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Infinity and Beyond: Ken Levine on reinventing BioShock

Tuesday, 12 April 2011 07:14 GMT By Nathan Grayson

BioShock Infinite’s certainly got people talking, but all-too-often the conversation quickly jumps to: “What the hell is it?” We caught up with Ken Levine to find out.

BioShock Infinite

The first Irrational-developed BioShock sequel.

Leaves Rapture behind for Columbia, a city in the sky.

Launching on PS3, PC, and Xbox 360 in 2012.

In a world full of PR-regurgitating execs and phoned-in, dialed-down sequels, Irrational Games’ Ken Levine is quite the anomaly. He could have ridden BioShock’s tidal wave of success right back into Rapture for BioShock 2, but he instead chose to craft an entirely new world from the ground-up – literally.

Rising from Rapture’s dilapidated depths, Levine’s taken to the skies with BioShock Infinite’s Columbia. And it’s not just a simple change of scenery, either. Gone is Rapture’s crushed Objectivist spirit, replaced by sunny early 1900s American idealism.

That, however, raises the question: why even call it “BioShock”? Why not embrace Infinite’s originality and free it of the tremendous expectations that go hand-in-hand with the BioShock name?

“I think the fact that the physical location is different is not the only thing that defines a BioShock game,” Levine tells VG247 during a recent phone conversation. “I think there are plenty of other themes that define it that way.”

He adds: “It’s a BioShock game, in the same way that a Call of Duty game is a Call of Duty game or a Zelda game is a Zelda game. What you’re doing in terms of gameplay – it’s centered around moving through this world that’s incredibly detailed and realistic yet kind of fantastical.

“The fact that you have weapons in one hand and powers in the other hand and it’s all about how you take on challenges with those powers that you have a good degree of control over – those things make it very much a BioShock game.”

This town ain’t big enough for the two of us

On paper, then, Infinite’s ties to the rest of the series are undeniable, but that’s just the start. Dive deeper and you’ll find the game’s very DNA, which paradoxically owes everything to BioShock, and knocks down everything it worked so hard to build up. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Infinite’s encounters, which – in some cases – take the “S” out of FPS altogether.

“I think what’s interesting is that defining what a typical encounter is in BioShock Infinite is going to be very tough,” says Levine.

“When we started the BioShock franchise, one of the biggest challenges we had was when the player encountered the Big Daddy for the first time. The natural reaction of the testers was that they’d whip their gun out and start shooting it, because that’s what you do. When you see somebody in a first-person shooter, you shoot ‘em.

“We had to do a ton of work to train the player not to shoot the Big Daddy immediately. Like if you remember, it was four – maybe five – times before you were in a place where you could actually shoot him. We sort of did all this work to make the player understand that there were other ways to approach the problem.

“So we really tried to expand that thinking in BioShock Infinite to a broad range of AI – that there are AIs in the world that have different [behaviors]. Sometimes they’re not going to fight you at all. Sometimes they’re going to find you in the right conditions.

“The example we gave is that you come into a bar and there are all these guys, and you’re not sure what’s going to set them off. Maybe nothing will set them off unless you take your gun out and start shooting them. There’s a whole range of activities that could set them off.

“It’s sort of like, you know, in your personal life, you come home and sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to say to your significant other that may set them off [laughs]. Or they may say something to you.”

Confused? In most cases, that’d be an unfortunate indicator that Irrational ought to get its head out of the clouds and go back to the old drawing board. For Levine, however, that’s mission accomplished.

“Some people have said to me, ‘How do you know what’s going to make them fight you?’ And I’m like, ‘Well that’s the interesting thing. You don’t.’”

“So some people have said to me, ‘How do you know what’s going to make them fight you?’ And I’m like, ‘Well that’s part of the interesting thing. You don’t.’ You learn things along the way. There are certain tools you’re going to have that are either going to turn enemies into friends or sometimes friends into enemies.

“But that whole messing with the AI space – you know, finding groups that are opposed to each other and being able to exploit those oppositions to your advantage – those are some of the really fun things that we started in BioShock, but we’ve moved it away from the Big Daddy space and into a much broader AI space,” he explains.

