Bioshock 2 Catch-All

kuddles wrote:
I'm losing my gamer boner for BioShock 2, but it's not totally flaccid yet.

But wait, I--oh, I see, it says you're not a girl.

0kelvin wrote:
2K Marin is made up mainly of the original Bioshock dev team. Same team, different creative director.

This isn't true. It's mainly made up of an entirely new team of people, some who were working at one of the closed 2K Sports studios, with a few mid-level people from 2K Boston. Nearly the entire original BioShock dev team is still at Boston or Australia and working on the new IP.

Podunk wrote:
I know it's been said before, but it bears repeating. The lead designer on Bioshock 2 is Jordan Thomas the guy who designed Fort Frolic and co-designed Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle.

I know. But most people's concerns so far weren't regarding the level designs.

But yes, it also bears repeating that most of the skeptics, including myself, mainly have a gut feeling based on what little info we have so far. It's not so much claiming that the game is clearly going to be bad. I'm losing my gamer boner for BioShock 2, but it's not totally flaccid yet.

kuddles wrote:
0kelvin wrote:
2K Marin is made up mainly of the original Bioshock dev team. Same team, different creative director.

This isn't true. It's mainly made up of an entirely new team of people, some who were working at one of the closed 2K Sports studios, with a few mid-level people from 2K Boston. Nearly the entire original BioShock dev team is still at Boston or Australia and working on the new IP.

I was about to point this out too: 2K Marin is made up of an almost entirely new team-- they told me so when I spoke with them at last year's GDC. They were just setting up the Marin offices at the time.

kuddles wrote:
Podunk wrote:
I know it's been said before, but it bears repeating. The lead designer on Bioshock 2 is Jordan Thomas the guy who designed Fort Frolic and co-designed Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle.

I know. But most people's concerns so far weren't regarding the level designs.

But yes, it also bears repeating that most of the skeptics, including myself, mainly have a gut feeling based on what little info we have so far. It's not so much claiming that the game is clearly going to be bad. I'm losing my gamer boner for BioShock 2, but it's not totally flaccid yet.

I would say a gut feeling is definitely a part of it, but for me, at least, it's mostly that the industry has been so good at breeding skepticism for sequels (ie, making bad ones), that it's almost natural for some of us to feel that way. Even so, I am keeping my eye on it, but my hopes have severely dwindled, and as I've said before, I'm even surprised at how quickly I've turned from drooling to spitting. I think perhaps a big part of this lack of enthusiasm comes from the fact that it is a game revisited-- BioShock 1 was so new and different (looking), and had so much going for it gameplay and story-wise, that most couldn't help but be excited for it. BS2 just looks like too much more of the same, plus a Big Sister.

Duoae wrote:
demonbox wrote:
Duoae wrote:
kuddles wrote:

Duoae wrote:
This game is the Treyarch to Infinity Ward of the Bioshock franchise.

I wish. :)

I dunno, i mean, i'm not excited by it - the game looks entirely mediocre, a revision of what was done by the 'A' team (Infinity Ward) and IMO is what the Treyarch CoD games have been: entirely serviceable but ultimately standard fare.

I can understand being disappointed by a premise, but how does 1 minute that seems similar to the original seem mediocre? You’re not alone, must seem to be skeptical. I just find the confident opinion that this will suck to be odd and not based on content players have seen.

Maybe you're reading too much into my statement. Mediocre doesn't mean bad... i did say it would be "entirely serviceable but ultimately standard fare". I suppose a movie comparison would be Toy Story to Toy Story 2. There's nothing wrong with TS2 but the magic seemed to be gone. It just didn't click with me the same way the original did.

In the interest in attempting to not sound like a jerk, I’m not trying to sound like a jerk. But what specifically feels mediocre about it? How can you get this from a 1 minute tease? It looks very much like the original, which was not mediocre. Also, we such a tiny slice of the game how can anything but the possible attributes (environment, physics) even be guessed at? It just feels very early to dismiss it. I would have an equal problem with people lauding the sequel from such a small slice. From just looking at this thread, I have a sense that the gamer community seems ready to pounce.

Also, as an aside, not a big fan of the original but loved Toy Story 2.

Podunk wrote:
I know it's been said before, but it bears repeating. The lead designer on Bioshock 2 is Jordan Thomas the guy who designed Fort Frolic and co-designed Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle. This is a guy who understands atmosphere as well as anyone in the industry.

Just my experience, but for me the satisfaction (and achievement of that game) was the atmospherics. So, if I were to get excited (and I'm trying not to), this would certainly help me down that path.

WipEout wrote:
kuddles wrote:
0kelvin wrote:
2K Marin is made up mainly of the original Bioshock dev team. Same team, different creative director.

