(6 PM EST) Hey guys, been answering for two hours, thanks for your questions, will likely check in tonight later and answer a few more. You guys have been great.

We're here to answer your questions about anything, including BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Ep 1, my beard, and your beard. But no neck beards!

IGAndres is Andres Gonzalez, lead level designer of Burial at Sea.

Verification: @iglevine

Comments: 1304 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

IGken431 karma

Hey, could you guys do me a favor? Give @IGandres some upvotes so his replies can filter to the top. His awesome responses are not as visible because his name doesn't appear in giant green letters because he's not the submitter.

rockerdrummer334 karma

As Burial at Sea is looking to be Film Noir, I expect future DLC installments to follow various genres such as Spaghetti Western and Romantic Comedy. Thoughts?

IGken1453 karma

It's going to be porn. Lots and lots of porn.

Seriously, whoever is doing the Elizabeth porn on deviantart, please stop it. You're killing me. It's like coming across a picture of your daughter. I die a little inside with every page view.

dragizard2318 karma

After The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite, do you think the new thing in games is to pair Troy Baker with a younger girl who appears skinny and frail but is actually strong and has a unique specialty?

Cause I'd be okay with that.

IGken486 karma

Next I'll be pairing Troy with a younger boy. Perhaps Fred Savage from the Wizard.

IGken272 karma

IGAndres is Andres Gonzalez, lead level designer of Burial at Sea.

Dyshviccer256 karma

Spoiler for BS: Infinite. There is a theory that in Bioshock 1 you can hear the scream of Songbird's death. I also heard this scream and I compared Songbirds death to the scene in BS1 quite often. They sound amazingly similar. Question: Did you do this on purpose? If yes, why? If no: Why are you lying? :)

IGken397 karma

The answer to that question is one of the eternal mysteries of the universe.

acidityregulator12 karma

Not Levine, but it's extremely unlikely it was planned. It's just a reused stock sound, probably dolphins.

IGken128 karma

That is NOT a stock sound. You just broke sound designer's Pat Balthrop's heart.

robboudon218 karma

With Bioshock Infinite, there was an EASY, NORMAL, HARD and 1999 mode.

Would you consider a "NARRATIVE" mode in future games for those who would like to experience the story, but might not have the ability to play the game?

IGken172 karma

It's something we thought about but didn't have time to implement. The entire sequence in Rapture before you go to


Fontaine's Department store is all narrative, no combat, in BAS part 1.

crediblehulk83208 karma

"God Only Knows" was a great pick for Infinite; musically and thematically. How did you come up with the idea to use this particular song, and the barbershop arrangement (which A Mighty Wind did SPECTACULARLY)?

IGken248 karma

It was the song that played at the end of Boogie Nights, and the moment always moved me: seeing how a group of very damaged people came together as a sort of family. I always wanted to use it in a game.

usaokay191 karma

Have you tried out the Oculus Rift and Valve's Steam Controller?

IGken336 karma

Yup. They're both amazing pieces of tech.

KevinDurden177 karma

What would you say was a moment in Bioshock Infinite that regardless of how many times you've seen it, or knew it coming, still gives you chills?

Potential spoilers for those who haven't played it yet. (and why the hell have you not?!)

IGken377 karma

The very ending.

Glokmah141 karma

That final note man...

Garry Schyman is just amazing.

KevinDurden87 karma

He's basically a wizard.

IGken223 karma

He actually starred in the movie "The Wizard" as Fred Savage. Also Gary is a wonderful guy to work with. He's the only game composer I ever spent significant time with and he really educated me in what was possible if you go the "real instrument" route.

kgladfelter175 karma

My obsession with BioShock is insane. I wish I had questions that didn't edge into spoiler territory. So instead of a question I'll just say thank you for an amazing set of games (BioShock and BioShock Infinite). My wife and I have played through them numerous times, and while my wife may not be much of a gamer, she loves BioShock.

IGken327 karma

You wife is wise and beautiful.

PaulPaulPaul161 karma

Are the bioshock games over?

IGken331 karma

We really have no solid idea what's coming next. Almost the entire team is on Burial at Sea. I wish that was some PR crap, because life would be easier if I knew what was next, but it ain't.

mirfaltnixein102 karma

I forgot who you hugged in your last AMA, but can you do it again? It was adorable.

IGken316 karma

That was producer Adrian Murphy. I'm still dealing with the lawsuit.

