Ken Levine on BioShock Infinite's Bro-Tastic Cover Art

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I've said before in another thread about the box art and I'll say it again: even if the image is horribly generic, if it's what works then that's what they'll use. I can't really blame them for resorting to the lone hero image since that's what's popular right now.

Got to love the industry defense force, so bloody blind they can't even except facts directly from the devs... I guess it's easier to keep the flamewars burning that way.

But really this is about the same as how Bioshock 1 made it's mark, their entire marketing was about the graphics, they would talk about nothing other then graphics on all their outings because at the time that was the big cheese to sell.
Kept me away for years but numpties were buying it up like mad, so yes it does work, sadly this is the optimal way to make money and quality.

BreakfastMan:

Sylveria:
As much as I want to condemn this decision... I can't. There's been more than a few times that the cover of a game has caught my eye because it was relevent to my interests and caused me to look at it. Conversely, as someone who couldn't be less interested in dude-bro shooters, this cover wouldn't warrant a second glance, let alone a closer inspection. But, this industry is ruled by the whims of the dude-bros, sadly. I miss the days when gaming was just for the nerds and artistic integrity wasn't so readily sacrificed to bring in "the main-stream."

Wait, then what was the Mass Effect 3 controversy, what with all of it's talk of "artistic integrity", about? I am so confused...

OT: I can see the logic behind what he says, but it is a damn shame we didn't get something more interesting nonetheless. Ah well, here's hoping the game is as good as it is being hyped to be! :D

ME3 wasn't artistic integrity and every-one knows it. It's well documented that the ending of ME3 was scrawled on the back of a napkin by one guy over a weekend who ignored all out-side input then dumped it on the dev team last minute. Them crying "Artistic integrity" was a way to justify their lazy ending without admitting their massive failure.

You know what anyone getting their panties in a twist over this, needs to re-evaluate what makes a game good. Is it the cover art? Of course not. This is the second thread I've seen on here about this. Unless the content of the game has changed, who fucking cares if it's got Stubble-Chin-Shotgunwielder on the cover. It could be a picture of puppy dogs, as long as the core of everything I've read about this game hasn't changed.

The more I look at it, the more I think of this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5iTpleCndo

On second thought, a Evil Dead / Bioshock crossover would be awesome! Why is that not being made?

Jonny49:

Sylveria:
As much as I want to condemn this decision... I can't. There's been more than a few times that the cover of a game has caught my eye because it was relevent to my interests and caused me to look at it. Conversely, as someone who couldn't be less interested in dude-bro shooters, this cover wouldn't warrant a second glance, let alone a closer inspection. But, this industry is ruled by the whims of the dude-bros, sadly. I miss the days when gaming was just for the nerds and artistic integrity wasn't so readily sacrificed to bring in "the main-stream."

While I'm not a fan of the box-art, what's wrong with wanting more people to play your game? He wants more people to play Bioshock, people who might have otherwise turned it down. Granted, I'm not sure how big an influence box-art has on sales numbers, but isn't it better to risk the integrity of the box-art than the integrity of the game itself?

On it's face? Nothing. If there was a choice between turning Bio-shock in to Halo 5 or putting on a box-cover specifically engineered to entice the dumbest, drunkest, side-ways-hat-wearing, frat bros, I think we'd all rather have the box cover. But, I think this is going to backfire. If they go in thinking this is going to be some 'Merica romp over corpses of the brown-race-du-jour, they're going to be disappointed and likely start review-bombing cause they were miss-lead. Or, even worse, they buy it and then start bitching that it needs competitive multi-player.

I can't understand why people would care about what the box art looks like. Much less rage about it. What matters is the game.

BrionJames:
You know what anyone getting their panties in a twist over this, needs to re-evaluate what makes a game good. Is it the cover art? Of course not. This is the second thread I've seen on here about this. Unless the content of the game has changed, who fucking cares if it's got Stubble-Chin-Shotgunwielder on the cover. It could be a picture of puppy dogs, as long as the core of everything I've read about this game hasn't changed.