This isn't true. It's mainly made up of an entirely new team of people, some who were working at one of the closed 2K Sports studios, with a few mid-level people from 2K Boston. Nearly the entire original BioShock dev team is still at Boston or Australia and working on the new IP.

I was about to point this out too: 2K Marin is made up of an almost entirely new team-- they told me so when I spoke with them at last year's GDC. They were just setting up the Marin offices at the time.

kuddles wrote:
I think perhaps a big part of this lack of enthusiasm comes from the fact that it is a game revisited-- BioShock 1 was so new and different (looking), and had so much going for it gameplay and story-wise, that most couldn't help but be excited for it.

I actually fully understand this. And, unlike the blinders we still mostly have after a 1 minute preview, this is something that I can logic out as being a reason for being ready to pounce.

I’d be nice if a studio could earn a little bit of breathing room based on quality (even Blizzard is getting trashed with the Starcraft three-fer), at least until something substantial was known.

I know it's been said before, but it bears repeating. The lead designer on Bioshock 2 is Jordan Thomas, the guy who designed Fort Frolic and co-designed Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle. This is a guy who understands atmosphere as well as anyone in the industry.

I know we have all kinds of reasons to be skeptical, but check these interviews out:

Jordan Thomas interview @ Edge Magazine
Jordan Thomas interview @ The Escapist

kuddles wrote:
I know. But most people's concerns so far weren't regarding the level designs.

I'll bet you haven't read those interviews yet.

demonbox wrote:

In the interest in attempting to not sound like a jerk, I’m not trying to sound like a jerk. But what specifically feels mediocre about it? How can you get this from a 1 minute tease? It looks very much like the original, which was not mediocre. Also, we such a tiny slice of the game how can anything but the possible attributes (environment, physics) even be guessed at? It just feels very early to dismiss it. I would have an equal problem with people lauding the sequel from such a small slice. From just looking at this thread, I have a sense that the gamer community seems ready to pounce.

I think most are coming to this sort of conclusion because of exactly what you mention-- it looks very much like the original. When a developer tries to make more of the same, we feel we as consumers are being treated like small children. Just because we loved the first doesn't mean we want to pay $60 to play more of the same-- that's why I kept my copy of the first game. If I want to play it again, I will throw the disc back into the 360. What scares me about the sequel is that, instead of taking the series through a more natural evolution, it seems (and let's hope this isn't true in the end) that in just that single minute of gameplay footage, the game conveys absolutely nothing substantially new to the BioShock universe, aside from the "first" Big Daddy, and the Big Sister. Same splicers, same plasmids (albeit different applications, somewhat-- but even then they just appear derivative of the originals), same Little Sisters, same backdrops. If that's what you as a company are pushing to garner excitement for the title, wouldn't you rather show something that would blow the gamers away, something that will grab the audience's attention and never let go? Compare this footage to the first bits of footage from the first game-- that Big Daddy attacking, throwing the flaming teddy bear at him-- those were cool gameplay aspects that hadn't been seen before, in new environments never-before-seen-- at least not in that capacity. So what about this footage makes it better, or at the very least, equal? I just feel like I've seen it all before, only the names and faces have changed...

The atmosphere seems spot on, but wasn't feeling the little sister's audio clip. Overall I'm still looking forward to it and trust that in general the team is approaching the IP with good intentions.

Edit: Double post.

demonbox wrote:

In the interest in attempting to not sound like a jerk, I’m not trying to sound like a jerk. But what specifically feels mediocre about it? How can you get this from a 1 minute tease? It looks very much like the original, which was not mediocre. Also, we such a tiny slice of the game how can anything but the possible attributes (environment, physics) even be guessed at? It just feels very early to dismiss it. I would have an equal problem with people lauding the sequel from such a small slice. From just looking at this thread, I have a sense that the gamer community seems ready to pounce.

[Insert what wipeout said here]

Once something has been done, it's been done. If you do the same twice then people are understandably bored or less interested than if it's something new or progressive. What they've shown thus far just seems like regurgitation and random additions. It's why i'm never excited about standard World War 2 fares anymore. It's been done.... to death. This setting has been less done to death but they've not explored the interesting aspects of the city of rapture.


Also, as an aside, not a big fan of the original but loved Toy Story 2.

HEATHEN!!!

All I can say is I've had fun with worse FPS games. Looks pretty cool to me.

WipEout wrote:
kuddles wrote:
0kelvin wrote:
2K Marin is made up mainly of the original Bioshock dev team. Same team, different creative director.

This isn't true. It's mainly made up of an entirely new team of people, some who were working at one of the closed 2K Sports studios, with a few mid-level people from 2K Boston. Nearly the entire original BioShock dev team is still at Boston or Australia and working on the new IP.

I was about to point this out too: 2K Marin is made up of an almost entirely new team-- they told me so when I spoke with them at last year's GDC. They were just setting up the Marin offices at the time.


