Designing The Opening Moments of Bioshock with Bill Gardner | Gameumentary

**Originally aired on Gameumentary, re-released on The Escapist to share with a new audience**
Bill Gardner, formerly the lead level designer on Bioshock at Irrational Games, discusses the making of the opening level of the game in this mini-doc from Gameumentary (now part of The Escapist).
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#Bioshock #Documentary


  1. The Escapist

    The Escapist

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    Our newest documentary is currently being worked on! If you enjoy this content want to see even more of it, please consider supporting us via MNmore Memberships or The Escapist+. More details here: www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/the-escapist/

  2. Bloodyshinta1


    3 өдрийн өмнө

    its really weird to hear someone defending the little sister "morality choice" to this day still.

  3. mizudrakon


    4 өдрийн өмнө

    I enjoyed Bioshock, but nowhere near as much as System Shock 2. I saw Bioshock as regrettably going full shooter, basically. It hadn't done that until Infinite, but it felt like it in comparison. You need to be really fucking careful about streamlining stuff. Bioshock was great, and it did a ton of stuff much better than SS2 in terms of storytelling, but I was mostly disappointed by the gameplay. The Bioshock I actually enjoyed playing the most was the last DLC to Infinite, which played almost like Dishonored, and yeah, the first game that really made me feel like I was playing a sequel to SS was probably Prey (Dead Space also made me wonder, but that was just about being set in space).

  4. Joseph Brown

    Joseph Brown

    4 өдрийн өмнө

    “One of the few times we’re going to put you in a cutscene.” I wish more designers had this philosophy. Games don’t need to imitate movies too much because interactivity and in-game storytelling is one of the best aspects of video games.

  5. Paul Scott Thomas

    Paul Scott Thomas

    6 өдрийн өмнө

    What a humble dude, love this...not enough likes

  6. Gordonismynickname


    10 өдрийн өмнө

    14:39 I so thought he was gonna say Infinite there.

  7. Shiknobi


    15 өдрийн өмнө

    Damn, I miss quality over quantity, bioshock was amazing and memerable, short and sweet. Good times (lol tity)

  8. Disthron


    17 өдрийн өмнө

    28:50 So, what this guy seems to be misunderstanding is that when you re-spawn, you've already lost a bunch of resources because you were killed. You probably used health items, used ammo and maybe other things, so compounding that cost even further just puts the player even further back from being able to achieve their goals. If you do that, then people are just going to start saving everywhere, and then they are going to be like 'well let's put in check points where we control where you can save' and then your game is probably just screwed.

  9. Disthron


    17 өдрийн өмнө

    7:00 You here this in the audio commentary in the game where they talk about the 'Schooby Doo' monsters and how the human ones were way more interesting, but I have to say I couldn't disagree more. How much sadder and horrific would it be if those monsters were wandering around muttering about their past glory? Anyone remember Prey 2017, the ghostly figures angrily screaming into the void about past wrongs? I don't know, I think if they'd kept the human element and gone with the more gorse monsters the splicers would be much less forgettable. Like, when I think of Bioshock, I think of the environment, I think of the Big Daddies and the Little Sisters, Ryan, Atlas and Tenenbaum... The Splicers never even come into my headspace. You could have replaced them with standard zombies and had about the same effect.

  10. Nilay Zaveri

    Nilay Zaveri

    20 өдрийн өмнө


  11. Nathan E

    Nathan E

    20 өдрийн өмнө

    Need to replay Bioshock, remember that fondly. Recently finished Prey, absolutely loved that, and super hyped for System Shock remake, the demo of that is so good. Also excited for Gloomwood.

  12. bird3713


    21 өдрийн өмнө

    Amazing to hear how the game used to be trash, but by play-testing and play-testing they turned it into a gem

  13. GreyWolfLeaderTW


    22 өдрийн өмнө

    2007 was a perfect year for gaming: Bioshock Super Mario Galaxy Portal Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Team Fortress 2 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation Halo 3 Mass Effect 1 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Pokémon Diamond / Pearl Assassin's Creed God of War II Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (The best port of the game) Crysis Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Uncharted Skate John Woo's Stranglehold Unreal Tournament 3 Rock Band The Witcher (plagiarized though it is from Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone)

  14. Steven Thomas

    Steven Thomas

    22 өдрийн өмнө

    I always liked the idea of bioshock, nd thought the story was pretty cool, but i thought the feel of the shooting was bad and no consequence for dieing made me feel like I was wasting my time playing it and never got passed a couple of hours before quiting.

  15. mikeonsixstrings


    22 өдрийн өмнө

    Really fascinating stuff. Keep up the great work Escapist - the level of viewership and appreciation you all have for this sort of content is far below what it deserves. It will find its audience in time.

    • The Escapist

      The Escapist

      22 өдрийн өмнө

      Heh, just glad to give it a second life. Had less than 2000 views back on the Gameumentary channel since it was one of the first videos we ever did, so anything more than that is just bonus at this point.

  16. Matt Tester

    Matt Tester

    23 өдрийн өмнө

    I still vividly remember playing the demo for the first time and the atmosphere was genuinely scary.

  17. CaptainKalus


    23 өдрийн өмнө

    Lead designer of Welcome to Rapture and Fort Frolic. THAT is a resume

  18. PunchKickBlog


    23 өдрийн өмнө

    Great stuff!

