BioShock Paved Way for Unconventional Shooters, Says Creator Levine

2K Boston and 2K Australia's narrative-heavy BioShock (PC, PS3, 360) has exposed millions to a new brand of shooter and effectively opened a new market, lead designer Ken Levine believes.

"I can pretty much guarantee to you that if BioShock wasn't successful, there never would have been another game like this," Levine told Eurogamer.

"I don't even know how we convinced people to pay for BioShock. These games had never made any money—everybody told us when we were pitching BioShock, sounds like a great idea, you'll sell 150,000 units—next!"

Levine added that his team aimed to popularize the gameplay emphasized in BioShock, which featured first-person shooting blended with role-playing and customization elements. BioShock predecessor System Shock 2 (PC) employed those elements to a much greater degree, but failed to reach commercial sales expectations.

"How many of these type of games do you think are going to be made now, compared to how many were going to be made before?" Levine asked. "How many people had played these kind of games before? 300,000, 400,000—maybe? Now millions of people, because of this game, have played this type of game."

The developer concluded that BioShock success will allow future titles to take greater risks in the genre, citing Westwood Studios' 1992 real-time strategy Dune II as a precursor to such modern RTS games as Relic Entertainment's Company of Heroes.

"Before, as great as System Shock 2 and Deus Ex were, nobody bought them. We wanted to crack that. I think now, the sky's the limit for how deep these games can go."

Following publisher Take-Two's announcement of a BioShock sequel, Levine has since revealed that he is 'not substantially' involved in the game's development, and is currently at work on a yet unannounced title.

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