BioShock: Infinite religious content “highly altered” after feedback

Sunday, 20th January 2013 23:59 GMT By Brenna Hillier

BioShock: Infinite contains religious themes, and while Ken Levine won’t make cuts to avoid offending people, he has made some changes in response to feedback.

“I had some very valuable conversations. One of the characters in the game was highly altered based upon some very interesting conversations I had with people on the team who came from a very religious background, and I was able to understand they were kind of upset about something,” Levine told OPM.

But although Levine took the feedback on board, he didn’t censor himself.

“What I said to them was, ‘I’m not going to change anything to get your approval, but I think I understand what you’re saying and I think I can do something that’s going to make the story better, based on what you said,’” he explained.

“So I did that, and I’m grateful for them bringing in their perspective. The last thing I wanted to do was change something because it offends somebody, but the thing they pointed out was making it a lesser story.”

Despite recent talk of the game’s religious themes, Levine said that’s not necessarily the core of the plot.

“I think people first saw it and thought it was a game about the tea party in America, then they saw it as a game about the labourer movement. Now people are going to think it’s a game about religion,” he said.

“It’s about patriotism, it’s about all those things but I think we keep larger meanings a little closer to our vest.”

BioShock: Infinite is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in late March.



  1. deadstoned

    That sounds ok, as long they’re not self-censoring themselves. I heard from the PC Gamer podcast that the racism stuff alone from the demos they’ve played gets you thinking on how bad stuff was back then and how much its improved since then. Not saying its perfect now of course, but certainly improved. Already pre-ordered this game looking forward to some hard issues to get us all thinking :) . There must be some tough morale choices to be made like with the little sisters from Bioshock.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Night Hunter

    “I think people first saw it and thought it was a game about the tea party in America, then they saw it as a game about the labourer movement. Now people are going to think it’s a game about religion,” he said.

    “It’s about patriotism, it’s about all those things but I think we keep larger meanings a little closer to our vest.”

    That’s why I like Levine. He at least tries to tackle some issues

    #2 2 years ago
  3. LuLshuck


    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Pretty stark contrast to something like Assassins Creed. Mixing assassination with religion and ideology in interesting time periods and doing absolutely nothing with it.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Samuel

    @4 Assassin’s Creed “did nothing” with it? The entire foundation of the overarching story is that the beings we think of as gods were actually members of the First Civilization, an advanced race of beings who created humans. The religious tales that we all know are actually about them and things that really happened, such as the reveal of Adam and Eve being two slaves who escaped their control. There’s also the element of the assassins and templars fighting each other all throughout history, with various historical figures being members of each, such as the Pope being a templar and trying to use the church to control the masses in line with the templars’ beliefs, etc.

    I wouldn’t call that nothing.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 Right, so they take a subject that is relevant and interesting, especially in an age where terror is one of the biggest buzzwords, and then they strap a few retroboosters on it, and launch it into silly-space so they don’t have to deal with any real significance, while cowering behind some patheticly simple sparring between two groups that are at most white hat/black hat charicatures.

    Neither represents any values what so ever, one is just a charicature of good, and the other is a charicature of evil, which makes both sides equally boring.

    They can’t even own the assassination bit. The whole point of assassination has always been malignant. It’s a means to intimidate or destroy, but they can’t handle that in a way that’s even remotely mature.

    Maybe I’m out of the target group with about 10 years, but actually taking those subjects and then completely ignoring any significance they might have had by hiding behind some lame science fiction premise is beyond disappointing to me. Why do they bother?

    It’s not like Dan Brown is any kind of great mind, but at least he has a hold on what makes any of those things worth using in his books.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ps3fanboy


    #7 2 years ago
  8. NeoSquall

    @7 Shut. Up.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    @7: I’m guessing it were Christians.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Gheritt White

    @7: Why are you blaming Muslims?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    @10: Because he’s a big, stupid jellyfish.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. The_Red

    Sorry but that does NOT sound ok. This is not some normal feedback. This is publisher sponsored focus group testing based on mostly people that don’t have any business to be there in the first place.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. TheWulf


    Except racism hasn’t improved at all, people can still be racist little teabags. What’s changed is human rights and laws, both of which tend to be very progressive, and I’m thankful for that. Though the media in regards to homophobia, misogyny, and racism isn’t perfect, and people are even less perfect than that. Whilst the death toll has lowered a bit, and slavery isn’t a thing any more (thank goodness), it’s still bad.