Ah, I guess I'm mistaken then. The impression I got, speaking with some industry friends from Boston at the time, was that quite a number of people moved from Boston to the new offices in Marin. I guess fewer moved over than I thought. Still, the Guitar Hero analogy doesn't stand.

0kelvin wrote:
WipEout wrote:
kuddles wrote:
0kelvin wrote:
2K Marin is made up mainly of the original Bioshock dev team. Same team, different creative director.

This isn't true. It's mainly made up of an entirely new team of people, some who were working at one of the closed 2K Sports studios, with a few mid-level people from 2K Boston. Nearly the entire original BioShock dev team is still at Boston or Australia and working on the new IP.

I was about to point this out too: 2K Marin is made up of an almost entirely new team-- they told me so when I spoke with them at last year's GDC. They were just setting up the Marin offices at the time.


Ah, I guess I'm mistaken then. The impression I got, speaking with some industry friends from Boston at the time, was that quite a number of people moved from Boston to the new offices in Marin. I guess fewer moved over than I thought. Still, the Guitar Hero analogy doesn't stand.

I guess the idea behind the analogy is all in how you look at the development "community"-- 2K Marin is not 2K Boston, regardless of whether they are both owned by 2K Games. They are two different developers, with two different (for the most part) teams, so they're going to have two separate visions. My point is just that: where the Neversoft team is not Harmonix and therefore made a different game, 2K Marin is not 2K Boston (originally Irrational), nor is it designed by Ken Lavine, so BioShock 2 is not going to be much like BioShock 1, unless it is quite simply a clone or derivative-- which it appears to be, at least to me at this point. They are simply different games, regardless of how good either is or will be.

There's a new GameSpot preview up (contains some light spoilers about the start of the game). I must admit, the preview isn't helping much in changing my mind about playing a Big Daddy.

GameSpot wrote:

As for what we didn't see, the team mentioned that you'll eventually meet up with other residents of Rapture--some spliced and some not...

Why can't I play one of those instead? That would make much more sense than a Big Daddy that can use vending machines, hack security stations, etc. The issue has been banged around a bit and I apologise for sounding like a broken record. It's just that I enjoy feeling immersed in a FPS and it's going to be difficulty to identify with a hulking brute that's barely sentient.

The rest sounds alright. Basically more of the same, which is by no means terrible.

Podunk wrote:
Jordan Thomas,co-designed Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle.

That's all I absorbed from that post and all I needed!

Lord_Xan wrote:
It's just that I enjoy feeling immersed in a FPS and it's going to be difficulty to identify with a hulking brute that's barely sentient. :(

I take it you didn't like Gears of War?

Latrine wrote:
I take it you didn't like Gears of War? :hump:

I love Gears, even if all the characters are 'roided-up meatsacks. The thing is, they never act like they're more than that. They just burst in and shoot everything to pieces, which is exactly what you would expect future space-jocks to do. Prototype or not, Big Daddies are semi-monters ambling around in metal suits (at least by the first game's standards). I don't expect them to skulk around buying upgrades from vending machines, playing PipeMania games to hack security bots and so on. Yet that's exactly what 2K Marin is going for. To me this just doesn't slot into the mythos, which is something BioShock went to great lengths to create (even from the first gameplay trailer 2K Boston released).

But then 2K Marin is the developer, not me. I only get to decide whether I want to pay or not. And I will pay, rant of self-entitlement notwithstanding!

Watched the 12 minute preview vid. It did not leave me with any warm fuzzies. I am sort of disappointed with this game already.

It seems like their focus is "lets think of some neat places and then we'll come up with a story".

I thought I would post this in here, since the vast majority of this thread probably are people who finished the first game, but I want a re-released version of BioShock with this near flawless ending.

kuddles wrote:
I thought I would post this in here, since the vast majority of this thread probably are people who finished the first game, but I want a re-released version of BioShock with this near flawless ending.

That alternate ending is awesome!

Hell, everything in that version of the post-Ryan phase of the game would have been a vast improvement.

Mordiceius wrote:
It seems like their focus is "lets think of some neat places and then we'll come up with a story".

I suspect that many games start out with consideration of things like level design and gameplay mechanics, and a story that fits is composed later. If your core gameplay experience is bad, a good story probably won't save the game. Besides, isn't setting an important part of any story?

That would've been a great ending from a story perspective. The mechanic behind his end boss fight though sounds annoying as hell.

I read that, thinking it might make sense to have part of the boss fight being destroying the vita chambers.

Latrine wrote:
That would've been a great ending from a story perspective. The mechanic behind his end boss fight though sounds annoying as hell.

