A conversation with an employee, who was apparently a Christian and wanted to quit over religious differences, helped Ken Levine, the creative director of the upcoming videogame "BioShock Infinite," connect with the Christian concept of forgiveness and thereby improve the story.
An employee working on Irrational Games' third installment of the BioShock series was so offended by the religious themes of a certain scene that he sought to quit the company immediately after completing his playthrough of the level, GameSpot reports, even as the debut of BioShock Infinite is scheduled for March 26.
"There was a scene in the game at the end where there's a gentleman here--one of our artists--who got to a point in the game, played it, turned off BioShock, opened up his computer, opened Microsoft Word, and wrote a resignation letter; it had offended him so much," Levine is quoted as saying.
Levine decided to speak with this employee.
"My first impulse was I don't want this guy to go because he was a good guy and a talented guy," he says. "And we actually ended up having a long talk; he was an extremely religious guy and when we started talking, I realized that something I could connect to was a notion of forgiveness and what an important part that is of the New Testament and why Christ was such a revolutionary figure."
Thinking about how Levine would incorporate the power of that notion to Comstock into his world was key to him. "Because who hasn't done things that they don't want to be forgiven for?"
Levine says Comstock was one of the toughest characters for him to write because he doesn't have a religious background, "let alone the darker side of his beliefs; the racist side of his beliefs. So I really had a lot of trouble writing him for a long time."
He expanded on his challenge, saying, "And it occurred to me I had to figure out why do people follow him? That was the key to his character. Why do people follow him? What does he provide to them? And I struggled with that for a long time because obviously an ecstatic religious experience is something that a religious leader provides but I don't have a connection to as a writer. And it's always hard when you're trying to write something that you have never felt. And that would feel dishonest to me."
The religious employee eventually decided not to quit Irrational Games.
BioShock Infinite is likely to be controversial. "This is a city run by a charismatic religious fundamentalist – there's a highly sort of racially intolerant and xenophobic element," Levine tells the Los Angeles Times, "quite in contrast to what the space looks like visually."