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Bioshock pitch document released: let’s see what’s different

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The Irrational Games blog has been updated with scans of the original pitch documents for the first Bioshock game, giving us access to a part of the design process that usually only ever gets mentioned. The doc is going to be revealed over the space of the next few blog installments and is sure to be even more interesting than it already is.

And it is actually interesting already. But what has us most surprised, enthralled or confused? Read on:

It looks as if the game was original set on an island in modern times, as well as an underwater complex. It seems at some point Irrational decided ‘overland’ was too much like ‘normal’ – it’s a decision you can see the reasoning behind, actually. Physically distancing the gameworld from the real world in such a way makes it much easier to accept this whole underwater civilisation could actually exist. Unlike if it was set on an easy-to-access island, wherever that might have been.

The player character, Carlos Cuello, is tasked with rescuing a wealthy heiress from the clutches of cultists. While the document alludes to the fact that this isn’t even the real case from the beginning, we’re glad this angle went bye-bye. ‘Man goes to island to rescue rich woman’? Doesn’t strike us as one of the most important games of this generation.

You could create any weapon you wanted, using a system of attribute-based creation tools. Different ammo types and upgrades did survive to the final product, but this looked like it was a much deeper, more interesting system. Maybe it was just too complex for the audience they were aiming for, or maybe it would have broken the balance of the game. Whatever the case, it’s still disappointing we couldn’t build our own guns.

Lobster-shelled mutants: X-Com Enemy Unknown, innit.

Security hacking looks to be pretty much the same, bar two things – one, no mention of Pipe Mania, and two, first-person robo-jacking seems to have been dropped. Fair enough, as there weren’t really any robots in Bioshock, bar the flying security bots – and who’d want to control them?

Environmental interaction stretched a smidge beyond electrifying water. See: “Increasing O2 in an area causes explosives to have a larger blast radius and deal more damage”. This was probably far too much scientific thinking for the average player, and so was dropped. Either that or they just didn’t care enough about sciencing up the game.

Ability to turn yourself into a jellyfish. This was taken out why, exactly?

We’re looking forward to the next batch, as this is a really interesting document to read though. An enlightening experience on one of our favourite games, no doubt.




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