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Listen: Ken Levine Talks About Making ‘BioShock Infinite’

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Cover art for "BioShock Infinite." (Via Irrational Games)

Cover art for “BioShock Infinite.” (Via Irrational Games)

When the folks at Irrational Games began dreaming up “BioShock Infinite,” their landmark video game released last week, they mulled when to set it. And hit on 1912.

“You have America starting to spread its wings and take its place in the world as a world power, where before that it was essentially, almost like a very hermity type country,” Ken Levine, the visionary game developer behind the Quincy company, told WBUR’s Tom Ashbrook during On Point yesterday.

Listen to the whole show, where Levine continued: “From a technology basis, the 20, 30 years before you have basically people living as they always had for hundreds and hundreds of years. All of a sudden, there’s electricity, there’s cars, there’s movies, there’s phonographs, there’s airplanes. And then you have Einstein and Freud. All these people appearing on the scene, in Einstein’s case, redefining our understanding of the natural world in a way that still confounds us, that’s still almost impossible to get our heads around.”

Ken Levine, creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games, at WBUR. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Ken Levine, creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games, at WBUR. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“BioShock Infinite” is not just an incredibly vividly realized world, but a game that confronts players with charged questions about racism and the cost of violence, a game that immerses players in story to explore the complicated history of the United States.

Laura Sydell of NPR’s All Tech Considered writes: “It may be a first-person shooter game, but the killing doesn’t start when you get to Columbia — a floating city in the clouds. You spend an hour of the game exploring streets and gathering supplies. The city is filled with quaint turn-of-the-century buildings. People seem to peacefully meander along the sidewalks, stopping at shops and cafes. … But everything is laden with clues of a darker story that will bring this floating city to earth.”

Previously: Is ‘BioShock Infinite’ One Of The Best Video Games Ever?

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