Remember the final boss in BioShock? If you don’t, let me give you a little primer — it’s terrible. It’s basically a fight against a naked bloke called Fontaine who, after spending some time getting juiced in a chair, throws some ice and fire your way while charging around a bit.
It’s dull as dishwater. And Irrational Games knew it — but they didn’t have any other ideas.
The admission was part of a new interview with Rolling Stone to mark the release of BioShock: The Collection. And while the interview covered more than the ongoings behind the first BioShock, there were two nuggets of information about the original that stuck out.
“The gunplay was good but not great,” Levine said about the state of BioShock at release. “We didn’t have a ton of experience with that. And the ending lagged a little bit.”
He then agreed that while the game was beloved, the final boss battle was a shocker. “You have this great game, and then you end up fighting this giant nude dude. We didn’t have a better idea.”
The second revelation about the original BioShock happened when, according to Levine, the game was more or less complete. A focus group was brought in, people with no experience or knowledge of the game whatsoever, and they hated it. Completely.
“The focus test guy sort of patted me on the back and said, ‘Sorry, this game is going to be a failure.’,” Levine recalled. “That was one of those moments where you either accept the fact that somebody tells you you’re a loser, or you double down and say, ‘The fight’s not over yet.'”
Their response was to add a scene at the opening that would explain the player’s identity, which ended up being the iconic scene with the cigarette in the aeroplane:
You can read the rest of the interview, which covers the reception of the BioShock games, managing studios, the impact BioShock Infinite had on his health, and the only game that Levine ever scrapped, at Rolling Stone.