CardinalPiggles:
I can't understand why people would care about what the box art looks like. Much less rage about it. What matters is the game.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If you can't figure out what I mean, then this cover was made for you.

Grey Carter:

He did mention that 2K will be providing alternate covers that gamers can print off themselves. If you're a fan of beautiful cover art in general, I strongly suggest you get yourself some glossy paper and check out this NeoGaf thread.

Why not do what Resistance 3 did? People complained about all of the logos, and just wanted the image. They made the cover double sided and you could just turn it inside out, and have just the image, no logos except the developer's logo.

People actually still buy games based on (just) box art?

If you are going into a store to pick up a rental copy (game or movie), I could understand you just take a look at whatever the store currently has. But actually buying a game based on just box art? No...

"Bro-tastic"?
"Bro-Gamers"?

What the fuck do those terms even mean? And the box art? It's fine, no more generic than Bioshock 1 with its "IMMA PUNCH YOU!" Big Daddy. People really just like moaning about things nowadays don't they?

4RM3D:
People actually still buy games based on (just) box art?

If you are going into a store to pick up a rental copy (game or movie), I could understand you just take a look at whatever the store currently has. But actually buying a game based on just box art? No...

Rentals and second-hand sales are quite lucrative for game developers, even if they don't like to admit it.

CardinalPiggles:
I can't understand why people would care about what the box art looks like. Much less rage about it. What matters is the game.

It tells you what the game's about.

And honestly, I think this cover works, especially with the Steampunk aesthetic. I'm getting really sick of the "Dudebro" bashing in this thread. I'm willing to bet there are a lot of even hardcore gamers that have passed on a title they know nothing about because the box-art didn't catch their attention.

Box art alone is not enough to sell a game, but for the VAST majority of games, it's the strongest advertising point. The overproliferation of advertisements in our society has caused consumers to outright ignore and reject them out-of-hand without another source backing them up.

Sylveria:

BrionJames:
You know what anyone getting their panties in a twist over this, needs to re-evaluate what makes a game good. Is it the cover art? Of course not. This is the second thread I've seen on here about this. Unless the content of the game has changed, who fucking cares if it's got Stubble-Chin-Shotgunwielder on the cover. It could be a picture of puppy dogs, as long as the core of everything I've read about this game hasn't changed.

CardinalPiggles:
I can't understand why people would care about what the box art looks like. Much less rage about it. What matters is the game.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If you can't figure out what I mean, then this cover was made for you.

I read your post and I know exactly what you mean. I too grew up with video games, where it was just a niche thing. You can thank greed for inviting in the uninitiated. Video games (as are movies) are a business first and an art form second. Publishers will always do whatever they think will net them more profits, thus, you will continue to see video games go down this road towards mass appeal. Sure, there will still be good games out there, but your going to have to accept the fact that the lowest common denominator determine how things are marketed and, unfortunately, what content there will be. This is why things like Kickstarter are so exciting, because it gives developers who want to do something outside the box, the opportunity to appeal to people like us, to help fund it. Until then get off your high horse and go complain about something important.

Porecomesis:
Is it not simply possible to do both? I mean, the original Bioshock's cover was interesting enough to attract such a large audience and make Bioshock Infinite possible in the first place. The original Bioshock's cover managed to convey what you were in for if you bought the game.

Also, is it just me or are devs beginning to use that "we need to be successful" reason as an excuse to slack off in the art department? It's a perfectly valid reason, don't get me wrong, but there's no reason why you can't make something appealing to the masses and artistic at the same time.

image

yeah, no

I think the most troubling thing about this article is the fact that game developers are now starting to define the "mainstream" as an offensive stereotype. Why in the world would you market to such a niche audience in an age where video games are becoming a cultural standard? Do we really want to feel as though games are being targeted at the lowest common denominator?

