Ken Levine wants to make story games “replayable”

Friday, 1 November 2013 18:12 GMT By Phil Owen

Ken Levine, mastermind behind many narrative-driven games that contain no meaningful player choices, such as BioShock Infinite, is tired of making titles for which there is little reason to revisit. And so he told Dave Cook he’s trying to figure out in his head how one might make a game that would be worth playing more than once.

As part of an exhaustive two-part interview feature that will appear on this very website on November 11 and 12, Levine relayed these thoughts to Dave:

“The next challenge is not a particular story, it’s more of a meta-challenge. One thing that’s tough is that narrative is – except for the Fight Club or BioShock notion of going back and revisiting things once you have more knowledge – not very replayable. I’ve been going through this thought experiment in my head of what, technically, you could do from a development and design stand-point to make narrative much more replayable and much more dynamic.

“Right now it’s just a thought experiment in my head, I’ll probably do a talk at GDC about it, but I have some really interesting experiments going on in my head. That’s not a story, that’s not a game, that’s a piece of narrative conceptual technology which may turn out to be absolutely nothing, so I don’t want to oversell it. That’s what I’m thinking about. That’s frustrating when you work five years on something, people play it once and they’re done. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.”

There’s much, much more coming on November 11.