Booker and Elizabeth, sitting in a tree

Unlike BioShock, Infinite’s definitely not a one-man show. In fact, based on what Levine tells us, Elizabeth might be even more important than you. And that’s key, because she’ll be responsible for saving your skin on multiple occasions. Here’s the thing, though: it comes at a price.

“There are always moments where she offers opportunities for you, and you can take advantage of those opportunities, or you can just ignore them. In the actual game itself, it’s basically she can offer up stuff almost everywhere. And it’s really about you deciding what are these opportunities you’re going to take, because she doesn’t have an unlimited power set in terms of how much she can do for you. So you have to choose,” he says.

“It’s going to be very, very interesting. I mean, she’s a narrative driving force in the game, certainly. But she’s also something that really expands [your options]. She’s another arrow in your BioShock powers quiver. We’re expanding that quiver substantially for the game itself in terms of the powers you have in your hands, but also Elizabeth adds a whole new spectrum to that,” he adds, using the rainstorm from the first gameplay demo as an example.

“When somebody makes a sacrifice for you, that’s an incredibly bond-forming experience. That’s the root of every powerful relationship.”

Granted, that’s only half the equation. Why should you care about Elizabeth’s currently non-specific plight if she’s just a gun with soulless eyes and a doll-like face? Sadly, the gaming industry’s not exactly known for its stable of subtle, convincing characters, but Levine’s not the type to call it quits just because everyone else has already thrown down the Rubick’s Cube in frustration.

“When we started with this companion character, we said, ‘Well, it’s easy to have Booker form an attachment with Elizabeth.’ That’s easy, right? I just write that. Booker says, ‘You’re awesome,’ and Elizabeth goes ‘You’re awesome too!’ That’s the easy part.

“The hard part is how you make the player form an attachment. And what we did – we’re going to be showing a lot more of the dynamics of their relationship in the next demo – is we said, ‘OK, what makes people form attachments in life?’ Especially very quickly, right? Because these people just met each other,” Levine says.

“If you go back to those relationships you’ve had in your life where you just meet somebody and the attachment grows quickly, there are several things to be thought about. One is that generally people thrown into a crucible together – into a dangerous, challenging, stressful situation – often form relationships more quickly. And the way they form them is they end up making sacrifices for each other. It’s doing things together that cost them.

“When somebody makes a sacrifice for you, that’s an incredibly bond-forming experience. That’s the root of every powerful relationship.”

Simple enough, right? When your characters are in a first-person shooter, we don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say they’ll be in danger every once in a while. For instance, all the time. For Levine, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

“I think one of the primary examples is people fall in love with their doctors,” he says. “Again, because they’re in a dangerous, stressful situation and here’s somebody who’s really pulling out the stops for them.

“So Elizabeth and Booker quickly form this relationship based upon the fact that, well, they’re not having a very good time [laughs]. They’re probably having the worst time of their lives, and they’re the only ones there for each other. They’re the only ones that each one can turn to.

“So we look into our own lives and the problems we’ve had – the sickness we’ve had, the financial problems we’ve had – and the people that have been there for us and the things they’ve done for us. That’s what we use for an inspiration in thinking about this relationship.”

A man chooses, a slave obeys

Infinite, then, is a game that’s very much about the player’s experience both inside and outside its confines – not some hypothetical “optimal” playthrough. Options abound, both in terms of how you play and how you interpret the subject matter.

And that’s hugely important for Levine – especially in a videogame culture that otherwise hinges incredibly heavily on binary, this-or-that choices. Good versus evil, Xbox 360 versus PS3, Marvel vs Capcom versus a good fighting game – you name it. The mentality’s everywhere. Levine, however, isn’t a fan.

“I think that generally, our feeling is that most people feel trapped in between very, very polarized viewpoints and are really somewhere in the middle of that.

“You can get crushed by those viewpoints. Our personal feelings come more from that – of being somebody who doesn’t wake up every morning knowing exactly what their political viewpoint is, exactly what their social viewpoint is, and going out and spending every ounce of energy making sure people get in line with that viewpoint. I think we’re more about asking questions and providing answers,” he tells us.

BioShock Infinite’s incredibly impressive
gameplay demo.