And yes, box art is important to a game in the sense of aesthetics. A game can still be good without the art, but if the box art conveys something that resonates with the themes and visual motifs of the product, the experience as a whole benefits.

Call me ignorant but i don't care for a games cover at all. I mean, it's not like i frame them and hang them on my wall.

Scow2:
Rentals and second-hand sales are quite lucrative for game developers, even if they don't like to admit it.

It is? Don't publishers hate second-hand sales because of the loss of profit? Minus DLCs, maybe.

Sylveria:
As much as I want to condemn this decision... I can't. There's been more than a few times that the cover of a game has caught my eye because it was relevent to my interests and caused me to look at it. Conversely, as someone who couldn't be less interested in dude-bro shooters, this cover wouldn't warrant a second glance, let alone a closer inspection. But, this industry is ruled by the whims of the dude-bros, sadly. I miss the days when gaming was just for the nerds and artistic integrity wasn't so readily sacrificed to bring in "the main-stream."

That's the thing. This cover is the opposite of that. This looks so thoroughly generic it's off-putting. It looks like Generic Shooter #223423. But it doesn't look like it'd draw in the CoD crowd. The more I see of this game, the more I feel like it's going to be a huge disappointment. Putting in that call now.

Frat Guy:
"There's a dude on this cover, okay let me check the back...
Oh, a flying city! Who's this- CLEAVAGE!!!! GOTTA BUY!!!"
I just wonder why everything that I've seen about the woman in this game has to shove her boobs in my face.

Man, geeks will complain about anything. The bro-baiting cover of this game is an amazing idea to get new customers. It's a way better idea than dumbing the game down for filthy CoD kids.

roushutsu:
I've said before in another thread about the box art and I'll say it again: even if the image is horribly generic, if it's what works then that's what they'll use. I can't really blame them for resorting to the lone hero image since that's what's popular right now.

Your avatar clashes so hugely with this statement I couldn't help but laugh. I read it in my head in Jane's voice for the full effect.

OT: As someone said, if they're going for wider appeal with the cover art, I can't help but feel like that's where it might go with gameplay as well. That or it'll just be Bioshock again. In which case I'll just play Bioshock. Or System Shock 2.

OT captcha: A capatcha about Shingles. That thing that mostly old people get, but I had when I was 18. CAPTCHA Y U TAUNT ME?

I can very well imagine it having the opposite effect as well.
For instance, if I knew nothing about the game and its predecessors and I saw the box in a shop (if I still actually went to retail shops to purchase games, that is), I'd think "Meh, it's just another dumb FPS. Could be a spin off of Call of Duty, for all I know" and walk by.

Frostbite3789:
Your avatar clashes so hugely with this statement I couldn't help but laugh. I read it in my head in Jane's voice for the full effect.

Heh, I didn't even realize that until you brought that up. That is pretty damn goofy, isn't it? :P

As someone who enjoyed Bioshock as much as the next guy, I have to admit that this cover does not bother me in the slightest. It shows the setting (turn-of-the century America with a lot of sky), and it gives a brief example of the gameplay elements (you get to shoot guns). From those two facts, I would regard Bioshock Infinite as a potentially entertaining game. Unfortunately, I never buy video games without researching them first, so I have no idea if I would hypothetically buy Bioshock Infinite from the cover art, but like Levine said, it would make me at least read the back.

Grey Carter:
Levine does have a point; Game packaging is meant to attract customers to the product, and the majority of people complaining about the box art were going to end up buying BioShock Infinite anyway.

Seriously...isn't it a bit late to be complaining about box art at this point? Not just for this game, but for the industry in general. Don't we currently live in the era where if you want to - just as Levine pointed out - grab someone's attention with box art, you either A: have a grissled guy with a gun looking much like BS Infinite's cover or B: Have a pair of big tits on a scantily clad female character? Gamers know full well that unless they're buying some creepy japanese import, they'll never see said female character in a sex scene, but they still might consider buying the game just to see more of her.