Iterative design. I could see it working on a base level, then tweak some things (your strength, Fontaine's strength, flood/timer, number of Little Sisters) to make it more fun.

muttonchop wrote:
Mordiceius wrote:
It seems like their focus is "lets think of some neat places and then we'll come up with a story".

I suspect that many games start out with consideration of things like level design and gameplay mechanics, and a story that fits is composed later. If your core gameplay experience is bad, a good story probably won't save the game. Besides, isn't setting an important part of any story?

That is how most designers go about it, from what I understand. I know that's how Half-Life and HL2 were done, if only because the lead writer for HL1 came to our school one semester and spoke about it in a games-story summit. They would design levels, figure out the best "layout" to make them fun (I'm generalizing here), then figure out how they could write them into the overarching story/outline.

The problem with that in BioShock 2's case, is that they aren't really bringing anything too new to the neat places, and thus the story suffers as well. For me, even though gameplay will ultimately drive story, you as a game designer still need a solid story in mind-- especially in a singleplayer experience. Because the story and the gameplay need to work in tandem to hold the player's attention, at least in a big title like BioShock (games like Mario are on a tier unto themselves, even though they also have integrated stories to a far greater extent than they once had). So it appears that 2K Marin doesn't have a solid story to base the new gameplay from-- more likely, they were made to create a sequel and do it quickly, so they jumped right in with ideas that would make cool add-ons to the original game. It appears, at least thus far, that the story is solely a means to justify the player's position in the game, and I think that's what Mordiceius was getting at.

I understand the criticism that gamers just didn't want a sequel because the first one (minus the last interactive bit) was satisfying. Oh well. I see the criticism that it looks too much like the first one, but it was the atmospherics that made the first one. Plus if they diverged drastically you'd have people complaining about that. I totally agree with the complaint (mentioned elsewhere) that there doesn't seem to be enough phyiscal weight to the Big Daddy's drill hit or the way he moves-- I agree with this. Aside from this, it's still just a one minute.

Also, I will be shocked (Bioshocked, perhaps) if gamers embrace this game as much as the first one. The "twist" was huge. It's was the sort of thing you see done in narrative so rarely, it would be criminal (though understandable) to expect another such perspective shift in the sequel.

http://www.pcgameshardware.de/aid,68...

New pictures.

I'm left unimpressed and uninspired.

Didn't they say they were re-designing the Little Sisters to make you more empathetic towards them? Because frankly the new versions make them look much creepier and less human. Maybe I'm crazy and made that up, though.

A couple of very interesting new features over at RPS today.

Bioshock 2 Impressions

Bioshock 2 Interview with lead environment designer Hogarth De La Plante and senior producer Melissa Miller.

The problem with the leaked Game Informer cover a few weeks back, and the reason a whole bunch of folk, myself included, reacted to it with knee-jerk negativity, was that it appeared to tell a complete story. You’re back in Rapture, and the Big Daddies are now ladies. Oh God, must it really be so obvious?

As it turns out, that’s only a fraction of the story. It’s barely even the story at all, in fact – in the name of attention-grabbing marketing, that single, strangely self-contained image discarded all the more interesting questions around Bioshock 2. Even now, having yesterday seen the game in action and discovering nothing’s anywhere near as simple as it had seemed, I’ve a very clear sense there are a great many more questions yet to be posed - let alone that I’ll discover their answers any time soon. Which, really, is why Bioshock 2 is so exciting to the breed of gamer who we like to think reads this site.

I’m told, too, that developers 2K Marin, headed by Jordan Thomas, the brainiac level designer behind the Sander Cohen sequence of Bioshock 1 and the legendary Cradle map in Thief 3, are well aware of how and why the first game failed at times. This doesn’t, of course, guarantee we’re not in for another terrible ending, but to know that this game isn’t being made under an arrogant presumption that the first one was flawless is enough for even its greatest detractors to show some interest in this sequel. It looks like Bioshock, it feels like Bioshock, but it’s somehow different – and, most importantly, it genuinely restores mystery to something that seemed so resolved.

Questions, so many questions. And each new one makes Bioshock 2 more enticing – somehow, the more we see of it, the less we know about it. That cover, that first leaked image, answers precisely nothing after all.

I am really curious what their new story is going to be, but I'm still skeptical...

Granted, we are making assumptions based on little info, and so I had said before, I hope I am wrong in my assumptions-- I do hope it's good, I just don't agree that the first game needed a sequel. With that thought in the minds of most fans, I'd say it's a safe bet that this one had damn well better be good, or else they suffer fanatical rage-- but their promo info thus far doesn't reveal as much, and like I said before, that's a huge mistake on thier PR dept's part. The more I read the quotes, the more it sounds to me like they are back tracking, as if they misread their audience's expectations and are now interjecting with "Oh no, it's way smarter than the footage we showed you-- just wait".