2K Marin's Jordan Thomas • Page 2

BioShock's new Big Daddy suits up.

Eurogamer: When we last came to see you it was "the Big Sister" and now it's "the Big Sisters". I assume there are quite a few of them around and about, but are they the only Little Sisters who have returned to Rapture?

Jordan Thomas: No. Well, "returned" yes, in the sense that the... There's still a story character who has much of the spirit of the Big Sister we were talking about, but because BioShock is a place where the sort of narrative and mechanical side have to skip down the Yellow-Brick Road arm in arm, we decided to take that character and sort of refract her into a bunch of different types of encounters.

So there's the Boogey Man that hunts you down when you take ADAM away from Rapture, and then there is a different character that has more history. And again, not to spoil, but it's part of the mystery of the game. As far as new Little Sisters though, those are being made as well, so you'll find Little Sisters wandering in Rapture who were not there at the conclusion of the first game.

Eurogamer: Where's Dr Tenenbaum in all this and has she been in Rapture the whole time?

Jordan Thomas: Dr Tenenbaum is a Rapture alumni who was living away from Rapture for most of the 10 years between the two games. Now, something has happened which involves the creation of the new Little Sisters, which has brought her down to Rapture. That is how her story becomes intertwined with that of the first successfully bonded Big Daddy that the player is.

4
The discussion of what's going on outside Rapture is interesting. They've not ruled out us actually getting out.

Eurogamer: On another topic, there was a show in the UK recently called Gameswipe, about games but in quite an informed way, and there was a chap called Graham Linehan, who wrote Father Ted and Black Books and some other stuff--

Jordan Thomas: Yes!

Eurogamer: --And he was making the point that videogames as a storytelling medium are still infantile; that if you look at Vice City for example, it's a game that's made by somebody who's watched Scarface a million times, whereas there are only small pockets of people who seem to do proper research, like Left 4 Dead with the Spanish influenza and stuff like that. Do you think videogames are growing up as a storytelling medium?

Jordan Thomas: I think that it's a mistake to say that because something is of the id, that it is not deep. I think it's a bad thing to tell people, "You're infantile because you feature violence, or because you feature sex or whatever it is." A lot of fairly brilliant meta-commentary comes in the form of seemingly lowbrow material.

That said, I do think that gamers are growing up, and I do think that as they mature, their demand for deeper themes, possibly more downbeat material - stuff that doesn't have to blow up every five seconds - is starting to rise in tandem.

Games like BioShock, I like to believe, have something for everyone. There is a very visceral shooter here, but there's also what I hope is a kind of meta-theme that you don't necessarily have to be a gamer or a literature critic in order to appreciate; that it falls in that place where it kind of asks interesting questions of you, and maybe by the end you're thinking slightly differently than when you started. That's really what we aspire to.

5
Andrew Ryan remains - in audiotapes mostly - and you can tell Thomas got a kick out of writing his dialogue.

Eurogamer: Since we last spoke, another thing that's happened on a broader level is we've had E3 and the announcement of these motion controllers. Do you think that's where they should be putting their focus? Is it a positive thing for gaming, and do you have any interest in working with things like Project Natal and the PS3 motion controller?

Jordan Thomas: Weeeeell, I like any possible medium in which mooning can become a meaningful play interaction. I will say this: human interface is a challenging sort of overhead for our medium. Obviously the player sits down and it's like a language they haven't really spoken before, and we're asking them to jump in and ask not just for shellfish, but for shellfish mixed with beer or whatever, right?

So the thing is that, these devices that you're talking about are at least an attempt to make the body the interface, and I think that's powerful, because it does offer the opportunity for my grandma to maybe play BioShock in adventure game mode or whatever in 2015. So my hope is that these things are the source of innovation mostly in terms of accessibility - that's what I'm most interested in.

Eurogamer: And you're not one of these people secretly beavering away on a PS3 motion controller patch for your game here?

Jordan Thomas: [Laughs] I can't talk about "secretly beavering away" on anything, but I will say this: with a game like BioShock, this is an immersive simulation, I come from that old nerdy school where the original shooter-meeting-RPG-action was spun together, and I love to see more people able to play that kind of game; to make those kind of choices. And if in the future these interface revolutions, let's say [laughs], give us the ability to allow maybe even non-gamers to enjoy that sense of freedom, I'm all for it.

6
Frank Fontaine seems to be really dead, but then who knows when it comes to Rapture?

Eurogamer: On another thing, there's that BioShock film that seems to be in limbo. Do you have any contact with the people working on that?

Jordan Thomas: Well, 2K obviously and Take Two at large have contact with them. Can't really talk about any details of it, because that lives up in legal land. That's something that we're still psyched... We'd love to see it happen, and that's as much as I can really say.

Eurogamer: And do you know what Ken Levine's working on? Perhaps you can just tell us.

Jordan Thomas: [Grins] Absolutely not commenting on anything other than BioShock 2 development. Although I'm sure it'll be awesome, whatever it is.

Eurogamer: Do you feel a kind of unique sort of pressure working on something like this, because it's a game that's unlike anything else that's out there, and it's the sequel to something you weren't the creative lead on?

Jordan Thomas: Well, I'll say this: having worked on the first BioShock and poured as much of myself into a small chunk of content, called Fort Frolic, as I possibly could, I was proud to be involved with that game, and I absolutely want to make sure it's treated well, and that's one of the reasons I'm out at 2K Marin.

As far as pressure, look, the sequel's got different goals to the original IP, and we absolutely want to make sure that people love it, and they see additional dimensionality that wasn't there in the first game that offers something fresh.

Beyond that, we're mostly just fans hoping that our vision is something that will bring both new players and old something they weren't expecting.

BioShock 2 is due out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on 9th February.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor  |  tombramwell

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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