BioShock 2 Interview: Part Two

Jordan Thomas talks Big Daddy, Big Sister and multiple endings...

Want to know about BioShock 2? You've come to the right place.

So you've read through Part One of our interview, where Creative Director at 2K Marin, Jordan Thomas, has talked about returning to Rapture, big twists and the hacking mini-game.

Now we'll get him to talk about the big changes. Playing as a Big Daddy, fighting the Big Sister... and, of course, the whole issue of what they're going to do with the ending.

About the demo, there's a moment where the splicer gets freaked-out and just runs...
Haha, the drill emote!

Is that a scripted thing?
Yes it is. The splicers fleeing from you is something that actually can occur when they get pared down enough. We're still tuning right now the degree to which that happens when you're dealing with the sort of yard trash splicers.

They'll actually be intimidated if you're one-on-one?
You're a Big Daddy. It's an important part of the fantasy that occasionally you get to see them react to that with genuine fear. The demo one specifically if you look closely you can tell he's got an extra sort of special animation, but that's something that we feel like - if I'm going to be a big daddy, there's no way that everybody wants to fight me with the exact same fervour when I was Jack Hands with my chain tattoo.

In terms of the other Big Daddies, are they also proto-Big Daddys and have more powers?
Absolutely not. Big Daddys in Bioshock 2... as I say there have been big changes, I can't talk about them yet, but the player is unique. And the prototype model is much more versatile and it's one of the things that differentiates you and makes it very clear that from the word go there's nothing else quite like you. And that's one of the things that informs your relationships with the Little Sisters and to the Big Sister.

Is the harvesting siege the standard encounter with the Big Sister?
It's environmental, the dynamic sieges, are truly systemic, they actually pull from the environment you're already in. So if the environment you're currently in is full of top predators, the new splicers we've been talking about, it will take from those and balance the encounter accordingly. As you go through the game, new enemies are introduced, and those enemies change quite a lot. And when you reach a threshold, when you've gone through enough Little Sisters, you have another dynamic encounter with the Big Sister. She's the one who will hunt you and you have this countdown to prepare, you'll hear this creepy little girl voice over the radio talking about the fact the Big Sister is coming.

Does that happen regardless of if you harvest? Does Big Sister show up with roughly same frequency?
Still has interest in you. Still tuning the amount of interest she has in gathering vs. harvesting vs. saving and so on. Actually have independent control of all those. Thing that wouldn't happen would be if you didn't use the Little Sister to gather with, you don't create the dynamic sieges, you just get the Big Sister interactivity. It's all pretty much opt-in, we still really want to strongly motivate the player to get Adam, but we feel that consent is so core to Bioshock that we made sure it was part of both the adoption gameplay and the Big Sister gameplay.

For the first game, the pre-release hype was very self-consciously intellectual. Are you doing the same this time? This one's based on a different work, that sort of thing? Or was that just scene-setting for Rapture as a concept?
I think - so as far as Bioshock narratives are concerned, I think there's a kind of iceberg model where there's the part of it that's above sea level and there's the vast shape that's beneath sea level, and it's critical to Bioshock that the idea that inform our characters are ideas from the real world and they invite the player to think if he or she is interested. And so if Bioshock was anything to me it was an indightment of extreme, and Bioshock 2 has to introduce some fresh ideas, right, and they will be presented in a similarly extreme form.

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