Ken Levine Says 2K Really Pushed For Bioshock To Have Two Endings

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Bioshock creator Ken Levine is doing the rounds talking about his upcoming game Judas, but he’s also taken some time to reflect on his past work–including expanding on his problem with Bioshock’s ending. Speaking with IGN, Levine explains that Bioshock’s multiple endings were something 2K really pushed for, and that he “didn’t really have my heart in.”

“I didn’t really want the two different endings and that was one of the few concessions,” Levine explained. “The publisher didn’t make too many demands on us, so I don’t want to say they were overbearing, but that was one thing they really wanted and I didn’t really have my heart in. I don’t think those endings were super great. They wanted the two endings and I wanted a much more ambiguous ending and let the player do a lot of the work in their head.”

When asked what ending he would have chosen for the original Bioshock, Levine said, “I never wrote it, but I kind of felt I wanted to,” explaining that “it’s tricky.”

“BioShock is a complicated world,” he continues. “You are harvesting, potentially harvesting Little Sisters and we’re not really trying to say this is how you should think about the things. Our games, we tend to make games that don’t answer questions for people who would ask questions. We’re just trying to stay objective in BioShock.”

Levine originally spoke about his reservations towards Bioshock’s endings just after the game released in a 2007 interview with GameSpot, explaining that the dual ending was “requested by somebody up the food chain from me.” He added, “I wanted to leave it more ambiguous. But I’m not sure if that would have been the right thing. At the end of the day, there are [aspects of games] that you collaborate on and agree upon.”

In the 2007 interview, Levine added that he hoped to refine his approach to branching endings in future games–which may come to fruition on his upcoming title Judas. With almost ten years in development, Judas is a refinement of many of the narrative concepts introduced in the Bioshock series.

“Depending on what you do in the endings can be quite… I mean I’m not giving away too much,” Levine said of Judas’ approach to endings. “There are some substantial differences.”