Ken Levine

Ken Levine outlines his system for replayable narrative in games

Tom Francis at

Ken Levine's been working on what he calls 'linear narratives' for 19 years, most recently in BioShock Infinite. In February, his studio Irrational closed and Levine left to start a new game with a smaller team, focusing on making something story-driven but replayable. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Friday, he gave a talk to explain what he means by that, and to lay out the basics of a system he thinks might be able to achieve it.


Irrational Games "winding down," Ken Levine starting smaller team within Take-Two

Emanuel Maiberg at

Today, Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games will be winding down as we know it after it releases the last piece of DLC for BioShock Infinite. Levine will be starting a smaller, "more entrepreneurial" endeavor at Take-Two, which also worked with him on the BioShock games. Unfortunately, this means Irrational will let go of all but 15 employees.


BioShock Infinite - Burial At Sea: Episode 2 gets a spoilery behind-the-scenes video

Cory Banks at

Ever since Irrational Games announced that its BioShock Infinite downloadable content would take place in Rapture, fans have speculated about how the worlds in the BioShock franchise could be connected. As we get ever closer to the release of Burial At Sea Episode 2, a new, very spoilery video starts to hint at answers—while showing off a whole host of returning characters from both Rapture and Columbia.

Seriously, spoilers ahead. You've been warned.


Ken Levine: SteamOS is "a brave and powerful idea"

Cory Banks at

“I have a huge amount of confidence in Valve,” Ken Levine tells PC Gamer. The creative director of Irrational Games and writer of BioShock Infinite is excited about Valve’s newest plan for PC gaming: SteamOS. Levine took a break from working on Infinite’s Burial At Sea DLC (which he says is “nearing the end” of development) to discuss how Valve’s Linux-based operating system might change how we play games through our PCs.


Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea DLC will let you play as the more-thoughtful Elizabeth

Ian Birnbaum at

Bioshock Infinite’s first episodic DLC, Burial at Sea, is headed our way in the next few months, and the biggest news for fans of the series is that we’ll get a chance to step into Elizabeth’s shoes. Now we’re getting some new information about what designing Elizabeth has been like, and how her character will shape the game.

BioShock Infinite DLC details: new plasmids and weapons, no hacking

Perry Vandell at

BioShock Infinite Creative Director Ken Levine held an impromptu Q&A session over Twitter on Wednesday, handing out bits and snippets of information regarding Booker and Elizabeth’s return to Rapture in the upcoming DLC, Burial at Sea.

BioShock Infinite DLC unveiled: trailers, screens, and oh my god one's available today

Logan Decker at

Among its numerous twists and revelations, the narrative nuke dropped during the finale of BioShock Infinite was the realization that the “Infinite” in the game’s title was meant quite literally. And once you’ve finished a game that ends pretty much, well, everywhere, you’d naturally wonder where Irrational would take the game next. The answer arrived yesterday at a presentation in Boston where Irrational revealed details of the three separate DLC packs that will be released throughout the year, beginning with Clash in the Clouds - a series of increasingly difficult and chaotic challenges that take place in four aerial arenas, as well as two episodic adventures set in the luminous undersea chambers of pre-apocalyptic Rapture (from the original BioShock). And the best part for PC gamers is that Clash of the Clouds will be available today at noon on Steam for $5.

If you just need the word about Clash in the Clouds, the word is given: you want it. Go ahead, start downloading it now, and read on for trailers and screenshots of both Clash in the Clouds and Burial at Sea: Episode One, interviews with Ken Levine and Lead Level Designer Forrest Dowling, as well as a glimpse of the third DLC pack that turns Elizabeth and her freaky hand-magic into a playable character.


BioShock Infinite: Columbia's Finest DLC drops bonus items, not story

Perry Vandell at

We're still waiting for the DLC that fleshes out Columbia's bloody history, but Irrational Games has released the "Columbia's Finest" DLC pack in hopes of fleshing out your inventory instead.


Face Off: Would BioShock Infinite make a good movie?

PC Gamer at

This week’s debate asks whether or not a film adaptation of BioShock Infinite could work, or if it misses the point. "No," says the man from Michigan: Evan thinks that BioShock's themes and intricate plot don't suit a Hollywood reproduction. On the other side, Tyler doesn’t see why Infinite’s great story couldn’t become a great film, if all else goes well. Read the debate inside and continue it in the comments. Evan, you have the floor:


What we want from BioShock Infinite's DLC

PC Gamer at

Have you finished it yet? Once you’re through puzzling over the game’s conclusion, you may well be thinking about where the promised story DLC will take you next. We’ve put together a short list of tweaks and twists we’d like to see - but we’re sure you have more and better ideas. Let us know in the comments. Of course, spoilers lie within.


