People Never Shut Up In Bioshock Infinite

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People Never Shut Up In Bioshock Infinite

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BioShock Infinite has three times more dialog in one level than BioShock had in its entire campaign.

This is largely because BioShock features two central protagonists: former Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWiit, and googly-eyed, human hourglass, Elizabeth. They're a talkative pair, judging by the footage we've seen so far. BioShock, on the other hand, had Jack: an angry mime who expressed most of his feelings with a wrench. And a golf club on one occasion.

"When I first came up with these characters Booker and Elizabeth talking to each other and interacting with their world, I didn't consider how much writing that was going to be," explained creative director and writer, Ken Levine. "Just one level of BioShock Infinite writing and the amount of character interaction we have is probably three or four times as much writing as in all of BioShock 1.

"I'm doing the vast bulk of it and it really is... it can get overwhelming. But on the other hand it's a world that I absolutely love to write. Mostly because it's a new challenge. Thinking how these scenes are going to play out, how we keep them interactive and how you communicate the ideas."

Levine also mentioned some of the difficulty involved in telling a compelling story without sacrificing the game's interactive elements - he's not a fan of cutscenes.

"It would be so much easier just to write tonnes of cut scenes - I could tell the story much more easily. But my gut feeling, which probably comes from being forever changed by playing System Shock 1, is to keep the experience going.

"You fight against the suspension of disbelief as soon as you lock a player in place or start moving him along without the player controlling it," he said.

"So you come up with certain rules, like, if there's ever a moment where the player is locked to the ground, there must be some context. We don't just lock a player's feet to the ground. There has to be a reason why they can't move - they're using a machine or something."

Without giving too much away, BioShock had an excellent rationale for taking control away from the player. I imagine Levine will come up with something.

BioShock Infinite arrives on October 19th. Now, would you kindly click that like button?

Source: Eurogamer

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Good to hear, I always liked talking characters rather than mutes. :D

Now if only they'd kept Stephen Russell as the voice for Booker, I'd be REALLY excited.

I just hope that we aren't forced to stop everything we're doing to listen. That's what annoyed me about the audio diaries in the original, having to stay and listen to them in a quiet spot so that the combat didn't drown it out. Felt like too many unnecessary breaks in the flow of the game.

uguito-93:
I just hope that we aren't forced to stop everything we're doing to listen. That's what annoyed me about the audio diaries in the original, having to stay and listen to them in a quiet spot so that the combat didn't drown it out. Felt like too many unnecessary breaks in the flow of the game.

They were entirely optional though.

and it kind of helped the immersion for me as well, since you wouldn't just listen to the audio diaries while killing bastards, you would find a quiet spot to rest and listen, especially considering how quickly that plane ride turned into one hell of an adventure, and without even a wink of sleep to separate it all.

I would listen to Bioshock characters read the Encyclopedia Britanica...

RIP...sweet encyclopedia...

The Rogue Wolf:
Now if only they'd kept Stephen Russell as the voice for Booker, I'd be REALLY excited.

Yeah, why didn't they keep him? When I first heard his voice in the trailer I was so hyped. D:

Grey Carter:

uguito-93:
I just hope that we aren't forced to stop everything we're doing to listen. That's what annoyed me about the audio diaries in the original, having to stay and listen to them in a quiet spot so that the combat didn't drown it out. Felt like too many unnecessary breaks in the flow of the game.

They were entirely optional though.

True, but it in a story driven game like bioshock they were an important part of the experience, at least in my opinion. I'm just hoping that there's no point in infinite where the dialogue starts to get in the way.

It's a good and bad thing, I guess.
It could be great for fleshing out interesting characters. Or it could be a bunch of uninteresting drones talking us to death.

However, I will note that the fact that the original Bioshock did not have much dialogue is not a point against it, because there were, like, five characters and most of the story in the game came from experience rather than exposition.

Thank God.

