The 2D and 3D versions of the BioShock cell phone ports are "hopefully" going out to mobile providers as we speak, said developer IG Fun head man, Sean Malatesta.
Here at GDC, Malatesta hosted a panel on the myriad challenges of bringing BioShock to cell phones. Those challenges include only having a single audio channel, having to work with a lot of different phones with different levels of graphics and gameplay functionality and the fact that cell phone spin-off or port games generally suck.
"These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself," Malatesta said. "'Are we crazy to do this?' Is it too much trouble? ... Small, cute games are easy to do, but are they better?"
Damned if I can answer any of that — there's not a playable version of BioShock mobile to be had at GDC. Instead we got a short clip of the 3D version that looks essentially the same as the last one we saw; and a longer clip of the 2D version which looks like... well, like a crappy mobile phone port.
But maybe all is not lost for BioShock in formats other than console. IG Fun worked "very closely" with 2K Games so we wouldn't get a repeat of what happened to the Halo mobile game, even scoring original art and audio to work into the game.
"If you love the little girls in BioShock...or maybe Big Daddies, then you're going to like this too hopefully," said Malatesta. He said the developer's goal was to get this game — the whole experience of it — to a wider audience via cell phones. So they've kept the story with both endings (although, I didn't see a "Harvest" button on the control display slide), they've kept all the weapons and plasmids and they've even kept a lot of the story radio broadcast stuff, narrowly working around that audio handicap.
But the biggest triumph for Malatesta is replicating some of the dynamic lighting from the console version on the 3D version "in some places." That's a pretty big leap forward for mobile games.
And maybe that's the point of making BioShock for mobile phones — it's not meant to be a great game, just one that pushes the process of mobile games forward so we're not stuck with Paris Hilton's Diamond Quest 'til we finally get an iPhone.
Oh, and BioShock on the iPhone? "I can't comment," says Malatesta.
Boo, says I.