BioShock Infinite Tackles Racism, Uses American History Sparingly

The team wants players to reflect on the main questions

  Racism discussion
Ken Levine, the main developer behind BioShock Infinite, believes that his coming game doesn’t need to be faithful to the history of the United States and that it can tackle uncomfortable issues like racism in a completely new way.

Ken Levine, the main developer behind BioShock Infinite, believes that his coming game doesn’t need to be faithful to the history of the United States and that it can tackle uncomfortable issues like racism in a completely new way.

He tells PC Gamer that, “I don’t feel that it’s the purpose of the game or the responsibility of the game to be a survey of American history. Certainly there are many things that are in Columbia that were very prevalent at the time, whether it’s charismatic religious movements, whether it’s a sense of growing nationalism—which was very present at the time.”

The biggest problem of the age that BioShock Infinite will deal with is racism, with the game ready to include it from the first hours of the single-player experience.

Levine adds, “I realized, in BioShock, that we didn’t have any minority characters. Well, we had a lot of Jewish, Eastern European Jewish characters, which probably comes from my background. Whether it’s Ryan or Tenenbaum. And that game was suffused with the immigrant experience to some degree. But we didn’t have African-American characters.”

The game developer believes that video games, especially those that have story and depth, can be a Rorshach test for those who play them and that they tend to exhibit their worst attitudes.

BioShock Infinite will take players to the floating island of Columbia, where the detective Booker DeWitt is searching for Elizabeth, a girl that’s developing some impressive supernatural powers.

The whole game world is a testament to the superiority of American technology, but there are two factions forming, with opposing ideologies and approaches to Elizabeth.

The player needs to fight them both in order to escape Columbia.

BioShock Infinite has recently been announced to have been delayed and will be launched in late March on home console and the PC.

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