Political Themes in BioShock Infinite Mirror OWS, Tea Party

October 28, 2011 -

Irrational Games’ creative director Ken Levine spoke to the Washington Post recently about the political themes behind the game and how the two opposing factions in the game share similarities with real-world movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. While there are similarities it should be noted that these groups didn't exist when Levine and company started working on the third BioShock title.

In BioShock Infinite a fight has erupted between two factions: the Founders and the group Vox Populi. Levine claims that the Vox Populi is based loosely on the Baader-Meinhof Group, a left-leaning German student movement that devolved into extremism in the mid-1970s to become the RAF (Red Army Faction).

“I initially based the Vox Populi on this German student movement, the Baader-Meinhof Group. I’ve been looking at how people evolve into extremism: They start in a peaceful, understandable place and end up somewhere very different,” said Levine.

“What’s really interesting, what’s most interesting to me, is how the movements reflect movements that have come before. That’s either reassuring or concerning when you look at what’s going on now. Some of those movements, dating back to the French Revolution, have had similar complaints to what Occupy Wall Street has. It’s interesting to watch how they evolve. They tend to reflect each other, and for the game you can look at what’s happening in real time, but you really see what could be happening in the future by looking at history.”

Levine notes that some of the problems the Occupy Wall Street protesters are facing are similar to the core problems with Vox Populi. The main problem, he says, is messaging:

“I’ve been spending a lot of time watching Occupy Wall Street. The complaint is that they don’t have a consistent message. You can watch that, and this is a challenge I’ve had writing [the Vox Populi]. Leftist movements are always less organized. There’s a messaging machine on the right, where they’ll come up with something and the next day you have 10, 20 people out on the news using those points,” he explained.

“Leftist groups tend not to like authority; nobody in them tends to listen to it. So Occupy Wall Street has been helping me because I’ve been struggling to figure out how the Vox Populi get to the point in the demo. Throughout the game, you’re actually watching them — you see in the beginning of the game that they’re a dead movement and a movement that really fails, and it picks up steam based upon your actions.”

Levine says that he prefers the gray areas between the two ideologies in the game.

“So I start [Vox Populi leader] Daisy Fitzroy and [Founder leader] Comstock on opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe that’s what the study of these movements is: The movement becomes about the ideology and not about reality. The reality starts to change, and it becomes that people would rather give up reality than ideology.”

“From where I sit, people think it has to be one or the other and there’s no middle ground. Personally, that tends to scare me,” he continued. “What’s the point of having something that’s about people shutting down ideologically, intellectually? People are using these movements to pose questions. If you look at Occupy Wall Street, it’s opened up dialogue, and you can say the same about the tea party. Hopefully, they don’t become extensions of parties, they will open up the conversation.”

Source: IndustryGamers


Comments

Re: Political Themes in BioShock Infinite Mirror OWS, Tea Party

Founders > Vox Populi. Definitely.

 
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MattsworknameNomad colossus did a little video about it, showing the world and what can be explored in it's current form. It's worth a look, and he uses text for commentary as not to break the immerison08/01/2015 - 5:49pm
MattsworknameI feel some more mobility would have made it more interesting and I feel that a larger more diverse landscape with better graphiscs would help, but as a concept, it interests me08/01/2015 - 5:48pm
Andrew EisenHuh. I guess I'll have to check out a Let's Play to get a sense of the game.08/01/2015 - 5:47pm
MattsworknameIt did, I found the idea of exploring a world at it's end, exploring the abandoned city of a disappeared alien race and the planets various knooks and crannies intriqued me.08/01/2015 - 5:46pm
Andrew EisenDid it appeal to you? If so, what did you find appealing?08/01/2015 - 5:43pm
MattsworknameIts an interesting concept, but it's not gonna appeal to everyone thats for sure,08/01/2015 - 5:40pm
Andrew EisenThat sounds horrifically boring. Doesn't sound like an interesting use of its time dilation premise either. 08/01/2015 - 5:36pm
Mattsworknamean observer , seeing this sorta frozen world and being able to explore without any restriction other then time. no enimes, no threats, just the chance to explore08/01/2015 - 5:34pm
MattsworknameAndrew: I meant lifeless planet, Time frame is an exploration game. Your dropped onto a world which is gonna be hit by a metor in 10 seconds, but due to time dilation ,you actually have ten minutes, so you can explore the world, in it's last moments, as08/01/2015 - 5:32pm
Andrew EisenLP is 20, TF is 8 and has an old build available as a demo.08/01/2015 - 5:32pm
MattsworknameLast I checked zip, Lifeless planet was 10 bucks on steam I think08/01/2015 - 5:29pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Which one? Time Frame? How exactly does that play? What exactly do you DO in that one?08/01/2015 - 5:29pm
Andrew EisenZip - Neither game is above $20.08/01/2015 - 5:28pm
Mattsworknamefinished it, great game all the same.08/01/2015 - 5:22pm
MattsworknameMy only complaint about that game was it's length, I felt it was a bit to short yet in certain places felt like it dragged on a bit. SOme areas were so engaging they flew by, others didn't do enough to keep me energized to play, but I got to the end and08/01/2015 - 5:22pm
ZippyDSMleeNo demo makes me not want to buy until its 10-20$ ><08/01/2015 - 5:21pm
Andrew EisenAh, yes. Lifeless Planet has a much better trailer. Tells me a bit about the game, its story and how it plays. Novel! http://store.steampowered.com/app/261530/08/01/2015 - 5:19pm
MattsworknameOn the same vien, another great exploration game is Lifeless planet. but that one has an actuall story, and real gameplay08/01/2015 - 5:16pm
MattsworknameDoc: I think it's the other way around, I think gamergate only really coalesed when a larger discussion on issues started. The Jerks and asshats just sorta got swept along with the tide.08/01/2015 - 5:13pm
MattsworknameYour not wrong andrew, the trailer doesn't explain much ,I had to play it to understand what made it unique08/01/2015 - 5:12pm
 

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