The first BioShock game had no multiplayer mode, a rarity for first-person shooters. BioShock 2, which was overseen by a different creative team, added multiplayer. The series' next game may not, BioShock's original creator told Kotaku.
"Here's what I have to say about multiplayer," Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine said as I broached the topic during an interview with the designer last week in New York City. "It's what we said about BioShock 1: We have not made any determinations about multiplayer.
"I will say that we experiment with things, but for us we are never interested in making a multiplayer mode you could just play in some other game. Because, A) that's not creatively interesting and B), financially, you're wasting your time. They're going to go play Halo. They're going to go play Call of Duty.
"If we do something new - if we do something like Left 4 Dead that has something new to say - people will come to your game. If you don't, don't waste your time."
Over a year ago, Levine was on a panel I co-hosted at the New York Comic-Con. He mentioned then, back when his next game was still a mystery to the public, that he was making himself play more multiplayer games, despite typically playing solo games. That does not mean, he said during our Bioshock Infinite interview last week, that he would include multiplayer in Infinite.
"You're not much of a game designer if you can't draw lessons out of a) good games and bad games and b) games that are not really applicable to what you are doing," he said. "You need to look past the surface." The interaction of the lead characters in Left 4 Dead, for example, inspired the interaction between the two lead characters in the singleplayer demo of BioShock Infinite that debuted in New York last week.
Multiplayer has been a staple of recent hit games, and designs that allow for more than solo play have become integral to formerly solo-only series as disparate as Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil.
If BioShock Infinite lacks multiplayer, it will join another rare crowd, the lonely gathering of series like Metroid Prime that added multiplayer for one sequel and then excluded it for the next.