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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BioShock: Game Developers' Diary

There are times when you'll see a video featuring in-game graphics and think "meh". And then there are videos like the one featured below that really stand out. The BioShock Developer Diary video shows the City of Rapture in much more detail than previous videos and has got me thinking about taking a day off work to play BioShock when it hits store shelves on August 21st.

The video diary discusses how the developers approached the idea of the first-person shooter, what they liked about current FPS games and what they felt was a little overused and tired.

For instance, developers quickly dismissed any notions of lengthy descriptive text at the beginning of the game. If you want to have any ideas of what the game is about or what occurred in the City of Rapture, you'll need to play the game and solve the mystery yourself. I'm a big fan of this approach: keep everything in-game and allow the gamer to become more involved with the protagonist and the twisted denizens of Rapture.

The developer diary also goes into a little more detail about the relationship between the Big Daddies and the Little Sisters. In the video, you'll see this relationship clearly demonstrated in various situations, both combat and non-combat.

When in a non-combative mode, the Big Daddies are very gentle and seem to genuinely care for the Little Sisters. Note the one area of the video where you see a Big Daddy listening intently to a Little Sister's ranting, seemingly watching over her like an older, caring sibling or parental figure.

Contrast this to a Big Daddy in a combat situation. The gentle, lumbering bear is awakened and moves with startling speed. One of the developers is quick to mention that the Big Daddies will surprise many gamers with the speed of their attacks and movement once they've been provoked into fighting. I have no doubt that I'll die numerous times while trying to develop the optimal strategies for dealing with the various Big Daddies strewn throughout BioShock.

One final point of interest in regards to the Little Sisters and Big Daddies has to do with the different ways they use to get around Rapture. In some instances, you'll see a Little Sister following cautiously behind her large protector. In others, a Little Sister can be seen climbing atop a Big Daddy in order to reach a pipe located midway up a wall. At other times, the Little Sister is content to ride atop the Big Daddy as she would a pony (or Clydesdale).

After watching the video below, I see BioShock as being much more than a simple first-person shooter or horror game: I think we'll see a game that has the ability to draw some real emotions from its players. As a Little Sister places her tiny hand around a Big Daddy's finger, you can't help but wonder at the hard life and constant struggles that she must face everyday.

And as that same Little Sister plunges her over-sized syringe into the chest of a corpse before drinking deeply from the extracted juices, you wonder if thinking of the Little Sisters as children is a dangerous habit that can only bring you more harm than good.

You can watch the developer's diary below: