When people saw the box art for Bioshock Infinite , some of the hardcore gamers and avid fans of the franchise were a little confused and disappointed.
It just didn't seem to be in the spirit of the award-winning series, and it was altogether underwhelming. However, Irrational Games boss Ken Levine told Wired that he anticipated the backlash and in fact, the design is marketed toward the "uninformed gamers."
And when he says "uninformed," he doesn't necessarily mean totally casual. He said the team went on a tour to a bunch of places (like frat houses) where people play video games but don't read IGN. When they asked if these people had heard of Bioshock , none had. But these are important consumers, says Levine, and he compared the situation to salad dressing…yeah, salad dressing. Check it out:
"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."
He added that he wanted the uninformed to pick up the box and say, "okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over." Then they'd see a flying city, Elizabeth, and some freaky creature, and they might start to get interested. From my point of view, I understand the approach, Ken. But I believe there may be one glaring flaw in your salad dressing analogy: Salad dressing is pretty much for everyone; it's basically "casual" right out of the box. Bioshock was never meant to be for the "uninformed," was it…? It's a very exotic salad dressing that not everyone is going to like.
Then again, if Irrational can get all the fans to buy the game anyway, and rake in a few others who hadn't expected to buy it, then they win. And that might just happen.
Related Game(s): Bioshock Infinite