ThePrius157 karma

If songbird is half man, half machine, then who's inside?

IGken348 karma

Lee Majors.

TheGreenJedi136 karma

I've always wanted to know, what was the crazy scripting process behind having the andrew ryan suicide/murder scene in Bioshock.

Who's idea was it?

Why does he order you to kill him?

Also whats your favorite beard grooming tip?

IGken227 karma

It was my idea, and my partner in crime was Shawn Robertson in conceptualizing how it would work. Why does he order you to kill him? You'd have to ask Ryan. My favorite beard grooming tip is coating it with honey and have the bees look after it.

TheGreenJedi76 karma

[Spoilers] For the longest time I thought him ordering you was a hallucination and that Ryan wasn't saying anything.

I've later come to suspected that since you're ryans clone/son he hoped you and by extension himself would be able to resist the mind control process. Too bad that didn't quite work.

Still thanks for the Tip and Thanks for that moment because It's by far one of my favorite moments in a video game.

Tell Zoe, Hello from her fan in Franklin

IGken164 karma

Zoe Brooks is maybe the nicest person who ever lived. If I don't say that, she'll fucking kill me with a knife. (She seriously is the nicest person).

Mikulak25127 karma

Ken, thank you for Bioshock Infinite. The fact that you released a full game and are releasing DLC that isn't moronic day 1 DLC to complete an incomplete game but a completely separate narrative based on the Bisohock source game makes me respect you and your team more than you can possibly imagine. I'll most likely buy Burial at Sea and any future games from Irrational Games because of these decisions. Bioshock Infinite is perhaps my favorite game and I have to ask if you plan to stick to games or if you'd ever branch out into different forms of media, like tv or film?

IGken242 karma

I'm a games guy first in terms of where my head is at now, but I started as a screenwriter and I'm actually writing a Logan's Run reboot for Warner Brothers.

I am a huge media whore. I'm rewatching the entire Sopranos run for the third time. I'm usually reading two or three books at any one time, every wednesday is comics day and I play usually at very least two hours of games a day.

Last night I watched Pacific Rim with my wife and she said the best thing ever said by any human in the recorded history of time: "When you're a jaeger, everything looks like a kaiju."

tenflipsnow27 karma

When do you work??

IGken60 karma

I don't really sleep. Ask my twitter followers.

Captain_Freud126 karma

Ken, you're one of my favorite people working in the games industry. I love reading what you have to say about games, design, and art in general. Your interviews are always interesting; it's one of the reasons I followed the development of Bioshock Infinite so heavily. I've been wanting to ask you this for a while now, so please forgive the length.

When the game went gold, you said the team had cut enough content to "make five or six games." You lost several key team members along the way and the game was delayed twice over the course of five years. You only have to compare the trailers to see that the game was clearly very different from inception to release.

I want to ask you: do you wish you had approached the development of Infinite differently? What could you have done better? Everyone at Irrational obviously had plenty of ambition and great ideas, but after playing the game myself, I feel like the issues came about in creating a final product.

There was a lot you wanted to talk about. You had the American setting, redemption through religion, false idols, being an icon / providing hope, communist revolutions, the benefits and detriments of capitalism, fatherhood, baptism and renewal, racism, PTSD, the impossibility of a truly just war, prophesy, mob mentality, regret, wish fulfillment, ghosts, etc. On top of all that was a thick layer of sci-fi and alternate universes.

And that's not even touching gameplay pressures! You had to satisfy the FPS crowd and their need for action packed gameplay, a conflict you've talked about in several interviews (including the box-art criticisms). The Bioshock fans had their expectations of what a "true" sequel needed, which included biotic powers, upgrading weapons, RPG mechanics, looting, vending machines, horror elements, and above all else a twist that lived up to the legacy of "Would you kindly?"

When I played Infinite, I saw so many individually great moments - the opening lottery, the skyrail combat sequences, the Boys of Silence, Comstock's entire arc - but I never felt like I was playing a cohesive game. I was playing through the remnants of five or six different games. There was the game about religious redemption, fatherhood, and second-chances. There was the game about Americana, capitalism, racism, and revolution. And there was the sequel to Bioshock, an FPS where I killed enemies, upgraded my weapons, and used biotic powers.

