When Bioshock was released in 2007, FHM called it “a gruesomely satisfying feast.” It was a thinking man’s computer game, for those of us after a slightly more cerebral environment for our all-too-regular sessions of extreme digital violence. Anticipating Bioshock 2’s release in February 2010, we sent a few questions over to the game’s Creative Director, Jordan Thomas...
1/ Where has Bioshock 2 improved the most?
We've significantly improved the player's breadth of choice in BioShock 2. Each system has deepened; the genetic super-powers we call Plasmids in BioShock now have dramatically different uses as you invest in each tier. Invest all the way up to Electro Bolt 3, and you're busting out the Emperor Hands, frying enemies left and right.
The varying ammunition for each weapon has a radically different, often spectacular effect from the others. Rocket Spears, for example, cause the enemy to panic and run around the room setting things on fire. As the poor shmucks try to comfort him, he explodes.
Beyond that, the player's ability to affect the story's outcome has become far more dynamic, and granular. In addition to an expanded set of interactions with the Little Sisters, the player - as a prototype of Big Daddy, dubbed Subject Delta - now comes into contact with adult characters whose motives and relationships with him are far more grey, morally speaking. The way he or she chooses to deal with all of these characters affects the outcome which is uncommon in a first person shooter. Asking the player interesting questions, both in a narrative and strategic manner, is sort of our north star with BioShock, and especially so in BioShock 2.
2/ What's the best thing about the new multiplayer?
I think it lives in the sense of combinatory mastery. Following from the sense of choice I mentioned before, the player earns ADAM (the miraculous genetic goo which powers your Plasmids) by participating in these DIY "Consumer Rewards Program", through a company called Sinclair Solutions. What that really entails is jabbing your arm full of some unstable genetic compound and participating in the Fall of Rapture directly from New Year’s Eve 1959 to 1960.
A civil war has wracked the underwater city; in Multiplayer, you're there, desperate to survive and as you begin to shape your character by investing in your personal choice of Plasmids and Gene Tonics, you get to show off your lethal "A + B = they all die screaming" skills against other live players. You earn special rewards for several of the more challenging combinations as well. Choices, both long and short term (resulting in a style kill against an intelligent opponent) strikes us as the ultimate expression of shooter dominance.
3/ Which part of Rapture will players most marvel at?
Spoiling that would cause some of our more ardent fans to hunt me down with a shovel. A man could die wrong, is all. You understand. But I will say that in BioShock 2 the player (wearing a handsome reinforced diving suit) gets to walk around and peer at the underwater city from the outside, from time to time. And there's ADAM in the water out there, so as something of a lapsed scuba nut, I personally love soaking up the atmosphere of those lonely hikes and letting the abyss gaze back. It is equal in wonder and foreboding, to me.
Bioshock 2, from £40, is out on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on Feb 9