Cause the whole living in a bubble of pre recorded audio clips got real old real fast. It was not so much you were in a living world, but more like an archeologist searching an ancient tomb. Granted it was a tomb with massive and dangerous rats, but still a tomb devoid of direct contact.

More talking doesn't necessarily mean better but at least it'll be better than learning everything via per-recorded messages.

While Bioshock did it well, the lack of cutscenes can backfire by having un-cutscenes, where you're trapped in an area while people talk at you and the story can't go anywhere until it finishes.
Sure you can jump around and stuff while un-cutscenes happen, but a cutscene would just work better.

I cannot wait for this game.

You know what, if a cutscene is interesting, I absolutely don't mind sitting through one. Plus being able to skip them is a big advantage.

Captcha: crash and burn.

Wow, thanks for that.

Good to hear. I'll be seeing how this game turns out.

Redlin5:
More talking doesn't necessarily mean better but at least it'll be better than learning everything via per-recorded messages.

Cave Johnson here, telling you to never underestimate the power of pre recorded messages! Whether you're making sure the lab boys aren't slacking off, or simply checking in on your mantis men army, pre recorded messages are a life saver. Well, I don't mean that in a literal way... just remember to stay away from moon rocks!

Cave Johnson, we're done here

...

Damn, I had to wrestle that guy away from my computer. Anyway, I'm all for this. I loved the dialogue in Bioshock, so much so that sitting and listening to the audio diaries didn't bother me. I'm looking forward to Infinite more and more each day.

Osaka117:

Redlin5:
More talking doesn't necessarily mean better but at least it'll be better than learning everything via per-recorded messages.

Cave Johnson here, telling you to never underestimate the power of pre recorded messages! Whether you're making sure the lab boys aren't slacking off, or simply checking in on your mantis men army, pre recorded messages are a life saver. Well, I don't mean that in a literal way... just remember to stay away from moon rocks!

Cave Johnson, we're done here

...

Damn, I had to wrestle that guy away from my computer. Anyway, I'm all for this. I loved the dialogue in Bioshock, so much so that sitting and listening to the audio diaries didn't bother me. I'm looking forward to Infinite more and more each day.

Kudos to you, you made me laugh on a grumpy Tuesday morning!

OT: I guess its time to sit down and play Bioshock 1 & 2. I've heard so much about them...

I tried Bioshock before.. got up to the bit where you get the flame hands thing, then I just quit. I am not very good with horror, Bioshock isn't exactly horror so you can put it down to the well executed environment.

This could be a brilliant step forward or the bane of the game depending on how this is executed.
However, I must add that I had a lot more fun with Bioshock 2 when I played through the second time, except giving Delta a personality. He was some bizzare chimera of Andy Griffith and the generic white supremacist, except instead of being a white supremacist, he was a Big Daddy supremacist.
It actually got to the point where I sounded like freaking SHODAN, going on about "The pathetic limitations of flesh" and whatnot.
See this is what's amusing about Silent Protagonists. You can do goofy crap like this.

In the sense of Infinite being set in a living city, I can perfectly understand the conversations, as long as previously said, it doesn't interrupt the flow of the game. In the first Bioshock I liked silent Jack. It made me feel as though I was isolated in this underwater nightmare where for the most part to speak could have meant a crafty blade in the spine from a splicer. Ditto Bioshock 2, you are the original Rapture badass, why would you want to stop and have a conversation with the majority of the characters

Dfskelleton:
This could be a brilliant step forward or the bane of the game depending on how this is executed.
However, I must add that I had a lot more fun with Bioshock 2 when I played through the second time, except giving Delta a personality. He was some bizzare chimera of Andy Griffith and the generic white supremacist, except instead of being a white supremacist, he was a Big Daddy supremacist.
It actually got to the point where I sounded like freaking SHODAN, going on about "The pathetic limitations of flesh" and whatnot.
See this is what's amusing about Silent Protagonists. You can do goofy crap like this.

I assume you watch Freeman's Mind?

