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Kotaku Rumor: BioShock Infinite is troubled, having issues reaching vision, cut modes

I've taken a selection of quotes. There's a lot more at the link including commentary from Ken Levine.

Kotaku said:
What we've gotten during the last few days from both Levine and our sources is an unusual amount of insight about the making of a major game. Some of it may fill Infinite fans with hope while other details may raise concerns. We've heard about cut multiplayer modes, the addition of a chief Gears of War developer to the BioShock project and the return of a former BioShock top talent, but also of team stress, struggles with core Infinite concepts and more.

***

Currently slated for a February 2013 release, BioShock Infinite is a first-person action-adventure game set in the fictional floating city of Columbia during the early 1900s. From the moment Irrational revealed it in 2010, Infinite captured gamers' imaginations with its striking art direction, unique setting, political overtones and the promise of emergent, intelligent action.

BioShock Infinite made a great impression at the Electronic Entertainment Expo back in June of 2011. But it seems like there might be some trouble afoot for the game. According to three sources familiar with the game, the development team has struggled to craft a full game that meets the promise of the early demos, experiencing some of the same problems that befall any ambitious game but also suffering some distinct troubles of its own. Two multiplayer modes have been cancelled and several key staff departures have coincided with an unusual twist: the executive producer of Gears of War director of production at Epic Games, Rod Fergusson, is rumored to be being brought in by the BioShock team to help finish the game.

...

Art director Nate Wells and director of product development Tim Gerritsen, two key senior members of the creative team, are the latest in a string of staffers to depart Irrational over the past 18 months. Other departures include design director Jeff McGann, producer Joe Faulstick, principal systems designer Ken Strickland, senior level designer Steve Gaynor, and systems designer Tynan Sylvester, among others. Coupled with the departure of Wells, who has been a part of Irrational for more than a decade, and Gerritsen, it seems that a significant chunk of the core Infinite team is no longer working on the game.

...

Our sources describe the process at Irrational as lacking needed focus, with teams dedicating months to doomed projects only to have them inevitably get cut. One of the largest of those failed projects was BioShock Infinite's multiplayer.

In 2010, Levine told Kotaku that multiplayer wasn't guaranteed to be in the game, but in May of this year, job listings at Irrational hinted that the studio was in fact working on a multiplayer component. Two of our sources confirm that was indeed the case. In fact, Irrational placed a large internal emphasis on multiplayer, at least partly in an effort to keep BioShock Infinite from being traded in to used game stores as quickly as the first (single-player-only) BioShock was. Irrational went through two potential multiplayer modes for Infinite, both of which were eventually cancelled. (We're unclear on whether any multiplayer modes remain.)

The first mode involved players being miniaturized and placed into an old-timey arcade machine, where they would fight against waves of enemy toys that would roll out on tracks. It was essentially a cooperative tower defense game, but it never worked; the decision was made to can it so that the multiplayer team could focus on a second co-op mode.

That mode, internally dubbed "Spec-Ops," was similar to the Spec-Ops mode in the most recent two Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games. In it, four players would cooperatively work their way through levels lifted from the single-player game. The mode wasn't working, however, and some of the multiplayer team was taken off of it and tasked with getting the 2011 E3 demo into shape. The Spec-Ops multiplayer mode has since been canned, and it's possible that despite Irrational's initial multiplayer mandate, BioShock Infinite will ship as a single-player-only game. Levine declined to comment on those specific multiplayer modes, but said, "As I've always said we are experimenting with things, and only if they are good enough will we put them in the game."

...

The 2011 E3 demo, which wowed critics and gamers alike, was, apparently, far from indicative of the actual state of the game. Of course, that's par for the course at E3—it's common for developers to paste together a demo that deliberately shows their game and its concepts in the best possible light.

All the same, the Infinite demo made a stunning debut despite the fact that the team was wrestling with the most basic elements of the game, from the story to the level design to the AI programming to how to design the sidekick character of Elizabeth, who can magically conjure weapons and in other ways affect the environment.
Despite all this, BioShock Infinite won numerous "Best of E3" awards from various publications, including the Official E3 Game Critics Awards' "Best Of Show" citation.

...

In a final twist, our sources report that Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson has been brought on to take over for Gerritsen and get Infinite shipped. When asked about this, Levine declined to comment; Epic has not yet replied to our requests for comment.

...

Levine remains committed to BioShock Infinite, and when asked if the game was still on track for a February 2013 release, he said, "It is currently on track."
Source: http://kotaku.com/5933119/bioshock-infinite-update-multiplayer-modes-cut-gears-maestro-joining-should-fans-worry

Fergusson just announced he's leaving Epic for Irrational. So that source was spot on.

https://twitter.com/GearsViking/status/233680125089153024
 

-Pyromaniac-

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Seems like they came up with an idea for a game in their heads, but didn't think through how to actually execute it.
 
Jul 4, 2008
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meh I bet Bioshock Infinite, Last Guardian, and FF Vs. are all going to get cancelled at this point. Only a major franchise like Duke Nukem can warrant such a long gestation period.
 

metalslimer

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I knew that demo from E3 2011 was too good to be true. I'm sure the game will be good, but not the mindblowing experience that demo made it out to be.
 

