Train2Game News Last BioShock Infinite DLC available today

bioshock_infinite_episode_two_burial_at_sea-wide2K and Irrational Games announced today that BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode Two is downloadable starting today.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode Two, developed from the ground up by Irrational Games, is the final content pack for the award-winning BioShock Infinite, and features Elizabeth in a film noir-style story that provides players with a different perspective on the BioShock universe.

“I think the work the team did on this final chapter speaks for itself,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “We built something that is larger in scope and length, and at the same time put the player in Elizabeth’s shoes. This required overhauling the experience to make the player see the world and approach problems as Elizabeth would: leveraging stealth, mechanical insight, new weapons and tactics. The inclusion of a separate 1998 Mode demands the player complete the experience without any lethal action. BioShock fans are going to plotz.”

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode Two can be purchased as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass, which is priced at $19.99. The Season Pass, which is available for purchase via online marketplaces on all available platforms, contains over $35 of playable content in three add-on packs for $19.99, including both Burial at Sea episodes, the previously released Clash in the Clouds add-on pack, as well as the Early Bird Special Pack that has powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins and infusion bottles to upgrade player abilities. BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2 can also be purchased separately for $14.99.

You can enjoy the launch trailer for BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea: Episode Two below:

Train2Game News: Ken Levine to be honoured at Golden Joystick Awards

Ken Levine Train2Game blog imageThe Golden Joystick Awards presented by Green Man Gaming have announced that Ken Levine, BioShock Creative Director and Co-Founder of Irrational Games, will be bestowed with a special Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s ceremony.

For the first time in its 31 year history, the Golden Joystick Awards will honour an individual for their lifetime’s work by celebrating Levine’s creative accomplishments ranging from 1999’s System Shock 2 to 2013’s BioShock Infinite.

Recognised as a luminary of the gaming world, Levine led the creation of the five-million-unit-selling, multiple-game-of-the-year-winning BioShock. As the highest-rated first-person-shooter of all time, the masterpiece helped spark the ‘games as art’ debate. Levine’s latest game, BioShock Infinite, released in March this year, has already won 88 awards and has sold more than four million units to date.

Described by legendary film director Guillermo del Toro as ‘one of the best world creators in any of the visual forms’, Levine is also penning a screenplay based on the sci-fi tale Logan’s Run for Warner Bros.

Upon hearing the news, Levine took a moment to contemplate the time he has spent in the industry: “In most fields, people begin their careers being inspired by others. In turn, they hopefully end up inspiring others. The great thing about the still-maturing nature of video games is you get to be inspired by the work of novices and veterans alike. We’re all figuring out day by day exactly what the medium is capable of.”

Tim Clark, Group Senior Editor – Golden Joysticks and Future Games says: “From spaceships infected with extraterrestrial intelligence to the brutal politics of a city beyond the clouds, Ken Levine’s games transport players to new worlds that are as rich as they are dark. Best known for the critically-acclaimed BioShock series, his exploration of player choice and consequence, as well as his dizzying imaginative design work and storytelling, continues to be a huge influence on game makers around the world. As this year’s BioShock Infinite proved, Levine is one of the most interesting creators working in games – and its fitting that he should be the inaugural winner of our Lifetime Achievement award.”

The Golden Joystick Awards are the world’s most popular and credible games awards and celebrate the very best in the gaming industry. Levine was selected for the honour by a group of gaming experts made up from Future’s enviable portfolio of games brands, including CVG, GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, Official PlayStation Magazine, Edge and PC Gamer. The award will be in addition to the 15 fiercely contested gamer-voted categories, including Most Wanted in association with Playfire, Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio, Best Gaming Platform in association with Digital Spy and The YouTube Gamer Award.

Levine has just wrapped up his work on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, the new add-on content pack for BioShock Infinite and is currently working on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2, which brings gamers something they have been asking for since they first met the character of Elizabeth: the chance to see the world through her eyes and face challenges as Elizabeth would.

The Golden Joystick Awards will take place at The Westminster Park Plaza on Friday October 25, 2013. For more information on the Golden Joystick Awards, visit http://www.goldenjoystick.com

Train2Game News: BioShock Infinite DLC announced

Bioshock Infinite2K and Irrational Games announced yesterday that BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds, the first downloadable content pack for BioShock Infinite, is now available for download.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds, developed by Irrational Games, is an action-focused downloadable content pack that presents players with a series of unique, intense challenges and a whole new gambit of combat opportunities. Players will combine a diverse toolset of weapons, Vigors, gear, Tears and Sky-Lines in four new areas inspired by the classic BioShock Infinite environments. In addition, by completing all 60 Blue Ribbon challenges, players will unlock exclusives in the Columbian Archeological Society, gaining access to new Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, concept art and more.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds is available for £3.69 (400 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live for Xbox 360) via online marketplaces on all available platforms, and is included in the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

Also in development at Irrational Games, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is a two-part add-on campaign featuring an all-new story for Booker and Elizabeth, set in the underwater city of Rapture before its fall. These two campaigns will be available individually for £9.99 (1200 Microsoft Points), and are also included as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

“We are really excited to offer our fans the content that they have been asking for,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “With Clash in the Clouds, people get a pure action experience that takes BioShock Infinite combat to its highest challenge and intensity level. With the Burial at Sea episodes, we are building a Rapture-based narrative experience that is almost entirely built from scratch.”

