PC. Which pisses me off, because I have a PS3 and no Windows PC.

Re:It's 360 and PC exclusive. (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#20293737)

Pretty sure that it's just a wishful thinking from a PS3 fanboy. A quick search on IGN shows nothing for the PS3. []

I like it so far (3, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218129)

Wonder how many of the mediocre comments are ps3 fanboys?? I just finished the demo, the atmosphere is awesome, good lighting effects, fantastic water effects, yep its a FPS but it looks to have a decent enough story and different enough setting to make it well worth while. Its really creepy, kind of like when I played F.E.A.R. the first time, the setting's 1950's look with the radio playing constantly gives it a weird haunting feel even when nothing is happening. Irrational has never let me down before (loved Freedom Force)so im looking forward to the full game.

Re:I like it so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218171)

"Wonder how many of the mediocre comments are ps3 fanboys??"

Uh, why would PS3 owners troll a game that is coming to their system? People are having the natural reaction to a game that is getting over-hyped.

Re:I like it so far (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219239)

Wrong. It's not. See here: for-ps3-250434.php [] -revelations-bioshock-coming-to-ps3-eventually/ []

And even their own goddamn site:

Welcome to the BioShock site. Check out the new screenshots in addition to the environment of Rapture in the Enter Rapture portion of the site. Stay tuned for updates including weapons and plasmids, as well as all the latest information on BioShock.
" []

The only info I could find that it was coming to PS3 was some unofficial quotes from Official Playstation Mag, which although wasn't officially withdrawn by OPM, was, in no uncertain terms, denied by 2k Games.

Re:I like it so far (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222021)

Actually, all the denials I could find didn't come out and definitively say it wasn't coming out soon. Instead they were all along the lines of "We are fully concentrating on the Xbox 360 and PC versions". If you can find a straight absolute denial I would be interested.

Re:I like it so far (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219475)

This was in the last issue of Gamepro its the entire basis of the BioShock is definately coming to the PS3 fanboy mantra thats been going on for a couple weeks....

GP: Also, another comment you might not be too open to talking about, but will we be seeing or hearing anything about Bioshock on the PS3 down the road?

LEVINE: Right now we're totally focused on making the game for Xbox 360. Microsoft has been a great partner, we love the platform, and we get to make a PC game as well. That's great because we come from the PC side, but right now we're focused on getting the game out the door on the platform that we're on and that we love.

Thats it...I guess its open ended enough to leave a glimmer of hope for ps3 fans but geez...that response was so generic that NGage fans (are there any?) could declare it was going there too.

Re:I like it so far (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218663)

> Irrational has never let me down before

Well, there's Tribes:Vengeance. And as a nifty tie-in to another article, SWAT 4 was one of the first games with in-game advertisement. Won a few dubious "honors" from reviewing magazines for that.

But overall, yeah, their stuff is good. In fact, 2K in general is nurturing their acquisitions well, in stark contrast to That Other Big Game Publisher.

Re:I like it so far (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218901)

Unless you take the term literally, Bioshock doesn't really qualify as an FPS. Half-Life 2 is an FPS. System Shock, Deus Ex, VTM: Bloodlines, Bioshock, even Oblivion may *look* like FPSes, but they're something else entirely. They represent different degrees of RPG/shooter hybrids. People aren't looking forward to Bioshock because of the pretty graphics.

Re:I like it so far (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219503)

Thats true but detractors will say its a FPS regardless. I'm a story driven gamer, give me a good story and I dont care if its 3rd person twice removed I'll play it. The story for this one seems different enough to get me into it, but then I was one a handful that absolutely loved Prey for the same reason, it was just twistedly different.

Re:I like it so far (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20220205)

I'm with you in general (and having just finished the demo) Bioshock seems to been deeper than your average FPS, but it struck me as being far more shallow than system shock, deus ex. It looks and felt like an FPS that has fairly flexible AI in the sense that you can turn enemies against each other in a myriad of ways. I was particularly disappointed in the 'hacking' minigame: its PipeDream! Kinda takes you out of the immersion when you go and hack a security bot and it feels like you accidentally logged into the casual games section on yahoo by accident.

And Oblivion?? Why not go all the way and point out Myst wasn't an FPS despite being in first person. ;)

Re:I like it so far (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222013)

How about, FPRPG? First person role-playing game?

Why am I supposed to care about this game again? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218195)

I keep seeing posts about this game on slashdot, usually pointing to articles stating what a great achievement this game is, regardless of the fact that it has yet to be released or reviewed. On top of that, there doesn't seem to be anything about it that's all that new or interesting. It sounds just like the the description, 'another f-ing FPS'.