“I think in terms of how we think about it, we have less of a Manichaean view of the universe. To me, the real world is a little more complex. There are some extremes, obviously. I mean, if you invoke Godwin’s Law – bring up the Nazis – and you find these real extremes where it’s kind of hard to find any positive viewpoint.

“But in general, I think that the world’s a pretty murky place. If you really try to find white hats and black hats, it’s very tough to find them in the real world. But I think we’re attracted to them because it’s simpler, and people like simplicity.”

Broad black and white strokes will only get you so far, however, and in case you hadn’t guessed, Infinite’s not really into the whole “limits” thing. At the end of the day, Levine and co are only hoping to give you a little nudge – not a harsh shove right off the deep end.

“I think if you played our other games – System Shock 2 and BioShock – we’re not generally fans of saying, ‘here’s a definitive statement about the world and how it should be,’” Levine explains.

“With the first demo of Infinite, we had a lot of responses saying, ‘oh, you’re attacking this group. You’re attacking that group.’ They’ve not seen what else is going on in Columbia. We’re into presenting a bunch of different viewpoints and saying, ‘Here’s the good, here’s the bad. Why don’t you sort it out?’”

“No multiplayer? Five out of ten.”

When the original BioShock first came out, the whole world did a collective, especially sticky spit-take. “No multiplayer?” it asked. “Madness! Sheer madness! It will flop and never have at least two sequels.” It did not flop. It has had at least two sequels.

Levine, then, doesn’t look at multiplayer as an absolute necessity. If you’ve got an interesting idea, that’s fine. But if you’re tacking on multiplayer for another quick-and-dirty bullet point, then you’re destined to fail.

“BioShock’s a great example,” he says. “We sold 4.5 million units. To some degree, that was a victory of, ‘Let’s make the right product – not what a marketing survey tells us.’

“If we had a great multiplayer thing to say in that game, we would have made a multiplayer mode. We would have done it if we had something to say. But we just didn’t, so I didn’t want to do what I had done before. I didn’t want to be forced to fill a checklist some marketing guy had about what a product should be.”

“Most people tend to ignore a multiplayer mode that isn’t compelling. That’s way more common than anything else. People work all this time to create a multiplayer mode, and you can go on Xbox Live and you literally see – even in some good multiplayer games – six, eight, or ten people playing the game. Literally. In the world. It’s heartbreaking.

“If you’re going to do that, it’d better not be because some marketing guy is telling you to do it. It’d better be because you have something to say.”

A moment of violence

There’s no avoiding it. In the gaming industry, Ken Levine’s “that guy.” The brainy one. He asks big questions. Gamers name-drop him in the same way movie-goers talk about how they “get” Chris Nolan films. Even so, we’re still talking about games where – at the end of the day – you’re shooting dudes in the face.

Before the advent of videogames, face-blasting and chin-stroking weren’t generally considered compatible activities. Thus, the question arises: are we forcing two unlike puzzle pieces together and ruining both in the process? Typically an idealist, Levine takes a surprisingly realistic stance here.

“When you watch a TV show, people like looking at good-looking people. When you play a videogame, people like shooting stuff.”

“There’s a bit of suspended disbelief, right? You know, in BioShock 1, you’re going around the world and you’re exploring all this interesting stuff and answering all these moral questions. And you’re also shooting dozens and dozens of people to death.

“We give a reason, you know, because they’re coming after you, basically. But it is a little strange, right? No one can deny the suspension of disbelief you have,” he says.

“I feel this too when I’m watching a TV show. Some cop show or something. I’ll be like ‘wow, the cops in this city are very attractive!’ It’s ridiculous how good-looking all the victims and all the cops are. How photogenic they are. But when you watch a TV show, people like looking at good-looking people. When you play a videogame, people like shooting stuff quite often.”

There’s no denying, though, that games are becoming more and more advanced. There’s a difference between suspension of disbelief and outright denial. Levine’s well aware of that, but when push comes to shove, he has precisely one goal: fun.

“If you look at, say, Heavy Rain, I think they try to explore different areas of the challenge space. You can argue that’s more or less interesting as a challenge than shooting people. It’s generally easier to get past the suspension of disbelief problem, but you also have the question, ‘Is it as fun? Is that a fun challenge?’