I think many of the problems can be traced back to the development of the game. The departures, the cut content, the overall concept changes from one E3 to the next. Do you wish you had limited the scope of Bioshock Infinite? Set limitations on yourself and made a more cohesive game? Or do you think artistic ambition shouldn't be restricted and that limitations only stiffle creativity?

Frankly, I'm excited for Burial at Sea because I'm dying to see what your team does on a smaller scale.

IGken135 karma

This is an interesting question. I'm not sure I would agree that games should be small and focused (I think they are closer to novels in terms of their breadth, given that you spend 10, 20, etc. hour or more with them depending on the game). Great things can be very focused (Breaking Bad) or very diverse (Mad Men). In terms of Infinite, from a narrative standpoint, we ended up where I wanted to. I don't think limitations necessarily stifle creativity. For instance, Freedom Force was a very specific game (silver age comics). So was SWAT. (Well, SWAT). I think in many ways it had a limited scope (compared to say, GTA) and in many ways it took on a very aggressive agenda.
That said, Burial At Sea has been fun because I get to focus all of my energy on a much smaller surface area. Also, the clothes are great.

Ragzorg113 karma

Hey, Ken!

A few months ago, I wrote you a letter, telling you how much I enjoyed Infinite. In the end, I asked what your next project was, and I ended up receiving a Burial at Sea poster from Irrational several months later. I'd just like to thank you and everyone at Irrational for everything you guys have done. Keep crankin' out the great content!

As for my question, what was it like developing a functional Rapture as opposed to a dilapidated one?


P.S. How many fan letters have you received since the release of Infinite? How many did you get to read?

IGken161 karma

Developing a functional Rapture has been awesome because we never got to do that before. I always saw it in my head, but to put it on screen and to do it in a new engine, with actual citizens around has been great. I got to geek out on Rapture in it's prime.

London219197 karma

Hi Ken and Andres! Huge fan! I love cosplaying from Bioshock (http://i39.tinypic.com/23likip.jpg) and I am enamored with Elizabeth's design from Burial at Sea. What were your inspirations for her look and demeanor?

Thank you so much!

IGken109 karma

She was awesome to design, one of the hilights of my year. She was actually conceived by Jorge Lacera, Gavin Goulden and myself. Sarah Rosa did a ton of research on period looks and we sort of mixed and matched from Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, and like five other people. We wanted her outfit to feel very Elizabeth, but very Rapture at the same time. This isn't the same girl you met in her tower (the same person, but changed by experience)

Magus1011297 karma

Ken, I sent you an email 2 days after Infinite came out and you responded to me almost immediately, and in a way I didn't expect: You didn't answer anything! Instead, you lead me on a path to discover what I, myself, believed the game meant. That was so much more satisfying than getting a concrete answer on "This is how it is."

I just wanted to thank you for that and say I've been a fan of yours for a long time, and I'm looking forward to Burial at Sea and Logan's Run!

IGken141 karma

I really have avoided answering "subjective" questions about the story because I'd rather hear other people's theories.

BiscuitHammer89 karma

So I've become really facinated with what I've read and discovered about the original interations of Bioshock: Infinite and I was wondering if you could answer some quick questions I've had. Anyway here they are:


  1. Were Booker and Elizabeth originally related in the early versions of the game? Early interviews suggest that they were going to grow as a romantic pair and Comstock looked wildly different from Booker.
  2. What was the nature of Elizabeth's powers before tears became involved? Early gameplay showed her performing some feats that looked like outright magic such as gathering pots and pans into a superheated ball. Tears seemed toexist, tough. Maybe as a consequence of her powers?
  3. I saw pictures of the Infinite .ini file that mentioned an option to go to Paris on the airship instead of New York. Early Infinite interviews stressed the importance of these kinds of choices and I'm curious how things would have played out.

If you can't answer these that's perfectly fine. But I am curious if we will get get material that will shed light on this stuff, something of a rundown on the ups and downs of the development. Perhaps, dare I ask, something like a

plot summary for how things might have gone? I know it's fun to speculate about these things, but I'd prefer to know.

IGken246 karma


1) We never talked about them being a romantic pair. That was a product of your fertile imagination, my friend. 2) Game design evolves. We didn't have the full aspect of them worked out at first. We thought we did, of course, but they evolved. 3) You were never going to end up in Paris. But you and I, biscuit, we'll always have Paris.

BiscuitHammer72 karma

  1. But here You specifically say "Well, you know. You're a strapping young lad. You can probably do the math." when asked if the relationship is platonic or not. So that's not something I spun out of whole-cloth.