I love silent protagonists, but at the same time I'm too meta to come up with a proper personality for anyone of my characters. I tried playing my Dark Souls character as a merciless Darkwraith bastard and still faltered when I found Quelaag's Sister.

Plus, it gets strained at times. Artyom from Metro 2033 only speaks on loading screens, despite the opportunities for conversation in the gameplay. And Nathan Hale from Resistance spoke too much to be silent, but too little to be a real characterised character.

Grey Carter:
BioShock Infinite arrives on October 19th. Now, would you kindly click that like button?

Source: Eurogamer

Damnit, I actually clicked the button before I realized... this conditioning is hard to break.

Ninjat_126:

I love silent protagonists, but at the same time I'm too meta to come up with a proper personality for anyone of my characters. I tried playing my Dark Souls character as a merciless Darkwraith bastard and still faltered when I found Quelaag's Sister.

Plus, it gets strained at times. Artyom from Metro 2033 only speaks on loading screens, despite the opportunities for conversation in the gameplay. And Nathan Hale from Resistance spoke too much to be silent, but too little to be a real characterised character.

To be fair to Artyom, I take it more as he just chooses not to speak. He seems a fairly introverted character even before the main plot-line of events in the game. I imagine the events of the game don't really tend themselves to much more of that, all things considered. Although technically he does say a word outside the narration. It's just a well-timed curse as a train-cart-dealy comes crashin' down on him. It counts!

As for the actual topic, I'll be keepin' my eye on this deal. Conversation would make sense between these two characters, but let's just hope it isn't a lot of boring dronin' about and more entertainin' then such! But I'll hold faith for now, since nothin' says it won't be terrible yet.

I don't know why, but I don't think I'll like it as much... Maybe I just didn't care much for the dialogue and I felt the audio logs had enough for me. I guess I can't judge off what I see now, but I can't say I'm sold.

For the record, that thing with the gold club wasn't exactly expression of feelings, at least not in my opinion.

God......DAMNIT Elizabeth's got a nice rack!

:P Sorry, it's tradition at this point.

As for the topic at hand, I really am looking forward to this game. I've been a big fan of the BS series....ahem, Bioshock (perhaps it's better not to use the abbreviation >.>). Anyways, been a big fan of the series since the first game, I love a good FPS that has a good story to go along with it, and even with the apparently limited writing on the first two games I think they both did very well in telling their stories. More talkative characters and interactions? Yes please. That's one of the things I loved most about Mass Effect 3: the conversations you'd walk in on went entering a squadmate's room. Be it Garrus and James sharing war stories or Tali getting wasted in the ship's lounge or Liara failing at piercing through Javik's cold-hearted shell.

I'm definitely big on character interaction, so more writing = good in my book.

Really I'm wondering how (if at all) they intend to tie in this game's super-city to Rapture and the events of the previous two games. As I recall, isn't Columbia supposed to have been built BEFORE Rapture? If so, wouldn't Ryan have known about its existence? :3 just saying one would think there was an audio journal of Ryan talking about the city in the sky.

Quazimofo:
and it kind of helped the immersion for me as well, since you wouldn't just listen to the audio diaries while killing bastards, you would find a quiet spot to rest and listen, especially considering how quickly that plane ride turned into one hell of an adventure, and without even a wink of sleep to separate it all.

This is basically it. Good storytelling is greatly aided by pacing. Games need a a pause every now and then, to let a player breath and gain momentum to step into something more intense again. This is precisely why some action-oriented blockbusters that keep throwing stuff at you relentlessly actually get boring after a while. It sounds like an oxymoron, but if you're always in the fray, it ceases to impress and the impact and emotional connection is lost. If you keep things going like a rollercoaster, it's easier to keep it interesting. This is essential why people regard Valve as good storytellers, specially within the spectrum of FPS's.

Now, obviously there is some personal variation to how much action and pause each person likes, but that's why non-action sequences are mostly optional or don't require you to spend too much time on them, you choose your pacing at your leisure. Which is vastly different from strapping you on rails for a set amount of time, like Levine mentioned.

