Irrational Games’ head honcho Ken Levine is offering some hints and explanations as to why his company is taking its BioShock brand to Sony’s new PlayStation Vita — but not to Nintendo’s Wii U. And whenever Levine speaks, the industry listens.
As a game developer, Irrational Games is an anomaly. Thanks to their breakthrough, runaway hit BioShock, they’ve got a virtual blank check. They can do whatever they want and make the games they want to make, with none of the corporate “big brother” meddling that ruins so many other franchises.
Since BioShock‘s release, Irrational has been working on their follow-up, BioShock Infinite, an entirely new storyline, location, and protagonist that shares its predecessor’s name because of the thematic and social commentary approach to the game’s making. It’s not a direct sequel, yet it’s cut from the same cloth. There’s no doubt that doing something like this has the potential to alienate players, because it’s not an instantly-understandable approach. It requires explanation and education.
With this in mind, IGN asked Levine recently about his company’s plans for upcoming consoles. Levine announced at E3 that Irrational was creating a new BioShock game — not a remake, not a port — for Sony’s PS Vita. But, in this interview, which is filled with Levine using words like “experiment” and “creative risk,” he says that he has no plans to bring his mega-hit to Nintendo’s Wii U.
“That’s a new game,” says Levine. “That is going to be strange and surprising to people… Experiments always carry risks.” He keeps his secrets, but verifies that the game is “being built from the ground up” by Irrational as a completely original title in the BioShock universe. The mind boggles at the thought of what Irrational might do with the new touchscreen and rear-touch controls, as well as stuff like the built-in gyroscope.
Later in the same interview, Levine says in no uncertain terms that “we have no plans to do any games for” Wii U. He says that he likes the looks of the platform, and it appeals to him as a gamer, but right now he doesn’t see Wii U as a “core gamer”‘s platform, likening it to the Wii/iPad style “casual game” experience. But he doesn’t close the door to future games developed for Wii U, either. For now, this means simply that BioShock Infinite will not get a Wii U version, despite the new console’s specs making it theoretically capable of running the hi-tech game.