And that's about what I figured in regards to Elizabeth's powers and the Paris option. Thanks for the answers.

IGken128 karma

Yeah, I could see how you took that from that. I was trying to answer the question evasively without giving anything away. Not answering story questions is super hard, because sometimes not answering gives away the answer.

Quist1183 karma

Since we'll be returning to Rapture with Burial at Sea, could you give us a hint as to whether Andrew Ryan himself will be making an appearance? Being my personal favorite video game villain of all time, I sure would hope so.

IGken294 karma

It's Dr. Robotnik. 100% Robotnik, 100% of the time.

TheDude705377 karma

Ken, with the big hoopla over the Steam Machines, are there any plans on getting BioShock: Infinite ported to Linux.

IGken110 karma

No plans as of yet, but we're entirely focused on BAS. I'm very excited about the prospect of SteamOS.

noalarmplanet70 karma

Hi Ken! Just wanted to thank you for Bioshock and Infinite. They were the first video game I'd played in five years and they made me fall in love with gaming again. From one random internet stranger to another my sincerest thanks for you and your teams hard work. The stories You told meant so much, I wanted to carry them around with me forever. I guess my question is what do you think of my tattoo? http://imgur.com/7iz9Pzm

IGken124 karma

A) That's hard core. B) Your leg and my leg should get together and have a leg hair fight.

chaoticprout66 karma

Mad Men or Breaking Bad?

IGken197 karma

I am Walter White and Don Draper's love child.

GoseiAwesome64 karma

What are the odds of a Freedom Force threequel ever happening?

IGken166 karma

I actually personally own the intellectual property so anything can happen. I still sleep next to my ManBot waifu pillow every night.

Chetcommandosrockon55 karma

How is burial at sea going to be different from the original Bioshock in terms of atmosphere?

IGken94 karma

The first part of BAS Part 1 is set in pre-"Fall" rapture, so it feels quite different in many ways. The second half is much more traditional.

Animalmother9554 karma

Mr. Levine, I just wanted to let you know, my personal favorite part of the entire Bioshock series has to be the use of music. I really find the use of awesome music in the game play very interesting and incorporated extremely well. I enjoyed listening to everything the game had to offer, from Mozart to Tears for Fears to CCR to Django. That being said, are we gonna hear more great music in the DLC? (I remember hearing wonderful wonderful on the video that was just released). Anyways, just want to leave a thanks for creating one hell of a great game.

IGken70 karma

We're going to be revealing more about the music soon. I can say that another song you'll hear in Rapture is "She's Got You" by Patsy Cline. If you don't want to kill yourself after listening to that track, you need to check to see if that's a heart in your chest, or just a thumping piece of metal.

alishock53 karma

Already asked before, but we NEED confirmation, if it's spoiler-free, if it's not then ignore this: Are the Luteces going to appear again?

IGken250 karma

Hmmm, can't say. I'll suppose I'll flip a coin.

slahvalyn52 karma

Andres, what kind of scope can we expect from Burial at Sea? Will it be a full-length game similar to infinite or a shorter story?

IGken90 karma

The average play thru for part 1 is 2:15-3 hours. We've seen more for people who dig (one guy went five!) and we've seen less for people who aren't interested in the story.

Zombie00751 karma

Bioshock Infinite really examines American Exceptionalism and the impact it had on the late 18th century and early 20th century. What sort of research did you do for this subject, and how did that change the way you were making the game?

IGken99 karma

There's a lot of great stuff on the period. There's a great podcast called Hardcore History that just did a bit on this (it came out after Infinite, but I think it does a great job of summing up the mood). Read some biographies of McKinley, Roosevelt, and Devil in the White City.

Bugger21745 karma

Ken, did you enjoy Pacifc Rim? Are you excited for next Year's Godzilla reboot? Bryan Cranston stars in it!

IGken87 karma

Yup. Watched it last night. And. Mr. Del Toro is a sweetheart, we had him on the podcast. One of my favorites.

whatwouldjeffdo45 karma

Comstock is one of my favorite antagonists in recent memory. Was Comstock's appearance at all inspired by John Brown, or were there other major influences for him, aside from various American religious figures?

IGken84 karma

John Brown is obviously a great visual reference for Comstock, but he of course was a very different person from an ideological perspective.

deathbot445 karma

After having a game in space, under the ocean and in the sky, do you feel you have run out of really extreme places to set your games?

