BioShock Interview

GamePro was able to corner 2K's Ken Levine for a three-page interview about the design decisions that were made during BioShock's development.
Q: Were there any crazy plasmid abilities that you weren't able to get into the game?

A: Yeah, actually, and if we cut some things, and we did cut a lot of plasmids, the reason we cut them was because the game went through design changes when we realized where we wanted to position it for marketing purposes, and I'm certainly being very honest about this, as a shooter. We thought that was really important, so we also worked from the position of, goddamn it, if it's a shooter it better be an awesome shooter. So, we sort of did a lot of redesign of the game at that point. Though I think System Shock was a great game, I don't know if it was a great shooter, if you know what I mean.

With BioShock I wanted the best of both worlds (Shooter and RPG) and I had the resources to do it. I think the thing that we did was we looked at a lot of our plasmids we had at the time that BioShock was more like RPG, and used that to tell how much damage they did, but we didn't have any of the stuff like electricity conducted through water or fire spreading around. We didn't have any of that stuff. When you just have numbers you can do a lot more in terms of quantity of spells and plasmids and things like that. When we determined all the plasmids we were going to have in the simulations and the impact it would have on the world, we knew they would have to be very different from each other, so a single player doesn't have to read a single line of text about them. So that said, a lot of these plasmids didn't make the grade so we cut them.

And there you have it. Apparently the more RPG elements you replace with action elements, the better your sales will be.