Levine: There’s still juice in current consoles

Tuesday, 24th May 2011 01:09 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bioshock creator Ken Levine has said this console generation still has plenty of life in it, and commented that Irrational is over straight shooters.

“There’s a lot of juice in there to find, you just have to find it,” the famed designer told VideoGamer.

Adding that he’d “hate” to be making his first PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 now, without the benefit of experience, Levine made a comparison with the previous generation.

“I think about the PS2. It started with Fantavision and The Bouncer, and it ended with San Andreas and God of War,” he said.

“That’s the same piece of kit [running] those games. If you told that to anyone on the planet who didn’t know better, that it was running on the same piece of kit, they’d tell you that you were an absolute fucking liar!”

“I wish I could say I was enough of a visionary to think about that. I need to make this game, and I need to make it awesome,” he said. “These are the consoles I’m making it on, so I’m just going to make it the best game on these consoles that I can make it.”

As the BioShock series gains momentum, Levine feels there’s no need for Irrational to return to traditional shooters, like its SWAT series.

“You have to really have the craft down to make those kind of games, because there’s so many of them that the differences between them are much more imperceptible,” he said.

“So it’s really down to this fine-grain quality. Nobody’s made a game in a floating 1912 city before, so we could screw up and nobody would know!”

Irrational was asked to do a new SWAT title, but declined the opportunity.

“We just didn’t know what else we had to say that was interesting in that space,” Levine said.

“We felt that we had said what we had to say about that, we didn’t know what else to say about it. We were kicking around doing another SWAT game at the time, but we just didn’t know what we would do.”

Irrational’s latest game, BioShock: Infinite, has been lovingly previewed by Nathan, and is due on PC, PS3 and X360 in 2012.



  1. Noodlemanny

    Ugg. Finally someone who isn’t crying about how we need another console generation.

    “Nobody’s made a game in a floating 1912 city before, so we could screw up and nobody would know!” Ha good point

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Hybridpsycho

    The Witcher 2 does not agree.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight



    CD PRojekt haven’t worked on a console yet so what you say is irrelevant especially since CD Projekt has said they hope to put the series on the console. They even stated that they made the engine so it can scale with the consoles.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. DarkElfa

    Levine then counted out all the money he was paid for saying that.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. TheWulf


    Though I’m not a fan of engine -> art direction (a point I’ve made my times), Mr. 2 does have a point in regards to technology. DirectX 11 does completely blow away what the consoles can do. The difference is something akin to that between the N64 (representing the consoles) and the Dreamcast (representing the PC).

    HOWEVER, I don’t have a DirectX 11 card and I don’t see much worth in it, to be honest. Too much stock is put in engines. But I don’t exactly think that a lot of games have the best art direction either, console or computer games alike. The consoles still have juice in them, yeah, but they haven’t seen their full potential because there are too few really beautiful games out there.

    They exist, but they’re outnumbered by the flowing mainstream sludge that we’re all used to. That’s a shame. Then again, it has to be said that Team Ico are working on a particularly impressive game right now, and impressive because of the art direction, and that could make the Playstation3 really shine.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. blackdreamhunk

    there use to be time I would be real excited to buy a game. When pc gaming was the lead platform there was so many different genres, it was like going to the candy shop. Now I am only looking forward to mass effect 3 and guild wars2. The gaming Industry is gone down hill with it’s endless fps and many sequels.

    Oh and LA Noire is no new sorry.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. TheWulf

    I have to admit though, this is a nice display of art direction and DirectX 11 working together in harmony. If only we had games that looked like that being developed for the PC.

    (Guild Wars 2 is a perfect example of art direction being king though and looks almost as good as this even without the recent engine. But still, that demo does look nice… I’d love to see games with that aesthetic being developed. Airships, floating islands, steampunk… all done that beautifully. I’d upgrade for that.)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. blackdreamhunk

    also a good example why no body likes big cooperate companies like Microsoft and Sony. They tend to destroy fun past times like PC gaming for their own gain.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Overdos3

    Lol this dude is soo stupid. We can’t even say that a 8800gt and an e6600 has more juice today and this guy is talking about 7900gt …

    So stupid

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Blerk

    He’s totally right. I’m willing to bet that for at least 95% of the gamers out there the current gen is still ‘good enough’. It certainly is for me.

    PC gamers are a bit cross, and I understand that – they feel like their software is being held back, and that’s kind of sad for them. But the whole “console games are unplayable because they’re so technologically BAD” thing is just crap.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. nemsis

    there ISN’T

    #11 4 years ago
  12. DSB

    @Blerk Personally I think that’s mostly an old wives tale. I’m not one of those SLI madmen or anything, but I am a dedicated PC gamer, and I do have a high-end PC, and it feels plenty catered to at the moment.

