The first two installments of the BioShock video game series took place in the underwater city of Rapture, but the recently released Bioshock Infinite takes players to new heights as they assume the role of a former detective who travels to the sky city of Columbia to save an imprisoned teen. Set in 1912, the action unfolds in and around a highly stylized dystopian city that’s perhaps best described as a steampunk version of America at the turn of the last century.
EW.com caught up with Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine to learn more about designing the look of Bioshock Infinite.
Entertainment Weekly: What is the design process for video game like BioShock Infinite? Is it at all similar to designing sets for a movie or TV show?
Ken Levine: [The process is] probably most similar to designing environments for a theme park, because you never know what your audience is going to do. What will they look at? What corners will they try to go around? With movies and TV sets, you only build out to where the camera is going to see. We can’t control that in video games.
What new design features will gamers experience?
The most important innovation is the creation of the character Elizabeth. She’s about the closest thing we have to a ‘virtual actress’ right now. Elizabeth is your constant companion throughout the game, and she behaves in primarily an unscripted manner. In order to get her [to seem] ‘natural,’ the team first spent a massive amount of time observing people and how they inhabit space, how they interact with each other, how their faces and body language reflect their internal emotional state. READ FULL STORY