It wasn’t long ago that Ken Levine, the creative mind behind Bioshock, took the stage during Sony’s E3 conference and discussed his hesitations on the current generation’s obsession with motion gaming. Levine explained that games from Irrational didn’t involve swinging, waving, and waggling around in front of your TV and friends, at least until they got their hands on the Move and discovered that it didn’t need to replace the fundamentals. After spending time with the Move development kit, Levine still feels motion gaming should be “firewalled off” for the safety of the game.
Speaking with OXM during E3, Levine reinforced his stance that newer gameplay methods should never simply overwrite the current tested and true method without some long, hard consideration.
Any experience that sits in the realm of motion play needs to be kept separate from the main experience. It needs to be firewalled off so that if this experiment isn’t for you, or doesn’t turn out to be all that great, you just ignore it. Any new experience we add, we need to be able to protect this experience.
As a previously large skeptic of what motion gaming could add to a hardcore title, Levine showed new confidence in the potential of using limited motion controls, specifically with BioWare’s announcement to introduce Kinect control in the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect 3:
I like the stuff they’re doing with Mass Effect 3, in terms of making some of the interface aspects a little less thorny – more the squad commands than the conversation, as that’s a bit of a challenge on the controller.
As we read into Levine’s words, we can likely expect BioShock Infinite to contain an optional set of controls based around the Move, much like Killzone 3 came packaged with. Pigeon holing an entire audience to a new trend is not something this ‘conservative’ developer is planning on doing anytime soon:
What you don’t want to do is add something in and enforce it on anybody. Do an experiment, fine! We’re in the experimental stage, and people shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting as long as we can firewall off and protect what we know works. If we don’t experiment, we don’t progress.