BioShock Infinite level designer discusses "difficult challenge" of box art, cover backlash
BioShock Infinite's box art reveal in December showed a scowling Booker DeWitt casually hefting his boomstick as the Stars and Stripes burned in the background. Uproar ensued over the artwork's machismo, and Creative Director Ken Levine defended himself with salad dressing analogies. Now that we've all had a chance to think that one over, Level Designer Shawn Elliott has shared his thoughts on the issue with OXM.
"I can imagine it’s a very difficult challenge to take and create a single image that says everything that needs to be said in the game," Elliott said. "I mean, God—imagine, you know, writing a book and trying to make the same kind of statement with a book cover, a movie poster or anything. Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors and his movie posters are always phenomenal, but they don’t ever really tell me anything at all about the contents of the movie, so I imagine it’s a challenge."
“Box art in the '80s, for early games they tried literally to put everything on there," he went on. "So you’d have game box art where there’s a dinosaur on one side, there’s a spaceship on the other, and you really don’t understand what the hell is happening." It's true: We dare you to decipher just what is going on in this picture.
Though Irrational helped soothe concerns with a voting event for alternative cover designs, Elliott isn't worried dedicated BioShock fans will lose sight of Infinite's more complicated themes beyond provocative flag-burning shot.
"I wasn’t frustrated at all,” he stated, “because the interesting thing is that the game so far has largely been discussed by enthusiasts. Those people got to see our very first stab at the game at reveal, they got to see the E3 trailer, they got to see pretty much everything. Any time we put media out about the game, every screenshot or whatever, they have been aware of it. So I don’t really have to worry that they’re getting the wrong impression, because they’ve picked up on every impression that we’ve made.”