For the male character comparison, it's the same thing: "Well this guy looks like a grissled badass with a shotgun. I'd like to see just how badass he really is." Obviously I doubt anyone has ACTUALLY said or thought those words, but the point remains the same: the box art is meant to grab the attention of as many players as possible. With every game there is going to be X number of people that have heard about it, followed it's developement, and fully intend to buy the game regardless of the box art. I'd argue that the box art isn't even for those people. The box art is for the people walking around the game store with nothing in particular in mind and see "Hey, this game has a ninja AND a dragon on the cover. I like ninjas and dragons! I might want to look into getting this game."

In the end, though, I go back to my original point/question......why are we bitching about cover art when - with some exceptions of course - the majority of cover art is "Badass guy is badass" or "Big breasted almost naked chick is almost naked"? Isn't this like trying to bail water from a ship that's already sunk?

I don't really care about box art but that's pretty horrible. I much prefer Bioshock's

Box art like this is meant for the masses. I agree with Levine on that point and can't fault the marketing strategy to draw in more revenue. I can, however, be sad that any pretense of sophistication must be sacrificed to make room for the Dudebros demographic. Are they that important to target, and only them? Do they really promise that many more sales than the buyers looking for something different or curious? It's my feeling that the more naïve buyer would see this cover and mentally attach it to CoD or Gears of War (or any other heavily marketed military shooters) and not think more on it because it screams derivative, rather than be intrigued by something distinct. However, seeing the Americanization of lots of covers to convey "the angry eyes/aggresive syndrome", I guess there's no working around what the culture you are marketing to desires as a whole.

At least he is honest about it.

Still on the fence about cancelling my pre-order although. Either they are skirting the line of false advertising trying to make a Bioshock/System Shock style game look like CoD or that the game is something that a 'Dude-bro' would like.

Based on box art first impressions alone, the original Bioshock would have my attention far quicker than Infinite. From what I have seen about Infinite through online coverage it is one of my most anticipated games for 2013. None of the elements that brought me such wonder have been conveyed in this cover art. Why then should I be interested in this game if I had NOT seen the online coverage?

Ed130:
At least he is honest about it.

Still on the fence about cancelling my pre-order although. Either they are skirting the line of false advertising trying to make a Bioshock/System Shock style game look like CoD or that the game is something that a 'Dude-bro' would like.

You'd be surprised at how diverse the tastes of "Dude-bros" can be. A lot of "Dudebros" absolutely loved the other Bioshock games.

Also, how's it anywhere near "False advertising"?

Smertnik:
I can very well imagine it having the opposite effect as well.
For instance, if I knew nothing about the game and its predecessors and I saw the box in a shop (if I still actually went to retail shops to purchase games, that is), I'd think "Meh, it's just another dumb FPS. Could be a spin off of Call of Duty, for all I know" and walk by.

I don't recall Call of Duty having Zepplins in it.

The game looks like a Pulp-Serial-Early-20th-Century-throwback Dieselpunk game like Crimson Skies or Dark Void, which has perked my interest.

Grey Carter:

LtFerret:
Um, quick question. Where are people getting this silly notion that any previous Bioshock's box art was good? They were pretty generic as well. "big daddy is about to punch you" and "Delta glares at you." This is par for the course.

You can argue that their layouts great, but I don't think you can argue that the covers aren't distinctive. How many games can you name with a giant in a diving suit carrying a little girl on the cover? How many you name on which a white man holds a gun and stares off into the middle distance while something explodes/catches fire?

If that's the case then why not have the guy moving through the city with the sky-hook? Let's people see there's a flying city, the twisted culture aesthetic, and maybe Elizabeth somewhere. Just an idea.

