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Developing  Bioshock , 'everyone had something to prove'

Developing Bioshock, 'everyone had something to prove'

April 17, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

"Oblivious in my pride I stood to my feet, arms thrown up, and bellowed: 'IT IS DONE!' to a completely empty building. As Cohen sat there in his looping poses, admiring his masterpiece, I realised that, in a way, I had become him."
- Irrational Games expat Jordan Thomas shares stories of crunching on Bioshock.

Simon Parkin has published an excellent feature on the development of Bioshock over on Eurogamer today that includes interviews with lead team members like Jordan Thomas, Paul Hellquist and Ken Levine.

The feature elucidates the development of Bioshock, from its origins as an original Xbox game set on a mutant-infested space station through its evolution -- under mounting pressure from the publisher -- into a streamlined FPS set in an underwater utopia gone awry.

Choice quotes from interviews with folks who worked on the game are also peppered throughout the piece, and they offer insight into how the game came together and what it was like to work at Irrational during its lengthy development cycle.

"Ken's relationship with design gradually became an adversarial one," Bioshock level designer Jean Paul LeBreton tells Parkin, when speaking about how the game's development was affected by pressure from the publisher. "I think that the pressure Ken felt to deliver a successful blockbuster corresponded, at many points on the project, to his unpleasantness with the team."

"I remember the hunger," Bioshock senior level designer Jordan Thomas tells Parkin. "I came on late, but you could smell it, like an animal; everyone there had something to prove. And when we let ego fall away, and that engine of collective intent began to roar, man - there was a beauty to the naked momentum of it."

"Maybe you were at the wheel, maybe you were fuel. On the best days at Irrational, it didn't matter."

The full article, which features the original pitch document for Bioshock, can -- and should -- be read over at Eurogamer.

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