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Games are like salad dressing, and the thinking behind BioShock Inifinite's cover art

Ben Parfitt
Games are like salad dressing, and the thinking behind BioShock Inifinite's cover art

2K Games’ choice of box art for BioShock Infinite has irked some of the series’ faithful, moving Irrational’s Ken Levine to publicly address the concerns.

A huge part of BioShock’s allure comes from its intriguing setting and political themes, and Infinite’s imaginative setting in the floating city of Columbia and its mysterious inhabitants such as Elizabeth.

So many felt a man with a gun – the epitome of generic – was something of a disappointment. But speaking to Wired, Irrational Games boss Ken Levine explained that the decision was born from the desire to appeal to the widest possible demographic.

You can see the full cover image below.

“I understand that some of the fans are disappointed. We expected it,” he argued. “We went and did a tour around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that. People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And [we] said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock? Not a single one of them had heard of it.

“BioShock is a reasonably successful franchise, right? Our gaming world, we sometimes forget, is so important to us, but there are plenty of products that I buy that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. My salad dressing. If there’s a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I don’t read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business.

“For some people, [games are] like salad dressing. Or movies, or TV shows. It was definitely a reality check for us. Games are big, and they’re expensive, I think that’s very clear. And … to be financially successful to keep getting made.

“I wanted the uninformed to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it.

“I think the cover is a small price for the hardcore gamer to pay. We had to make that trade-off in terms of where we were spending our marketing dollars. By the time you get to the store, or see an ad, the BioShock fan knows about the game. The money we’re spending on PR, the conversations with games journalists — that’s for the fans. For the people who aren’t informed, that’s who the box art is for.”

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Tags: irrational , cover , box , art , reason , choice , decision , Levine , BioShock Inifinite , salad dressing

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