The BioShock Infinite Season Pass is available now for £15.99 (1600 Microsoft Points) and includes all three pieces of add-on content, as well as the Early Bird Special Pack, which includes powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins and infusion bottles to upgrade abilities.

You can enjoy the Trailers for the DLC below:

Clash in the clouds DLC

Burial at sea DLC

Train2Game news: Bioshock Infinite delayed for extra development time

Train2Game students will need to wait until next year to play Bioshock Infinite as Irrational Games’ upcoming shooter is delayed until 26th February 2013. The announcement came from publisher 2K.

“When we announced the release date of BioShock Infinite in March, we felt pretty good about the timing.” said Bioshock Infinite creative director Ken Levine.

“Since then, we’ve uncovered opportunities to make Infinite into something even more
extraordinary. Therefore, to give our talented team the time they need to deliver the best Infinite possible, we’ve decided to move the games release to February.”

Essentially, Bioshock Infinite is delayed in order to give Irrational more time to work on the game that was scheduled for release later this year. The Train2Game Blog has previously reported that Ken Levine said game developers need to be comfortable with throwing their work away.

There’s more Bioshock Infinite news here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on the decision to delay Bioshock Infinite? Will the game ultimately be better because of the extra time?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Bioshock Infinite director Ken Levine talks game design with Uncharted writer Amy Hennig

Bioshock Infinite

Tran2Game students can get an excellent insight into game design, thanks to a podcast featuring Irrational Games’ Ken Levine in conversation with Naughty Dog’s Amy Hennig.

Ken Levine is the Creative Director of the upcoming Bioshock Infinite, while Amy Hennig has the same role on the Uncharted series. The Irrational Interviews podcast is therefore almost a must listen for anyone interested in video game story telling.

The two Creative Directors discuss creating complex narrative in a video game, how a large creative team works, and the challenges of their roles and how different it is to writing for film.

“It’s not the way films are made,” said Hennig.  “I’ve described this to friends of mine who are screenwriters, and they just think we’re insane.”

Download Ken Levine’s Irrational Interview with Amy Hennig here.

A previous podcast saw Levine discussing narrative with film director Guillermo del Toro, which you can find out more about here.

Will you be downloading this podcast? If so, let us know what you learned from the two Creative Directors.

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: PlayStation Vita “first platform that gives everything” says Bioshock creator

Ken Levine Train2Game blog imageTrain2Game students may be looking forward to the soon to be launched Sony handheld, the PlayStation Vita, and according to Bioshock creator Ken Levine, it offers everything a gamer would want.

“It’s a really interesting platform because, as a gamer, it’s the first platform that really sort of gives everything. It’s the first time I can play things like shooters on an aeroplane; and I don’t like feeling I’m playing something that’s compromised in any way.” Levine told PSM3.

“”There will be whole kinds of games that you wouldn’t have been able to play before on the Vita.” he added.

Levine’s comments are similar to those that, as reported by The Train2Game Blog, came from Sony towards the end of last year.

“We are going to truly differentiate ourselves from the competition, so people who do care about the gaming – who want a deeper, richer, more immersive experience with their gaming – are going to absolutely love this device.” said Sony Worldwide Studios European senior VP Michael Denny.

As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, Bioshock Infinite creator Ken Levine featured as part of Sony’s E3 presentation, revealing that a Bioshock title for PlayStation Vita is in the works.

The PlayStation Vita is released in Europe on February 22nd, find out more about it here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on Levine’s comments about PlayStation Vita? Will you be buying the handheld console later this month?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: CVG]

Train2Game news: Bioshock Infinite creator Ken Levine on cutscenes in video game narrative

Bioshock Infinite will be PS Move compatibleTrain2Game game designers in particular will know that sometimes, telling a story in a video game can be tough.

Many developers get around this with the use of cutscenes, but according to Bioshock: Infinite creator Ken Levine, if you need one to push the narrative of your game forward, then maybe you shouldn’t be telling the story at all.

“I don’t believe there’s any medium that doesn’t have its advantages and disadvantages relative to other media. You just have to play to the strengths of the medium as best as you can,” Levine told Gamasutra when asked about drama in first person games.

As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, the Bioshock creator has previously described first person games as the most immersive.

