How did Bioshock 2: Minervas Den start walking simulators? (Topic)

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How did Bioshock 2: Minervas Den start walking simulators?


In February, ten years have passed since Bioshock 2 was released in the world. This game is no less cult and significant for the industry than the first part, although it loses to it and Bioshock Infinite. When we did a series of materials about the plot of the Bioshock series, we bypassed the second part, as it was more or less independent than Infinite and the first Bioshock, whose events are interconnected. We promised that we would return to the second game when the opportunity presents itself, and the 10th anniversary of the project is perfect. In honor of this, we have translated for you the material of The Rolling Stones, about how Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den became the beginning of walking simulators. The publication spoke with the studio veteran who created the Minerva's Den add-on for Bioshock 2, Steve Gainer.

Of all the ways that Bioshock has influenced video games, it is unusual to realize that the second part contributed to the development of walking simulators in the first place. The first walking simulator [which is now perceived with hostility by both designers and players], where the player, in fact, relives the story, explores the world, but everything he can do in the game - walk or interact with objects - is considered Dear Ester from The Chines Room. But the most famous walking simulator is by far Fullbright's Gone Home [although we all know it's far from Death Stranding], a game made by four people, three of whom worked on Bioshock 2.


In a sense, the studio's first game was "Minerva's Den," the latest DLC for Bioshock 2, about the inner workings of Rapture. Like the rest of the Bioshock series, Minerva's Den is remastered for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as part of Bioshock: The Collection.

Steve Gaynor, level designer for Bioshock 2, was the lead designer and writer for the expansion, and his creative partner was Carla Zimondja, a 2D artist who is also responsible for plot adjustments. They would later become two of the three founders of Fullbright, where they played the same roles during the development of Gone Home.


"In many ways, that DLC was the first part of our personal trilogy, in terms of collaboration between me and Carla" [the third part of the duo's personal trilogy is Tacoma, released in 2017 - WorldOfTopics]

Like Gone Home, Minerva's Den is a love story. But unlike Gone Home, it includes Big Daddies, plasmids, weapons and other elements inherent in Bioshock.


If the second game in the series ends as a full story that you spend a lot of time playing through. Minerva's Den can be completed in three to five hours and is independent. The events take place at the Rapture Computer Center, where a man named Charles Porter created a supercomputer called The Thinker and began using it to try to reclaim the memory and possibly consciousness of his dead wife.

Gaynor wanted to bring players into a new part of Rapture with brand new characters. “I love it when a series of games explores new stories in each of its next parts. When the sequel is not at all about the character with whom you have already spent 20+ hours. Who else lives in this world? What else is going on here?


Gaynor acknowledges that designers and publishers may treat DLC as another opportunity to get a drink, but lower rates on DLC could also lead to “more interesting, weird experiments.”

Of all the DLCs, Gaynor admires the companions The Last of Us: Left Behind, The Lost and the Damned for Grand Theft Auto IV, Mass Effect 2: Kasumi: Stolen Memory, and the companions for Dishonored The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches.

“Of course you have a certain level of freedom. The add-on can be described as: “Well, we want to do a really good job. But if we suddenly fail, then this is not the end of the world. It's not as risky as running a main company. ”


The challenge in working on an expansion is to figure out how to say something new with your game without fundamentally changing everything it has done before. " This can be done by introducing a new mechanic [Dishonored]; finding ways to reuse old mechanics [The Last of Us: Left Behind], introducing unexpected elements into the familiar open world [Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare or Far Cry 3 's Blood Dragon], or simply introducing new characters [Grand Theft Auto IV and Bioshock 2].

After Minerva's Den, Gaynor moved to Boston to work for Ken Levin at Irrational Games as level designer for Bioshock Infinite. Before this game was over, he decided to return home to Portland, Oregon to start his own studio. It was then that he and Zimonja assembled their team.


When Gaynor and Zimondja founded Fullbright with Jonneman Nordhagen, they were sure they wanted to create a walking simulator. Namely, a first-person story-driven game that lacks combat, puzzles, and other common video game elements.

The decision came when they thought about strengths and experience, as well as what would remain if weapons, plasmids, pumping, quests and loot were removed. They could do something like Bioshock, but only using only audio diaries and narrative.

“In Minerva's Den, especially at the end after the final fight, you will find yourself in Porter's personal quarters. And the whole last part of the game is just you, the environment and the audio diary. And that's exactly what Gone Home is made of. Even when we were doing DLC, there were people on the team who told me, “Dude, Porter's office is such a cool battleground. We're not going to put splicers there, are you sure? Are you serious at all? " - recalls the game designer.

A similar work was later done in Tacomo.


“Minerva's Den is an homage to System Shock 2, on which the original Bioshock was based. What will be the story of the AI in Rapture? What technology will redefine some of the original Bioshock ideas? With Tacoma, we're creating an AI game on an abandoned space station that redefines some of these themes and tropes even more directly. Thanks to the material we learned about storytelling, the environment, the player, it all became the core of our future games.

Tacoma differs from past studio projects in that it focuses not on one character, but on a group of people dealing with common problems.

The Topic of Article: How did Bioshock 2: Minervas Den start walking simulators?.
Author: Jake Pinkman