No BioShock without Rockstar - Levine

And casual gaming's a "nice gateway drug".

2K Boston's Ken Levine says that BioShock would not exist were it not for the work done and money made by Rockstar Games.

"As a developer, there would be no BioShock in every way without what Rockstar did...pushing the boundaries in terms of immersive gameplay, pushing the boundaries in terms of content," Levine said in an interview with our sister site GamesIndustry.biz.

"They made the money that founded BioShock. I have nothing but respect and love for those guys and what they've done for me personally, in terms of being allowed to make BioShock, and for the industry in terms of redefining the audience for gaming and the kind of stuff you can deal with in gaming and the level of sophistication."

BioShock - released in August on PC and Xbox 360 - has picked up a load of awards and won praise for Rapture, its vividly realised dystopian world on the ocean floor, as well as its interesting story and one of the best narrative twists of 2007. (The best since Knights of the Old Republic? Discuss.)

Having expressed his satisfaction that risk-taking games like BioShock had done well critically and commercially in 2007, the conversation turned to casual games, with Levine revealing that he loves Peggle and has it on his iPod.

"I think it is a nice gateway drug," he said of casual gaming. "I think it is going to strictly expand the market, which doesn't scare me very much.

"I think what BioShock did was, we said if we're going to have a complex game we have to invite the gamer to explore that complexity rather than just throwing it in their face and saying 'Deal with it.'"

Read the full interview on GamesIndustry.biz.

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