Former People Can Fly dev: Bioshock Infinite design “proof that the old territory is on fire and we need to go”

Tuesday, 30th April 2013 15:41 GMT By Nick Akerman

Adrian Chmielarz, former Creative Director at Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment developer People Can Fly, believes the next generation could change games development for the better. He discussed the pitfalls of games including Bioshock Infinite, Uncharted and Tomb Raider in a recent interview with Eurogamer.

This suggestion comes through a major change of heart. Chmielarz worked on two of the ultra-manliest games in recent memory while at People Can Fly, but after Judgment released, his interests altered. Indeed, Adrian Chmielarz believes gamers are ready to ask long overdue questions about popular titles.

“Things are aligning in a way that, by the end of this generation, people started asking, ‘Hey you know what, why is Nathan Drake a mass murderer?’” he said. “And they didn’t ask that with the first Uncharted. They didn’t ask that previously.”

“Something happened and it was probably indie games and the fight of indie developers to show a different side of gaming. Some people tasted a little bit of that indie gaming, started thinking about games and then they go back to the old ways and go, ‘OK there’s something wrong here.’

Chmielarz outlines Tomb Raider as another candidate for such questioning. Years ago, would Lara Croft’s positioning between being a “scared little girl” and “mass murderer” be considered?

“But she’s (writer Rhianna Pratchett) explaining herself and acknowledging the fact that, yeah, we need to do something about this – maybe we’ll fail but, yeah, there’s something there.”

The game designer progresses towards the Bioshock Infinite debate; a game that has forced many to question its use of violence. Chmielarz believes Irrational Games’ title is “proof that the old territory is on fire and we need to go.”

Core mechanics are questioned “because there are these moments there when you get a slice of heaven, a taste of heaven, and you go, ‘Oh my god this is what games can be!’ And then it’s taken away from you for the majority of the game.”

“But these moments are absolutely mind blowing – really really great – and you realise, oh my god, video games potentially can be so much more, so powerful.”

Is Chmielarz’s suggestion that game design may change just a wild dream? Would it actually improve video game quality on a mass scale? Be sure to check out the rest of his length discussion right here.



  1. TheBlackHole

    From the CREATIVE mind of GoW: Judgement, the series entry that sapped all the humour, level design and CREATIVITY out of one of this gen’s best shooter franchises.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. DSB

    It doesn’t help that he obviously hasn’t played Tomb Raider either.

    The problem wasn’t with Lara killing, she was ready to do that from the beginning, but the number of enemies thrown at her is just ridiculous by any standard.

    It’s like trying to mix a thriller with a 1980′s action movie, and that actually doesn’t help the game at all. Personally I would’ve liked to take in the world and have had more tombs to explore instead of that.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ps3fanboy

    since there now will be a lot easier to make the games for the nextgen i expect no patches coming later because the game is broken…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. redwood

    one of the reason why i Loved Shadow of the colossus was that you actually feeel so saad killing those beautiful beasts. And than that ending happens :(

    #4 2 years ago
  5. redwood

    ugh … sorry .. double post

    #5 2 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @2: But isn’t that what he said? I mean he called her a Mass Murderer, you can only become one if you kill certain amount of people.

    That was my problem with the game as well, the combat was fun, real fun. But there was just too much of it. The tombs were a joke. Small and easy to figure out. A game that calls itself Tomb Raider should be about raiding Tombs first and killing second.

    Considering the climbing was fun as well, I’d say that’s a lost opportunity.

    There also should not have been a XP System, that just encourages the killing of people and animals.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    @6 That goes for every action hero ever though. And using the word mass murderer does absolutely nothing to make that point.

    First of all I don’t think she’s a scared little girl (anywhere but the media) and secondly I don’t think she’s a murderer. The cultists had it coming, just like the guys in Nakatomi Plaza, or the nazis in every movie ever. The fact that there’s violence and killing never bothered anyone.

    Not to mention the fact that mass murderer is also a person who “only” kills 5 people. Lara Croft kills at least 500 in Tomb Raider. His argument really does nothing to distinguish between the ones that do it “right”, and the ones that do it “wrong”.

    Personally I don’t mind Lara Croft killing a lot of cultists, but the scale of it is silly. The fact that she truly faces a tidalwave of bullet-meat makes it a disconnect.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. salarta

    I’m glad to see someone in the industry finally acknowledge the problems with Tomb Raider, even though I’m sure he didn’t mean to make them out to be problems and meant no criticism.

    Even if we pretend the new Tomb Raider and the way it has been presented is perfectly flawless like so many people are doing, even if we pretend that the game is the greatest masterpiece of our times… the downright hatred and disrespect toward the proper Lara Croft by so many fans of the newest game is a sign of exactly what this reinterpretation of the character will bring.

    Most of the people defending the new game call the proper Lara nothing more than a pair of tits with guns, a sex object with no dimension or soul. And you know what? That’s the nature of people. They take a character with many dimensions and boil her down to what they believe to be the “defining” characteristics. Once they do that, the company that owns the character starts playing up those “defining” characteristics in increasingly shoddy ways, thinking that since that’s what the character is known for, that’s what should be sold.

    So we get to the new Tomb Raider. And here’s our future: Lara Croft will be increasingly depicted in a schizophrenic fashion, one second whimpering and crying in absolute fear of everything around her, and the next minute killing everything in sight like a brainless wild mutt. These are the modern definitions of Lara Croft, a scared little girl at heart that will turn into an ultra-violent savage from time to time. That may not be how it’s handled in the new Tomb Raider, but that’s definitely how it will BE handled in the future. Even if the company uses Rhianna Pratchett for every single game for the rest of her career, she’s going to die some day. Sooner or later, this “redefinition” of Lara is going to become a caricature, if we assume it’s not already in many respects.

    It’s the nature of the medium to reboot characters into caricatures that lose sight of what they were meant to be. This is no different.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Cobra951

    He has a point about Bioshock Infinite. The setting and promise of that game get lost behind a mostly mundane shooter. (Sky lines are very cool, though.) Not that it bothers me one bit that my character goes around killing bad guys. The “mass murderer” label reflects his politics more than anything else.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Clupula

    @8 – Like clockwork.

    Or Candyman, for that matter.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Gheritt White

    @8: You’ve not even played the game, therefore your opinion is irrelevant.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. gamebros

    not to mention the ending, which left me feeling like this.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Clupula

    @12 – First, it’s always kinda cheesy when people throw in cheap plugs for their websites, instead of actually adding to the conversation, so congrats on the spam. Often, people say we need more moderators on this site. Thanks for reminding me of why they’re right.

    Second, are there really people who didn’t understand the ending of the game, or for that matter, didn’t see it coming about five hours before they finished Infinite?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Vice

    I don’t like where this is going. I enjoy violence in my videogames, and while I didn’t play Uncharted (I don’t own, nor intend to buy a PS3), I enjoyed Tomb Raider very much and currently going through Bioshock Infinite and I really love all the violence in these (and all the others) games. I don’t want characters in my videogames picking flowers and being all upset about villain calling them “not very bright”.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Juice_Man101

    @12 I never understood the people that say they didn’t understand the ending. I remember hearing about how amazing the ending was and really wanting to play it, but it’s just like you said. I saw it coming a mile away.

    #15 2 years ago

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