So please tell me, why does this game get so much attention?

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (1)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218257)

The game has the hopes and dreams of the thousands of gamer geeks who played System Shock and System Shock 2 pinned on it. It's a "spiritual successor" to those games which did a lot to advance the genre beyond "run and gun." --G

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218279)

> So please tell me, why does this game get so much attention?

Because there are still huge numbers of 360 owners who think it is an exclusive to their platform and outside of Halo there isn't really anything else to hype on the system.

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20220929)

Nothing else? Really? No Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, GTA IV or all the older 360 games?

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222543)

what is there to hype about older games?

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222615)

If you're buying a 360 then why shouldn't you play the older games?

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218291)

Well, it was made by the same people that did System Shock...if as a gamer you had the privilege of shitting your pants from playing it, you would understand why people are so excited about Bioshock.

E/N: Dear GBS (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#20229027)

So there I was playing System Shock with my roommate (let's call him Kevin, because that's his name) when all of a sudden I felt a sickly feeling in my pants...

Re:E/N: Dear GBS (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20229105)

That's called a Herpes.

Re:Why am I supposed to care about this game again (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218473)

It's the link to System Shock, which, like Deus Ex, became a cult classic because it incorporated a good story. If the story in Bio Shock is as good as System Shock's, it'll be a game worth playing.

Regarding the Xbox demo (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218223)

Does anyone have a link to a site with reviews/opinions about the demo? Even though I'm more interested in the PC version I'd still like to know how people felt regarding the content.

Re:Regarding the Xbox demo (1)

RamblinLonghorn (1074873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218285)

Ben Kuchera over at ARS Technica gave a very positive review here []

I played through it last night also... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218855)

... and I don't want to give anything away, but Ars is pretty much on the money. The atmosphere the game creates is just outstanding, within five minutes I was getting rather nervous and contemplating turning the lights back on.

There's a tonne of great touches, fantastic audio work and really slick visual effects. So it's another first person shooter, but it really does stand head and shoulders above any other single player game I've got my hands on since Half Life 2.

Can't wait for the PC demo to see how my hardware handles it.

Too bad it's an FPS (0, Offtopic)

efyoo (1033962) | more than 7 years ago | (#20218411)

I wish I could play FPS's but I get motion sickness from them after about 10 min. I've heard higher frame rates can fix this problem, but I haven't had any luck with higher frame rates (roughly 35-45 fps). Does anyone else have tips on how to avoid motion sickness when playing first person shooters?

Re:Too bad it's an FPS (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219001)

One thing that I've found is that the camera field of view makes a huge difference in whether I get motion sickness or not. A game programmer can set the "camera" to have a wide or narrow field of view, just like changing an actual camera lens. If the field of view approximates what you're used to, it removes one contributing factor to motion sickness. However, some programmers like to give their cameras a wider field of view, which increases your peripheral vision (Thief I and II and System Shock 2 both had a touch of this going, which is why I can only play them in limited doses). This is particularly apparent when turning, since objects on the periphery appear to move toward the center much faster than objects that are near the center move across the center (uneven optic flow).

Another factor is the closeness of the camera to walls, floors, and ceilings. If you're moving along really close to the ground, for example, the optic flow (the apparent motion of objects or patterns in your field of view) is increased, and that can contribute to motion sickness if the effect is not what you're used to in real life.

Also, any sort of gratuitous bobbing motion is a great way to induce motion sickness. Descent was a chief perpetrator of this back in the day.

If you want a good example of all of this stuff combined, try EverQuest. Get a levitate for your gnome character (low to the ground, while levitate induces a bobbing motion), get your character drunk (induces a weaving motion when going forward and greatly increases your camera's view angle), and move forward while turning. About ten seconds of that is enough to send me to the couch for a long rest.

As for trying to reduce motion sickness, here are some suggestions: Play in a well-lit room, and don't sit right up at the screen. This provides a stationary background to match your stationary inner ear. Turn off any sort of camera bob options, if possible. Don't watch other people play - their unexpected motions can have a detrimental effect. And finally, you might have luck playing in shorter doses.

Personally, I've found that a really high frame rate makes my motion sickness worse, but that may be because I'm used to playing games with a slower frame rate (15-20 fps).

not that this happens much anymore... (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#20224509)

Remember when Quake came out? Sure you do. It wasn't too long after Duke 3D, and Shadow Warrior came out not too long after.

Well, after playing a healthy dose of Quake, I found myself completely unable to go back to sprite-based FPSes. Watching the sprites shift as I strafed around an enemy made me physically ill.

