GameSpot has whipped up some initial impressions of BioShock to kick off a new Q&A with lead designer Ken Levine. A snip from the Q&A portion:
Q: Why did BioShock end up as a first-person shooter, rather than a full-on role-playing game, like some of Irrational's other projects?
A: Well, we've never really done a full-on role playing game. From a character-growth standpoint, BioShock is as deep as, or deeper than, our first game, System Shock 2 (over 70 genetic powers, modifiable weapons, hacking, skill tracks, etc.). The key difference is that our goal was to make everything immediate to the player, who would instantly understand the cause and effects of these dozens of powers. RPGs are somewhat abstract and "stat-based." We wanted the player to feel the effects of his character growth directly by his interaction with the world.