IGken198 karma

I'm going to set a game on a tour bus with the band Extreme.

jscorps81639 karma

What has been your favorite game of this year, so far?

IGken145 karma

I've really enjoyed playing Wind Waker again in HD and the civ expansion. I'm BORING!

Skeletor900020 karma

Favourite Civ?

IGken57 karma

Venice is really interesting, very different.

Bubberbutt12338 karma

with burial at sea closing in on a release date.. will there be anymore DLCs? as in other storys?

IGken57 karma

No plans as of yet.

Brumfieldhm37 karma

Ken, It seems the "entertainment industry" (games, film, television) Is worryingly fixated on focus group testing, which often waters down the creativity and must morph the product into something that can be enjoyed by the largest amount of people. How can you create a work that still reflects your auteur-ship?

IGken63 karma

It's all about how trusting the people with the check books are. Take Two as a company tends to trust their talent. They really let us alone to make the game we want to make. It's the main reason I've been with the company as long as I have.

NotYourAverageDevian37 karma

What is your favorite bioshock moment?

IGken129 karma

Descent to Rapture/End of Infinite.

bettercallsaul336 karma

Would you kindly answer my questions?

1) Do you care if you offend people with some of the themes in your games?

2) Have you ever changed a major storyline to please others?

3) What's the next step for gaming?

IGken58 karma

1) Our goal isn't to offend people. But people will get offended no matter what you do. 2) Nope. I change a story only if it will make the game better. 3) Trying to figure that out. At least, A next step, not THE.

ivraatiems35 karma

Hi! Bioshock Infinite is awesome, thanks for doing this!

Some people have criticized Elizabeth as being designed to manipulate the player - she never gets hurt, is very sympathetic both as a person and a story device, and is always helpful during gameplay (sometimes in very unrealistic ways). I've heard people say things like "if Elizabeth were male, nobody would find her sympathetic," or "if Elizabeth got hurt in combat, nobody would want her around."

How would you respond to/address those kinds of criticisms?

IGken80 karma

I'm not sure why Elizabeth's gender has anything to do with her being sympathetic. I find both Booker and her sympathetic, but of course I'm biased.

I do agree that if she got hurt in combat, people would have enjoyed the experience less. It's just very difficult in games to make escort mechanics work well. I think that might have been a deal breaker for people with her.

dreDREb1331 karma

Remember to lock up on the way out!

IGken49 karma

Yeah, I think all narrative informs other narratives. The goal is not be restricted by the concepts of other media, but use it as reference.

In terms of Thief, I love mechanics. I came from a board game background, so you never know.

xcleonardo30 karma

What was the reasoning on going back to Rapture in Burial at Sea instead of Columbia in the DLC?

IGken140 karma

You shall see. FOR ONLY 19.99! ORDER NOW and you get a free set of steak knives.*

Or you can just read the wiki page after it comes out if you don't want to spend the money. That'll also work.

*I'm lying about the steak knives.

ALinkToTheReddit30 karma

Dear Mr. Levine Gonzales thank you for creating my favorite game of all time, Bioshock Infinite. The previous title holder was The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker. That game held the title of my number one for 8 years. So congrats I suppose.

Next I want to thank you for being one of the largest inspirations on my life in this world of Infinite possibilities (pun intended). And finally. The question.

The contrast of the stories and setting of the original Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite is tremendous. I understand that there are many similar things like gameplay, certain story arches, and plot twists. But the art style, characters, setting, soundtrack, and many other things are so different. So I was wondering what your inspiration is for these two completely different games?

P.S. What is your favorite all time game? (That is not your own)

IGken73 karma

Not sure of my absolute favorite, but some are Civ, Xcom, System Shock 1, Beyond Good and evil, Dark Cloud 2, Rise of Nations, World of Warcraft. I remember when the first shots came out for Wind Waker and people were so MAD! I loved the look right from the start and the game holds up today.

There's lots of inspiration for both games. I'll list a few for each:

Bio1: Miller's Crossing, Logan's Run, Ayn Rand, The Shining.

Infinite: There will be blood, O Brother where art thou?, Angel Heart, Beauty and the Beast.

LoganMooreNCSU28 karma

Can you give any hints as to what new plasmids and weapons we will be seeing in Rapture? Will upgrades work as they did in Bioshock 1/2 or Infinite? I personally loved how you could see the upgrades, they gave the guns personality.