So, thanks, id software! You quite literally ruined me for older-generation FPS games.

Re:Field of view (1)

moloko_synthemesc (961937) | more than 7 years ago | (#20228243)

I've noticed this field of view problem with console first-person games dating back to the N64. I call it a problem because the limited field of view always feels artificially restrictive, almost two-dimensional (or "mono"), compared to the more realistic FOV usually encountered with PC games. Basically it's a very slight fish-eye effect, which effectively recreates how we actually view our world. It's not something that a wide aspect screen would alleviate (to simulate peripheral vision), because it's still "flat". Some amount of distortion is required.

Fortunately, I've never experienced any sort of motion sickness/dizziness from a game that wasn't attributable to me intentionally altering my brain chemistry. I'd recommend trying Dramamine or something similar. It seems to work pretty well for some people I know who get car or boat-sick.

Re:Too bad it's an FPS (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219037)

By higher frame rates I'd take a look more along the lines of 60~120 fps. When a new game like Bioshock comes out getting that kinda frame rate will mean an expensive rig, but for the time being try older games you can get these high frame rates on to see if you still feel sick. Don't forget your monitor's refresh rate could be a bottleneck. Other then that, just don't sit too close to the monitor, I've found the distance can help some. I remember first game I got motion sickness on, Descent 2: Vertigo - the name was appropriate enough.

Re:Too bad it's an FPS (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221081)

I remember first game I got motion sickness on, Descent 2: Vertigo - the name was appropriate enough.

I've heard a lot of people complain about motion sickness with the Descent games. I played through both without a problem. The only time I've gotten sick from a game was the "crashing spaceship" level in Jedi Knight. With Descent, I just played knowing that there is no "up" or "down". In the JK level, there is, but it keeps changing.

I didn't quite get sick enough to hurl, but it was close.

Re:Too bad it's an FPS (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 7 years ago | (#20266153)

my first experience with mouselook, [quake i think it was] was enough to make me dizzy and nauseous.

i havent had any problems that bad since, but i found that playing games with an inverted Y-axis control was what does it in my case. i was used to doom at the time and not really used to using the mouse for movement. my mind would assume that moving the mouse upwards would move the screen forward, when it only moved my vision. with the Y-axis inverted, things are even worse since you look down when i was expecting to look up.

quake being light years faster than doom certainly didnt help back then either.

Re:Too bad it's an FPS (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#20220961)

I was all excited about getting a nice projector for home.

I got it, set it up, and hooked up my Xbox for Gears of War.

I got so sick I had to take the projector back. Now I play on a 32" tv from about 7 feet back, and anything larger than that makes me feel like crap.

2K Boston? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218501)

You mean 2K Games, right? Because that A) exists and B) isn't located in Boston.

Not to mention that the BioShock website [] makes no mention of any "2K Boston".

Honestly, why would a game studio be in Boston? Boston isn't exactly known for technology of any sort.

Re:2K Boston? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20218705)

Read and be enlightened. [] 2K Boston both A) exists and B) is located in Boston. We might also add into evidence that you're A) an asshat, who should B) do some research before typing, or maybe just C) shut the fuck up.

Honestly, is it so fucking hard to type "irrational 2k boston" into Google?

Re:2K Boston? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221445)

Honestly, is it so fucking hard to type "irrational 2k boston" into Google?
I Yahoo! you insensitive clod!

Re:2K Boston? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221089)

Boston isn't exactly known for technology of any sort.

Right, because M.I.T. is in Cambridge not Boston.

Free 60-page BioShock art book just released (3, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#20219097)

I was just skimming Kotaku [] , and it looks like the developers just released a free 60-page art book today. There's plenty of horrifically beautiful goodness inside, although (as one might expect) also some spoilers: []

Way back when I was creating the BioShock Limited Edition, I took a poll for what you guys wanted to see in the box. And while we managed to put your top 3 choices in - the Making of DVD, Sountrack CD, and Big Daddy Figurine, we just couldn't manage a BioShock artbook.

But with a game as beautiful as BioShock, that just didn't sit right with me. Because everyone should be able to experience the beauty of BioShock, see the concept art and visualize the evolution of building such a revolutionary game.

So, with the help of the BioShock team and an amazing art designer, I put together a BioShock artbook for everyone to download. Here it is, in all its glory, in two PDF versions: a smaller, ebook download, and a more hi-resolution version that you can take to your local printshop and bind.

The one thing I'd recommend is skipping over Ken's foreword until after you've played the game, as it holds some spoilers you might want to keep secret your first playthrough is complete.

Other than that, and without further ado, I present to you BioShock: Breaking the Mold.
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