Infinite Possibilities: Ken Levine Talks About the New ‘BioShock’

  • Share
  • Read Later

That scene’s really interesting because the Vox Populi reminded me almost immediately of Stalinism, and they reminded me of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, too. I had friends of mine, when he got elected, who were like, “This is going to change everything.” We’re finally going to have a Socialist government that uphold the highest ideals of that line of thinking, and then it kind of curdled into like yet another petty despot situation…

Another Animal Farm.

Right. Exactly. So, was that something you were drawing off of? Because that’s a cyclical kind of thing in history.

The actual inspiration for me, the thing that said, “Boom, this is what I want to do,” was when I was watching a documentary about a guy who was in the Baader-Meinhof. Are you familiar with the Baader-Meinhof?


And he was saying that he got into the Baader-Meinhof because, when it started in Germany in the ‘60s, they were pissed off that Nazis were in the government. Like, wait a minute, why the fuck are there Nazis in the government? He started there, and then a few years later, he goes, “I lived through this, this, and this, and one day I’m meeting with the PLO talking about blowing up an Israeli airline. Wait a minute, how the hell did I get from this to this?” And that to me is the path of the Vox Populi. They started off nobly.

But you become what you despise.

Exactly. You become what you despise because there’s this radicalizing effect. These groups start beating upon each other. They just keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing. And I really wanted to show that they both started off with good intentions. It was the same with Andrew Ryan in BioShock 1. Andrew Ryan grew up in Soviet Russia. His family’s business was taken away by the Bolsheviks. He forms Rapture as a place where no one can set limits on anyone else. Both he and the Vox Pouli started off by saying, “I want to do something different,” and they think they can control everything. If they just get this Utopia they want, everything will be fine. But then the pigs start sleeping in the bed…

Yes, the pigs are sleeping in the bed. So, here’s my question: You have these two factions; in the civil war raging through Columbia, you’ve got the Vox Populi and you have the Founders aligned with Comstock. Are we going to get the point-of-view of the common man? Or is that where Booker comes in?

The poor schmucks on the stairs are wealthy but they are probably not the most political people in the world and here they are getting ethnically cleansed from their neighborhood. But Booker and Elizabeth are the people in the middle. They are the most representative of ordinary people. What we’re trying to deliver is the feeling of the whole world being embroiled in this huge struggle, with Booker and Elizabeth having to stumble their way through that. I feel that way. Most of us feel that way.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5