Sylveria:

Jonny49:

Sylveria:
As much as I want to condemn this decision... I can't. There's been more than a few times that the cover of a game has caught my eye because it was relevent to my interests and caused me to look at it. Conversely, as someone who couldn't be less interested in dude-bro shooters, this cover wouldn't warrant a second glance, let alone a closer inspection. But, this industry is ruled by the whims of the dude-bros, sadly. I miss the days when gaming was just for the nerds and artistic integrity wasn't so readily sacrificed to bring in "the main-stream."

While I'm not a fan of the box-art, what's wrong with wanting more people to play your game? He wants more people to play Bioshock, people who might have otherwise turned it down. Granted, I'm not sure how big an influence box-art has on sales numbers, but isn't it better to risk the integrity of the box-art than the integrity of the game itself?

On it's face? Nothing. If there was a choice between turning Bio-shock in to Halo 5 or putting on a box-cover specifically engineered to entice the dumbest, drunkest, side-ways-hat-wearing, frat bros, I think we'd all rather have the box cover. But, I think this is going to backfire. If they go in thinking this is going to be some 'Merica romp over corpses of the brown-race-du-jour, they're going to be disappointed and likely start review-bombing cause they were miss-lead. Or, even worse, they buy it and then start bitching that it needs competitive multi-player.

I doubt those people are going to take the time out of their day to review bomb a game that was below their expectations, and even if they did I doubt it would matter. To be honest there's a heck of a lot of snobbery going on here, and it's worrying. Calling the mainstream audience "dumb, drunk, side-ways-hat-wearing, frat bros" doesn't do anybody any favours other than make you look like an asshole. We should be open to letting others experience games like this instead of acting like dicks than won't share their toys because we're afraid they might mess it up for the rest of us. If it comes at the cost of making the box-art as clichéd as hell, then do it.

The Tall Nerd:

Porecomesis:
Is it not simply possible to do both? I mean, the original Bioshock's cover was interesting enough to attract such a large audience and make Bioshock Infinite possible in the first place. The original Bioshock's cover managed to convey what you were in for if you bought the game.

Also, is it just me or are devs beginning to use that "we need to be successful" reason as an excuse to slack off in the art department? It's a perfectly valid reason, don't get me wrong, but there's no reason why you can't make something appealing to the masses and artistic at the same time.

image

yeah, no

... Does that meme really work like that?

By the way, you mean "you're".

Treblaine:

Porecomesis:
Is it not simply possible to do both? I mean, the original Bioshock's cover was interesting enough to attract such a large audience and make Bioshock Infinite possible in the first place. The original Bioshock's cover managed to convey what you were in for if you bought the game.

Did it do well? Compared to the likes of GTA4 or Mass Effect 2 or Skyrim which had similar metascores at least, bioshock did not do as comparatively well. The cover arts was likely only a small part of that, though.

And did the cover art of Bioshock REALLY tell you about the game? Or did it just corroborate what you already knew from other sources that most others had not read or seen.

It was still popular enough to spawn two sequels and merchandising. You can't say that's bad at all.

It more communicated atmosphere and that you were going somewhere that was less than pleasant. The Little Sister holding the syringe brought across that there would be something dead wrong with Rapture, especially.

Porecomesis:

The Tall Nerd:

Porecomesis:
Is it not simply possible to do both? I mean, the original Bioshock's cover was interesting enough to attract such a large audience and make Bioshock Infinite possible in the first place. The original Bioshock's cover managed to convey what you were in for if you bought the game.

Also, is it just me or are devs beginning to use that "we need to be successful" reason as an excuse to slack off in the art department? It's a perfectly valid reason, don't get me wrong, but there's no reason why you can't make something appealing to the masses and artistic at the same time.

image

yeah, no

... Does that meme really work like that?

By the way, you mean "you're".

im using it because i found it , and it was oddly specific and i suppose since it includes the word all, it applies.

but your statement is gonna need the most ciaticous of citations

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