Meccanical

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Oct 14, 2011
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Should have been PS3 exclusive, then they could have delayed it indefinitely like every other PS3 exclusive.
 

StuBurns

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Jan 9, 2008
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The demo was such an incredibly high watermark, and impossible to match for a full game. The amount of geometry and assets required for ten minutes of play would have made it the grandest project in the industry.

I also never understood how the greater game design would operate, if we'd have whole levels take place in the tears, and the 'real' world just be a hub you'd glide around using the skyhook thing.

So many questions.

EDIT: I still have faith it'll come out and be stunning though.
 

Beth Cyra

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This makes me very sad.

I hate FPS's, and even still Bioshock Infinite is number 2 to only Vs XIII on games I want the most.
 

therealminime

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I'm not overly worried. It's an incredibly ambitious game and when has an ambitious game not had some development issues?

I just hope that it manages to come out and that it is actually great. Any other outcome will break my heart.
 

NateDrake

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Seems like they came up with an idea for a game in their heads, but didn't think through how to actually execute it.
Like Revengance, which is why Konami shelved it initially.

Fergusson also Tweeted he played Infinite and it's amazing.
 

SJRB

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May 10, 2012
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The famous E3 demo always struck me as something that would be nearly impossible to implement in an actual game. The whole rail sliding thing, multi-tier levels, adaptive AI. Ambitious, most definately. But also insanely complex.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
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All according to Kotaku.
 

kadotsu

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The famous E3 demo always struck me as something that would be nearly impossible to implement in an actual game. The whole rail sliding thing, multi-tier levels, adaptive AI. Ambitious, most definately. But also insanely complex.
I wonder how this demo would playtest. I certainly wouldn't have come up with some of those tactics on the spot.
 

Apdiddy

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If any of this is true (given that's from Kotaku maybe not), I don't care. I'm still getting it day 1. If it's just single player campaign and no multiplayer, fuck any of the idiots buying the game only to trade it for the next Call of Duty. Those people are ruining gaming. This game if it even comes close to the 10 minute demo from E3 2011 will be a work of art.
 

Derrick01

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May 9, 2011
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Proof that tacking MP on to a single player game hampers development? :p

To me this seems like they're trying so hard to just not be another linear shooter but they cannot figure out how to do it while still being able to sell millions on consoles. If that rumor is true there's a surprising amount of incompetence in the top of the studio as far as management goes.
 

metalslimer

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So I guess with the hammer dropping and them cutting modes there is no way this gets pushed as a next gen title.
 

Muffdraul

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This is all my fault. A few months ago when Take Two announced they were pushing Infinite from Oct 2012 to Feb 2013 I thought "Good, obviously that means they're clearing October for GTA V. They could cancel Infinite completely and I wouldn't care at this point, as long as it gets GTA V in my hands this year." Sorry guys, I didn't realize God was listening.
 

Das-J

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I really want this game to be great!

Fingers crossed they can leverage their large talent pool to bring it all together...
 

-Pyromaniac-

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If any of this is true (given that's from Kotaku maybe not), I don't care. I'm still getting it day 1. Fuck any of the idiots buying the game only to trade it for the next Call of Duty. Those people are ruining gaming. This game if it even comes close to the 10 minute demo from E3 2011 will be a work of art.
yeah fuck those idiots trading in their games to buy new games o_0
 

Zeliard

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This is one of the major reasons you shouldn't try to shove some kooky multiplayer modes in there simply to get people to keep their copies. Put multiplayer in only if the creative vision mandates it. What a waste of resources.
 

Hindle

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So basically they got way above themselves on this.

Here is what I'd do - scale it down, make it like the original Bioshock, a more personal affair instead of the scale they were going for. And they may just make it a good game.
 

Dennis

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MP kills another game that could have been great.

MP is what holding back innovation in games.
 
If the cut modes are just multiplayer, it's no big loss.
This is one of the major reasons you shouldn't try to shove some kooky multiplayer modes in there simply to get people to keep their copies. Put multiplayer in only if the creation vision mandates it. What a waste of resources.
Fear not, they also mention the campaign is troubled. :p
 

Maxim726X

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Man, seems like a huge risk to take. Epic has to be one of the most stable companies in the industry to work for at the moment.
Seriously... Quite the bold move.

Maybe Infinite is amazing. It would have to be to risk your career trying to finish it.
 

keltickennedy

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So one of the "key features" that they are having trouble implementing from their original vision is multiplayer? Ahhh....I'm fine with that. Don't waste time and talent on trying to create multiplayer for what is a core single player game.

Look what happened with Mass Effect 3.
 

Maxim726X

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So one of the "key features" that they are having trouble implementing from their original vision is multiplayer? Ahhh....I'm fine with that. Don't waste time and talent on trying to create multiplayer for what is a core single player game.

Look what happened with Mass Effect 3.
Yeah, look at what happened... An awesome game that sold shitloads of copies. Why would you want to emulate that model?