News: BioShock Infinite’s storyline – the Founders against the Vox Populi – is a very topical one in the current climate. The game’s creative director Ken Levine sees no reason why games as a medium cannot address such societal issues in a meaningful way.
Remember when Dead Space’s story producer said that religion in games is kind of taboo? Ken Levine would call bullshit on that. He’s currently hard at work on BioShock Infinite, and its storyline involving the Founders and the Vox Populi seems very much like it has its finger on the pulse of current events. Levine’s already elaborated on this in a trailer, but now he’s expanded that with a view on games in general.
“People ask me all the time if games should be able to talk about [societal] issues, and I think: ‘Why the hell not?’ Give me a reason why games should be kept out of any conversation. We’re just another medium, and the conversation about games happens around any new medium – that it’s somehow lesser and dangerous to children. That’s just the way it is. That will pass in time,” Levine says in an interview with International Business Times.
“If you don’t sense these tensions at the roots of society you’re not really paying attention. I don’t see why games as a medium shouldn’t be able to respond to real life. There’s an odd tension where you’re controlling a character but also telling a story about the character, but there’s no reason we should back away from that tension,” he continues.
“Infinite continues the BioShock thematic of exploring the nature of extreme political movements and their effect on people, but that’s really the starting point of this game. I think it’s going to be a point of entry for a deeper discussion. If everybody reads the game the same way we’re missing an opportunity. It’s about looking at what games can and can’t talk about. I like the idea that it’s a Rorschach.”
That’s why Booker probably won’t be able to resolve the conflict one way or the other. “I think to take sides you have to be more idealistic than I am. The conflict between the Vox Populi and the Founders doesn’t really get resolved. I think to have it all get wrapped up would not be reflective of the existing left/right conflict,” Levine says.
This is going to be a gloomy game, guys.