IGken71 karma

In fact, Zoe Brookes has made this handy little image in honor of the returning weapons wheel! http://i.imgur.com/nAOpCgW.jpg

sapperdeboere27 karma

Any chance the original concept for Bioshock will be worked out as a game?

IGken31 karma

Not likely.

drewblank26 karma


Was Bioshock Inifnite and especially its ending a comment on life and the universe or more specifically the nature of video games. In the ending, elizabeth makes a lot of sweeping statements when you're going through the infinite lighthouses such as: "We swim in different oceans but land on different shores." and how everything will happen all the same because it always has and always will be. In this, were you trying to make a statement about life (using the many worlds interpretation of QM) , or more so just video games and how we experience them.

Either way the ending was magnificent. After I finished I had to sit for two hours and really cope with what I had gone through. Bioshock Infinite was the greatest storying telling experience I've ever had out of any media. Thanks.

IGken39 karma

I think there are similarities between the many worlds theory of QM and, say, the nature of different people's experience in video games. That's hard to dispute (though, this being reddit, I imagine someone will manage to find a way!)

KoalaCorruption25 karma

What is your greatest achievement outside of the gaming industry?

IGken127 karma

I stopped Thanos from getting his filthy mitts on the Infinity Gauntlet.

DeliriumWigger24 karma

Do we have a release date yet?

IGken53 karma

We will have both console platforms in submission by the end of the week with the first parties. After that, the ball's in their court, but it's coming. We don't have a date for part 2 yet, but we're working our asses off on it.

PhysiquedSine3821 karma

So next week we could be playing burial at sea part one?

IGken58 karma

Hey, slow down there Tex. Submission can take some time, and if the first parties bounce it back, we'll have to resubmit. We want to super sure before we have a date, but it will be before the holidays and hopefully fairly soon.

Mr_Briand22 karma

Mr. Levine,

what insipired you to write the story of Bioshock: Infinite, particularly the whole quantum mechanics aspect of it? Love your work!

IGken65 karma

I think the Dr. Manhattan sequence in Alan Moore's Watchman was a big inspiration for that aspect of it. Also, I like things that make me feel stupid, and trying to think about Quantum Mechanics always seems to do that.

Photomic8721 karma

Who was harder to develop in the Rapture setting: Elizabeth or Booker?

IGken63 karma

From a writing standpoint, Booker was harder because I didn't want to intrude too much into the player's sense of self. I had more freedom from a character development standpoint with Elizabeth because I didn't have to worry with her saying something that would conflict with the player's view of their own character.

RevInstant20 karma

For Christ sake Mr Levine I will give you my life savings for one of the Murder of Crows bottles >.>

IGken42 karma

I think on ebay, somebody will take that deal.

Lawdee19 karma

Ken, how do you pronounce your name, le-veen or le-vyne, l've heard both and now I need to know.

Bioshock related: What was the hardest to let go of of all the cut content in Bioshock: Infinite?

IGken51 karma


Nothing was hard to let go. If it wasn't there, it didn't fit.

MatttDamonnn17 karma

As a person who didn't beat the first Bioshock, or it's sequel, but DID beat Infinite...can you please explain what the fuck happens at the end of Infinite because it sort of confused me. Also, is Cliff Bleszinski a cool dude? I live near Raleigh and always hope to see him in a bar some day.

IGken35 karma

a) there are plenty of places to find interpretations of the ending. There are different ones. I have my own, but I ain't telling. b) Cliff is a sweetheart and a brilliant designer. Proud to have him as a friend. Just played Horde mode again over the weekend. Wish I had his chops.

Olkaml17 karma

Hey Ken, massive fan!

When you first earned your degree and tried to get work as a screenwriter, did you initially look into the video games industry as a potential place or employment or did you just sort of fall in and find you loved it?

As someone who has recently graduated with a film degree and a speciality in screenwriting, how would you recommend attempting to get involved in writing for games?

IGken34 karma

I had no idea there was an industry then. Honestly, I think I just thought games sort of appeared out of the vapor. I'm not kidding. And then one day I realized HEY PEOPLE DO THIS FOR A LIVING and seriously, I started applying that day.

bongo113816 karma

How do you personally feel about the new consoles? I don't mean the PR speak, I mean how does Ken Levine and Andres Gonzalez feel? Assuming you two have had some hands-on time with them, do you feel the technological jump is as significant from the current gen as it was from Xbox/PS2 to 360/PS3?

