Levine talks BioShock's legacy, mistakes, and politics in revealing interview

With the launch of BioShock: The Collection this week, one notably absent voice in the marketing onslaught has been series creator, Ken Levine. That makes sense, as Irrational dissolved shortly after the release of BioShock: Infinite, but in a far-reaching interview with Glixel, Levine reflects on the series' legacy, admitting that the original game's final boss isn't very good.

"It's terrible," Levine said. "You have this great game, and then you end up fighting this giant nude dude. We didn't have a better idea."

Levine reflects on many of the less-embraced aspects of the series, admitting that BioShock was originally supposed to have a single-ending, and that the "gunplay was good but not great". Meanwhile, Levine wanted sister harvesting to result in more severe consequences than it ultimately did in the finished game. "It's sort of anathema to game design," Levine explained, noting his publisher's advice at the time.

On the topic of Infinite's protracted development period, Levine cites the splitting up of Irrational across two continents as one of the culprits. "It was hard enough to build Irrational the first time," he said. "We had to rebuild it while making this big follow-up. The culture got so shattered, it was never properly rebuilt."

It's well worth reading the entire interview, as it's among the most candid snapshots of Levine out there. He admits to having a "depressive, anxious brain", and fleshes out some of the political inflections contained within the two instalments he lead. 

The BioShock Collection is out now. Levine admits that he wasn't involved at all in the project: indeed, 2K "didn't ask" him about it. 

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.