“I think what you lose in being able to pull the camera and show emotion, you gain in immersion, and you gain in mood”

“What you’re left with at that point is to then figure out what your strengths are in the medium, and making sure you leverage those strengths, and wherever you have to tell a story you say, ‘Okay, here’s a beat of story I need to tell. Here are the 15 tools I have to tell it, whether it’s animation, whether it’s something you write on the wall as graffiti, whether it’s a piece of art in the world, whether it’s A.I. talking to you in your ear, or it’s Elizabeth, those are the tools. What’s the best way to tell this piece of story?’

The Irrational Games boss added that game designers can’t make a game when they’re fighting against their toolset.

“And you sift through your toolbox and then find the best tool. And sometimes you go ‘Well, there’s no good way to tell that story. Maybe I should tell a different story.’ Then you change the story so it fits your toolset better. Whenever you find yourself fighting against your toolset, you’re not going to win that fight.”

Levine was speaking to Gamasutra as part of a huge interview about Bioshock: Infinite which many Train2Game students are sure to find fascinating.

There’s plenty more news about Bioshock: Infinite right here on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Levine’s comments about narrative in video games? Is he underestimating the power of a cutscene?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]

Train2Game news: Guillermo del Toro – video games ‘One of the peaks of human narrative’

Train2Game students, especially those who read our recent interview with Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer James Swallow, will be aware of how powerful narrative in video games can be.

Now, it isn’t only games industry veterans espousing the potential of games as a storytelling medium, but well respected film director Guillermo del Toro.

“Video games are no doubt the bridge to the future of genre narrative,” he said on the latest Irrational Games interview podcast.

“You’re not going to see the narratives of, let’s say, a [Pedro] Almodovar or an indie film maker wane; they’re going to stay, but big, genre, artistically-challenging, brilliantly-done storytelling.  Holy shit, there’s a lot you can do in games that you’d never even dream of doing in movies, or TV, or comics.”

“Films are fantastic. They are one of the peaks of human narrative. Now, and I’m sorry to break the news to the movie industry, but so is the video game.” del Toro added.

And the Pan’s Labyrinth director believes video games will improve massively within the next decade.

“The video game – not all of them right now – but the video games we’ll be playing in 2020 will be f***ing masterpieces,” said del Toro.  “Many masterpieces.”

He also discussed the differences between directing a film and directing a video game, arguing it’s only possible to produce the latter if you have a true passion for medium, a passion that all Train2Game students no doubt have!

“It’s not a medium where you are going to wander if you’re just an interested observer,” said Del Tero  “You have to be a gamer to completely absorb the possibility of narrative in games with their own f***ing set of rules. The mistake you have many times is you have a filmmaker who says ‘oh there’s money in video games, I’m going to go make a video game’. No.”

“You need to truly have a passion, and even a layman understanding of the medium or you will be completely pummeled by the process,” he added

The Irrational Games podcast featuring Bioshock Creative Director Ken Levine speaking to Guillermo del Toro will be of huge interest to Train2Game students and can be listened to here.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, del Tero is currently working with THQ on a three part video game series, Insane, due for release in 2013.

So Train2Game, what do you make of del Tero’s comments? Does it offer any encouragement to you as a Train2Game student?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers]

Train2Game news: Bioshock: Infinite’s “biggest character” is its world says Levine

Bioshock Infinite will be PS Move compatibleTrain2Game Game Designers in particular that in order for a game story to be strong, it needs strong characters.

However, a strong setting can also be an important piece of narrative in itself and Irrational Games boss Ken Levine believes this to be the case with the Bioshock series.

“In BioShock 1, I think the biggest character in the world … was the world, the world of Rapture,” he said in a newly released Bioshock: Infinite developer diary which Train2Game blog readers can see below.

“In Infinite we’re continuing that tradition as well: that there’s a lot of narrative told in the world, probably on the same scale as with BioShock 1.”

The developer diary also features Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper,  the voices of Bioshock: Infinite Booker and Elizabeth respectively.

“Our challenge is we don’t have a very presentational medium” said Baker.

“When you think about storytelling in a lot of games you think about cutting to a cutscene and being locked into place, and that’s not something we really like to do. So we created these two characters,” he added.

The idea of an environment as a character in games was discussed at the BAFTA Games Writers Panel earlier this week, with games writer Rhianna Pratchett arguing that the “character of Rapture” was a particularly strong way of telling the story of Bioshock.

Train2Game interviews with members of the BAFTA Games Writers Panel will be published on the Train2Game blog in the near future.

Earlier this year, the Train2Game blog reported that Levine says game developers of all disciplines need to “get comfortable with throwing their stuff away” Meanwhile, Bioshock featured as a major part of Sony’s E3 presentation.

So Train2Game,  what are your thoughts on the environment as a character in games? What game environments do you think help tell the story?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: VG247]