“For whatever reason, the physical act of leading a target and shooting at it is an interesting, challenging fun dexterity problem,” he tells us.

“Games generally involve some interesting, fun challenges – whether it’s dexterity or mental. Videogames that don’t have that – more narrative fiction, like Swords and Sworcery on the iPad – there’s not really a gameplay component to them.

“But Irrational is making games. I like games. I’ve always liked games. I’ve always played games. I’ve always liked games that have some kind of challenge component. So I think I’ll continue to make games that have stories, but I really like the fact that games are games.”

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11 Comments

  1. themadjock

    Ken Rocks, I have total respect for him and trust he will guide infinite into being the true sequel to Bioshock. Compare this FPS with the bland and soulless yearly CoD rollout:

    Bioshock:

    One of he best stories in a game ever
    Great action
    Engaging characters
    Interesting environment

    Call of Duty:

    1) Your kidding right?
    2) Action less and less fun
    3) Are the characters in CoD games are just bots with names and bad dialogue
    4) Same old, same old

    Bring on 2012, I’ll be there with bells on

    #1 4 years ago
  2. mathare92

    Ken says it like it is. Top interview, Nathan.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Edo

    #1 Could not agree more,Bioshock was a game to remember forever,and the story…well I think it actually had the best story ever.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Shonak

    Plot, atmosphere – in general Rapture – was amazing. I didn’t like the gameplay so much though, but I’m sure they will improve on it, which means in this case: That Infinite will probably get a lot of lame metaphors like “the brilliance of the game is infinite” or “rasing the bar to the sky”… My most anticipated game of 2012 definitely.

    EDIT: Great article.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    Never finished the first game. Gameplay felt very raw and clunky. The world of Rapture kind of bored me. I get it, people got crazy.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. stretch215

    @1 why would you compare cod with bioshock? They are 2 completely different games. Bioshock is a single player game while cod is CLEARLY mp focused, with sp tacked on for good measure. If you buy cod for the single player you are very misguided. Everybody wants to take shots at the champ. Also “marvel vs. capcom versus a good fighting game” = me laughing out loud :)

    #6 4 years ago
  7. DSB

    @4 Yeah, the combat could’ve been better. Still, it was a truly original FPS in a time that didn’t really offer any.

    @6 True dat. CoD’s singleplayer is a Stallone movie, or maybe a Tom Berenger one. You take a big gun and then you kill anything that moves alongside a bunch of guys who are about to explode with sexual frustration and testosterone. It’s definitely not lacking in action, and while MW2s campaign certainly had no story to speak of, and far too many done-to-death plot twists, the sceneries were still pretty grand for a corridor shooter.

    Worth keeping in mind that CoD wasn’t totally MP focused until the last three iterations though. That’s probably put off some people.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. themadjock

    @6 Only for the fact that they are both FPS’s and one has originality and one churns out the same drivel yearly or twice yearly. More and more developers seem fixated to replicate CoD’s sales they need to make clones of it which damage the industry and games for us in general. To be fair I haven’t enjoyed CoD MP since MW1 and much prefer battlefield’s MP. I respect Ken because he says he won’t just add MP because the suits tell him he has too to get a high metacritic rating. He will take chances with gameplay mechanics, story lines and settings because he feels that will make an interesting game.

    I have played every CoD released I’m just tired of them now with their frustrating re-start points and short campaigns. I thought MW1 was amazing with the AC-130 level and the sniper level at chernobyl but they have rapidly declined since then, imho

    Anyway Bioshock yay

    #8 4 years ago
  9. BooDooPerson

    …I think we’re more about asking questions and providing answers,” he tells us.

    Just a guess, but maybe fix that to read “…THAN providing answers” – kind of a big difference. If it’s correct as posted, that’s a pretty odd statement to make.

    The write-up around Ken’s quotes was awkward (and downright painful in places) but thanks for conducting the interview!

    #9 4 years ago
  10. ultramega

    Can’t fucking wait for this game. Irrational Games is one of the finest developers in the industry, imo.

    #10 4 years ago
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  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]