Single Player - Tyler Treat
BioShock 2 is a tough game to review. It’s fighting an uphill battle against an absolutely stunning game. It’s got big shoes to fill, shoes, many argue, didn’t need filling at all. With that in mind, it’s difficult to review without comparing it to the greatness of its predecessor. BioShock 2 retains many of the gameplay elements that made the first title so enjoyable, but it ultimately falls short of greatness thanks to weak characters and even weaker storytelling.
I took part in a conference call earlier today with some of the people from 2K Marin and Digital Extremes, the developers of BioShock 2 and its multiplayer portion respectively. Included in the discussion were creative director Jordan Thomas, lead designer Zak McClendon, lead environment artist Hoagy De La Plante, multiplayer art director Mat Tremblay and multiplayer lead programmer Jesse Attard. Since the call was not transcribed, parts of the discussion are paraphrased. They talk about design decisions, gameplay and narrative aspects and much more.
2K revealed in a Q&A that BioShock 2 will not support LAN play nor dedicated servers. The reason for the lack, apparently, is because Digital Extremes, the developer behind BioShock 2's multiplayer, just didn't have time. They could have either focused on adding that functionality or focused on creating a high-quality gameplay experience, and they chose the latter.
"There is always a finite amount of time for the development of a game," the Q&A reads. "Bringing Multiplayer to BioShock was a daunting task between the tech (there was no multiplayer support in the codebase from the first game) and the expectations of the community. Either you try to do everything and so nothing feels finished or you focus your efforts to do a smaller number of things really well like an accessible online experience. We chose to spend the time we had creating a solid game foundation and unfortunately that did not include LAN play or dedicated servers."