BioShock Infinite's ending explained, and what we think about it

PC Gamer at

Spoiler Alert!Don’t read this post or its comments unless you’ve finished BioShock Infinite. Experience it for yourself so you can come back and analyze it with us when you’re done. Don't even scroll down a little. There are screenshots.

Those of you still reading can appreciate why we say that—the ending needs to be experienced fresh, but not talking about it is excruciating, even when your friends are cupping their ears. We’ve been going back and forth about Infinite for a few days, and that conversation comes in two flavors: the technical exercise of untangling all the interdimensional spaghetti, and our critical response to it.

Violence is "a part of the storyteller's toolkit," says Ken Levine

Omri Petitte at

BioShock Infinite lead Ken Levine addressed the ongoing debate about violence in games in an NPR interview (via GameSpot) yesterday. During the talk, Levine defended games by stating that using violence as a narrative device is as old as storytelling itself.


Ken Levine's fascinating, lengthy BAFTA Q&A is now available to watch online

Tom Sykes at

If you have an hour-and-a-bit of time spare today, you could do a lot worse than to spend it watching this recently uploaded BAFTA Q&A with Irrational Games' Ken Levine, in which he chats about System Shock 2, BioShock and BioShock Infinite - well, the clue was in the name of the presentation: 'From Shodan, to Big Daddy, to Elizabeth: The Evolution of AI Companions'. It's a fascinating talk, particularly if you're interested in the history of the series and the company, or game stories in general - and something of a tasty main course after the recent bombardment of BioShock Infinite trailers.


Irrational's Ken Levine personally "killed" BioShock film adaptation

Omri Petitte at

The BAFTA awards were given out earlier this month, and apart from being known as the ceremony where winners get a golden face, it's where a few PC games took a bow for their achievements. Irrational boss Ken Levine was on hand to promote the incoming release of BioShock Infinite, and as Eurogamer reports, he also discusses what happened to the BioShock film and its on-again, off-again director Gore Verbinski.


Ken Levine: BioShock Infinite team repeatedly wanted to cut Elizabeth

Omri Petitte at

The saga of BioShock Infinite's development is almost as nuanced as the history of the floating city of Columbia itself, and that facet certainly extends to the impending FPS' cast of characters. Booker DeWitt's constant companion is Elizabeth, a wide-eyed Columbian with her own story to tell and mysteries to unravel, but she almost never existed at all. Speaking to Polygon, Creative Director Ken Levine goes over the challenges Irrational faced when working with Elizabeth's increasingly complex character, revealing the team requested more than once to eliminate her entirely.


BioShock Infinite artist almost resigned over game's depiction of religion

Omri Petitte at

Two of the many -isms supercharging BioShock Infinite's narrative is the religious extremism and racism of Zachary Comstock, the zealous ultra-nationalist founder of Columbia and a figure of worship for many of its citizens. In an interview with GameSpot, Creative Director Ken Levine stresses the difficulty in creating Comstock as a designer from a non-religious background, and he recalls how a certain end-game scene with the character nearly caused an Irrational artist to quit in protest.


BioShock Infinite goes gold, Irrational says it cut enough content to "make five or six games"

Omri Petitte at

It's time to make sure your tickets are in order and your tweed vests are properly packed in your steamer trunks, because the (sky)train to BioShock: Infinite's floating metropolis is on schedule to depart on March 26. That is, Irrational's Ken Levine wrote in a blog post that the game has gone gold.


Ken Levine: BioShock Infinite multiplayer rumors were "a little frustrating" for Irrational

Omri Petitte at

BioShock Infinite breaks through its cloud cover and skydives onto your computer on March 26, a date that will also mark the end of a turbulent journey of repeated delays, box art quibbles, and staffing woes. In an interview with OPM, Irrational boss Ken Levine comments on previous rumors of a multiplayer mode and layoffs, saying that the attention these two issues got was "a little frustrating" for the team.


BioShock Infinite character "highly altered" after talks with religious Irrational members

Omri Petitte at

As a storyteller, Irrational Creative Director Ken Levine isn't averse to addressing controversial themes—BioShock Infinite is a what-if scenario of American exceptionalism, racism, and deep-rooted class divides—but that doesn't mean he rejects constructive input. Speaking to OXM, Levine revealed how talks with religious members of Infinite's team caused him to change a certain character, not to gain approval, but to improve the story.


BioShock Infinite system requirements released, interview with Irrational about PC features

Evan Lahti at

Grab a tiny knife and carve off 20 GB for BioShock Infinite. Irrational Games has put forth a wish list of PC parts for its impending single-player shooter in required and recommended forms, as is the tradition (interestingly, the “Recommended” spec demands 30 GB of space).

Pop inside for the run-down, and for bonus details about BioShock Infinite’s benchmark tool courtesy of the game’s technical director.