    Whether that’s down to sloppy optimization in the console era or not, I have no idea, but I’m getting a run for my money. In my experience people making a huge fuss on the internet are not always right.

    On the contrary, when I do get on my Xbox, it does feel like it’s showing its age. Those framerate drops seem harder and harder to avoid the further we go, and I’ve been seeing them since GTA IV, really.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Erthazus

    NOPE. There is no juice.

    Crysis 1, ARMA 2, Witcher 2, METRO 2033 and etc. does not agree.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Blerk

    That’s not even the right argument, Erth. You’re saying that modern PCs are more powerful, which they are – it’s obvious. The argument isn’t that consoles are a match for that, but that there’s still more to be wrung out of the ageing console hardware. It’s two entirely separate issues.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Erthazus

    Yeah i see blerk. Call Of Duty rip offs that does only corridor stuff barely making 720p and 60fps wannabe

    There is no juice, unless they will start doing everything sub HD which no one will ever do.

    It’s not about the shiny details or visuals, it’s about the scale, AI and gameplay opportunities.

    Crysis 2 showed exactly what is a console version of a game: No destruction, corridors, lots of bloom, crappy AI and etc. 16 players only, small maps.

    I’m sorry Blerk, old hardware can’t do nothing. You get almost the same games every year. It’s time to move on.

    Battlefield 3 that is barely (BARELY) next gen can’t have 64 players on consoles

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Blerk

    You’re too hung up on the tech, man. And possibly shooters. :-D

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Erthazus

    @16, nope. Thats not true at all. I’m just speaking whats the situation right now.

    After playing PC games that are designed specifically for PC i feel like the games are stripped to death on my PS3.

    I want to find at least one game that is close to Witcher 2 in terms of technology, gameplay, story and game design.

    But if i will start to say something about ARMA 2. PS3 and 360 are just childs toy or even worse.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Blerk

    There are lots of console games that aren’t corridor shooters, though – you’re just picking and choosing examples that fit. Plus most of the examples you’re giving are of historically PC-centric titles which are obviously going to play to the strengths of that hardware. I can’t imagine a game like ARMA 2 even finding an audience on console.

    I don’t understand why you don’t just play these games on your PC and be happy with them? Would The Witcher 2 really be any better if it was on the PS3? Why not just play it on your PC with a pad, hooked up to the telly?

    There are tons of superb console games if you care to look for them. And while we’re not advancing in huge leaps these days, they’re still managing to do things that we would’ve said were impossible just a few years ago. I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be benefit to having ‘more’, but to say that consoles are basically ‘dead’ because there’s nothing else they can do is a nonsense.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Erthazus

    @18, of course there are superb console games on the PS3 (i bought PS3 just for them). Thats a fact.
    some of them are my favourite games of all time. But they could be much more then just that.

    Consoles limit games capabilities. Crysis 2 showed that perfectly. You can’t make a much better game when consoles limit you with the RAM and graphics card.
    On the PC you can do much more because the technology is unlimited.

    Remember SOTC? Superb game, but it was damn limited as hell and in the end fps for that was horrible.

    People whine for a reason (c) :D

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Blerk

    But the trick with consoles has always been to try and get the most out of what you have. This isn’t something new, they’ve always had to punch beyond their weight – it’s just the nature of the beast.

    SotC had some tech issues, for sure – but it was astonishing that they managed to get it going on the hardware at all. Compare that to some of the early PS2 titles and, like Ken says, you’d never believe it was the same machine. Would it have been ‘better’ with more grunt? Almost certainly. But would I have preferred they not make it for the PS2 at all because of that? Of course not. Once I got immersed in the game, I barely even noticed the tech limitations.

    PC games will always be ‘ahead’ regardless of how often the consoles are refreshed, because there are practically no limits. But the whole point of consoles is that they are fixed tech, relatively cheap and supported for a decent amount of time – that’s the whole reason why they’re popular. Cutting their lives short because PC tech is advancing would remove the whole point of consoles existing in the first place.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Christopher Jack

    @TheWulf, A little ironic for such a pro-PC person not to have a DX11 enabled card, I’m assuming that you’re using a slightly old Nvidia card because they were a fair bit slower to adopt the new technology than AMD.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Erthazus

    @20, “But the trick with consoles has always been to try and get the most out of what you have.”

    I’m ok with this, as long as you can change consoles. Right now they are toys and starting from this year there is a huge leap between consoles and PC.

    After games like Witcher 2 and TOTAL WAR: SHOGUN 2 you can’t go back. Soon there is going to be even more juice.
    + when PC games are consolised this is even worse.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Christopher Jack

    @22, Granted that the Witcher 2 looks damn right amazing but unlike you, I find the transition back to my PS3 very easy because the core experience comes first in my view, I’m even fine playing PSOne games on my HDTV as long as the game is fun to play.

    #23 4 years ago

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