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BioShock Infinite’s Companion AI Explained By Ken Levine At BAFTA Q&A

BioShock Infinite

Ken Levine, head of Irrational Games, was in the United Kingdom for a BAFTA Q&A in which he discussed the evolution of AI companions, from System Shock 2’s SHODAN, BioShock’s Big Daddy, and then BioShock Infinite‘s Elizabeth.

The video lasts almost two hours and features Levine explaining how Irrational Games evolved their AI companions throughout the years. He talks about the landmark moment in System Shock 2 when SHODAN forbade players from entering a specific room and how gamers could make a choice to disobey her, which leads to the discovery of the player character’s predecessor,dead on the floor at the AI’s hand. It was perhaps this moment that started the wonderfully-unscripted storytelling and world-building that Irrational always delivers.

BioShock’s Big Daddies, Little Sisters, and the Splicers were supposed to represent a Protector, the Protected, and Predator dynamic that you can see in wild, which makes sense since the concept was born when Levine was watching a nature show. Levine wanted to convey an emotional bond to the player, showing them that the Big Daddies were monstrous, but were not truly monsters.

The segment during which Levine starts talking about Elizabeth is when the real fun starts and we begin to learn about the different facets that comprise her AI. We see how she’s made to be more human, how she reacts in combat, how she interacts with her environment, and then we see how the actresses that voiced her and provided motion capture animations helped bring her to life.

At around the 40-minute mark, Levine ends his presentation and begins the Q&A portion of the show, which runs for about an hour or so.

Watch the video below in order to learn a lot about what went into creating Liz and just to see Ken Levine being awesome.

BioShock Infinite will be released on March 26th, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3!

Tell us what you liked about the Q&A and whether or not you’re excited to see how Elizabeth works in the game!

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