2K Australia interview -- fresh insights into BioShock 2

GamePro Australia gets the low-down on BioShock 2

BioShock 2 interview

The sequel to 2K Games' critically acclaimed smash-hit BioShock is bubbling ever-closer to the surface. In just a few short weeks, gamers will be able to fulfil all their Big Daddy fantasies as they take to the watery bowels of Rapture once again. With improved combat mechanics, deeper moral choices and a fresh exploration of the fascinating BioShock mythos, the game is set to be one of the biggest hits of the year.

Last week, we caught up with Alex Vancomerback and Anthony Lawrence of 2K Australia, who are the Level Designer and Studio General Manager, respectively. We quizzed them about working for 2K Games, tips on how to get into the games industry, and the improvements gamers can expect to find in BioShock 2. We also gleaned some fresh insights about the game, including the role of the ocean (there will be no underwater combat) and the enhanced AI (Big Sisters — be very afraid!) So without further ado, let's dive right in...

GamePro: G'day, guys. First up, can you tell us a little about your roles at 2K Australia?

Alex: I'm Level Designer on BioShock 2 — which means I take care of the player experience within a level. I need to think everything a player might think while exploring each level. I look after elements of the gameplay, like what enemies the player is going to encounter and what the main goal of the mission is. I also help with the scripting of the AI, and try to get [the enemies] to do something a little bit different.

Anthony: I essentially run the studio so the guys can do good things. Some of my other day-to-day tasks include making scheduling decisions and outsourcing artwork. I also try to lend my hand as a sound engineer. [Anthony was previously a sound designer at the Sydney Opera House.]

BioShock 2 interview

Anthony Lawrence

GP: How did you first get involved in the games industry?

Alex: I started off with user mods on games like Duke Nukem and Quake back in '96. Pretty much by accident, I found out about someone looking for a level designer for a project in the UK. I applied for it, and, to my shock and surprise, I actually got the job. When I received my first pay cheque it was a great day: I was doing what I loved and getting paid for it! A few years later, I moved to Australia and worked for a few different companies, before joining 2K Games two years ago.

BioShock 2

Alex Vancomerback

Anthony: I have a long background in the creative industry and I guess you could say that's my passion. After 12 years working at the Sydney Opera House, I moved into the business world, but I hated it. When I saw the role for studio general manager at 2K Games, I thought 'perfect!' So now here I am, back doing what I love.

GP: Alex, what kind of skills does your job require? Got any tips for gamers trying to break into the industry?

Alex: Well first of all, you need to be passionate about what you do. You don't need hardcore programming skills or anything like that. A good artistic sense is very important though. This is especially true at companies that don't have level artists. This means that the level designer has to fulfil both roles. You also probably need to know some kind of scripting language. Kismet from Unreal Engine is a good starting point, because it's super popular with games companies. If you want to get into the industry, start off by creating stuff for free using mapping modes and modding tools.

Anthony: Yes, if you want me to employ you, I need to see what you can do. It could be an Apple app; anything. That's a lot more important than a degree or diploma in video games. So the short answer is: build a portfolio!

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags bioshock2k gamesgamesBioShock 2

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Jager

GamePro Australia
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?