BioShock: an exclusive preview

Gamers With Jobs has just posted Julian "rabbit" Murdoch's preview of BioShock, and it weighs in at almost 4,500 words. The folks at Irrational Studios played through the game as Julian watched, and Ken Levine, the game's creative director, answered some of Julian's questions. The preview is full of detail, acute observations, and some great writing. If you're following BioShock, you'll kick yourself for not checking it out.

The preview also discusses the game's RPG elements, and whether these will work well couched inside a game the creators are constantly flagging as an FPS. I guess the developers feel any ambiguity about the genre might dilute its appeal. They're redefining the first-person shooter genre, they tell us - not the whole notion of genre in games. I get the sense that many gamers looking forward to the title were hoping for the latter.

Here's what the preview had to say about BioShock's RPG elements:
"You come up to one of these Little Sisters and you immediately have a choice. And it has immediate gameplay implications," Levine says. And those implications are very real. Kill a splicer? Well a little sister may come along and leech him dry. Exploit a Little Sister? You've chosen a dark path that nets you immediate resources. Protect her? Well, that's a different path, with different rewards, different payback.

Either path has implications for the kinds of battles you will fight, how your character will develop, and how the story will go. Of course, exactly how this plays out is a secret Levine's holding close to the vest until the game launches, and how much you care about these role playing elements depends on both the kind of player you are, and how compelling you find the game's fundamental Little Sister set piece.

And how successful the game is as an RPG is perhaps in conflict with the constant refrain that the game is a shooter. Because no matter what path you take, you're going to have to mow down bad guys to progress through the game.

I don't see how the necessity of "mowing down bad guys" threatens the game's RPG elements. Plenty of great RPGs involve much mowing down of baddies, and we love them for it.

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digg this: | posted by Natasha, 8:25 PM |

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Natasha is a political science student, a gamer, a writer, an armchair philosopher, and a geek. Her first cRPG was Castle of the Winds.

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