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Interviews

BioShock 2 Interview

Q&A: Big sister and exec producer Alyssa Finley fields our questions

Alyssa Finley is executive producer at 2K Marin working on the mighty BioShock 2. It's being tipped to be one of the biggest games of 2009. Here she explains why.

Has the reception for the first BioShock made your life difficult in coming up with a worthy sequel?

Alyssa Finley: We're completely blown away by the response to the first BioShock -- but honestly, even though it's a challenge to live up to, I don't think we'd want it any other way.

How has the story progressed in BioShock 2 and how has Rapture changed?

Finley: Jack left a bit of a power vacuum behind when he left Rapture -- different people, with different ideologies stepped in to fill in where Ryan and Fontaine left off. In the last 10 years, the normal business of Rapture that took place under Andrew Ryan's reign has not been taking place, and instead, splicers and survivors have been using whatever means possible to survive within the city.

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How have you made sure Rapture's just as mysterious and compelling to explore as the first time around?

Finley: Rapture is full of interesting places and interesting stories -- the first game only touched on a few of them. When developing BioShock 2, we made sure to respect the same storytelling techniques, and use the same attention to detail when building spaces and populating them.

Donning the suit of a Big Daddy is a huge shift from BioShock's protagonist. How have you made sure players will relate to the character? Aren't Big Daddies just hulking, mindless beasts?

Finley: The player doesn't just play any Big Daddy, he plays a prototype Big Daddy -- the very first one that was successfully created. As a prototype, this Big Daddy is faster and more agile than the Big Daddies previously seen and also has the ability to switch weapons and use plasmids. To your point about Big Daddies being mindless beasts, another thing that is special about the prototype Big Daddy is that he has somehow regained his free will which is a very important distinction.

As a Big Daddy, what are your goals?

Finley: There are two possible ways to answer this question. What are your goals as determined by the story and your goals as determined by you the player? I'm not going to go into the story goals for fear of spoiling the new mysteries of Rapture, but I can say that it certainly would be fair to wonder how you became the first Big Daddy. In terms of the second part, I can go into more detail.

As I mention above, you've somehow regained your free will as the prototype Big Daddy. This allows you to take part in moral choices throughout Rapture, the most significant being your interactions with the Little Sisters.

What are relationships with Little Sisters like on the other side of the fence? Why would we want to force poor little girls to harvest ADAM?

Finley: ADAM is a resource that helps you grow; it allows access to new plasmids, new tonics, and character growth opportunities. It is the most precious resource in Rapture.

That said, Adopting Little Sisters and using them to gather ADAM is a player choice. In general, we try to leave the decision of whether to Adopt a Little Sister and how to deal with that Little Sister to the player, rather than forcing them to follow a specific path.

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