Thanks guys! Big fan!

IGken32 karma

To be honest, I don't spend a ton of time thinking about platform. I think about experiences. I have a vague set of notions about what design concepts I'd like to pursue in the future, and they're not really platform dependent.

ButtonedGrub614 karma


IGken21 karma

Ryan. No, Tenenbaum! No, Cohen!

asportking11 karma


IGken21 karma

It's something you figure out as you go along. There were some core principles, but there were lots of times we stopped and asked ourselves: Is that BioShock?

Sh_sarah10 karma

Do you consider Bioshock 2 as part of your canon story? If that's so, do some of 2's elements appear as cameos or part of the environment? I also ask this because in the "A Modern day Atlantis?" Trailer you showed a Big Daddy plush, which, ignoring the fact that they're from NECA and you could freely use them, weren't introduced until Bioshock 2's trailer as part of the lore, never appearing in Bioshock 1?

IGken20 karma

The original concept for the Big Daddy plush was developed by Robb Waters and was ALMOST part of the title screen for BioShock 1 (it was an over the should shot of a little sister playing with the plush, though the plush was slightly different).

liamquane10 karma

did bioshock infinite confuse anyone at irrational?

IGken67 karma

Not that I know of. But most of us were pretty high at the time.

Giogiogio48 karma


is the lead character Booker inspired by captain algren from the Last Samurai? They both seemed rather scared be the event.

IGken19 karma

No, but there's a long history of narratives about men and women damaged by war. Esp. a tradition starting after WW1, where you had Remarque, Sassoon, McCrae, Maugham and others.

Toyou4yu8 karma

Will you be my friend?

IGken25 karma

Sure. Now that we're friends, can I borrow five dollars?

bc53898 karma

Hey Ken was wondering what books, if any, you are reading at the moment and what books would you recommend as must reads. Thanks.

IGken13 karma

Reading 4 books right now: The Great Gatsby (again), Dr. Sleep, Bill Bryson's new book and some book on WW1 whose title I can't remember right now.

AlmostLonely7 karma

What's with all the dead cats lying around in Rapture?

IGken18 karma

Lots of angry dogs.

mrdude8176 karma

Ken, even though it was clear that much of Rapture was inspired by objectivism/Ayn Rand, amongst other things, how would you approach writing a game set within one of her stories/universes?

IGken10 karma

I kinda think we did that sorta. We tried to take her ideology and let it loose in the world and see what would happen.

JohanDeWitt6 karma

First of all; I immensely enjoyed Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite. But, one thing I ask myself, do you enjoy writing? Being a writer myself, I know how painstaking such a process can be. So, do you actually enjoy writing the stories that form the Bioshock-universe?

IGken12 karma

the best quote I've ever heard about writing is something to the effect of: "It is painful to write. It is wonderful to have written."

liamquane6 karma

where you worried that people would interpret the racism as personal?

IGken8 karma

Not sure what you mean? I think if somebody read the authorial intent as "racism is a positive force in the universe", they'd be reaching pretty far.

shinoba955 karma

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey.

IGken16 karma

Good to know.

Tary_n3 karma

Hey Ken & Andres,

First off, big fan of Bioshock: Infinite. By far my favorite game of all time.

Question: Can you describe the creative process behind the guitar/"Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" scene in the basement during Infinite? I thought that scene was utterly brilliant, but it was definitely a departure -- tonally -- from the rest of the game.

Question for Andres: Was there any point in designing Burial At Sea where it felt too Bioshock I & II? Did you ever step back and think -- is this too far from Infinite to be DLC?

IGken11 karma

I just had the notion in my head that music has a way of bringing people together. I thought it would be a nice way to bring Booker and Liz together. I got amazingly lucky that Troy and Courtnee had the talent they did. If they didn't have that kind of musical talent, the scene wouldn't have been in the game.

alexshatberg2 karma

Marvel or DC?

IGken4 karma

Excelsior! But, damn, do I love the Batman. And All Star Superman was one of my favorite series of all time.

JOB124TYING2 karma

Hi Ken, I've waited so long to be able to have direct conversation with you. So, when is Burial at Sea coming out?

IGken7 karma

You waited so long for a direct conversation and you ask about a release date? Man!

I addressed that in another question. But you really should have asked me about Gabriel Era Genesis or something...