    We need to realise it’s still bad, otherwise we’ll be stuck with the xenophobia of every first world, English-speaking, straight caucasian, borne of the belief of their own superiority. There is a hell of a lot of xenophobia out there, still. Only yesterday I was reading a Western gamer rant about ‘animu’ art styles and how ‘utterly shit’ everything that comes out of Japan is. (Solely because Japan is Japan, apparently.)

    There’s still a lot of xenophobia out there, we have a long, long ways to go. We’re a slightly less barbaric peoples, but we’re still very barbaric at the end of the day.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. xino

    after trying Bioshock 2 on PSN+, after 15-20min I had to turn that trash off!
    too much blasphemies.

    hate things like this that just take a p*ss out of the bible and start twisting all the words.
    No wonder why when you tell people the “truth” they rebuke it and find it silly, part of the blame are people like this!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Gheritt White

    Love blasphemy, hate racism/sexism. Personally speaking, natch.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Kira97

    Thats good that they did this, gaming isnt about hate and arguments, we game to escape the harsh reality.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Joe_Gamer

    If you could reason with religious people…there would be no religious people.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Shuklar

    @14 Bioshock 2 wasn’t made by Levine/Irrational Games, yet by 2K Marin. I would imagine the original creator will take better care of not to offend those willing to be offended.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DopeyPhoenix

    True that about sums it up :)
    Now concerning the ending. I honestly have no problem with the change of the characters (which really wasn’t a change )And am actually thankful for it. The reason because Bioshock infinite (I assume) is trying to be a self-reflective gaming experience, hyperbolizing traits present the early 19th century america, like racism xenophobia and religions as a justification tool for atrocities that(and sadly still some what) widely present. And that that this issues are so touchy today that its welcoming that through this(relatively new) medium, he wants to explore the topic. A-ok with me.
    Now where the issue with the one of the artists, causing for revision of the “character” Comestock “allows” for a better understanding of the ending. Some people immediately jump the bandwagon assuming that he compromised the game story as to not offend a group of people(which he continually denies), which isn’t true. My self being A muslim (who has studied Islam to degree and am quite comfortable with it) is always looking for a well thought out opinions and criticism on my faith( or any religion for that matter). Because it always leads to dialouge and discussion makes both parties benefit. Rude and incessant insults not so much since all they do is to mearly degrade you making you seem “unintelligent” and “sup bar” due to your way of thinking. Reason being why i don’t like insult and driven to wards iconic religious figure, it doesn’t lead to dialogue only conflict. Now if ken ken levine found Comstocks character to be black and white and just a paper thin going “I’m a leader of an organized religion, so organized religion is BAD BLARGH”. I would have been REALLY disappointed since all ken levine would have been doing is spitting at religion. If he decided to portray comstock as a “human” allowing for the player to understand why anyone would follow this crazed man leading for a deeper reflection on one’s own belief system and how such individuals come about (all religions have their crazy cults and zealots). And really is about organized religion a whole or the human nature of interpretation of religion? Since most religions teach a doctrine of love, peace and justice but are twisted in order to meet ones agenda i.e Jihad which just means “struggle against” has now been linked with holy war sadly enough). Even looking at the internet, people are all ready talking about it (yay!) how the game was hitting to close to home ( I thought that was the point) and Ken levine “should” of done something about Islam and the middle-east (lol exoticism really? Though i Loved DUNE, People tend to forget Islam is global religion, oh the wows of a somali girl :) And the ending being really offensive. But who cares? As long as it was delivered tastefully and allowed for reflection and dialogue to come after, I’m one happy camper. Anywhoo to paraphrase Levine “Anyone who has a problem with the game must really be insecure about themselves”
    sorry about the long post I had to put it out there :)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. creamtown

    Yeah, i kind of agree with what Levine says about this game. This game has nothing to do with religion, although it uses a lot of religion materials in it. But i think the point of this game is, Booker feels extremely guilty by all of his actions in the past, like being a brutal soldier, selling his child, embracing gambling and drinking, collecting debts, etc. So as a normal human, he feels that all of his sins just cannot be washed off by the dunk in the water or the baptism. He believes that the only way to redeem himself is by fixing all of sins by saving Elizabeth, etc. Great game though!!

    #20 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.