It’s been a little while since we’ve heard any updates from the good folks at Irrational about their upcoming shooter in the sky, BioShock Infinite. After passing on E3 and now Gamescom, people have begun to wonder just what is happening over there at the Massachusetts studio. Couple that with news about studio departures and more recently, Nate Wells and Tim Gerritsen, the eyebrows have begun to raise. News broke late last week about some challenges that have risen around the game.
In an effort to curb the trade-ins that happened with the single player only BioShock, Irrational seems to have been working on some sort of multiplayer component. Unfortunately, attempts at making a compelling and functional multiplayer side seems to have fallen apart. The first attempt was a sort of tower defense style game set in an old timey toy factory where enemies would roll out on conveyor belts as you and your group tried to stop them. It just never came together and the team moved on to the second attempt at a multiplayer component called “Spec Ops.” If you’ve played Modern Warfare 2 or 3 then this will sound familiar to you. Essentially, it’s taking portions of the single player campaign so up to 4 people can run through them. Again, the mode just wasn’t working and the team shifted over to getting the E3 2011 demo together. Eventually, the Spec Ops mode was canned and it’s now looking more and more like BioShock Infinite will be a single player only game like the first game in the series was.
In another surprising twist, Rod Fergusson has moved from his role as Gears of War Producer at Epic Games to become the new Director of Product Development over at Irrational. Didn’t see that one coming, but that’s a major grab for Levine and his studio.
Not all is lost however so don’t despair! Ken Levine has recently come out to confirm that the game is still on track to meet it’s February 2013 ship date. Not only that, the majority of the staffers there worked on the first BioShock including Scott Sullivan, who’s taking over the role vacated by Wells. Not only that, Jordan Thomas is on loan from 2K Marin, having previously worked on the “Fort Frolic” level from the first BioShock and then becoming one of the lead designers on BioShock 2.
While I am a bit concerned and surprised about the news, I’m keeping the faith on this one. Ken Levine and his team are solid and while the departures of Wells and Gerritsen certainly hurt in the long run, the game itself should be far enough a long that it shouldn’t really impact the development site. At least, that’s my theory. As for the multiplayer news? I understand their wanting to curb the trade-ins but honestly, BioShock is a game that doesn’t scream multiplayer. BioShock 2 had it and while it was competent, it wasn’t a show stopper or something that would rival the best games on the market. I’d rather Irrational focus on making the single player the best it can be as I still hold the original BioShock as one of my favorite games of all time.
The Rod Fergusson is pretty much straight out of left field but a huge win in my eyes. Rod has excellent experience coming over from Epic Games and will have an immediate impact over there. Hopefully will all these interruptions, the team can keep the time frame on track and push out a major quality experience.
What are your thoughts? Concerned, confident, indifferent? Let me know in the comments.