Ken Levine Reveals AI Secrets At BAFTA Presentation


Irrational Games’ co-founder talks System Shock, BioShock and more.

“Nobody was buying Maseratis after System Shock 2,” Ken Levine admits, as he tells you why there never was a System Shock 3. The second in the series won a lot of critical acclaim, and put plenty of work Levine’s way, but there just wasn’t enough there to tempt the publisher, Electronic Arts, into going forward. Levine did have a System Shock 3 design document, once upon a time, but as to where it is now – if it even exists – Levine plays coy, in his BAFTA presentation: From Shodan, to Big Daddy, to Elizabeth: The Evolution of AI Companions.

This exchange comes about 56 minutes into the hour-45’s worth of Levine’s BAFTA talk. If you have the time to spend, it’s well worth a view, but if you just want to skip to the Q&A, that’s about an hour and 4 minutes in. It’s a wide-ranging topic, and the Q&A covers everything from ideology in BioShock Infinte – “polemics are boring,” says Levine, “I’d rather ask questions than answer them” – to the delicate balance between characterization and player agency, why Booker has a voice, draining the swamp, why ideas are “fucking worthless”, and beyond.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) charity hosts an annual awards show, intended to reward excellence in – among many other things – video games; the original BioShock took the Best Game Award, back in 2007.

“We don’t have a mission to elevate gaming,” Levine concludes. “We have a mission to make stuff that we think is cool.” Levine’s next cool project, BioShock Infinite, is due March 26th, for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360; you haven’t much longer to wait.

Source: 2K Games YouTube

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