Interviews

BioShock 2 Interview

2K's Michael Kamper on the series' future

Highly anticipated 2K sequel, BioShock 2 goes on sale worldwide today.

If you haven't already scurried off to the shops with 45 notes in hand you can plonk your eyes on our BioShock 2 review. To coincide with the launch we also corresponded with the game's audio lead, Michael Kamper who fielded some of our questions.

What will be the first thing BioShock aficionados will notice about BioShock 2?

They will notice that they are right back in their favourite underwater city, but that it is certainly not the city that they left in the first game. Things have changed down there with whole new sections of Rapture to discover and explore. It may seem familiar on the surface, but there are a lot of surprises waiting.

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Did you have a close relationship with the BioShock community when making the second game? Which of their comments did you take on board?

I think that when we started the process of deciding what BioShock 2 would be, we all did take into account a lot of the criticisms of the first game from the fans, as well as all of the things we wanted to improve upon. Gameplay was a huge target, as was making the shooter aspects of our game deeper.

How would you respond to those fans that say the first game was in itself a perfect story; that there was no more that needs to be said?

I would tend to agree. The story of Jack and his adventures in Rapture doesn't need a sequel. In some ways, to do so would ruin what made that particular story great. We didn't try to make a sequel to that story, however. Setting BioShock 2 ten years later gave us the freedom to tell a whole new story within the creaking walls of this amazing underwater city.

BioShock 2 takes some of the strongest elements of the world of Rapture, namely the Big Daddies and Little Sisters, and really examines what it might mean to experience that kind of twisted and tragic relationship. It also takes a look at how this strange and wonderful place might have evolved after the events of the first game; how things changed and how its inhabitants survived.

Is it hard to make an underwater world seem different than it was before?

Setting BioShock 2 ten years later certainly helped in that capacity. It allowed the Environment team to play with Rapture in ways that the first game didn't. There are very obvious signs of decay through the world; fallen columns, trashed rooms, broken machinery. There are also signs of the ocean taking back the city. Coral and seaweed can be found around areas that have large leaks and there is even one large section that you get to explore that has recently been drained.

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There's a strong 'evils of capitalism vs. evils of socialism' theme running through the first game. How have you played with this in the second instalment?

Well, the core philosophy of Andrew Ryan in BioShock was the sense of the individual being able to achieve whatever they wanted. In BioShock 2, the philosophies of Sofia Lamb are on the opposite end of this. She is a Collectivist, pushing the idea that the individual should always work toward the goals of the group. The result of this is Lamb's 'religion', the Rapture Family.

Which format was the game developed on - and what differences can gamers expect to see between PS3, Xbox 360 and PC?

Our team worked very hard to maintain the same level of quality across all platforms. It was very important to me from an audio perspective that the game sound amazing no matter how the player chose to play the game and that there would always a be a consistency in that experience.

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