GOOD JOB: Tom Bissell Interviews Ken Levine, Creator of Everything Good Including ‘BioShock: Infinite’

9 Apr

Ken Levine created not just “BioShock” but several more of the best games ever made, including “Thief,” “Thief 2,” both “System Shock games (which are sort-of prequels to BioShock), and the “Freedom Force” series. So “BioShock: Infinite” is pretty much a lock for Game of the Year unless something really, really awesome comes out, because it has one of the best stories any game ever attempted and it looks like Pixar started making extremely political sci-fi. It rocks.

Tom Bissell interviewed Levine for Grantland, and it’s quite good. You can check it out here, for gems like this:

Both BioShock and Infinite are about the messiness that results from supposedly ironclad philosophies. You have these worlds and these villains who are obsessed with order, and a player who makes it all go to hell. What attracts you to dramatizing totalist philosophies?

They’re comforting. People who want answers want someone to come along and tell them, “This is what we’re going to do, and it’s going to be awesome. Don’t worry. You sit back. I’ll drive.” We all want that in a lot of ways. There’s so many times I’ve had people come in and say to me, “I’m going to handle all this.” People who haven’t earned my trust yet. I’m so desperate sometimes that I hand them that trust — and I almost always end up regretting it. But I go back each time, handing over that trust to people who haven’t earned it yet, because it’s so tempting. You want to let go.

Being an adult is realizing that there’s no Mommy and Daddy. I think, to have these characters who fill that role of Mommy and Daddy — there’s something very appealing about it. It takes so much of the burden away from you. But with that burden goes a lot of other things.


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