  19. thefrunj


    23 өдрийн өмнө

    MNmore never showed this to me when it was uploaded to Gamementary, thanks for reposting! Definitely one of my favourite games for art design and aesthetic, and the sound design in the original release was amazing.

  20. Dunnerski


    23 өдрийн өмнө

    36:15 lil kitty meow

  21. Geoffrey Winn

    Geoffrey Winn

    23 өдрийн өмнө

    Cool video!

  22. Mikael


    23 өдрийн өмнө

    Irrational/Looking Glass were truly the pioneers and masters of environmental storytelling. SS2, T2 and BS1 are some of the best games ever made.

  23. UltimatePotato Dude

    UltimatePotato Dude

    23 өдрийн өмнө

    There is something so astounding listening to the guy that made the things in the game that you loved so much, explaining why these things and aspects were made the way they were, and exactly pinpointing why you loved them so much. I cannot think of a trilogy more legendary in the gaming world than Bioshock. I loved every single game, 1 because of the open world aspects, 2 because you were a FRIKKEN BIG DADDY and you could drill bash mofos like a boss, and Infinite because no other game has made me fell so empty and perplexed but also fulfilled and so intrigued when I finished it..

    • hollandscottthomas


      18 өдрийн өмнө

      I was playing Infinite on a projector in my sharehouse and we had a French couchsurfer who was always getting stoned watching me play it. When the final credits rolled he stood up and, with a thick accent, exclaimed "OH MY GOD I FEEL LIKE I JUST SAW THE MATRIX FOR THE FIRST TIME AGAIN." Funny guy. Hope he's doing well.

  24. Hazy Grove

    Hazy Grove

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    I honestly believe that the first Bioshock is objectively one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time. This was awesome

  25. Joel Tenson

    Joel Tenson

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    The breakdown of the process was pretty articulate and entertaining. Guess you can never go wrong with Bioshock.

  26. Max Power

    Max Power

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    "I think that's one of the differences between Bioshock and... a lot of other games" For a second there I thought he was going to say "Bioshock Infinite" XD



    24 өдрийн өмнө

    Love this game! Great Gameumentary idea!

  28. Kyroo


    24 өдрийн өмнө

    This documentary reminded me of my love of Bioshock Infinite and when I played it back in high school. It also made me sad being reminded about all the cool merch that game had and being a broke high school student at the time...

  29. Aberdine Bumbledorf

    Aberdine Bumbledorf

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    That opening is one of my top video game moments. The amazement on seeing Rapture for the first time, the terror of that first splicer, and the Big Daddy... I'm never gonna forget that.

  30. GreyWolfLeaderTW


    24 өдрийн өмнө

    System Shock 1 and 2 are still some of the most important games ever made, especially given so many people have been ripping off ideas from the series since then: Environmental Storytelling Audio Log Exposition & Lore Bringing Metroidvania Level Design to 3D Emphasizing Physics Simulation (Light, Sound, Hostile AI Intelligence) in Game Engines Mixing Genres (Point-and-Click Adventure, First-Person Shooter, Action, Survival-Horror, Role-Playing)

    • Tech-Ten Guys

      Tech-Ten Guys

      22 өдрийн өмнө

      @GreyWolfLeaderTW oh for sure! I am just saying that immersive sims like System Shock, Thief or Deus Ex are the ones that brought all of this elements together into a coherent piece. I just want more games like those man.

    • GreyWolfLeaderTW


      22 өдрийн өмнө

      @Tech-Ten Guys True, but many wider genres games have used the same mechanics. Dead Space is almost mimeographed from System Shock 2, with Resident Evil 4's camera system. FromSoftware got their start in 1995 with the King's Field games, which have the same 3D Metroidvania level design philosophy that they have continued through to the Dark Souls games. Modern physics puzzle games rely upon the pioneering of complex physics interactions from simple physics systems laid out by the System Shock games.

    • Tech-Ten Guys

      Tech-Ten Guys

      22 өдрийн өмнө

      You are describing immersive sims Arkane Studios are basically the only AAA studio that's following this design philosophy to this day.

  31. Glazed N Confused

    Glazed N Confused

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    It’s always a pleasure seeing how the classic titles are reiterated and built into what they are today. As a game designer in school I live for these commentaries

  32. Luiz Castro

    Luiz Castro

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    Great production quality, better than mainstream tv

  33. Max Potter

    Max Potter

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    Really enjoyed this video. It was especially interesting to hear Bill talk about how to overcome the trollish/obstinate players with good level design and story telling

    • hollandscottthomas


      18 өдрийн өмнө

      Hahahaha, yeah I hadn't even considered that designers have to factor in some players just being assholes and trying to break their carefully crafted experiences constantly.

  34. Loki Hades

    Loki Hades

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    This was a great watch and very insightful! Definitely do more like this, Escapist gang!

  35. Kyle Wooldridge

    Kyle Wooldridge

    24 өдрийн өмнө

    I would love to see another Bioshock game. Maybe a RPG before the fall of rapture and you choose a side in civil war?

    • Steven Marshall

      Steven Marshall

      24 өдрийн өмнө

      If you try not to choose a side or play both you'd get a path to become a big daddy

  36. Demnark


    24 өдрийн өмнө

    Last time I was this early, Rapture hadn't gone to shit.