Anyway, i for one welcome this, and trust Levine to keep it interesting, he's a smart guy with good gut feelings about game design :)

snarky title aside, more dialogue isnt automatically better. bioshock didnt have much dialogue, but that made every line spoken all the more dramatic and memorable (who doesnt still have nightmares of all the creepy stuff splicers say?). it was well organized into pithy witticisms from ryan, ominous threats from the local boss, and gibbering madness from the mooks.

bringing that snarky title back from the side, too much dialogue can make you feel like saying "would you(kindly) shut up already?!" its obvious they want to do the PoP: Sands of Time thing; you and your sidekick developing a relationship through dialogue the whole game that flows nicely alongside the gameplay and helps to pace the action. hopefully they can pull it off and not end up like the PoP reboot where the two characters just pointlessly snarked at each other for 5 hours.

Farther than stars:
For the record, that thing with the gold club wasn't exactly expression of feelings, at least not in my opinion.

I get the feeling that the whole "Golf Club" scene with Andrew Ryan has become to the Bioshock series as anything James Sunderland did in Silent Hill 2 is to the Silent Hill series, I.E. constantly referenced jokingly.

I was afraid of this. I'm a big fan of "less is more" when it comes to dialogue, and I'd rather have 1 hour of expertly crafted monologues than 10 hours of Oblivion npc banter. But then again, I'll have a wait and see-attitude.

As long as it's well paced it should be a good idea. Too many stories have been ruined by bad pacing.

Really if you want an example of godawful pacing, just look at Black Ops. Or better yet play Black ops for 2 hours then tell me you don't feel sick of it. The story would have been slightly good for once! But no... Just no.

On the opposite side of the pacing spectrum we have Scratches, a point and click "horror" game that forgets to even hint at anything that could remotely hurt you until at least the halfway point. Instead we have a creepy house to walk around solving ridiculously obtuse puzzles. Oh shit i'm really scared now!

If Bioware Bioshock gives you too many sections going all "look at Lizzy, isn't she awesome!?" It's not gonna be that good. Don't know this Levine guy much though, has he done anything good?

This is one of the few games I will allow myself to hype over, as I was not even dissapointed by Bioshock 2 and could not figure out its hate. Minerva's den equaled to one of my favorite moments ever in gaming, I am pretty excited about this game and it will be a day one purchase for me.

This can only be a good thing. I remember when I finally got the original BioShock and made it past the section that was in the demo, I was disappointed by how samey all the splicers' lines were. The first section incorporated a few distinct splicers with their own little mini-scenes (Brenda, Charlie, the lady with the baby carriage), plus the characters in that cut scene after you first inject yourself with Electrobolt. But pretty much all of the enemies after that were clones with the same five models and voice actors. Heck, even BioShock 2 incorporated a handful of scripted scenes between some of the splicers with unique lines, even if they were still using the stock models and voices for them.

Of course, now, after playing Fallout 3 some, I realize just how much better BioShock would have been with even more friendly-NPC interation (and if it had been a straight-up RPG shooter like its predecessors, but that's another story). There's no real reason that Rapture had to have been completely devoid of human life besides splicers and a handful of NPCs you never get to talk to except that it was easier to make that way.

The Wykydtron:

Don't know this Levine guy much though, has he done anything good?

Worked on the legendary Looking Glass Studios, namely doing the original design for Thief, went on to start Irrational with 2 other Looking Glass ex-employees, and in that role, was the lead designer and writer of System Shock 2 and, of course, Bioshock (and no, wasn't directly involved in Bioshock 2). And he's one of those few designers that is actually a joy to hear on a keynote or interview, you can tell he gets it.

Assuming I won't be distracted by 'em curves...

As long as the dialogue is actually intersting, I'm all for it. I pray that it won't be an overkill of words that hold little value.

Still, it's BioShock, I'm confident it will turn out great.

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